Sauna and Finland really stand for each other, it’s probably one of the things that people first associate with Finland, yet there are so many question marks from visitors and new locals about Finnish sauna culture! It took me some time, in the beginning, to really appreciate sauna and learn all about it, but I have come to really love it. My goal for this year is to create a weekly sauna ritual for myself, and really feel the benefits from it. Here’s my take, my favourite sauna places, and my sauna essentials.
The best time of year is Blini season! January marks the month that Bliniviikot are all around the city, which means many wonderful restaurants have the wonderfully buttery Russian delicacy on their menus. The Finnish interpretation is made with buckwheat flour and baked in a cast-iron pan until crisp and sinful, and is served with a variety of different toppings, along the sides of smetana, red onions and pickles.
After all these years in Finland, there are still some things that I always wanted to do and that just haven’t happened. I feel like 2019 was a pretty lazy year in that regard to it’s time to step it up! Maybe you find some inspiration in here as well, for trips, things to do, stuff to see and more.
For those of us who are expats, family and friends at home love a little glimpse in our lives up North, and Christmas gifts from Finland are always a welcome novelty. For those of us who have moved here with our family and we want to strengthen our relationship with the new home in Finland, or just for those Finland-enthusiasts in your life – this is a collection of gift ideas of Finnish items or things that are super useful to have when (living) in Finland. Especially with winter in mind.
Fiskars has been recommended to me ever so often over the years, as both a lovely summer and a delightful winter destination for a day trip from Helsinki. About an hour drive west of the Capital, snug around Fiskars river lies this stunningly picturesque village, that is also home to the famous company Fiskars that produces the uncanny orange scissors, knives and so forth; and the Ägräs Distillery which is known for its nature-inspired spirits. Streets lined by red brick houses, a bit of old industrial charm and gorgeous nature around it, Fiskars managed to make me thoroughly happy and finally got me excited for winter and Christmas.
It’s been great to see the second cycle movement grow stronger. In Finland, the recycling culture has always been active and present, and it shows from the re-use mentality in any kind of consumer goods all the way to repurposing buildings rather than new construction. Second-hand shopping is widely popular and encouraged, and possible both online or offline in stores. Here are my favourite tips for second-hand shopping in Helsinki, both in-store and online.
Marski by Scandic is my parents’ favourite hotel, for several seasons. It’s right opposite of Stockmann, so a great central location, the tram to our apartment leaves in front of the door and there is a taxi line during the nights, so my mum has great entertainment when she can’t sleep. But over the years, it really needed an overhaul, and it finally got it – and is now the first Scandic Signature Hotel in Helsinki. Marski now fully embraces all the oddities, phrases and curious facts about the Finns that resounded throughout the land.
Over the years I have found my love for the outdoors, and Helsinki is the best place to enjoy nature in all seasons. You can live in the buzzing Capital of Finland, but still be in untouched nature within 20 minutes from the city centre. If you are looking for a day trip in the Helsinki area, for a short hike, a seaside adventure or a relaxing afternoon – here are my favourites!