While the Finnish summer weather is known for its unpredictability – sometimes it’s cold, other times it seems like it’s trying to out-rain the UK, however come wind, sleet, cats or dogs, the irresistibility of Finnish cottage life always remains intact. Sometimes it’s all about basking in the sunlight with a book and a drink, without a worry in the world, and other times it’s about listening to the sound of rain fall upon the cottage’s roof when you and your loved ones curl up by the fireplace to play board games.
The appeal of the Finnish cottage life is in the DNA of the country’s inhabitants – there hardly isn’t anyone round here who doesn’t know what it’s about. It’s a tradition passed on from generation to another, and there is no need for in-country advertising of it. Explaining it to people outside of Finland is another matter – this blog post is a fairly ambitious attempt of it.
With over half a million cottages spread across the country, Finland offers a chance for unique experiences for not just the locals but also all international travelers seeking tranquility, connection with nature, and sharing unique moments with their loved ones – or all on their own.
Finns habitually visit their summer cottages to get out of the city and to spend time close to nature, usually also to enjoy special leisure time with their family and friends. We welcome all international tourists to do the same – come and discover this scarcely advertised gem, get nourished by nature and enjoy summer the Finnish way. Here are few tips on how to delve into the allure of Finnish cottage life, the activities it entails, and the reasons why people love to spend time in these enchanting hideaways. Let the nature nourish you, too!
1. Immerse yourself in the nature surrounding Finnish cottages
One of the most captivating aspects of Finnish cottage holiday is the opportunity to really step into the embrace of nature. Typically surrounded by forests, lakes, and captivating landscapes, Finnish cottages provide an escape from the constant hustles and pressures of the urban life. Breathe in the clean air, and relish in the tranquillity that only nature can offer.
2. The Finnish sauna experience comes without rules and restrictions
Sauna, an integral part of the Finnish culture, rightfully occupies the centre stage in the Finnish cottage experience. Secluded in the woods, cottages allow visitors to indulge themselves in the rejuvenating Finnish sauna rituals. The combination of heat, steam, and the invigorating sensation of cooling off in the lake or rolling in the snow afterwards provides an unparalleled sensation of relaxation and well-being. Enjoy it at least once a day, or even more! You could keep the sauna heated all day – if you just remember to add logs to the fire – and go for a new session whenever the mood strikes!
(By the way, typically Finns go to sauna as well as the lake naked, however using a swimsuit or a towel is absolutely fine too – our philosophy is that everyone should enjoy sauna in the way that is the most comfortable for them!)
3. Activities for Finnish cottage holidays (depending on weather)
The Finnish cottage life offers a diverse range of activities that vary with by season. In the summer, you can bask in the warmth of the midnight sun, swim in pristine lakes, go fishing, boating, or hiking. There are also a variety of Finnish traditional yard games for you to play – with them, you can even orchestrate your own Cottage Olympics in the yard, if you feel up for it.
Autumn brings the opportunity to go picking Finnish superfood: fresh berries and mushrooms straight from the forest. Be sure, however, to educate yourself on which berries and mushrooms are edible. There are not many poisonous berries and mushrooms in Finland, however you really should make sure you know exactly what you are picking, and how to get the most out of the berries and mushrooms you find! We at Hawkhill are happy to help.
On a rainy day, you can enjoy the sounds of raindrops and stay inside with your loved ones. A warm sauna (why not still dip into the lake!) and a board game or two will serve to calm minds and bodies, and even if it rains, the otherwise silent nature around you creates the kind of serenity that you can even feel through the walls of your Finnish cottage.
As winter arrives and the snow covers the landscape, cottages become home bases from where to experience the Finnish winter wonderland. Snow offers prime opportunities for skiing (cross country if you are ready for it, downhill if you are nearby a skiing centre), ice fishing, snowshoeing, and simply cozying up by the fireplace. And yes, ice swimming: heat up the sauna again and dip into the hole in the freezing lake for an experience that might sound horrific but in fact is so rejuvenating many swear it’s the secret to their good health!
Read more: Free activities
4. The amount of light (ever-present or non-existent)
One thing that habitually surprises visitors is how much light there is during the summer and how little during the winter. Visiting Finland during both the Midnight Sun and Polar Night seasons is a remarkable opportunity to witness the unique rhythms of nature. Whether you’re basking in the ever-present daylight or staying up at nights to spot the dancing Northern Lights, these experiences will leave a lasting impact and truly something to remember.
By preparing adequately for Finland’s Midnight Sun (yötön yö) or Polar Night (kaamos), international travellers can fully enjoy these extraordinary experiences. Whether it’s about adjusting your sleep routine, packing appropriate clothing, or something else, being well-prepared ensures a memorable and fulfilling journey. Tip: Light-blocking curtains or eye masks in the summertime might really help to get enough sleep!
5. Downshifting with your loved ones
The essence of the Finnish cottage holidays lie in the cherished moments spent with family and friends. Cottages foster human connections, strengthen ties between friends and family and, this way, create a lasting impact. The unhurried pace of cottage life provides an ideal environment to unwind, play games, read books, or simply enjoy each other’s company away from the distractions of modern life.
6. Authenticity of the Finnish way of life
For international travellers, experiencing Finnish cottage life offers a chance to witness the deep-rooted traditions of sauna, nature appreciation, and the Finnish concept of “sisu” (resilience and determination). The serenity of the natural surroundings, the sauna rituals, the array of seasonal activities, and the sense of authenticity make it an experience unlike any other.