The Espoo archipelago is a place I haven’t explored enough yet, but luckily summer isn’t just over yet! Visiting more of the local islands that are right in front of my doorstep is easy and a wonderful day trip from anywhere in Helsinki, so that it’s something great for the weekend. Iso Vasikkasaari is a beautiful recreational island in Espoo that you can reach by boat from various spots, such as Otaniemi, Nokkala or Haukilahti.
Summer is set to make a return appearance during August, so it’s time to get all the amazing summer things off the list that you might not have been able to experience yet. But – worry not – I got some inspiration for your ultimate Helsinki summer experience and the sun will join you again very soon.
Little getaways from the city, especially in the summertime for day hikes and exploring the areas closeby Helsinki, are my favourite thing to do! I had seen so much of Porkkalanniemi on social media, and I’m not sure why it took me this long to get there. I knew it looked nice, but it totally exceeded my expectations! Magnificent views, rocky shores – actually reminding me a lot of the Åland Islands where I had been recently. Porkkalanniemi is now my favourite spot for a day hike, and let me show you why.
Last autumn, I did my first multi-day hike of the St. Olav Waterway – together with my friend Rania, we completed the first section of this pilgrimage trail from Turku to Korppoo. Now it was time for the second part: continuing from the edge of the Finnish archipelago to the Åland Islands! And what a beautiful trip it was: in the most perfect Finnish summer, this time with my friend Eva, we hiked for a few days amidst the rugged and wild beauty of Åland – spectacular views, the scent of strawberries in the air, ferry rides, wild trails through the forest and along the rocky shores – it was truly the most stunning part of the trail so far!
I’m not gonna lie, Midsummer always gets me. After all these years, and being super content with my Finnish life, the FOMO is heavy around Juhannus. For us foreigners, it can be a tricky time. We don’t have the strong traditions, the family mökki, the associations with Midsummer, the stories of our youth. It doesn’t have this presence in our mind and calendars, so by the time we notice that it’s midsummer time, cabins are unavailable and rental cars all booked up. While last year was particularly difficult for me, I’m more than happy with the plans for 2020, just getting out of the city and being away, just for a little bit, taking a deep breath and start to actively make my own Midsummer memories.
The traditional Mayday celebrations around Vappu start on day before, on April 30th and is something everyone should experience! It’s probably the biggest street party you’ll see, and it’s the closest Finland comes to a carnival. Things are different in 2020, but despair not! This post includes a list of delicious Vappu options.
While yes: my main obsessions during these weeks of quarantine so far also has been “Tiger King” on Netflix (I know, revolutionary), which is seriously just so crazy, I am very much hooked on all the corresponding memes as well and it doesn’t feel like a healthy pastime. But here we are. So I put together a list of more rewarding things to spend your time with.
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.
Seaside walks along the Helsinki or Espoo coast are a very popular weekend activity. Going for a long walk on a beautiful day, being out in nature, soaking up some sun and getting in some fresh air, and rewarding yourself with a lovely lunch or afternoon coffee and bun brings out many people – no matter the season. Both in bright winter and warm summer days attract lots of people out to these local gems. Save the map on the bottom, and plan your next weekend outings!