Mother Nature has outdone herself in this breathtakingly beautiful country alongside the Baltic Sea in the far northern reaches of Europe. Finland is an extraordinary land of spectacular scenery, and one that attracts more than six million tourists every year- more than the number of people who call this marvelous country their home. There is much to love for visitors who commonly arrive on the shores of Helsinki via a Baltic Sea cruise ship, including the nearly two hundred thousand crystal clear lakes that dot the landscape.
People come to Finland to enjoy the sailing tours amongst the sparkling lakes and waterways in summer, and to hike amidst the glorious greenery. Summer in the far north is also a time of continual daylight, making Finland one of the places nicknamed “Land of the Midnight Sun.” During wintertime, both alpine and cross-country skiing are the most popular activities. The Northern Lights can be seen best from Rovaneimi, where one can tour the Santa Claus Village, and nearby Kemi attracts many who wish to see its annually constructed snow castle and ice hotel. Throughout the year, Helsinki is a popular destination for saunas, shopping and nightlife.
There are many delightful keepsakes and souvenirs from Finland that are enjoyed by travelers and collectors, including these five most popular souvenirs from the Land of a Thousand Lakes:
Reindeer Antler Art: The people of Finland's Lapland province have been herding reindeer since the early 1600s, and utilizing the antlers that both male and female reindeer shed every year in the making of many practical and decorative items. Clothing is adorned with reindeer antler buttons, jewelry and knives are made of reindeer antlers, as are chandeliers and many interesting sculptures. Reindeer fur is also used for clothing, leather products, rugs, and for making troll dolls and Santa dolls.
Moomin Troll Dolls: Legends involving trolls have been a part of Finnish folklore for centuries, but the Moomins have become a cult phenomenon that has spread to many other countries. Comic strip illustrator and author, Tove Jansson, created the adorable fairy tale characters for a series of books and television shows in 1945, and the rounded, white trolls resembling miniature hippopotamuses have become a favorite in children's literature, with their own theme park, Moomin World, in Naantali.
Moose Mugs: Not to be confused with the domesticated reindeer, the wild Finnish moose is king of the forest in Finland, which is home to more than 80,000 of the massive creatures. Moose have become a popular theme for souvenirs in Finland, and moose mugs, tee shirts, key chains, and other moose memorabilia make great Finnish keepsakes.
Finnish Glass: Glass design is an integral part of Finnish culture, with some of the most incredible works of glass blown art in the world having been created here. A visit to Finland's Glass Museum is an awe-inspiring experience, and many people will want to possess one of these delicate masterpieces for themselves. Purchase your own iconic glassware at the Iitalla glassworks in Helsinki, or admire some of the treasured works in the Arabia Center galleries.
Authentic Arctic Circle Crossing Certificate: Cruises are one of the most popular tourist activities of Finland, and many cruise ships that venture north offer an Authentic Arctic Circle Crossing Certificate. The Santa Claus Village at Rovaneimi is another place where the intrepid adventurer can obtain their own official arctic certificate, which is available there in six languages. Crossing and exploring the arctic circle is something you can brag about to your grandchildren.
To see more pictures from Finland, visit our Flickr page.