Category: Travelling in Finland

Green northern lights above a wintery forest.

Northern Lights – Aurora Borealis

Posted By : Anniina/ 92 0

To understand what causes the Northern Lights is quite a new thing to us people. With science we have a pretty good idea on it now.  At the 18th century the first serious scientific attempts were made to explain the phenomena and the 1950s we really understand how the Aurora formed. It is all about the sun and solar wind.

Solar wind travels 92 million miles until reaching Earth’s magnetic field. When solar particles hit the magnetic field, they’re deflected around Earth. Near the poles the solar wind follows the magnetic flux lines deeper towards the poles.

When solar wind is getting closer to Earth near the poles it hits our atmosphere and starts to react with atmospheric gases, like oxygen and nitrogen. The interaction makes the particles energized, and as they become energized they emit photos, or light.

The most common color we see is green. The reason for that is, that the human eye registers green easier than reds or blues. Another reason is, that solar particles commonly react with oxygen.

In Finland we believe that the Norther Lights are caused by fox. The Finnish word for the Northern Lights is revontulet.  This word means “fox fire”.  The story behind this is that the revered fox would run through the snow, he’d sweep his tail back and forth and the sparks created by this would rise into the sky.

The Sámi people in Lapland also had other explanations for the Northern Lights. One is that the Auroras were plumes from a whale’s blowhole. One common belief around The World was, that the Auroras were physical manifestations of the souls of the dead.

 

Where and when can you see Northern Lights

 

The best chances to see Auroras is in the northernmost part of Finland for example in Kilpisjärvi, Ylläs, Levi and Saariselkä. Best chances for Auroras are at Kilpisjärvi (75 % of nights), then e.g. Ylläs, Levi, Saariselkä (50 % of nights) and more you go to south the lower is probability to see Auroras.

The typical time for auroral displays is at midnight, but auroras may occur randomly anytime when it´s dark and the sky is clear enough for seeing them. Aurora hunters should stay alert at least between 21:00 and 02:00. Sometimes Northern Lights can appear and disappear within minutes or those can last hours on the Sky. The thing is, you never know!

Summer nights are too light for auroras, those are not visible in sunlight. In late August, nights grow darker, and the aurora season lasts until spring. Considering the weather, the best time for seeing auroras in Northern Finland is in September, October, March and early April.

 

Northern Lights watching tips

 

  • Find a dark, open place far away from town lights. Hilltops and lakes are good places.
  • Auroras usually are seen on the northern sky, try to find an unrestricted view toward the northern sky.
  • Optimal weather is dark and cloudless night. If the night sky is clear and starry, chances of seeing the Northern Lights are good.
  • The weather can change fast and vary locally. Thick clouds will prevent you from seeing auroras.
  • Keep your legs warm, as nothing ruins a trip like cold feet. Take a pair that are slightly loose and add extra woolen socks. Winter boots can be bigger than your normal shoes! Also protect your fingers, head and body against the cold.
  • Take a headlamp with you for moving safely in the dark.
  • Remember to move also. It will get your blood flowing and keep you warm.
  • Take a hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate or warm juice in a thermal flask, sandwiches, nuts and chocolate for snacks.
  • Hunting auroras is more fun with your friend. 😀

 

-Anniina

Sources:

Ilmatieteen laitos.fi

Visit Finland.com

Lapland.fi

GoFinland.fi

A man relaxing in a jacuzzi watching the northern lights.

Winter activities

Posted By : Anniina/ 33 0

Finland is an amazing destination to visit in winter, especially Lapland! The snow season in Lapland starts in November and lasts until May, so we have a lot of activities to fill all the snowy time. In Lapland is so much to see and do. You can go downhill or cross-country skiing, go on a husky safari, snowmobile safari, ice-fishing, sauna, and icy dip in a lake or go on a snowshoeing, reindeer ride or try how a kicksled works.

 

Winter activities

 

The best skiing season in Lapland starts in February and lasts until May. Levi is the most popular ski resort in Finland. Levi is close to Kittilä airport, just a few minutes drive away. Other Lapland’s ski centers are essentially holiday resorts, with many more activities on offer besides skiing and snowboarding. Cross-country skiing is very popular also during the wintertime. Around Ylläs area there are over 300 kilometers of skiing tracks.

If skiing or snowboarding is not for you, then maybe you should try snowshoeing. This involves strapping oversized “shoes” onto your feet and then wandering the snowy landscape. With snowshoes on you can walk over the snow without sinking in deep snow. Snowshoes are recommended for winter hiking as they cause less damage on trails than walking in normal boots.

