One of the most fascinating places I have ever visited is the Finnish Archipelago, on the north coast of Finland. I got to know it pretty well one summer when I sailed around the islands on my boat, a Philip Rhodes-designed Bermudan sloop.
The archipelago is, by some definitions, the largest in the world, with around 18, 000 islands. The larger ones are connected by bridges or ferries so you can drive from one to another. But if you're making your way through the maze of waterways by boat, you can choose between taking a 10ft-wide route or a 16ft-wide route, depending on the size of your boat. The amazing thing is that you never really see the sea, just dozens and dozens of wooded islands.
But the thing I love most about the archipelago is that it's so unspoilt, and even though many of the islands do have houses and other buildings, they're discreetly located behind trees; sometimes the only clue to their existence is a little jetty and boat by the water's edge.
The funny thing is that the Finns might flock to the Finnish Archipelago for their summer holidays but nobody outside Finland seems to know about it.See also: