Finland, officially the Republic of Finland is a Nordic country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and the Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. The capital and largest city are Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku.
The Finnish landscape is covered with thick pine forests and rolling hills and complemented with a labyrinth of lakes and inlets. Much of Finland is pristine and virgin as it contains 40 national parks from the Southern shores of the Gulf of Finland to the high fells of Lapland. Finland also has urbanised regions with many cultural events and activities.
Commercial cruises between major coastal and port cities in the Baltic region, including Helsinki, Turku, Tallinn, Stockholm, and Travemünde, play a significant role in the local tourism industry. Finland is locally regarded as the home of Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus, living in the northern Lapland region.
Outdoor activities range from Nordic skiing, golf, fishing, yachting, lake cruises, hiking, and kayaking, among many others. Wildlife is abundant in Finland. Bird-watching is popular for those fond of avifauna, however, hunting is also popular. Elk and hare are a common game in Finland. Olavinlinna in Savonlinna hosts the annual Savonlinna Opera Festival.