Kicksledding is a unique model of transportation. It is primarily done in Scandinavia. Kicksledding is quite straightforward. You’ll need a kicksled and ice or hard-packed snow, then you stand at the back of the sled on the runners, and kick to provide forward motion. Easy and fun!

Ice fishing is like a meditation to Finns. To catch a fish in wintertime you need to be patient, it can take several hours to get your first fish. In Finland, you don’t need a license to go ice fishing. Perch and pike are two of the common types of fish in the lakes in Finland.

Ice swimming in a hole in the icy lake or sea really does you the world of good. This is no longer all about toughening you up, a ritual or being macho, but simply an incomparable energy boost and good for your health. This has traditionally been an older people thing, but recent generations have made swimming in icy water rather trendier.

Usually, you go sauna before ice swimming. Sauna is the most traditional thing you can do in Finland. For Finns sauna is a place to meet friends, visit with family, meditate, and even hold business meetings. Most Finns have their own private saunas in their homes or cottages. Finns generally go to saunas in the nude, but if you feel uncomfortable being naked, you can wear a swimsuit or towel.

If you want to see reindeer, there are lots of opportunities in Finland.  You can visit a reindeer farm, wildlife park, or do a reindeer safari with reindeer pulling a traditional sled. This is an easy-going ride, if the reindeer wants to eat in the middle of the safari they just stop and eat and then they continue.

Husky or snowmobile tours are operated a lot in Lapland. Basically, where ever you go from Rovaniemi to Kilpisjärvi, there are plenty of tour operators who do these safaris or you can rent a snowmobile and go on by yourself.

 

How to dress for cold

 

  • Underwear: thermal underwear (breathable material), socks, underwear pants and shirt.
  • Mid-layer: loose, fleece, wool. High-neck shirt and loose trousers. Woolen socks.
  • Top layer: warm, windproof jacket and pants. Choose one size bigger shoes than normally (tight boots are cold!). Gloves should be loose mittens with linings and a warm hat or beanie.
  • Slightly too big clothes are warmer in cold than too tight clothes.
  • Too many layers aren´t good eighter, because it is not good if you are sweating in cold.

 

-Anniina

 

Sources:

Visit Finland.com

Destination Lapland.fi

Independenttravelcats.com

 

 

 

 

Misty forest view with a sunset.

На русском

Posted By : Maria Ojajärvi/ 104 0

Ecotravellers Finland – компания, основанная в 2017 году, специализирующаяся на устойчивом туризме в Финляндии и за рубежом. Основные наши ценности – это защита находящихся под угрозой исчезновения животных и природы, устойчивый туризм и надежные партнеры.

 

Ответственный туризм в Финляндии.

Мы предлагаем уникальные условия проживания, например, на дереве или в плавающем стеклянном иглу. Все наши направления экологичны, и до них очень легко добраться на общественном транспорте.

Плавучие иглу.

Плавучие иглу – это новое веяние в туризме. Это уникальное экологическое жильё на природе, которое подарит Вам незабываемые моменты в Финляндии.

>> Плавающие иглу!

Глэмпинг.

Вы можете отдохнуть посреди леса всего в пяти минутах езды от центра города Пори. В стоимость входит проживание и собственная сауна рядом с песчаным пляжем.

>> Забронируйте ночь в палатке для глэмпинга в Пори.

О волонтерских работах.

Ekomatkaajat – единственная в Финляндии компания, занимающаяся проблемами животных, находящихся под угрозой исчезновения, и охраной природы, которая организует устойчивые туристические поездки.

При выборе партнеров для нас важно, чтобы животных уважали, и чтобы их естественная среда обитания и функционирование никоим образом не пострадали.

Выступая волонтером, Вы защищаете находящихся под угрозой исчезновения животных и участвуете в миссиях по охране природы на тщательно отобранных нами территориях. Благодаря Вам мы уже смогли спасти бесчисленное количество животных.

Изучите все наши направления, просматривая различные варианты ниже.

>> Волонтерство

Мария Ояярви.

Владелец компании, Мария Ояярви, является членом устойчивого туристического комитета / Ассоциации финской туристической индустрии (SMAL) с 2019 года. Она работала в семейном туристическом агентстве в течение 20 лет и обслуживала клиентов в конференц-центре Nokia.

Покупая наши продукты, Вы поддерживаете развитие устойчивого туризма.

Ознакомьтесь с выбором.

>> Интернет-магазин ответственного туризма.

