Finland, the second northernmost country in the world, is situated in the northern Europe between the 60th and 70th parallels of latitude in Northern Europe. It borders the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland. Finland's neighboring countries are Sweden, Norway and Russia, which have land borders with Finland, and Estonia across the Gulf of Finland.
A quarter of its total area lies north of the Arctic Circle. Finland is the seventh largest country in Europe by its 338,145 square kilometres.
Finland is often called a country of thousands of lakes and islands. It features 187,888 lakes (larger than 500 m?) and 179,584 islands. The principal Lake District with Lake Saimaa at its heart, which is the 5th largest in Europe, is situated in the east of the country. Around 190 000 lakes and almost as many islands are another special characteristic of Finnish nature. The Finnish landscape is mostly flat with few hills and its highest point, the Haltitunturi at 1,328 meters (4,357 ft), is found in the extreme north of Lapland. High rounded fells form the landscape in Finnish Lapland, the most northerly part of the country. The south and central Finland is mostly flat, where as the north of Finland has some mountains. Much of the country is a gently undulating plateau of worn bedrock and boreal forests, presenting a striking mixture of wooded hills and waters. Besides the many lakes the landscape is dominated by extensive boreal forests (about 68 per cent of land area) and little arable land.
The greater part of the islands is found in south-west, part of the archipelago of the Aland Islands, and along the southern coast in the Gulf of Finland. Europe's largest archipelago, which includes the autonomous province of Åland, is located off the southwest coast of Finland. Helsinki is northernmost national capital on European continent; population concentrated on small southwestern coastal plain. Helsinki spreads around a number of bays and peninsulas and over a number of islands. The inner city area occupies a southern peninsula, which is rarely referred to by its actual name Vironniemi. Some notable islands in Helsinki include Seurasaari, Lauttasaari and Korkeasaari as well as the fortress island of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) and the military island of Santahamina.