Finland is a massive country that stretches from the Baltic coast to the high tundra and rough mountains of Lapland, with more than a third of its extent above the Arctic Circle. To the east is the Russian portion of the Kola Peninsula; to the north is the top of Norway; to the northwest is Sweden. Finland’s splendid coastline, etched with inlets and bays and sprinkled with many islands,
fronts the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland to the south. The Aland Islands, which are an autonomous region of Finland, lie at the intersection of the Gulf of Bothnia and the main reach of the Baltic Sea. Stunning, lake-speckled boreal forest (or taiga) defines much of Finland, with sylvan cottages popular as weekend and holiday retreats for city dwellers. You can get a clear sense of the majesty of Finland’s landscapes in any of its numerous national parks and preserves, which include postcardperfect Linnansaari National Park in the Finnish Lakeland to 1,100-square-mile Lemmenjoki in Lapland, the biggest national park in Finland. Ecotourists treasure the variety and visibility of Finland’s wildlife, which ranges from the imperiled Saimaa ringed seal to the noble moose and brown bears of the taiga.