Four seasons in the Finnish archipelago
If the Finnish archipelago and long Baltic coast make you think about beautiful summer days filled with sailing and boating, you are definitely on the right track. But the Finnish coast invites you for many great experiences throughout the year.
Here are 5 ways to explore the coasts and islands – no matter what the season:
rent a cottage by the shore
The Finnish coastline, including the archipelago islands, is more than 40 000 km long. Sprinkled along those shores you’ll find the loveliest cottages for rent. Many are equipped for winter use too and are accessible all year round.
In addition to spending some of the most idyllic summer days of your life, try weathering out a fall storm or watching the spring ice melt from the warmth of a peaceful island cottage just by the edge of the sea…You’ll get back for more.
Fish your own dinner
When the ice age receded from Finland, one of the reasons people started to move north was because of the good fishing and hunting opportunities. Still today the coastal waters offer excellent spots for sport fishing.
Fall is the high season of fishing but the season doesn’t stop when the sea and lakes freeze over, quite the contrary. That’s when the Finns put on their warm winter gear and go ice fishing.
You can fish on your own almost everywhere after buying the correct licenses but your chances of getting that big catch will be greater if you use the services of a local guide.
Take a swing along the coast
If you’re a golfer, you’ve seen it: that dream green with the blue sea in the background. Well, this is just like some of the best golf courses along the Finnish coast.
Most offer great modern facilities and a select few have been built on the grounds of old manors. They offer just the perfect surroundings for buying a round after your hole-in-one!
The length of the golf season is highly dependent on the weather but typically starts in May and ends in October. If the winter is exceptionally warm you can perhaps even play a Christmas game in December.
Finland has been independent only since 1917, but the history of what today is Finland dates back a lot earlier. For hundreds of years, Finland was the eastern outpost of Sweden. In 1809 the country changed hands and became part of the Russian empire for another 100+ years.
One of the best ways to discover Finland’s cultural heritage is to visit some of the fortresses, castles and manor houses that date back to the Swedish and Russian ruling times. As waterways were very important transport routes, most of the old buildings can be found conveniently located on the shores of the Baltic Sea or the inland lakes.
Some manors house small hotels, lovely gems of restaurants and always very personal and friendly service. For a totally romantic stay in Finland, book a room at a manor. But be warned, you might get to share it with the manor ghost!
Shop ’till you drop
You wouldn’t necessarily associate the rural areas along the Finnish coast with shopping but with a little bit of effort, you’ll find a handicraft and antiques heaven there. Even today, people in rural areas are quite self-sufficient and therefore handicrafts are still an important part of daily life.
The summer cottages have been the places where families have warehoused their old things. Every year a few of the big attics or old buildings are cleaned and an ample supply of antiques results.
Perhaps the best known handicraft event is the annual Lace-week (Pitsiviikot) in Old Rauma, the largest unified historical wooden town in the Nordic countries and one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in Finland. A must see for anyone in love with handicrafts.
P.S. If you still dream about sailing and boating when thinking about the archipelago, that’s totally OK as it is the best place for it!
Coastal Finland with its stunningly beautiful archipelago offers a variety of fascinating destinations that are easy to reach. They all have their special characteristics and open up any number of various experiences for visitors.