Hear about travel to Finland as the Amateur Traveler talks to travel writer Jayne Dear about a one-week itinerary to visit the best of Finland by train.
Why should you visit Finland?
Jayne says, “Many reasons. One of the most notable is that it’s the happiest country in the world. For the last six years, it’s been declared the happiest country in the world on the World Happiness Report. It’s a beautiful country. You probably will have seen more trees than you will have seen in your life.”
Jayne starts us in the capital of Helsinki. She recommends visiting:
- Helsinki Central Station: A stunning Art Nouveau train station with a 48-meter-high clock tower.
- National Museum of Finland: This museum offers insights into Finland’s history, including Viking relics, artifacts, and a Russian czar’s throne.
- Market Square: Located by the harbor in Helsinki, it’s a vibrant place to witness the local food scene, buy fresh produce, and try unique dishes like moose burgers and reindeer soup.
- Helsinki Cathedrals: There are two cathedrals to explore in Helsinki—the plain yet dramatic Lutheran Cathedral and the opulent Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, offering a contrasting religious experience.
- Suomenlinna Fortress: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this historic fortress on an island near Helsinki was built to deny the Russians access to the Baltic Sea. It’s a fascinating place to explore, with military museums, a submarine, and a lighthouse church.
While you are in Helsinki Jayne recommends a side trip to Porvoo which is located an hour from Helsinki by bus, Porvoo is known for its traditional wooden buildings. It has an open-air museum, showcasing historic buildings, churches, schools, and farms, providing a glimpse into Finland’s rural past.
Take the train then to Tampere which Jayne calls the “Manchester of Finland” due to its industrial history. Visitors can explore old warehouses, textile factories turned into museums and unique architecture like the Art Nouveau Fire Station. The city is situated between two lakes, offering picturesque views. For the best views, hike the nearby esker, a gravel hill left by the last Ice Age.
While in Tampere, Jayne and her husband also did a homestay where they were able to learn more about life in Finland.
Located in Parola, south of Tampere, is the Parola Tank Museum which showcases a variety of tanks and military vehicles, offering insights into military history.
Our next stop is Turku which was Finland’s old capital. Turku boasts a medieval cathedral and a historic castle. The city’s riverside features historic boats, making it an attractive destination for exploring maritime history.
If you have extra time, head north to Rovaniemi which is located on the Arctic Circle, Rovaniemi is famous for being the “home” of Santa Claus. Visitors can partake in activities like dog sledding and witness the Northern Lights during the winter months.
Whether you want to explore the coffee culture, the Finnish love of board games, the extensive forests, or the Wife Carrying World Championships, Finland is worth a visit.
If Oregon isn’t on your travel itinerary for this year, it’s time to add it because Oregon is a state that offers so much to do for so many travelers. Learn more at <a_link” href=”https://traveloregon.com/” target=”_blank” rel=”external noopener” data-wpel-link=”external”>TravelOregon.com.
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Tales of an Interrailer
Why Finland Drinks More Coffee Than Any Other Country
Helsinki Central Station
The National Museum of Finland
Finnish submarine Vesikko
Postimäki Outdoor Museum
Tampere Central Fire Station
Parola Tank Museum
Aura River (Finland)
Wife Carrying World Championship
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