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Dusk before sunrise in July. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Dusk before sunrise in July. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

“Fought over by Russia and Sweden for 800 years, Finland finally gained independence in 1917.”

Yes. That’s Finland. The third country on the prestigious list by the world’s largest travel guide book publisher, Lonely Planet, which puts the best travel destinations in order for 2017. The first place goes to Canada and the second to Colombia.

“The Finns will celebrate their centenary with gusto, with events planned in every region,” the Lonely Planet writes while referring to Finland’s 100-year celebrations of independence. Expect everything from al fresco concerts and communal culinary experiences to sauna evenings and vintage-travel-poster exhibitions.”

According to Director Paavo Virkkunen of Visit Finland, the recognition shows that Finland is a more interesting travel destination than we often realize.

“At the moment, the biggest travel assets of Finland are the nature, well-functioning infrastructure, appealing and urban city culture, great food supply and restaurant and accommodation services that value nature,” Virkkunen said.

The number one tourist attraction is the capital region, Lapland the second.

“The coastal area and the Finnish Lakeland have their own strengths and their appeal is growing, but the capital region and Lapland are the most important areas for travel,” Virkkunen said.

“With the country also playing host to the World Figure Skating Championships and the Nordic World Ski Championships this year, there’s never been a better time to discover Finland’s proudly unique culture and landscapes,” writes the Lonely Planet.