Finland’s Secret Lakeland (7 Nights)
Finland’s Secret Lakeland (7 Nights)
Three things cannot long stay hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth. – Buddha
If you would ask Finnish people where to go in Finland, they might point you in the direction of beautiful Lapland, or to the islands around Helsinki, maybe even tell you to cruise to Stockholm or Tallinn. But if you would ask them where they dream of having a Finnish Holiday home, chances are they might say the Lakeland.
The Southern Part of Lake Saimaa is the most popular (and most expensive) part of Finland to own a holiday home, making it a sought after destination during Finnish Summer Vacations (which tend to start at Midsummer, end of June and last until early August). During the rest of Summer, most Finns have to continue working, and school holidays end by Mid August, when families get back to normality, despite the light, warm weather.
The Finns love the peaceful, clean nature and the silence that they get from being alone by lake and forest.
In the region, there is a plethora of tens of thousands of holiday cabins & cottages as well as boutique hotels and guesthouses. Finnish people know and love the area, but they like to keep them secret…
We are here to tell you a little more. The Lake system itself, Saimaa, is one of the top 4 largest Freshwater Lakes in Europe, with some of the cleanest air & waters in the world. The vast areas of biodiverse woodland keeps the eco system healthy, a natural habitat for a rich amount of species. It would not be uncommon to see White Tailed or Roe Deer, the huge Elk and Foxes in the forests. The Wild Cat, the Lynx, while more elusive to see, certainly roams the forests. Grouse, Pheasant, Osprey, Hawks and other birds grace the sky’s and water’s edge. The forest’s bountiful harvest provides an important and much loved element of the food chain.
Bilberries (wild blueberries), Strawberries, Raspberries, WildHerbs, Spruce Tips, Birch Syrup are just a taster of what to expect to find freely in the forest – as long as you know what to look for. With specialist guidance, you can also root our Chanterelle Mushrooms, Boletus (Porcini) and Morels right from the ground to prepare immediately or dry for later…. This is a forager’s and food lover’s heaven!
After time in the woodland, nothing completes a Finnish day like water and heat. In ancient fashion, heat, cold and water have been foundations of therapies for thousands of years. Not much has changed here when we talk about the Sauna. Finnish people take Sauna quite seriously – it marks a private place, a time of peacefulness with an almost spiritual essence to it.
Perhaps, it is said, this could be due to the fact that before running water was available, the Sauna would be the most hygienic place in any home. As it can reach over 100 degrees C, it is a place to sterilise and eradicate germs. A MUCH milder sauna would also be used as a place for childbirth and for the sick. Each time the Sauna is cleaned with water and high heat before the next use.
Today the Sauna is a place of recreation, with friends joining together (mixed Males and Females would go with bathing suits normally) or families (quite often nakedness is just fine with younger children) for cleaning and relaxing.
In between the sauna, the real luxury is to take dip in the Lake (some Finns do this year round, even when the water is ice cold!), to cool off. During Summer, the shallow waters can reach 20-24 degrees C so this is no cold dip!
There are other spa treatments too, from mud masks from the nature, to Tar skin treatments, to Herbals baths.
If that is not enough secrets to share, how about the food? This region harvests, fishes and hunts almost year round, and fresh and preserved foods are the norm here. While much of city life in Finland has forgotten the art of self-sustainable food sources (easy to do, as it is so easy to buy all sorts of delicious foods year round from the Supermarkets), this area is proud to hold onto it’s ties to natural food sources and how to prepare them excellently.
There is much culture too! People have been living in the region for thousands of years, and it is possible to visit rock paintings dated back to this time. The region was once half in Russian Territory and half under Swedish rule, with the border town of Mikkeli acting as a trade zone between the two regions. Here, many Manor houses were built to home to Tax collectors and tradesmen under the Swedish Crown.
I suppose that is really more than one secret…..!
This journey is perfectly ended by heading cross country toward Turku, Finland’s former Capital city, where it is just an overnight cruise to arrive in Stockholm, Sweden.
*Cruise to 5000 year old Rock Paintings
*Visit to Olavinlinna Castle, Savonlinna
*Wine Tasting of local berry wines
*Lunch in Linnansaari National Park Islands
*Visit to Various Music Museum
*Visit to Alvar Aalto Museum
*Visit to the Lenin Museum
*Guided tour of Turku Castle.
1 Night Helsinki
1 Night Mikkeli
1 Night Puumala or Savonlinna
2 Nights Saimaa Lakeland at Järvisydan
1 Night Jyvasklyä
1 Night Turku