Summer for the midnight sun or around Christmas to meet the ‘real’ Santa Claus in Finnish Lap Land.Why:
Oh so many reasons. It’s green, it’s clean and, coming from the desert, you will probably have forgotten what so much water looks like.
On a summer weekend in the bigger cities, you will hear people speaking English, German and Chinese, but hardly anyone speaking Finnish. Where have all the locals gone? Some have gone to one of a dozen music festivals, offering a choice of jazz, blues, rock, opera and chamber music. Others are sailing among the islands or they’re at their summer cottage, swimming, fishing and cooking dinner on the grill.
If you fancy joining them rent a cottage with a rowboat and bicycle. That way you can meet some Finns, either out on the lake or on an outdoor dance floor.
During summer the days are almost endless. The sun is still shining at 10pm in Helsinki at midsummer, so when you leave a restaurant after a very long dinner, the evening is still young. In Lapland, Utsjoki for example, a single summer day lasts for over two months! Even in the south, it’s never really dark… just a period of twilight for a few hours.
Check out the numerous festivals, swim under the midnight sun or take in some of the seriously weird whacky contests from mobile phone throwing to wife carrying, swamp football to air guitar, table drumming to rubber boot throwing… the list goes on. Or you could just get away from it all island hopping in the southern archipelago which has some of the most stunning scenery on earth. And, of course, don’t forget the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights – there are special tour operators specialising in trips just to see them.Getting there:
Lufhansa flies Bahrain to Helsinki, with two stops, from about BD350 return. Finland is not cheap but there are various levels of accommodation available from bed and breakfast to glass igloos and snow hotels. Check out www.visitfinland.com