GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Finland's tourist season begins in June, when the growing daylight hours herald the opening of summer restaurants and outdoor museums, and the start of boat tours and cruises. Summer is by far the best time to visit Helsinki, the Lakelands, and the Southwestern Coast and Ålands, which come out of hibernation for the long, bright, but not overly hot, summer days. A special draw in the Lakelands is the Savonlinna Opera Festival, held in late July or early August.
Finland can also be exhilarating on clear, brisk winter days. For a real treat, visit Lapland—home of Santa Claus—in December. Operating on a different schedule altogether, the tourist season in the north focuses on winter events, when the snow is deep and the northern lights bright. Ski trips in Lapland in early spring are popular and many resorts offer tourist packages. Summer weather in Lapland offers a different repertoire to the traveler, when the snow and ice of the north give way to flowing rivers and greenery. The Midnight Sun Film Festival in Sodankylä offers round-the-clock screenings in tents.