Finland isn’t just about the Northern Lights and the glittering snow of Lapland. In the summer months, a stunning landscape of lakes and green forestry is revealed, begging to be explored. What’s more, the capital city of Helsinki really comes into its own as the sun shines. Finland in the summer is a country revitalised. Why not be one of the few to experience it for yourself?
This itinerary will have you exploring Helsinki and its surrounding islands for two days before you head off to an area known as Finnish Lakeland. Here, you can indulge in that quintessential Scandinavian fantasy as you hole up in a luxury lakeside cabin and while away four days out on the water and discovering the greenery beyond. We’d trade in the standard beach vacation for a trip like this any day.
Whilst Helsinki slows down dramatically under the weight of snow and ice throughout the winter, as soon as the sun comes out, so do the people and the energy. Landing in this defrosted subwaypolis, you’ll be blown away by the beauty of glistening rivers and the vast bodies of water that surround you. We’ll get you transferred from the airport to your room at Hotel Haven as quickly as possible – we want you to waste no time in this mesmerising destination. Drop your bags off in your luxury room at this centrally located, classic hotel and ready yourself for a few hours of exploration. Beginning at the famous Market Square, grab a coffee and settle down for a spot of people watching close to the brightly colored tents that shelter the numerous stalls. It’s the city’s most famous market and attracts locals and international visitors alike with its foodie treats and handicrafts. Once you’ve had your fill of market life, it’s on to Senate Square to spend some time gazing upon some of Helsinki’s most incredible architecture. One of the most famous (and most photographed) highlights here is the Helsinki Cathedral, a building that many consider to be the most iconic representation of the capital. Completed in 1852, the cathedral is an Evangelic Lutheran Church and was designed by the architect Carl Ludwig Engel. The square is also home to the beautiful Government Palace and the National Library of Finland.Read more
Done with sightseeing for the day? Then take a slow stroll through the charming streets of Helsinki back to your hotel to get ready for dinner. Scandinavia as a whole is known for its gourmet offerings, and Helsinki is no different. There’s a plethora of fantastic restaurants that serve authentic Scandinavian cuisine, including the famous Kuu Restaurant, Olo and Chez Dominique. Let us know which ones you’d like to try and we’ll get you a table booked in advance.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES
On your last day in Helsinki, we’ll have you taken over to the Suomenlinna Maritime fortress. One of the biggest sea fortress’ in the world, Suomenlinna was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Don’t fill up at breakfast; enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many charming cafes that can be found on the island when you arrive. We can arrange a guided tour for you, or you can spend the day on your own, map and information booklet in hand. The fortress was founded in 1748 and has stood the test of time through Swedish, Russian and eventually independent Finnish rule. Follow the Blue Route from north to south of the island and you’ll come across the most spectacular sights including the Russian merchants quarter, the Church Park and the fortifications of Kustaanmiekka. A day spent here will really open your eyes to just how much has occurred in Finland’s relatively short history. A great way to get to grips with the story of this inspiring country.
A SUMMER BY THE LAKES
From the charms of Helsinki it’s on to the charms of Finnish Lakeland, where the summer dream of log cabins and wooden jetties is a reality. You’ll be staying at Anttolanhovi’s Art & Design villas. The villas offer the privacy of having your own space whilst also including the luxury of a world-class hotel service should you require a chef, a massage or even a beautician. Situated by the beautiful Lake Saimaa, there’s no end to the list of things to do here, so once you’re all settled in, it’s straight back outside to absorb the beauty of nature.
BOATS, BIKES AND HIKES
With four days to spend at leisure, you can be as active or relaxed as you want. If you want to spend your first day settling in, then an invigorating swim in the lake when you wake up followed by a day spent relaxing on the beach will leave you satisfied. If you get restless, then hop in one of the canoes or rowing boats. Alternatively, an afternoon hiking trip will undoubtedly get your blood pumping.
On another of your days, you’ll no doubt want to immerse yourself in the surrounding countryside, and luckily there are plenty of ways in which to do so. The resort offers free bike hire, so a day spent cycling through the peaceful countryside is a must. We can also arrange for you to embark on a fishing trip out to some of Finland’s most luscious fishing grounds. Choose between a 4 and 8 hour trip and you can look forward to catching anything from freshwater trout to pike and perch.
Finnish Lakeland is all about being outdoors and embracing the ‘summer by the lakes’ ideal. As you can see from this itinerary, you’ll have opportunities for relaxation as well as any number of exciting activities. Our tip: if you go anywhere next summer, go here.