Finland is known for its beautiful snowy landscapes, the incredible Northern Lights and Santa Claus, but it is so much more than that. Finland in the summer is just as exciting and there's plenty to do for all the family to enjoy. Here are just a few things that can be enjoyed in the warmer months...

Summertime by the lakes

Summer is the time to escape the cities for Finland’s wonderful lakes where little red wooden cottages sit on the banks with a sauna nearby, and families splash around in the warm waters.

Finland is a great destination for a lakeside holiday. Relax by the shore or take a boat out rowing - it can be really peaceful out on the water.

​Join in the simple, life-enhancing pleasures the Finns take in this glorious season and push a little rowing boat out onto the still lake, rod ready to catch the odd fish to take back and cook on a sizzling barbecue. Then laze away the hours reading by the northern sun that in high summer never really sets.

There are so many resorts in RCI's Exchange Holiday network in Finland close to lakes, so you don't have to head for the seaside to hit the beach!

Sailing into the Åland Archipelago

The Baltic Sea beckons on the west coast of Finland, so make sure you take a trip from one of the towns on the mainland coast out into the Åland archipelago in the Baltic Sea where over 20,000 thousand islands and islets separate Finland from Sweden.

The Baltic Sea is host to over 20,000 islands and islets which separate Finland from Sweden. It is easy to take a boat out and explore some of the pretty islands and spend time wandering the many beaches dotted throughout.

Of all these thousands of islands, only 6,700 are named and just 60 of them are inhabited, but with bridges and little ferries connecting many of them, deserted or inhabited, you can spend a day cycling from island to island. Or just take a boat trip to see the birds swooping over the waters and the little yachts with their brightly coloured sails scudding across the sea.

Some of the Baltic Islands are so tiny they're uninhabited, but there are several where you'll find bustling communities and charming little villages. So to see a different way of life, give it a go.

Foraging in the Wild

Take a basket and go foraging in the Finnish wilderness. There’s an ‘Everyman’s Right to Forage’ in the country where nature is generous with her gifts. Berries cover the bushes: bright red lingonberries; dark purple bilberries and glowing orange cloudberries.

The ‘Everyman’s Right to Forage’ law in Finland means you have to take advantage and pick your own fruit, which is plentiful in the pretty countryside.

Foraging for delicious treats, such as these berries, is a very satisfying experience.

And in the forests you’ll find a cornucopia of mushrooms from chanterelles to ceps, from different kinds of boletes to a mushroom we shudder at in the UK, the strangely named slippery Jack. Make sure you know your mushrooms, or take a guided tour!

Finland is full of delicious berries ready to be picked. Bright red lingonberries; dark purple bilberries and glowing orange cloudberries are all on offer, as well as a variety of mushrooms.

Hiking in a National Park

When the snow melts, the best activity is to get out and experience nature. Hiking in the hills is a great way to spend time with the family and get some fresh air.

The Finns respect nature and preserve the wilderness in their 37 national parks the length and breadth of the country. Go first to the information centre for maps, guides and advice on where to go. Then, equipped with Nordic walking sticks, stride off on the well-marked paths.

With almost 40 national parks in Finland, the diversity of wildlife that flocks to this part of the world is impressive. If you're lucky, you might even spot a golden eagle swooping down for it's prey.

​In summer, look out for otters, wetland birds and if you’re lucky, for golden eagles. In the winter you walk on skis, snowshoes or take a snowmobile through the white-shrouded landscape, keeping your eyes open for the likes of the ermine which drops its autumn colours to take on its white winter coat.

If it is the snow you're here for, Finland has plenty of it! Take a snowmobile out and watch the wildlife in action as you whiz past. It will be a thrilling ride!

Eat Local Foods

Nordic cooking is very different from that in southern Europe and you must try the local specialties. Order the universal potatoes with dill; comforting pea and ham soup; Karelian pies with a crust made of rye flour filled with creamy potatoes and egg butter on top; herrings smoked and prepared in so many different ways; fat sausages on sticks that you grill outside over an open fire; salmon and perch-pike; black sausage in the southern city of Tampere and reindeer served with creamy mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Whenever you visit a new country, try some of the local delicacies. The Karelian pie with a crust made of rye flour filled with creamy potatoes and egg butter on top is simply delicious.

Smoked herrings are often on a Finnish menu but prepared in many different ways, so you'll no doubt find one to your taste.

​And if you’re in Helsinki, you must stroll through the large open-air market down by the harbour where in summer, whole stalls groan with pea-pods, strawberries and mushrooms piled high; and in winter you can enjoy fish soup and hot coffee and buns in the little heated marquees while the snowflakes fall softly outside.

No trip to Helsinki would be complete without a visit to the open-air market where you can stock up on fruit and veg. In the colder months, stop off for a coffee to warm up as you browse the stalls piled high with delicious food.

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