A travel guide to Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the capital of Finland in North Europe, is one of the fastest growing travel destinations in Europe. There are two reasons for it: air travel from Asia and cruise ships.

The Finnish airline Finnair has managed establish regular flights to Chinese cities and other major cities in Asia by marketing Helsinki as the gateway to Europe. The Asian tourists change planes in Helsinki and stay a night exploring Helsinki’s sights.

Another major group of tourists arrives in Helsinki on cruise ships that are touring the Baltic Sea.

The Best of Helsinki is a travel guidebook for tourists who like to absorb information via images and maps. The book is clearly designed to be a visual guide that shows the places to explore and helps visitors navigate in the destination.

This guidebook can be browsed in order to get an overall understanding what the city has to offer, and once interesting sights or attractions has been discovered, it is easy to study details of those places that seem interesting.

I found the chapter that describes the places and events local people like the best as the most valuable. Those tips will definitely be on my agenda when I plan my trip to Helsinki.

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The Best of Helsinki travel guide

Is Nice, Antibes, Grasse, Monaco, or Cannes your favorite in the French Riviera?

The Gems of Nice and the French Riviera travel guidebook focuses on the coastal section of the Alpes-Maritimes region in southeast France (also known as the Riviera or locally, Cote d’Azur). The book covers the Riviera from Mandelieu to Menton, describing towns like Antibes, Grasse and Monaco, In addition, the book unveils Riviera gems tourist buses haven’t discovered yet.

I recently visited Cote d’Azur, and two things caught my eye: the popularity of cycling and camping. Road cyclists and mountain bikers are all over the place, especially, during the weekends. Often, in big groups. Sometimes, old men take it easy and chat more than pedal. The point is to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. Camp sites are open only from spring until autumn, and you won’t find many near the beaches, but on the hills and mountains.

Riviera is not only about the sun and the sea, but it is also about spectacular mountain sceneries and exciting activities. The city of Nice is much more than the Boulevard des Anglais – the old town, market places, galleries, restaurants and shopping streets are buzzing with locals and visitors. St Paul de Vence is advertised as the most visited medieval village, and that’s how it feels. Why not try Vence, a larger medieval village further up the mountain as the guidebook suggests?

My favorite place in the region is Antibes, but my travel companions like the mountains (Vence, Grasse) and the little bit more quiet side of the Riviera in Mandelieu.

The best thing with this travel guidebook is that it includes plenty of pictures. Some places reveal their characteristics in two or three photographs. It makes it easier to decide if a village or a town is worth a visit. All and all there are more places and things to do in the book for many weeks in southern France, even if you try to visit a new place daily.

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Finland can be fun

Summers are full of light in Nordic countries – that much we knew already, but the book The Lighter Side of Finland claims that it is not all grey and gloomy in winter, either. The book is an entertaining description of the Scandinavian country that is renowned for its education system, racing car drivers, and Nokia (well, used to be, anyway).

For a tourist, the biggest attraction is the capital Helsinki, followed by Lapland, lake district in the East and the South-West archipelago. This book, however, is not a travel guide (even though it includes a few travel tips as well), but a warm and fun account of the culture, people, traditions, food and sauna etiquette.

It is a well-written book that is a pleasure to read even if your next travel destination wouldn’t be Finland, but if it is, and you are interested what makes the nation tick, this book is worth your time.

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The Lighter Side of Finland

The Nordic wilderness: Lapland is an outdoor lovers’ and road travelers’ destination

The best way for tourists to absorb the landscapes and sceneries of Lapland is road travel. Roads maybe few, distances long and services infrequent, but very few destinations in the world has the same variety, wildlife and rough beauty as Lapland. Nordkapp (North Cape) is the modern pilgrimage destination located at the end of the world; it is the northernmost point of Europe. In Nordkapp, the road ends into the Arctic Ocean.

Lapland is all about outdoors: the natural environment is inviting for a hike, for a mountainbike trek or fishing in a river or lake. The Lapland guidebook describes the places where are the best hiking paths and ski tracks.

Touring Lapland by car, motorbike or bicycle rarely presents a dull moment. Majestic, often lush, inland fell sceneries changes to rough and scarce Arctic landscape in the north as the Arctic Ocean gets closer. Following fell rivers that flow west introduces yet another scenery as the landscape transforms from fells to steep mountains and gorges, and picture-perfect fjords provide shelter for residents from the Atlantic Ocean.

Lapland is all about nature and respect for the environment. People who live in Lapland say they have eight seasons: first snow, Christmas, frosty winter, crusty snow, departure of ice, midnight sun, harvest season and colorful autumn. The traditional life and livelihood has been tightly coupled with seasons that have determined how reindeers have behaved, and how hunting and fishing have been conducted.

Travel guide to Lapland:

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