Finland is situated in Scandinavia in the far north of Europe, bounded
by Sweden, Norway, the Russian Federation and the Gulf of Finland.
There are about 30,000 islands off the Finnish coast. Aproximately
10% of the total land area is under water, and 65% is forest. In
the north of the country, the midnight sun shines night and day
for the whole of June. In the south, daylight lasts for 19 hours
The Helsinki Metropolitan Area comprises four towns, including
Helsinki (the capital). Half of the 800 sq km (300 sq miles) consists
of parks, forests, shoreline, and lakes.
Because of the moderating influence of the surrounding water bodies,
the climate of Finland is considerably less severe than might be
expected. The average July temperature along the southern coast
is 15.6° C (60° F); in February the average is about -8.9° C (about
Precipitation (including snow and rain) averages about 460 mm
(about 18 in) in the north and 710 mm (28 in) in the south. Light
snow covers the ground for four or five months a year in the south
and about seven months in the north.