1. Finland became an independent country 100 years ago today.
2. And it's time you added it to your bucket list.
3. Because, seriously, why haven't you been yet?
4. Finland doesn't get a lot of sun in the winter...
5. ... but it doesn't matter.
6. Because the entire country looks absolutely stunning the moment snow falls.
7. And the nights are just phenomenal.
8. You'll never see anything as beautiful as the Northern Lights.
9. They're magical in every way.
10. Besides, Father Christmas lives in Finland — and you can go visit him.
11. You can get a reindeer-driven sleigh to Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi...
12. ... and why wouldn't you want to do that?
A baby reindeer
13. You can also get a husky-driven sledge.
14. And then snuggle up with the huskies afterwards.
15. If you're more adventurous, Finland in winter is a dream come true.
16. There are 187,888 lakes in Finland.
17. And if the ice hasn't been broken for you to swim in them, you can cross-country ski over them.
18. Ski jumping is hugely popular in Finland, and it's the most exhilarating sport you can watch.
19. And these are real holiday cottages in Rovaniemi that you can stay in.
20. Just imagine the walks you'd go on.
21. Finnish cities are beautiful too.
22. This is a heated swimming pool in the middle of Helsinki.
23. But the countryside looks like it's straight out of a fairytale.
24. Every cathedral...
25. ... every forest...
26. ... and every river just looks perfect.
27. And if you get hungry on your snowy hike, you can always stop for some grilled sausages.
28. Finnish cinnamon buns are also to die for.
A cinnamon bun and coffee
29. And Finnish people are famous for making good coffee (and drinking lots of it).
30. But as the snow starts to melt...
31. ... and the days start to get longer...
32. ... Finland only gets even more stunning.
33. Finnish wildlife is really exciting.
34. Not to mention really cute.
35. But Finland really comes into its own as the evenings start getting brighter.
36. When you can sit out late and just contemplate the beauty of everything around you.
37. The ski jumps are still there, of course...
38. ... but so are the lakes...
39. ... and the forests.
40. There are so many rowing trips you can take...
41. ... and so many berries you can pick.
42. Celebrating Midsummer in Finland is one of the most special things you can do.
43. And most Finns go to their summer cabins around Midsummer.
44. There, they'll spend time on their jetties...
45. ... dipping in and out of the lakes that surround them.
46. Finland's population is only 5.5 million people.
47. Which means there's plenty of space to find some peace and quiet.
48. But really saunas are the best thing about Finland. Pretty much every Finnish household has one.
49. And there's nothing better than a dip in a cold lake after an evening in the sauna.
50. Although you can swim at any time of day.
51. Taking boat trips is the loveliest way to spend time on the lake.
52. And you can see so many wonderful sights from the water.
53. There are always new places to discover...
54. ... and new places to sit and while away afternoons.
55. If you're spending summer in town, you're best off eating at your local summer market.
56. Where you'll find crepes...
Crepes with vanilla ice cream, cloudberry jam, and mämmi
57. ... and blueberries...
58. ... and wild strawberries...
Wild strawberries and raspberries
59. ... and more types of mushroom than you even knew existed.
60. Helsinki is well worth visiting in the summer. Advertising
61. It's full of beautiful sculptures...
62. ... stunning architecture...
63. ... and the most wonderful design shops.
64. You'll need to stock up on sweets and chocolate.
Chocolates and sweets
65. Especially Fazer's Blue.
66. And you'll see Moomins wherever you go.
Arabia mugs and bowls
68. You can't go to Finland without visiting Marimekko.
69. Finns are so proud of it, they even put Marimekko's iconic flower design on their planes.
70. If you spend time in Finland over the summer, you're bound to experience an electrifying storm.
71. But, before long it'll be quiet again.
72. And you'll be able to relax.
73. If you're lucky, you might spot a bear.
A bear with her children
74. So be wary when you go wandering through the forest.
A bear in Kuhmo
75. Finnish pastries are out of this world.
76. Cinnamon buns are the most iconic...
77. ... but butter buns are delicious too.
A butter bun
78. And oven pancakes are the yummiest treat.
79. So make sure you try them all.
Butter buns, blueberry buns, and quark buns
80. And make sure you order egg butter with your Karelian rice pie.
Karalian rice pies
81. And say yes if you're offered oven cheese with cloudberry jam.
Finnish cheese and cloudberry jam
82. The birch forests in Finland seem endless...
83. ... and because the sun only sets for a few hours in the summer, the days seem endless too.
84. Which gives you all the more time to go exploring.
85. And to see the most of what Finland has to offer.
86. So make sure you get out and about...
87. ... go off the beaten track...
88. ... and say yes to every adventure that's suggested to you.
89. Especially if someone's proposing a bike ride.
90. And make sure you stay up to watch the sun set.
91. Finland also has beaches that are well worth a visit.
92. And it's full of little islands that you'd be foolish to miss.
93. And make sure you see a few castles too.
94. You'll have heard that the Finnish government gives all new mothers a "baby box" to help them get going...
A baby box
95. ... but have you heard how good Finns are at breakfast?
96. Even as summer draws to an end...
97. ... and the nights start drawing in again...
98. Finland is utterly stunning.
99. It's the most beautiful country on earth.