Finland’s coast boasts the world’s largest archipelago. Old wooden towns, lighthouses, historical manors and stone churches, large national parks stretching over land and sea – this all sums up coastal Finland in a nutshell. The laid-back islander lifestyle and a strong maritime culture are key characteristics of this fascinating area. Beaches, handicraft markets, small town events, cafes and village shops – Finnish coastal towns are especially alive in the summer months. Finland holds seven Unesco World Heritage sites of which three can be experienced in the coastal area. Åland is an autonomous and monolingual Swedish region of Finland and consists of more than 6 500 islands. The capital, Mariehamn, a cute village-like town with a strong maritime and shipping heritage, is the only city in the unspoiled, ruggedly beautiful archipelago. Finland’s second largest city and original capital Turku is the oldest in the country. Landmarks include the city-splitting River Aura, Turku Castle and the Cathedral. Turku is also an important cultural venue with rich history. Naantali is known as an idyllic summer destination, and even the President has a villa there, not far from the Moominworld theme park. Statistically, Vaasa is the sunniest city in Finland. The cultural and maritime history of the city is rich in interesting stories, Kvarken Archipelago Unesco World Heritage Site and Old Vaasa are inspiring highlights. Finland’s most famous wooden town is Rauma, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Formerly a centre for tar trade, and now a technology hub, Oulu is the biggest city within a radius of 500 kilometer and it is considered the unofficial capital of Northern Finland.