Exploring Finland! Or how to (not) seek the Northern Lights

Hi everyone! Today I am gonna write about a small trip I recently made to Finland. After study period 1 I certainly needed some vacations and me and my friends decided to travel to Finland. None of us have had watched the northern lights before, and therefore after some planning in advance we booked our tickets to Helsinki. We stayed for one day in the finnish capital and 3 nights in the wilderness sort of close to Rovaniemi, the capital of the finnish Lapland.

Overall, Helsinki is a small, cozy capital with slightly expensive prices, nice architecture and a bustling nightlife. I have to admit that I was quite surprised when I saw the city for the first time. Neither as big as I expected nor as dull as I thought it would be. It combines homogenous, soviet-like buildings in some areas and modern, nordic architecture; out of which I especially enjoyed the Church of the Rock (Temppeliaukio Rock Church). Hence, some people define Helsinki as a mixture between west and east.

The Church of the Rock in Helsinki

Helsinki’s most iconic cathedral

Outdoor pool and hot tube at a sauna in the city center of Helsinki

Christmas decorations in the city center

Random street in the city center

For 14 euros you can get a 24h ticket to travel through the whole Helsinki area from and to the airport by means of all modes of public transport, including the ferry to Suomenlinna fortress. (Definitely a must-go destination if you just have 24h there as I did. In a nutshell, I wish I had more days to explore Helsinki. If I have the money and time, I would definitely go back during summer to enjoy the nature there.

After Helsinki, we flew up north to Rovaniemi, “the official home of Santa Claus”. The Rovaniemi area is a good location to see the northern lights due to its latitude, nevertheless two factors have to be considered if you want to be successful at seeing the Northern lights: 1) Intensity of the lights, 2) A clear sky. Unfortunately, the weather was really overcast and the clouds didn’t allow us to see the northern lights. There are websites that tell you the probability of seeing the northern lights with a certain intensity in a given day, and we had high chances to watch them during our stay, but the clouds were there to ruin our expectations:( Despite this event, we had an awesome trip. Did lots of sauna (most finnish thing in the world), explored the stunning nature of the north of Finland and visited the village of Santa Claus, where you can meet Santa.

Winter wonderland in the north of Finland

The Arctic Polar Circle border in Santa Claus village

 

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