Despite last week’s post and slight depression, I’ve now found a bit of motivation to try to come up with some vacation plans. Over the weekend it hit me that I have to come up with something, as sitting at home throughout our three-week summer vacation is simply not an option. Since it is far too early to make any international travel plans for August I’ve focused on Finland. I came up with three options.
Option 1: Rent a cottage
Even though I’m not much of a cottage person these exceptional circumstances have me considering renting a cottage for a week. Having said that, the cottages I’m looking at have running water, electricity, Internet connection, indoor toilet, and other mod cons. In addition to having modern amenities a top criterion is that the cottage must be by a lake or the sea. An outdoor hot tub would be a plus, but I guess I can live without one if I have the option to go swimming every day. Naturally you can find anything if you’re prepared to pay but I’m not ready to pay more for a week in a cottage than I would for a trip to Europe so that limits our options somewhat. Here are a couple of options I’ve been looking at Satakieli and Rasin Villa.
Option 2: Touring Finland
Another option would be visiting a number of towns in Finland and spending a night or two in each. I’m thinking this could be more of a culinary adventure trying to find some good restaurants in different towns and planning the trip around those. Naturally we’d also include some sights in the trip. I would, however, like to avoid the towns that are already super-familiar to me. Hence Porvoo, Rauma, Tampere, and Turku are not on the list. Also due to time constraints I’m leaving out Lapland. I came up with two possible routes, one in eastern Finland and one in western Finland. If we head east, we’d visit Kotka, Hamina, Lappeenranta, Imatra, and Savonlinna. In the west we’d explore Pori, Kristinestad, Vaasa, and Kokkola. I’ve spent more time in western Finland so a tour in eastern Finland entices me more at the moment. If we chose the eastern route some things to see would be the Maritime Centre Vellamo, the Hamina fortress and old center, the Lappeenranta Fortress, Imatrankoski rapids, and Olavinlinna Castle. The west would offer such attractions as Reposaari, Kvarken, Finland’s library museum, and Neristan. I’ve also checked out some accommodation options and must say there are some really nice ones, like Kartanohotelli Karhulan Hovi, Hamina Bastion Apartments, Hotelli Rakuuna, Scandic Imatran Valtionhotelli, Hotel Astor, and Nera Guest House.
Option 3: Åland islands
The final option requires that the ferry traffic is open to tourists. If the ferries are running we could take a trip to the Åland islands and explore Mariehamn and the various islands surrounding the “main” island called Fasta Åland. On Åland you can take various boat tours, visit Kasteholm castle, visit several stone churches and naturally visit some of the 6,700 islands. Åland is also a haven for foodies like me. Smakbyn is Michael ‘Micke’ Björklund’s culinary world featuring a restaurant, café, farm shop, distillery, wine cellar, and conference facilities. On Åland you also find Stallhagen brewery, Ålandsmejeriet dairy, Amalia’s lemonade factory, and Mattas vineyard. There are some 50 places you can visit for something to eat or drink with the majority located on the main island. In Mariehamn I’d like to stay in Hotel Pommern, Hotel Arkipelag or Park Alandia Hotel. We might also spend some nights on one of the other islands or somewhere else on Fasta Åland.
It remains to be seen what we’ll actually end up doing on our summer vacation, but at least there are a few options. Do you have anything fun planned for your summer vacation? Are you going to travel locally or just stay at home?