When you think about holidaying in Finland, Lapland winter breaks tend to spring to mind. Holidays where nights are spent watching the northern lights from your cosy igloo or treehouse, after rushing through the frozen landscapes on a snowmobile or a husky safari. But here at Regent Holidays, we know that there's far more to Finland than snow and Santa Claus - Finland summer holidays are packed with adventure and opportunities to be immersed in the pristine natural wilderness or traditional Finnish culture.
Here are four of our top reasons to begin planning your Finland summer holiday today.
Saunas (pronounced sow-ners) are quintessentially Finnish. They are the very essence of Finnish tradition and culture. It is said that more important decisions get made in saunas than in meetings and secrets that are told stay within the four walls of the sauna. They are the Nordic equivalents of meetings on a golf course. Real Finnish saunas are dimly lit and all you can hear is the swoosh of water on the hot coals and all you can smell are the aromas of fresh birch. Going naked is de rigueur but Finns do understand the ‘British reserve’ and will easily accept you wearing a swimsuit if you don’t feel up to baring all. If you really want to go Finnish, you can gently whip yourself with a bundle of fresh birch twigs, known as a ‘vasta’ or ‘vihta’ - surprisingly refreshing!
Whether its chanterelle mushrooms, wild raspberries or redcurrants that appeal to you, foraging is free in Finland. ‘Everyman’s Rights’ permits both Finns and overseas tourists alike the freedom to pick their own wild edible plants, vegetables and fruit in one of the many forests Finland has to offer. Nuuksio National Park just a 50-minute drive from Helsinki, so you can easily get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to the tranquillity of the forests and lakes, or you can join our Culture & Cuisine of Finland small group tour to forrage for your ingredients and discover the gastronomic heritage of the country.
Food arguably always tastes better outdoors, especially when the ingredients have been picked or caught nearby just hours before. Watching the Finnish midnight sun casting a glow over a stunning lake, whilst cooking meat, fish and even pancakes over an open fire is a sure way to whet anyone’s appetite, especially after paddling a canoe or taking a bracing swim in the lake!
During the summer months, when the low Arctic sun never sets, the great outdoors are open for business up to 24 hours a day. The igloos that in the winter months provide cosy domes from which to watch the northern lights are instead the perfect base from which to sleep with a view over Finland's beautifully illuminated landscapes.
Winter might be all about reindeer and huskys, but the wildlife experiences in the summer months are just as plentiful and far more authentic. The northern reaches of the wild taiga forests are home to some of Europe's last remaining Eurasian brown bears, plus lynx, wolf and wolverine populations. The best way to get up close with Finland's resident carnivores is to spend a night in a wooden hide, deep in the forest with a wildlife guide. The midnight sun means wildlife sightings in the clear light of day are possible at any hour, especially at 'night' when the native creatures are at their most active.