“The end of the journey” – this is quite a symbolic name for this final chapter of the journey.
Here, we are going to take a look at the Travel Smart journey in Finland, its best moments and most remarkable places.
- Where: Finland
- What: “Travel Smart” series
To begin with, I would like to thank all my readers for following my travel stories and exploring destinations with me. The journey in Finland was quite long because I had a chance to visit so many places while living here. Obviously, it is not possible to explore everything and not necessarily. Therefore, we were focusing on the most interesting places only.
We started the journey in Finland’s capital, i.e. in the city of Helsinki, and visited its eastern and western parts. It was quite easy to notice that Helsinki has a mix of styles, i.e. Russian, Swedish, and Finnish. It is because of the city’s and country’s history. Being both part of Sweden and then Russia, Finland inherited a lot from them, which created such an amazing place.
Later on, we moved to the town of Lahti and further north to the town of Mikkeli. Mikkeli appeared to be the most comfortable town of Finland, because everything is in one place and so near, whereas Lahti was quite spread. Both have something to offer and both are interesting.
On our way to Kuopio, which is worth visiting, we explored a few small towns, but there is one place I would recommend, which is Valtola. There is a nature resort and unusual scenery of a rock standing on top of the other one. Undoubtedly, it attracts many people. Later, we explored the town of Joensuu, which was quite interesting. After that, we moved to the south to the town of Savonlinna. Savonlinna is not big but it has its own symbol as its heart in its castle (fortress). It is a very popular place, especially with Russian tourists.
Then, we also visited two places, which were quite close to each other, Imatra and Lappeenranta. Lappeenranta is really and calm. It has everything you might need; at the same time, it is quite small and has its cosiness. Lappeenranta is spread, which creates a feeling of a big town. Besides, it has the largest lake in Finland, Saimaa. It is fantastic; you will enjoy the scenery and will want to stay longer. It is one of my favourite places in this country.
Once we explored that wonderful region, we proceeded to the south and there was a town, which would be nice to have a stop in, Kouvola. This town is important because of its location, i.e. all the trains going to Russia or to the eastern part of Finland stop in Kouvola and then go different ways. There is an old train near the railroad station as a reminder of old good times. It would be nice if you have some time for this place.
It is worth mentioning that there is a new way to travel within Finland with a limited budget; it is OnniBus, a Polish company, which started to operate in Finland. The bus company has various routes and low prices, thus being highly attractive.
We were also lucky to discover a very nice town of Porvoo, a typically Swedish town. Porvoo is one of my favourite towns of Finland, as well. It is always calm and peaceful in the town; it feels like you can find yourself being there. The amazing mix of nature and Swedish architecture created such a lovely place. Make sure you have time for this town. Besides, it is quite close to Helsinki, which makes it the easiest place to visit.
Then we moved to the two big towns of Finland, Tampere and Turku. Tampere is famous for its own achievements and Turku used to be the first capital of the country. The town of Tampere was remarkable for its amusement park and the observation deck. The view was worth the trip. Turku offered quite a different experience; it has a mix of a big town with a small cosy little village. In some places it reminded me the town of Porvoo.
Logically, after that we still had something left, i.e. the northernmost part of the country. Our way went through the town of Jyväskylä to Oulu. Then we stopped in Kemi and Tornio. Then, we decided to see how the border of Finland and Sweden looked like, so we got to the town of Haparanda, Sweden.
The end of the northern journey was the town of Christmas, Rovaniemi in Lapland. The climate there is quite different; moreover, you have a good chance to see the northern lights in the sky if you are there. I had that experience and it was spectacular! It is extremely beautiful. Rovaniemi was a logical ending of a big journey, because it represents something unique and typical for Finnish north only. Besides, who would not want to meet Santa?
To end up our journey, we got back to where we began, i.e. to Helsinki. We also visited its zoo and its fortress, Suomenlinna, which is located on the island. It represents the Nordic spirit of the country and is one of the most interesting and attractive places in Helsinki.
All in all, the journey in Finland was different and not always what was expected, for example, some places like Porvoo or Lappeenranta were especially lovely. Furthermore, the Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi was the place to see and the trip there was definitely worth it! Undoubtedly, while traveling, you get to know people better and discover something new. I can say that I have an impression of Finnish people as shy, but polite and interesting when you talk to them. I should say I enjoyed the journey and recommend it to my readers. Find your own way to discover Finland, explore new places, and bring only good memories back home. Discover the world with Travel Smart series! And we are headed to our new destinations!
Julia Kostina is a professional luxury travel consultant at Renshaw Travel, one of the best luxury travel agencies in Canada.
If you are in Dresden and looking for some observation decks, TOHOLOGY recommends visiting the restored Frauenkirche.
On June 3, 2019 citizens and guests of Helsinki could witness a historic event, an opening of the first Signature hotel by Scandic in Finland – Marski. This hotel was part of regular Scandic hotels, however having historic value; but on this day a new chapter of Marski hotel has been written.
The Riga Islande Hotel is located on the Kipsala Island quite close to the old town. The location is perfect for tourists as you can even walk to the old town.