Finland is often overshadowed by its high-profile Nordic neighbours, but from its Arctic north to wood-strewn Baltic shores, Europe's seventh-largest country offers tranquil archipelagos ripe for kayaking, snowy winter landscapes perfect for cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing, 188,000 wood-fringed lakes for summer lounging and the unique Sami enclave of Lapland (purported home of Father Christmas!)
Finland is great for city slickers too: Its boulevard-laced coastal capital Helsinki is arguably the world's most design-infused city, from glorious architecture to a vast array of new and second-hand design shops. But there are lesser-known gems too; Turku was the beautiful former capital for centuries, while Tampere is like a hip 'Manchester of the North'.
The Finns are distinctive too. Outwardly quiet but great fun underneath, sharing a drink in a cool bar or warm conversation in one of the two million saunas – blissful steaming then a cooling dip. A perfect balance!