This year, we escaped the harsh reality of life to go to Finland for our
summer spring vacation. I’m sad it’s already behind us as we had a lovely time. We were very lucky to experience a heatwave while we were there. Locals told us that last year in May, there was still snow on the ground! Trees and flowers had just started blooming a couple of weeks before we arrived and the sea wasn’t too cold to dip in for a swim – if you had sauna first!
The bf and I really loved visiting the country. Even though we had a lot to think about – I just had been fired from my job – we still enjoyed the beautiful scenery Finland had to offer.
Here are all the reasons why I think you should also visit Finland this summer…
Before getting on the plane, we hadn’t prepared much in advance. We knew we were attending a wedding with our friends so they kindly booked an Airbnb for the 6 of us to stay. The spacious flat was located in a really beautiful area called Ullanlinna. There was a grocery store right around the corner and it took only 15-20 minutes to walk to the Esplanade, the lovely area that’s situated between the train station and the Market Square.
The best thing about the place we stayed at was its location. We were told we were staying in a great area and we understood why: it’s a street away from the sea! We enjoyed having a stroll along the water and ate quite a few ice creams from the Italian ice cream stand near the park. My favourite flavour was the mint chocolate chip one! It was exquisite!
Our place was also located near the Loÿly’s public sauna. It’s very luxurious and stylish, I really loved it. There are two saunas: a hot smoked one, and a basic one. Test both and you’ll see the difference for yourself – the hot smoke one was my favourite!
Helsinki is not packed with things to do but more like things to enjoy. Either it’s an ice cream by the sea or a hot chocolate at Fazer, there are many things to enjoy in the city. We had snacks at the Old Market Hall, walked from the Esplanade to the Market Square and looked at books in the lovely Academic Bookshop.
We visited both cathedrals, two special churches (a ‘silence’ church and another one built inside a big rock) and the National Museum as well as the Helsinki City Museum. I loved both of those two museums. If you’re not into museums and can’t really bother, I really recommend the latter as it’s free, it’s very interactive and fun – great for kids I guess – and it teaches you quite a few bits about the city history.
Also, I must say, the shopping is really good. All the famous scandi brands are represented, we enjoyed having a browse in the Academic bookshop with a frappucino in one hand and I loved walking past the beauty counters of Stockmann, the big department store. We even got two new moomin mugs for my collection!
We visited Turku, Tampere, and Porvoo. All cities are less than two hours away from the capital. I don’t know if the weather played a huge part in this or not but I loooooooved those cities so much. Porvoo has the cutest wooden houses you have ever see. Turku felt very romantic. Tampere is called the Finnish Manchester because of the presence of many factories. There are universities located in Tampere and Turku which means there were many students when we visited: both cities felt very lively!
I loved Tampere’s industrial vibes. We visited an open-air museum that I thought was just amazing. I love visiting old houses and see how people used to live in the olden days so that the museum was just perfect for me. You can visit the interiors of former workers’ homes and having a nosey while they’re working at the factory nearby… You can read stories about fictional characters on the doors of each apartment you visit which tell you how the residents used their room – it was very interesting.
Nothing is more revigorating than a little swim into the fresh water of a Finnish lake. If you get into the cold water especially after having a sauna, it’s one of the most incredible experiences!
We even grilled a few sausages on the barbecue and enjoyed the late sun-filled evening by reading a book on the jetty and taking a stroll in the surrounding woods.
Having a swim in the wilderness after the sauna was by far, the most magical moment we experienced. We were lucky to be invited by my friend’s family into their summer cottage and had many saunas with them. It was so so good. The lakes are probably what we loved most about Finland. The Lakes area (south-east of Finland) is just stunning and there are some lovely little towns, like Savonlinna, you can visit.
We felt very lucky to have visited Finland in the heatwave that May was in. The saunas by the lakes were our most favourite experience, we really felt reconnected with our bodies and enjoyed our time totally surrounded by the absolutely exquisite beauty the Finnish nature has to offer.
Have you ever visited Finland before? I would love to know what you got up to while you were there. I didn’t write about all the things that we did and saw so ask away if you need more info about something in particular.