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You have a legal right to walk, cycle, paddle a canoe or even camp almost anywhere in Finland. Nordic skiing is popular and there are cross-country trails of varying difficulty. Downhill skiers go to Lapland, or to resorts such as Koli in North Karelia or Ruka in Kuusamo.

Hiking or trekking is best from June to September (May in the south). Wilderness huts line the northern trails and are available without charge. Most of them have unlocked doors, basic bunks, cooking facilities, leftover dry food, a pile of dry firewood and even a wilderness telephone. You should always leave the hut as it was - replace the used firewood and clean the place. For the easiest hikes, go to areas such as Ruunaa in Karelia or try a national park. Routes such as Karhunkierros and the Lemmenjoki are very scenic.

Boating can be enjoyed on both sea and lake but the prime sailing region, the Turku archipelago, is demanding to navigate. Canoeing is best on the lakes or around Turunmaa and Åland archipelagos in summer. There are wild rapids in Lapland and North Karelia.


Midsummer's Day (Juhannus) is the most important annual event for Finns. People leave cities and towns for summer cottages to celebrate the longest day of the year. Bonfires are lit and lakeside merrymakers swim and row boats. Enthusiastic alcohol consumption is also a feature of midsummer partying. The Pori Jazz Festival in July is one of the country's most popular festivals, but the Savonlinna Opera Festival, held at medieval Olavinnlinna Castle, is the most famous. Some of the best (and the most international) festivals are the most remote: check out chamber music in Kuhmo, or folk music in Kaustinen (near Kokkola). For rock, there are big festivals during the Midsummer weekend, and big annual events, such as Ruisrock, the longest-running of rock festivals, at Turku in July. On the lighter side, check out the Sleepyhead Day, where on 27 July the laziest person in the towns of Naantali and Hanko is thrown into the sea. Finland's strangest event is the annual wife-carrying championship held every July in tiny Sonkajärvi.

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