Finland's Polar Extremes

With the most guaranteed snow in Europe, the awe-inspiring northern lights and the endless summer days, Finland is nothing short of spectacular.

Photos

BEIJING 2008

BEIJING 2008

Michael Phelps of the United States competes in the men's 200-meter butterfly final at the National Aquatics Centre during day 5 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Phelps finished the race in 1.52.49 -- a new world record. 960 1280

Adam Pretty/Getty Images  

ATHENS 2004

ATHENS 2004

Pyrros Dimas of Greece jumps in the air as he celebrates a successful lift in the men's 85 kg category weightlifting competition during the Athens 2004 Summer Olympic Games at Nikaia Olympic Weightlifting Hall. 960 1280

Al Bello/Getty Images  

SYDNEY 2000

SYDNEY 2000

Xuan Liu of China in action at the women's gymnastics beam final in the Sydney Superdome on day 10 of the 2000 Olympic Games. 960 1280

Ezra Shaw /Allsport   

ATLANTA 1996

ATLANTA 1996

Igor Potapovich of Kazakhstan soars through the flame-lit sky to clear the bar and claim fourth in the pole vault at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. 960 1280

Mike Hewitt /Allsport /Getty Images  

BARCELONA 1992

BARCELONA 1992

Michael Jordon, Scottie Pippen and Clyde Drexler receive their gold medals as members of the US basketball "dream team" during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. 960 1280

Mike Powell/Getty Images  

SEOUL 1988

SEOUL 1988

Greg Louganis of the US diving team sets himself for a dive in the springboard event at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, where he won the gold with a score of 730.80 points. 960 1280

Getty Images  

LOS ANGELES 1984

LOS ANGELES 1984

Carl Lewis of the US receives the baton from teammate Calvin Smith as he brings the US team to victory with a new world-record time of 37.83 seconds in the 4x100-meter relay during the 1984 Olympic Games at the Coliseum Stadium in Los Angeles. 960 1280

Tony Duffy/Getty Images   

MOSCOW 1980

MOSCOW 1980

Maria Caridad-Colon of Cuba in action during the women's javelin event of the 1980 Olympic Games at the Lenin Stadium in Moscow. Caridad-Colon won the event with a distance of 68.40 meters. 960 1280

Tony Duffy/Allsport   

MONTREAL 1976

MONTREAL 1976

Bruce Jenner of the US celebrates during his record-setting performance in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. 960 1280

Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty  

MUNICH 1972

MUNICH 1972

Competitors rise out of the blocks at the start of the men's 200 meter final at the Olympiastadion in Munich. 960 1280

Tony Duffy/Allsport/Getty  

MEXICO CITY 1968

MEXICO CITY 1968

At the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos performed their Black Power salute, a human rights protest and one of the most overtly-political statements in the 110-year history of the modern Olympic Games. 960 1280

Universal History Archive/Getty Images  

TOKYO 1964

TOKYO 1964

The start of the 100-meter butterfly swimming race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. 960 1280

Keystone/Getty Images  

ROME 1960

ROME 1960

Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia, running barefoot, draws away from Abdesselem Rhadi of Morocco near the finish of the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics. He went on to win with a new Olympic record time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 16 seconds. 960 1280

Getty Images  

MELBOURNE 1956

MELBOURNE 1956

Chris Brasher of Great Britain during the steeplechase final event at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. 960 1280

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HELSINKI 1952

HELSINKI 1952

Nina Romaschkova of Russia throws the discus at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. She won Russia's first Olympic medal and set a new Olympic record. 960 1280

Getty Images  

LONDON 1948

LONDON 1948

Danish competitor Major N Mikkelsen fails to win the jumping test event as his horse demolishes a fence at the 1948 Olympics in London. 960 1280

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images  

BERLIN 1936

BERLIN 1936

American athlete Jesse Owens runs at the 1936 Olympic Games, where he won 4 gold medals. Behind him, an athlete wears a swastika on his vest. 960 1280

Central Press/Getty Images  

LOS ANGELES 1932

LOS ANGELES 1932

Thomas Hampson of Great Britain breaks the tape ahead of Alexander Wilson of Canada to win gold and set a new world record at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932. 960 1280

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images  

AMSTERDAM 1928

AMSTERDAM 1928

The Chilean goalkeeper fails to prevent Portugal from winning at the Amsterdam Olympics in 1928. 960 1280

