Beautiful Kvarken, bordered by Finland and Sweden, is where the cultures of these two countries come together in an exhilarating mix. The archipelago and the sparkling sea, the outdoor life and the Sami traditions attract a great many satisfied visitors each year.
Besides the beautiful scenery the area has drawn the winning lottery ticket when it comes to climate - here you can enjoy warm and wonderful summers and really snowy winters. If you are lucky you will see the magical Northern Lights, and in the summertime you can enjoy the magical, "white nights".
On the Swedish side, you are welcomed by Umeå and Skellefteå, sunny coastal cities with rich cultural attractions and a wide range of activities. How about a snowmobile safari, winter paintball, ice driving, a trip by dog sled, and a refreshing bath in a wood-fired hot tub under a starry winter sky? During the summer you can of course count on sunny beaches and stimulating adventure courses, in addition to cultural events, good food and shopping.
Umeå and Skellefteå have deep-rooted creative youth cultures, and the cities have given rise to a number of well-known musicians in Sweden and abroad. Umeå has also been appointed as European Capital of Culture 2014, highlighting the city's investment in the cultural field. Her there is something for everyone, be it opera, art or theatre.
On the Finnish side of Kvarken, the archipelago is naturally a tourist destination. On the idyllic islands, islets and reefs the lively guest harbours teem with activity; the beachside restaurants are bustling, and the hiking trails delight the nature-lovers. You can take an island cruise or plan your own boating itinerary with cosy stopovers in both guest- and natural harbours. The archipelago around the town of Vaasa has been designated a World Heritage Site because of its unique land uplift, and is a must for all boating enthusiasts, as are the 7 Bridges Archipelago, Kokkola and Jakobstad.
Winter activities do not differ significantly between Finland and Sweden. On the Finnish side of Kvarken, you can also go skating, skiing and dog sledding, snowmobiling, and fishing in the Gulf of Bothnia. Winter bathing is common here - a real challenge! And if you want to experience an old traditional market, visit the picturesque Kristinestad, Närpes and Kaskinen.
Kristinestad summer market attracts 70,000 visitors each year: here you can find bargains, in summer and winter alike.
It is easy to travel to the Kvarken region by air, rail or bus. There are daily flights between destinations in Finland and Sweden, and ferry connections are good.
Destinations Umeå, Skellefteå, Vaasa, Kokkola, Jakobstad and Kristinestad take part in the `Visit Kvarken` cross-border project, part of the Botnia-Atlantica programme
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