Finland is the land of endless expanses, of a thousand lakes, and also of a thousand islands. The largest archipelago in the world stretches off the coast of the Nordic country. More than 40,000 inhabited islands, islets, and rocks rise out of the sea and create a very special attitude to life. The archipelago landscape is characterized by old wooden towns, ironworks villages and, of course, numerous lighthouses – nature and culture are particularly impressive on the south and west coast of Finland.
The land of a thousand islands stretches along Finland's more than 1,000 km long coast from Oulu, the secret capital of the north, from the solitude of Lapland to the border to Russia in the east. The west coast is also known as the "Riviera of the North". Archipelagos and sandy beaches, wooden towns worth seeing, historic manor houses, stone churches, and lighthouses characterize the landscape. The highest lighthouse in the Nordic countries, Bengtskär, is Finland's southernmost destination on a small, treeless island. Söderskär in the Porvoo archipelago near Helsinki is over 150 years old. Three of Finland's seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located on the coast: the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress near Helsinki, the Kvarken Archipelago near Vaasa and the famous wooden town of Rauma. Close by are also the Bronze Age graves of Sammallahdenmäki.
The Åland Islands are a very special place in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden. The autonomous region is mainly Swedish-speaking and comprises over 6700 islands, of which only 60 are inhabited. Most people live in the capital Mariehamn, which is the only city in this almost untouched archipelago. The Åland Islands are the intersection of trade routes across the Baltic Sea and are known for their rich flora and fauna. Lonely bays, flat beaches, and typical polished rocks make the area a popular holiday destination.
Probably the most famous Finnish illustrator, artist, and writer of all time – Tove Jansson, creator of the Mumins – felt in particular at home in the archipelago. She loved the sea and the Pellinge Islands especially. When you visit the archipelago off Porvoo, you get very close to the artist, who spent most summers here since she was a child, and perhaps you understand her view of the world a little better. Her house still stands on the remote island of Klovharun, which you can visit in the summer, weather permitting. This retreat clearly shows that Tove Jansson did not need much to live and was inspired by her surroundings, the beautiful nature of the Finnish Archipelago.