Finland is a hidden gem in the far north of Europe, and there are many reasons to fall in love with this country and the Finns, who are said to be the happiest people in the world. They have some of the cleanest air in the world and unrepeatable landscapes, with thousands of lakes and forests that are always close by. Visiting the wonderful capital of this nation, Helsinki, means not only being dazzled by its beautiful buildings but also being able to enjoy the best cafes in the world. Don't miss the Market Square (The Kauppatori) on the waterfront, with its orange stalls, seasonal produce, and typical Finnish food. There is also the Suommelina Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the most popular sports are skiing and snowboarding, and Finland has some of the best options for beginners. If you have never practiced either sport, you can do so in a multitude of places. It is also the right place for those who are experienced in these sports and want to try new challenges. The Northern Lights appear approximately 200 nights a year, or every clear night, in Finnish Lapland, making this country one of the best places to observe this phenomenon. Ten percent of the country is covered by lakes, including Europe's fifth-largest, Lake Saimaa, with an area of 4,400 km2 and dotted with islands, villages, and narrow channels. Its waters are home to the Lake Saimaa salmon and one of the rarest freshwater seals, both of which are endangered. Another nice stop ideal for a family trip is Lapland, where you can see the real home of Santa Claus, with his reindeer and toy factory. However, a holiday in Finland is far from cheap, as both airfare and living costs are expensive. If you're on a tight budget, consider joining our home exchange community to save on the cost of accommodation. It's a great way to travel the world. We have thousands of home listings from friendly local hosts all over Finland - join us and find a home exchange today!