• Nick and Elen

Summer 2018: Our romantic getaway to Finland

Updated: Feb 24, 2021

As travelers we almost always prefer to explore as much as possible in a country/city, even if we only have limited time available and even if this means that we don’t relax much. We’ll have enough time to relax after retirement anyway, right? Having in mind that right now, we are the youngest we’ll ever be and that our first visit to any place could also be our last one, we complain not when it comes to creating and following packed itineraries. However, we do allow ourselves to take at least one short break to relax, depending on the total duration of our journey.

When, last summer, we visited parts of Northern Europe and Scandinavia, we chose our romantic getaway to be in Finland, where we would completely relax and enjoy some intimacy and romance.

We drove from Helsinki to Hartola and most specifically to this Airbnb, which would be our love nest for the next couple of days. The route was absolutely beautiful, filled with more lakes than we had previously seen in our entire lives, tall trees and innumerous timber cabins, which were just too freaking cute!

Within a couple of hours, we arrived at our airbnb, only to find out that it was just as charming (if not more) as the ones we had been encountering and photographing along the way. The house was built at the shore of a lake, and was surrounded by the greenest grass and gangling trees. It was made with wood and was painted red and had a cute little porch on the front side, ideal for reading books and enjoying strong morning coffee, like the Finns do.

The inside of the house was equally charming and cute, decorated simply yet rustically. The house’s greatest asset though was no other than the sauna! Oh yes, we had our very own traditional Finnish sauna. Sauna is a big part of Finland’s culture and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to have our own sauna experience.

But first things first! Staying in a house by the lake means that losing time and not jumping straight into the lake is no option! So, that’s what we did. We jumped into the lake and enjoyed swimming and playing into the water, under the bright yet gentle Finnish sun. Only after our fingers got too wrinkly, we got out of the lake, got dressed and hopped back in the car in search of food.

According to our research, not only was La Kar de Mumma our only option in a close distance but also had very good reviews by fellow visitors. Swimming into the lake had really grown our appetite and thankfully the visitors’ reviews about the restaurant were true and accurate! We chose a table in the backyard so that we could enjoy those long summer days, when the sun doesn’t set before 10 pm, while tasting some really tasty Finnish recipes which did feed our appetite and exceeded our expectations.

When, later that night, we got back to our airbnb, we let the sauna games begun! The house’s owner had already explained how we were supposed to use the sauna and with some extra help from YouTube videos, we easily made it work! The temperature soon got up to 50(!!!) degrees Celsius and tickly streams of sweat started running down our bodies. We had been advised to spend no more than 30-45 minutes in the sauna, and that was indeed when we almost started to get out of breath due to the high temperatures in combination with the extremely high humidity levels.

The next step was no other than jumping back into the lake, which at that time of the year was very pleasant and relieving but can you even imagine how the Finns do it in the middle of winter when lakes are ice cold? Even the thought of it, brings us one step closer to a heart attack! Anyway, our evening swimming in the lake, after our sauna session was by far one of the most relaxing and special travel moments we’ve ever experienced. That night, we slept super peacefully, somewhere lost in Finnish nature’s peace and harmony.

Our second (and sadly our last) day in the woods was spent with even more swimming, more relaxing, more sauna time, one more visit at La Kar de Mumma and the discovery of yet another cute café/restaurant, ideal for bakery goods and (more) coffee.

At the end of those two days, we were filled with pure joy and gratefulness and were ready to get back to exploring full time!