Blog An introduction to Finland

An Introduction to Finland

The School Travel Company recently had the privilege to be invited by the Finnish Tourist Board on a familiarisation trip to Finland.

The aim of the trip was to increase knowledge of Finland and to show tour operators what the country has to offer, with a focus on the regions of Häme, the Lakeland and Helsinki.

Our tour organiser, Fabien, was on the trip.

Fabien

Arrival:

It was a very early start on a Monday morning to travel from Birmingham to London Heathrow. I met up with two other tour operator representatives from the UK before our 3-hour flight to Helsinki, on board of a very comfortable Finnair plane. It was my first trip to Finland and I was going on this trip with an open mind.

On arrival in Helsinki we met with our guide from the Finnish tourist board and a few more international tour operators.  Our coach drove us to the Häme region for the first part of our trip, where we stopped for the night at Iloranta, a youth group accommodation centre.

Day 1

On our first full day of excursions, we went to the town of Hämeenlinna to visit a Finnish college, that specialised in tourism, in the morning. In the afternoon, we went to visit a renowned local university, Hank Visamäki Campus.

Finland is very proud of its education system, which ranked among the best in the world, and is very enthusiastic to present it to international students.

After saying goodbye to our hosts, our coach then took us to the city of Tampere, the second largest city in Finland.

Day 2

Tampere is known as the ‘sauna capital’ of the world, so we had to experience a traditional public sauna for research purposes of course! Today was also a day of cultural visits, with a guided tour of the city. Tampere is also dubbed the ‘Manchester of Finland’ for its industrial past as the centre on Finnish industry and its resemblance with the English city.

Our coach then took us to Jyväskylä, located in the Western part of the Finnish Lakeland region, where we stopped at Varjola Villa accommodation.

Finish lakes

Day 3

Our stay in the Lakeland was for me the best part of the trip. It is the largest of the four landscape regions of Finland. The scenery is beautiful with hilly, forest-covered landscapes, it is also the largest lake district in Europe which gives Finland its nickname ‘the land of the thousand lakes’.  (In actual fact there are around 188,000 lakes in Finland.)

The region has a lot of educational experiences to offer, with a good mix of culture, good food, and nature. One of the most important aspects of the Finnish identity are the deep green forests, the rolling hills, and the glittering lakes that cover most of central Finland.

Unfortunately, the experience was short as we had to fly back to Helsinki for the final part of our trip.

Day 4

The Finland tourist board had organised for us to meet with more than 50 suppliers from across Finland. This was a great opportunity to meet directly with Finnish suppliers, to discuss ideas and build links for potential educational trips that could be done in different parts of the country. The main areas of focus have been Lakeland and Lapland, which I believe could be of interest for English school groups.

Helsinksi

Day 5

Our guide had organised for us a sightseeing tour of Helsinki for the morning before our transfer to the airport.

So, why should you organise a school trip to Finland?

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Finland is a country that can be enjoyed all year round with four extreme and beautiful seasons. Teachers and their students can experience activities related to nature, culture, and well-being. For example, the Northern Lights, midnight sun, sauna, thousands of clean lakes, wild nature, Finnish design and, of course, Santa Claus