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Most likely sightingsPossible sightings
Southern Finland is the most densely populated region of Finland, but it still manages to provide easy access to areas of great natural beauty. There are a number of excellent National Parks, such as Repovesi and Valkmusa in the Kymenlaakso region and Nuuksio and Sipoonkorpi near Helsinki. The region extends from close to the Russian border in the east to Uusikaupunki on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, and includes the inland towns of Kouvola, Lahti and Hämeenlinna, and the coastal towns of Kotka and Porvoo.
Southern Finland is the most densely populated region of the country, and the region richest in cultural heritage, packed with attractions and places of historic interest to visit. The recorded history of Finland began here, and it is in Southern Finland that the oldest traces of human habitation have been found. The region extends from close to the Russian border in the east to Uusikaupunki on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia, and includes the inland towns of Kouvola, Lahti and Hämeenlinna, and the coastal towns of Kotka, Porvoo, Turku and Naantali, home to the Moomin World theme park for children, with delightful views of Europe's largest archipelago.
Further up the coast lies Uusikaupunki, its proud maritime tradition evident from the numerous maritime themed museums. Visitors can also take cruises in the archipelago to Isokari Lighthouse and Katanpää Fort Island, visit the Myllymäki Windmill Park and St. Olaf's Church or enjoy Crusell Week, or Uusikaupunki Woodwind Festival. Just south of Turku in the Archipelago Sea lies the town of Lansi-Turunmaa, or Väståboland. A region of unparalleled natural beauty, it is an ideal destination for nature lovers and those who prefer such water activities as sailing, diving, kayaking and fishing, Lansi-Turunmaa also provides ample opportunities to enjoy golf, horse-riding, cycling, hiking and birdwatching, among others.
Lahti has excellent skiing facilities at Messilä Ski Resort and the famous ski jumps by the Salpausselkä Ridges, and is the only city to have hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 6 times. It is also home to Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and hosts the Lahti Sibelius Festival. Also of note are the Church of the Cross, Messilä Manor and the Musical Fountains. Further west lies Hämeenlinna, the birthplace of the great Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and the site of the medieval castle of Häme and Aulankovuori Hill, where you can enjoy breath-taking views of Lake Vanajavesi and its valley from here.
Possibly the most beautiful of all the old towns in Finland, Porvoo is the second oldest town in Finland. Situated just an hours drive from Helsinki, Porvoo is cosy and idyllic, a truly beautiful place to visit with a delightful waterfront of red ochre sheds, medieval cobblestoned streets, and the charming Old Porvoo where you'll find the third most visited church in all of Finland, the Porvoo cathedral.
Most visitors to Finland consider the country's second oldest town to be the most beautiful. Just an hours drive, or a few hours by a relaxing cruise through the archipelago, from Helsinki, Porvoo's unique charms number its delightful waterfront of red ochre sheds, the medieval cobblestoned streets and alleys, and the charm of Old Porvoo where you'll find the beautiful Porvoo Cathedral.
Finland's oldest city, and it's gateway to the West, Turku is a thriving city whose rich cultural heritage is complemented by its forward-looking people. Of the many great sights here, Turku Castle (the largest surviving medieval castle in all of Scandinavia) and Turku Cathedral are perhaps the most popular. Turku has almost 20 museums, including the Kylämäki Village of Living History and The Sibelius museum, which is the only museum totally devoted to music in Finland. It's packed events calendar includes the oldest rock festival in Europe, Ruisrock, a city festival (Down By The Laituri), and the Turku Music Festival which attracts internationally acclaimed classical musicians every year.
Idyllically situated around a bay on Lake Vesijärvi, Lahti is a vibrant town 100km north of Helsinki. A popular travel destination, Lahti has excellent skiing facilities at Messilä Ski Resort and the famous ski jumps by the Salpausselkä Ridges, and is the only city to have hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 6 times. It is also home to Lahti Symphony Orchestra, and hosts the Lahti Sibelius Festival. Other sites of note are the Church of the Cross, Messilä Manor and its Musical Fountains.
Famous for it's majestic red brick medieval castle on the shores of Lake Vanajavesi, and for being the birthplace of the great composer Jean Sibelius, historical Hämeenlinna enjoys a vibrant cultural and commercial life. Surrounded by beautiful National Parks, the city boasts one of the best equipped theme parks in Puuhamaa, two excellent spas at at Aulanko and Vesihelmi, 8 golf courses, and the chance to hike, cycle, ride horses, ski, jet-ski, snowboard, sail and lots more besides.
Originally named The Vale of Mercy in latin, Naantali is one of the oldest, and quaintest, towns in Finland, developing around the medieval Brigittine convent Vallis Gratiae whose church dominates the local skyline to this day. Today it is known as the Sunshine Town, and attracts visitors from around the world. Naantali is home to Kultaranta (summer home of the President), the palatial Louhisaari Manor, Nantaali Spa (the largest in Scandinavia) as well as the ever-popular children's favourite Moominworld, and the Adventure Island Väski.
Situated snugly in the heart of the Archipelago Sea that lies between Turku and the Åland Islands, the town of Pargas is comprised of the five previous municipalities of Pargas, Nagu, Korpo, Houtskär and Iniö. This region is one of unparalled natural beauty, its fauna and flora often unique. The Archipelago Sea wherein it lies covers over 5,500 square kilometres, and contains over 10,000 islands and skerries as well as the Archipelago National Park in the south.
A charming coastal town, Uusikaupunki has a proud maritime tradition and during the 19th century the sailing fleet based here was the second largest in Finland. This tradition can be explored in the numerous maritime themed museums, and by visiting the harbours of the old town. Today it boasts an excellent guest harbour, Pakkahuone, voted the best in Finland on three occasions. Vistors can also take cruises in the archipelago to Isokari Lighthouse and Katanpää Fort Island, or enjoy a trip on the 100 year old Gaff Schooner Joanna Saturna or the 23-metre Brigantine Mary Ann, or explore the towns history via the 4km Promenade of Cultural History. Other highlights should include a visit to the Myllymäki Windmill Park and St. Olaf's Church. Crusell Week, or Uusikaupunki Woodwind Festival, is held annually and attracts visitors from all of Finland and abroad.