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images  

PARIS 1924

PARIS 1924

Preliminary rounds in the water polo competition take place in the pool at Tourelles during the Paris Olympics in 1924. 960 1280

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images  

ANTWERP 1920

ANTWERP 1920

Suzanne Lenglen of France competes in the women’s tennis event during the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. 960 1280

Getty Images  

STOCKHOLM 1912

STOCKHOLM 1912

The opening ceremonies of the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. 960 1280

Getty Images  

LONDON 1908

LONDON 1908

Women archers participate at the 1908 London Olympics. 960 1280

Topical Press Agency/Getty Images  

ST. LOUIS 1904

ST. LOUIS 1904

The 100-meter freestyle race, which was won by Hungarian swimmer Zoltan Halmay at the 1904 Games in St. Louis. 960 1280

Popperfoto/Getty Images  

PARIS 1900

PARIS 1900

The Tug-of-War was a controversial affair, with a combined Sweden/Denmark team beating France in the 1900 Paris Olympics. 960 1280

Getty Images  

ATHENS 1896

ATHENS 1896

The start of the 100-meter sprint at the first Olympic Games of the modern era in 1896 in Athens. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hawaii

Hawaii

Say aloha to a wedding in paradise. Combine your nuptials and your honeymoon with a destination wedding on the Hawaiian Islands. With year-round warm weather, beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets, this is one of the world’s most romantic places to tie the knot. 960 1280

iStock  

Lapland, Finland

Lapland, Finland

Dreaming of a white wedding? A winter wedding in the stunning Lapland area of Finland is nothing short of magical. Travel through a snow-covered forest on a sled pulled by reindeer to your chapel made entirely of ice and snow. Then spend your wedding night cuddling in an igloo. 960 1280

Hotel & Igloo Village Kakslauttanen  

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Despite what Alanis Moriesette says, rain on your wedding day isn’t ironic … it’s just plain gloomy. With an average of more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Sedona (almost) has perfect wedding weather year-round. Plan an outdoor wedding in this desert locale, complete with a stunning Red Rock backdrop, without the worry of bad weather ruining your big day. 960 1280

iStock  

Vermont

Vermont

Cozying up to the idea of a winter wonderland wedding? Consider the beautiful snowscape of New England as a romantic choice for a destination wedding. Vermont’s snow-covered mountains, charming lodges and roaring fireplaces will make your big moment memorable. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Hotel de Glace, Quebec

Hotel de Glace, Quebec

Does the idea of a wedding on ice seem like a fairytale? Plan your fantasy wedding at Quebec’s Hotel de Glace. This hotel, made entirely of ice and snow, has its own wedding chapel and plenty of rooms for all your non-cold-fearing wedding guests. Rebuilt annually, the ice hotel has a unique design ever year – another reason your wedding here will be special. 960 1280

©Xdachez.com  

Costa Rica

Costa Rica

This country has been dubbed the happiest place on Earth. So what better place to start your happily-ever-after? This Central American hot spot offers budget-friendly winter weddings in a tropical setting. And it’s close to the US; so affordable direct flights will make your guests very happy, too. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Belize

Belize

Are you a nature-loving couple? A wedding in Belize will compliment your adventurous personality. This outdoor playground is filled with rainforests, Mayan ruins and some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world. And while it’s picking up in popularity, Belize is definitely cheaper than many Caribbean hot spots. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Colorado

Colorado

Have you always dreamed of your big day being under a blanket of snow? If you’re a powderhound who can’t get enough of the slopes, it’s fitting to get married where you can ski off into the sunset. Whether it’s tying the knot at one of the well-known ski resorts of Aspen, Breckenridge or Telluride -- or exchanging vows in a small chapel tucked in the Rocky Mountains -- there’s something for everyone here. Everyone that loves snow, that is. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Want a taste of the tropics at your wedding, but still want to stay in the continental US? A winter wedding in the Florida Keys will provide you with warm weather and pristine beaches. 960 1280

iStock  

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Guaranteed snow. Check. Magical mountain views. Check. Romantic sleigh rides. Check. Everything you could dream of for a winter wonderland wedding can be found in Lake Tahoe. For the truly adventurous, say your “I dos” on the slopes and ski down the mountain as husband and wife. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Ice Hotel, Sweden

