Top tip: Beware the arrack
Finland lies between Sweden, Norway and Russia. It is characterised by a water-logged landscape – it is bordered by the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland and 10% of its landmass lies underwater. Finland has more islands than any other country on earth – 30,000 off the Finnish coast and a further 98,000 islands in its 188,000 inland lakes. The Saimaa Lake system is the largest inland water system in Europe.
By European standards, Finland is very sparsely populated. Around 69% of the country is covered by forests, mainly pine, fir and birch in the south and southeast. In Lapland, in the far north, scattered dwarf birch forests give way to Arctic tundra.
Finland is known for being a land of snow and ice, but summers are warm and sunny, with temperatures reaching as high as 30ºC. Even spring and autumn can be surprisingly mild. In midsummer the sun doesn’t truly set and locals take full advantage for late-night sports, barbecues and parties. Nevertheless, from November to mid March, temperatures plummet to -20ºC or lower. Winter days are short and in mid-winter in parts of Lapland the sun willnot clear the horizon at all. In the far north, there can be snow on teh ground from as early as October until May. Rainfall is distributed fairly evenly throughout the rest of the year. During June and July, forested areas are plagued by gnats and mosquitoes, particularly in the north, so remember to pack plenty of insect repellent.
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