Finland is a beautiful place with a huge focus on nature. The country focuses on sustainability, and just generally relaxing and enjoying the nature all around you, which makes for a very peaceful and endearing vacation destination. Many people don't know much about Finland, though, which can make their first trip there a bit surprising. Here are three tips to know about Finland ahead of time, so that you can make the most of your trip.
There Are Basically Two Different Finlands
One of the most important things to consider while packing your suitcase is what kind of clothing you are going to need in your destination. With Finland, this can be a bit tricky, as there are actually two completely different weather patterns in this country. In the summer, the air is still a bit frosty, but at most you will probably need a light jacket or coat, along with typical spring clothes that you can layer with.
In the winter, though, things get very chilly in Finland, so you will need much thicker, warmer layers. Temperatures can fall way below zero, so you will need sweaters, coats, scarves, hats and mittens when you go out to explore all that wonderful nature. Be sure to be mindful of what time of year you are visiting, so you can know what to bring.
Be Prepared for Different Personalities
In America, a lot of people are very effusive. They talk loud and flatter each other with compliments and engage in constant small talk — but this won't get you anywhere in Finland. In Finland, people come from a background where things are more "reserved." They are nice to people they don't know, but they don't feel the need to stand around and shoot the breeze all day.
There is a proverb that says "a Finnish guy doesn't talk nor kiss," and while this isn't 100 percent true, you still shouldn't expect to run into a bunch of chatterboxes here. Also, bragging is a bit of a no-no in Finland, so going out of your way to give your hotel concierge or your waiter compliments on what a good job they are doing can end up just making someone uncomfortable. A simple "thank you" is always best.
Know What to Wear (or not Wear) in the Saunas
Saunas are an important part of Finland's culture. So much so, in fact, that most houses have a personal sauna for the family. This can present a problem, though, if you want to partake in this aspect of Finnish culture and visit a sauna yourself. I know I just said in the last section that Finnish people are typically very reserved, but this is not as true when it comes to saunas.
If they visit a sauna as a family, everyone goes into the sauna completely nude. If they are with friends, some may be naked, or others may wear bathing suits. At public saunas, there are usually separate saunas for men and women, in which being nude is the norm. There are also mixed saunas, though, where you would be expected to wear a bathing suit. So before going into a sauna, take into account the conditions and who you are going with, and prepare yourself for the possibility that you might soon see a lot more of your hotel neighbors than you expected.