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Although Finland covers a large expanse of northern territory (much of it forested), at 130,000 square miles it's only twice the size of Florida, with about a third of that state’s population. Stretching northward from Helsinki to the Arctic Circle, Finland borders Norway to the north, Sweden and the Gulf of Bothnia to the west, and Russia to the east.

Finland Cities and Regions


One in ten Finns live here in the country’s easygoing, but very happening, capital. Long a Mecca for fans of minimalist architecture and design, the city is increasingly receiving attention for its eclectic and explosive fashion and music scenes. See our Helsinki Travel Guide


Finland’s largest town and capital until upstart Helsinki snatched away both titles in the 19th century, 13th-century Turku still claims the role of oldest Finnish city. The city is known for its medieval charm and architecture, both examples of the strong Swedish influence that exists to this day.

Southern Finland

Stretching across the country’s bottom where it meets the Gulf of Finland, the verdant South is, apart from greater Helsinki, a patchwork of mostly small, and largely Swedish-speaking, farm communities, with seaside towns like Hanko serving as popular summer recreation sites.

Lake District

Also called Lakeland, the largest of all of Finland’s geographic areas is settled squarely in the eastern central portion of the country. It’s also the country’s most aquatic region – over 50,000 lakes occupy over a quarter of its territory, making it a water-lover’s summertime paradise.

Western Finland

Strong on Swedish influence and picturesque charm, the West not only encompasses that most Scandinavian of all Finnish towns, Turku, but also lesser known gems like Rauma (the largest medieval town in the Nordic countries) and Pori (home to a popular annual jazz festival every summer, usually in July).


The Finnish Lapland commences roughly 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle and occupies about a third of the country’s landmass. Long the home to both the reindeer-herding Sami people and Santa Claus (the Finns call him Joulopukki), Finnish Lapland has, in recent years, become a popular winter recreation destination, luring international travelers with the promise of skiing, snowmobiling, canoeing, and hunting.

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