At the very end of Europe, where the tundra becomes the Arctic and mirror-like lakes are hemmed in by ancient pine forests, Finland offers something truly unique. Roaming outside of the design-mad capital can bring you into contact with hardy reindeer herders up in icy Lapland (the home of Santa Claus, of course), or over salt-washed islands where the Baltic Sea rages against the rocks. Sticking to the towns means seeing the snow-white Lutheran Cathedral of Helsinki or hopping bars across the medieval plazas of old Turku. Sold? Cheap flights to Finland from Australia are now on offer from a whole host of airlines, with the cheapest tickets typically available throughout Europe's winter months.
Cool and collected Helsinki is a beautiful first city, with an amazing Design Museum and grand monuments dotting Senate Square.
Festive cheer abounds in Rovaniemi. This is the home of Santa Claus and the place to go to see wild reindeer.
The timber cottages and blustery beaches of the Aland Islands are a great escape with a curious dash of Swedish influence.