Want to know where to stay in Finnish Lakeland? Look no further. From camping and treetop tents to luxury lodges, here's our round up of the most quirky, exciting accommodation...
‘The Land of a Thousand Lakes’ is a second home for many Finns. Gathering mushrooms and berries in the forest is an exercise in mindfulness, hiking in the forest is soul-restoring, and being in or on the water is healing. In these Lakeland surroundings, Finns relax, recuperate and sleep more soundly
Not surprising then that there are some 200,000 privately owned holiday cottages there. Almost all of them come with a sauna and many of them have access to a boat. The cabins, cottages and villas come in all shapes and sizes, from rustic to luxurious, but one thing’s for sure, you’ll find them in nature and never far from a lake. Lakeland living has been one of the Finn’s best-kept secret. Now we can discover their cottage culture too….
Bear Hide-Wild Taiga
In an area of pure wilderness by the Russian border, the Luxury Bear Cabin is an exciting place to stay, where the immersion in nature only helps to heighten sleep quality. The bear season starts in April and continues on into autumn, while wolves and wolverine can be spotted from October to March. Set into the hillside, the cabins have far-reaching views over the taiga, with a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights from August to May. And if you can’t bear to leave your cosy cabin combining rustic simplicity with luxury, never fear; it comes equipped with night-vision binoculars and a sound monitor that bring the sights and sounds of nature inside. This is a magical place where bears often wander close to the cabins. Find out more.
Mikkeli Art and Design Villas - Anttolanhovi
Bright and airy, with ceiling-to-floor windows overlooking forest and lake, the creators of the Art&Design Lakeside Villas (sleeping six) have reinvented the rustic cabin and given it a modern makeover. The large picture windows bring the outdoors indoors. Free-to-rent bicycles, Nordic walking poles and rowing boats entice guests to explore the Lakeland; kick sleds and snow shoes in winter. For rainy days, there’s a fitness and pool centre. Food is locally sourced: fresh fish from the lake, meat from nearby farms and wild berries and mushrooms from the forest. Nature evokes a sense of wellbeing at this beach-fronted resort, along with the spa treatments and the outdoor activities on offer. Find out more.
Houseboat - Hotel Jarvisydan
Less than an hour from the medieval castle of Savonlinna, Järvisydän Hotel and Spa Resort sits in quiet nature at the head of an inlet on Lake Saimaa – home to Saimaa ringed seals. The feeling of wellbeing is enhanced on the new luxurious boathouse accommodation, with guests lulled to sleep by the gentle lapping of water and cradled by forest, cove and island. Enjoy the views from the rooftop terrace, glass of wine in hand, or let off steam in the boat’s sauna. In summer, hike, fish, swim and boat in the surrounding wilderness; in winter, snow-shoe through pine-scented forest and ice-skate on the lake. There is nothing better than falling asleep to the sounds of the lake, the boat gently rocking on the water. Find out more.
Bird House Cabin - Wild Nordic
The Jättiläisenmaa Birdhouse Hotel cabins, located on Kivesvaara Fell in Paltamo, are well-named: the stilted cabins, perched on the hillside, give guests a bird’s-eye view of the wild taiga and lakes that stretch to the horizon. Bijou, and snug as a feathered nest, the cabin interiors are encased in warm wood and come fully-equipped; there’s even room for the compulsory Finnish sauna. It’s the perfect romantic location for couples, with its watery landscape, ink-green forests and miles of hiking trails. Find out more.
Vaarinkallio luxury villas (Pielisenpeili)
Vaarinkallio, meaning 'grandfather's rock', began life as a 14-hectare plot of rocky farmland. Thanks to the tireless work of the Sutinen family over the past century, they have transformed the original plot into a collection of beautifully presented villas at the heart of Koli National Park. With 35 acres of forest to explore, as well as a private beach beside Lake Pielinen, the villas make a great base for keen hikers and wildlife enthusiasts. Watching the stars from your villa's terrace is one of the best ways to pass an evening, the sounds of the forest crackling all around you.
Lehmonkarki - Julia Kivela
The 14 villas and cottages are spread out along a forested cape overlooking Lake Päijänne. Most of them (sleeping four to 20 people) come with a private beach, pier, boathouse and rowing boat. And every property has its own sauna. Just under two hours from Helsinki and Tampere, Lehmonkärki is very accessible, while Lahti – a 40-minute drive away – offers a sweep of interesting museums and the spectacular Sibelius concert hall. Alternatively, organise a boat trip into Päijänne National Park with its 50 uninhabited islands, or take advantage of all Lehmonkärki’s many on-site activities, from golf, tennis and volleyball to fishing and boating. You can sleep soundly among the trees, listening the sounds of the forest as you drift off. Find out more.
Tentsile with Honkalintu
For a camping experience that’s truly different, try the eco-tents by Lake Pitkäjärvi in the Nuuksio National Park area – just 45 minutes from Helsinki airport. At night the tents, suspended from birch trees, look eerie and other-worldly, the floating blobs glowing with colour. Tentsile Experience and local adventure firm, Honkalintu, say the tents give oversea visitors the chance to experience Finnish national park wilderness without the need to fly in with weighty camping equipment. They also promote the campsite as being the ‘most ecological carbon footprint-friendly site in the world.’ Imagine falling asleep in the open air, your bed gently swaying in the breeze. Find out more.
Hawkhill offers comfortable accommodation in the serenity of the Nuuksio National Park fringes: three luxurious modern villas, three log cabins and a traditional wooden Finnish house, all set in a secluded lakeside setting. In a world of poor sleep, this place is guaranteed to help you drift off. Each property has a sauna overlooking a lake and access to a private waterfront with jetty, rowing boat and firepit. Hike through soul-cleansing forest, gather wild berries and mushrooms, and spend peaceful hours fishing from the lakeside in the true Finnish tradition of Everyman’s Right. Hawkhill also organises wilderness training, canoe trips and husky rides with local providers. Find out more.
For exquisite luxury combined with Nordic simplicity, look no further than this delightful Nordic villa with its handsome tower and wood-carved balcony. The three-bedroomed home offers spacious rooms, open fires and two saunas – one indoors, one by the lake. Off the beaten track (an hour from Kajaani Airport), the lakeside house is surrounded by taiga forest in an area renowned for its dark skies – making it perfect for star-gazing and aurora spotting. Forest excursions can be arranged to track and photograph birds, reindeer and brown bear, and in winter cross-country skiing, ice-fishing and snow mobile safaris are all available. Find out more.
While Helsinki is a little out of Lakeland, it makes the perfect start or end of a trip to Finland. Capitals are usually known for their hustle and bustle, but in Helsinki this hectic-ness is swapped for a more mindful approach. The cobbled street of Georgsgatan, fringed by handsome National Romantic buildings and Old Church Park, leads to Hotel St George. With its quiet location in the heart of the city, Helsinki’s shops, museums and waterfront are all close by. The rooms blend historical elegance with modern design, showcasing contemporary Finnish artwork. Book an attic studio overlooking Helsinki’s rooftops or a park-facing room with balcony. Unwind in the sauna or relax with a hotel book in the Wintergarden. For foodies, Nordic and Middle Eastern cuisine combine in a delightful fusion of flavours; there’s even an artisan bakery in the basement. Find out more.
Magnetic North Travel are the experts when it comes to exploring Scandinavia, creating tailor-made trips in a part of the world that is known for its hard-to-navigate wildernesses.
Magnetic North Travel have organised a range of Deep Sleep stays in Finnish Lakeland, from short spa breaks on a Nordic houseboat to itineraries aimed at mind, body and soul. Find out more at:
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