Ice Hotel, Sweden

Exchange your vows at Sweden’s magical Ice Hotel. Couples from all over the world tie the knot in the hotel’s ice church, which can accommodate an intimate wedding of 35-45 people. Then, spend your wedding night in one of the hotel’s ice suites, where you’ll be surrounded by stunning ice carvings as you snuggle under reindeer skins. 960 1280

Anders Rînnlund, Anders Eriksson & Johan Fremling, and Photo by Christopher Hauser  

Wife-Carrying Competition

Wife-Carrying Competition

First introduced in Sonkajärvi, Finland, wife carrying is a sport in which male competitors race through obstacles while each carrying a female teammate -- not necessarily their wife. Different types of carrying are included in the competition: piggyback, fireman's carry, or Estonian-style (pictured here). Major wife-carrying competitions are held in Sonkajärvi (where the prize is the woman’s weight in beer), Hong Kong, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Swamp Soccer

Swamp Soccer

Swamp soccer is exactly what it sounds like: soccer played in a swamp or bog. It began as an exercise routine for soldiers since the squishy ground makes the sport more demanding, but it has since grown with the Swamp Soccer World Championship played annually on Vuorisuo Bog in Hyrynsalmi, Finland. 960 1280

Visit Finland  

Tar Barrels Festival

Tar Barrels Festival

The town of Ottery St Mary, England, holds annual events around Guy Fawkes Night. The festivities include a 17th-century tradition of carrying barrels soaked in tar and set on fire while racing through the town. The barrels can only be carried by those born in Ottery St Mary or those who have lived there for most of their lives, with generations of the same family often competing through the years. 960 1280

Hans Zinsli, flickr  

Extreme Ironing

Extreme Ironing

Extreme ironing is part extreme sport and part performance art. The competition involves taking an ironing board to a remote location and ironing clothing. It all started in 1997 in Leicester, England, by resident Phil Shaw when he wanted to go rocking climbing instead of doing house chores … so he decided to combine them. It has grown into a worldwide phenomenon with participants vying for the most extreme locale -- ironing on mountainsides, in streets and even underwater. 960 1280

b1lue5ky, flickr   

ClauWau Championship

ClauWau Championship

From November 25-26, more than 100 Santa Clauses gather in Samnaun, Switzerland, to compete in ClauWau, the Santa Claus World Championship. Competitors sled, sculpt, deliver presents and climb chimneys, like those pictured here. 960 1280

Andy Mettler  

Mobile Phone Throwing

Mobile Phone Throwing

Mobile phone throwing is yet another sport that originated in Finland. It began in 2000 and has since grown internationally. Competitors throw mobile phones and are judged on distance or technique. The phones used vary, but they must be heavier than 7 oz. The Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships are held annually in Savonlinna, Finland. 960 1280

Visit Finland  

Air Guitar Championships

Air Guitar Championships

The first air guitar competitions were held in the 1980s in Sweden and the US and have since continued to grow internationally. The Air Guitar World Championships Network, made up of 20 countries including Finland, the USA, New Zealand, Canada, Romania and Brazil, among others, organizes the competitions -- which follow a sophisticated scoring system. On a 6-point scale, competitors play for 2 1-minute rounds and are judged on technical merit, mimesmanship, stage presence and artistry. 960 1280

Pasi Lehtinen   

Empire State Building Race

Empire State Building Race

Held annually since 1978, the Empire State Building Run-Up is a foot race where participants run from the building’s ground floor to the 86th-floor observation deck, covering a vertical distance of 1,050 feet in 1,576 steps. The racers like to think of themselves as both runners and climbers. The current record time is 9 minutes and 33 seconds, achieved by Australian professional cyclist Paul Crake in 2003. 960 1280

Getty Images   

International Cherry Pit Spitting Contest

International Cherry Pit Spitting Contest

Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, MI, holds the International Cherry Pit Spitting Championship every year. At this year’s annual championship, the winner claimed the title with a spit of 69 feet. 960 1280

  

Egg-Throwing Championship

Egg-Throwing Championship

Held annually in Swaton, England, since 2006, the Egg-Throwing Championship is presented by the World Egg Throwing Federation and is followed up by a beer festival of 12 types of ale from Swaton, Heckington and Sleaford microbreweries. 960 1280

World Egg Throwing Federation  


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