Finland Adventure with Amber

Most people think of Finland as a winter destination, but I had the opportunity to experience this amazing country during the summer months – In particular the midnight sun. This was a thrilling experience!

In some parts of Northern Europe summer is a time of the year when the Sun does not set; and the beautiful scenery is lit by the gleaming light 24 hours a day. Reindeer roam freely and are often spotted on the road sides. Summer is truly magical here. Because of the long, cold winter Finns celebrate their summer very passionately. Some go to music festivals, offering a choice of jazz, blues, rock, opera and chamber music. Others are sailing among the coastal islands or enjoying slow life at their summer cottages – swimming, fishing and cooking dinner on the grill.

I traveled to Finland to experience it all. Or as much as I could. And I’d like to share my experience with you.

I kicked off my trip in Helsinki with my first ever Finnish sauna at the Alaas Sea Pools, a small complex with 3 saunas and 2 pools. The concept of visiting a hot sauna with the contrast of cooler pool water is wrapped around relaxation; and it’s believed here that it bears some health benefits too.

Throughout my stay in Finland I visited several saunas all with different surroundings – Villas, lakeside, riverside, oceanside and even in the bush. Fun fact: there are over 3 million saunas in Finland – more than there are cars!

World Heritage Site Suomenlinna, Finnish Cultural Treasure

Suomenlinna is a short 10-minute ferry ride from old harbour Helsinki and is definitely worth a visit. Construction of this fortress began in the 18th century and is now home to 800 residents.

We found that joining a guided tour is the best way to see the fortress. The tour takes you around the fortress islands and provides information on the colourful past of the fortress, also giving you entrance into the tunnels.

You do have the option of wandering around at your own pace as well.

The Finnish Lapland Resort Levi

We flew from Helsinki to Kittila and hit the ground running. Levi is the largest ski and recreational resort in Finland. Located in Lapland, Levi has a wide range of activities to offer all year round. Skiing, dog sledding and reindeer sleigh rides being the most common during the winter months.

We checked in to our accommodation for the evening – Levi Spirit. This has to be the most amazing property I have ever stayed in. The five bedroom villas are a real combination of comfort and Arctic wilderness, offering (of course!) sauna and jacuzzi, ensuite bathrooms in every room, two living areas, laundry, wrap around decks and a fire room. Breakfast is served in your villa with a lavish spread of cold cut meats, cheeses, croissants, granola, fresh fruit, tea/coffee and smoothies. I cannot speak more highly of Levi Spirit. The most perfect place to relax and base yourself for your holiday!

Because days do not end in Lapland, fun never stops. We were driven through the lush scenery at about 9pm and found ourselves at the side of River Ounasjoki, where we boarded our canoes and spent another 2 hours paddling down the river, passing small lodges, groups laying out in hammocks and traditional wooden houses.

A beautiful evening spent under the midnight sun in complete serenity is well worth it and is highly recommended.

The Magical Elves' Hideaway Village

Elves Hideaway, a lesser known attraction which includes accommodation, café and a small elf village. Elves Hideaway is a destination inspired by stories, fantasy, local culture and mythology of Lapland. It attracts both adults and children all year round offering workshops, sauna (there is always one!), lake swimming, canoeing, tours of the property with the Elf in the Yellow Dress, fishing, gold panning, snow sledding and more. This is a never-ending fairytale!

River Rafting in Harriniva

Harriniva Hotels and Safaris are located in Muonio, Lapland amongst the most amazing nature and the flowing waters of Muonio River, which highlights the border between Finland and Sweden. One of the favourite summer activities is white water rafting.

Battling by my fear I boarded the raft; and off we went down stream through the rapids. After 6km of paddling through strong 4 rapids I was left absolutely saturated but beaming from ear to ear. What a great adventure to experience in such a beautiful part of the world.

Arctic Harriniva Husky Farm

A real highlight for me was visiting the huskies at the Harriniva Husky Farm, located right next to the Hotel Harriniva. We were able to meet the newest members to the husky family being only 8 weeks old. Adorable!

Hearing more about the process of training and selecting working dogs for the winter husky sled was very interesting.

During the summer months you have the opportunity to take a hike with huskies through the ancient arctic nature whilst breathing in the cleanest air in the world.

Stunning Yllästunturi National Park in Ylläs

Our next stop was Ylläs, which is the gateway to the most popular national park in Finland, Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, offering year round experiences for active travelers.

We passed the afternoon by with a guided e-Fatbike tour through to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. These all-terrain, easy to ride bikes are a great way to get around and see the nature in summer and winter. It is absolutely spectacular here!

Our half way mark was well received with a small snack, the famous blueberry juice and some fresh water straight from the stream.

To relax after our exciting bike adventures we were treated to another sauna (DAH!). My favourite sauna of the trip happened to be one of our last – an authentic Finnish sauna on the shores of Äkäslompolo Lake. This was the perfect location to relax in the heat of the sauna followed by an energising jump into a much cooler lake. Experience of a lifetime!

I could write a whole book about my time in Finland but I have to leave something for you to uncover as well.

Let me tell you this: the people are welcoming, the food is outstanding, the scenery is picturesque and the activities are thrilling!

So, Finland, Kiitos (thank you) for your hospitality.

And if you are planning your trip to the Northern Europe, give our team a call on 1800 242 353 – we’d be excited to help you organise your adventure.