Польза от поездки для животных и природы должна быть во много раз больше, чем наносимый ею ущерб окружающей среде. С эко-путешественниками это возможно!

Two people snow shoeing with aurora borealis in the background.

What is normal in Finland that is strange in other countries?

Posted By : Anita/ 154 4

What is normal in Finland that is strange in other countries?

Last time I talked about things that tourists should know before coming to Finland. This time I will touch on the topic of differences in cultures using the example of Finland.

There are many different cultures and traditions in the world. Each country is unique and has its own characteristics. It must be remembered that some things are normal in one country, while in another they are strange and unacceptable.

So is Finland. This large country has its own culture and traditions that can surprise the tourists who come here. Read this article to avoid culture shock in Finland.

Things that are normal in Finland, but strange in other countries.

Greeting differ from country to country. So in Asian countries, people bow to each other when they meet as a sign of respect. However, in Finland, when people meet, they can just say hello, shake hands, hug and even kiss on the cheek. It all depends on the level of closeness of the relationship.

In many countries it is normal to come later than originally planned. For example, Venezuelans or Italians enjoy a relaxed pace, so it is difficult for them to get used to the Finnish lifestyle. However, Finns are pretty punctual, they do not like being late. Therefore, it is worth remembering this when traveling to this country.

Finns are quite straightforward people and the main thing for them is to get the message across. Therefore, in serious conversations, they will immediately start with the main thing. For example, in business dealings in many countries, negative feedback is often accompanied by several positive ones. However, in Finland it is different, here people will immediately say what the problem is and what should be fixed. The main thing is not to confuse this with rudeness, since the Finns do not want to offend anyone, it is just normal here.

In some Asian countries, it is normal to slurp while eating. This is an indicator of delicious food and so people show that they liked a dish. However, things are different in Finland. Finnish children are taught to eat quietly, as it is considered etiquette behavior.

When visiting a Finn.

If a Finn has invited you to his/her home, for example, for dinner, then it would be good to thank him/her at the end of the evening. However, in many regions of India this is considered indecent. Good to know about that and refers to each other with understanding.

In many European countries, it is customary to take off shoes when entering a house.  Same in Finland, people are very careful about the cleanliness of their houses and take off their shoes before entering the house. Tourists should be aware of this before going to visit a Finn.

Sauna is a big part of Finnish culture, serving not only for wellness, but also a place for discussing business or even political issues. In the local business world, it is normal for colleagues or business partners to go to the sauna together and negotiate in a relaxed atmosphere. Of course, this does not happen all the time, but it is useful to learn.

 

It is necessary to be able to adapt to the environment and the new society in order to communicate effectively with representatives of different cultures. To do this, people do not need to be afraid to change their way of thinking and be able to put up with the inevitable inconveniences.

As a result, learning new things always brings a lot of positive emotions. And that’s why traveling to new countries is so exciting and delightful.

 

 

Horse sleighing in the snow while watching the starry sky.

What should tourists know before coming to Finland?

Posted By : Anita/ 120 0

What should tourists know before coming to Finland?

A high standard of living, good ecology, beautiful nature and many opportunities for travel and recreation – all this attracts tourists from all over the world to visit Finland. (Check out my last blog on the reasons for traveling to Finland.) However, travelers need to be aware of a lot of things to have a great holiday.

In addition to the obvious tips, such as checking the weather in advance and preparing a visa, there are others that tourists often do not know about.

What should a tourists know before coming to Finland?

 

There are a few rules to be aware of in Finland.

Smoking in public places is prohibited in the country. In Finland, smoking is allowed only at home (not on the balcony, since the smoke can get to neighbors) and outdoors, outside public places.

Those who plan to visit Finland by car will have to keep the utmost attention on the roads. In the northern regions, moose and deer often cross the roadway.

Finns love pets and take good care of them. However, unlike some other European countries, pets are not allowed in all cafes, restaurants, and shops. The same about hotels. (When booking a hotel, you should clarify this issue.). In hotels that provide such services, the owners of the pets usually have to pay extra. The trains have carriages in which people can travel with animals, which is indicated by stickers on the cars.

Urban transport is developed, especially in large cities. After paying for your ticket, do not forget to take it with you and keep it until the end of the trip. In the subway and trams, you can often find controllers who will check them. If you plan to use public transport frequently, it is worth purchasing daily tickets.

The waters in Finland are very clean, so do not be surprised if you get tap water in a bar or restaurant.

 

Tips for tourists.

Finland has excellent opportunities for a beach holiday. There are a lot of places where you can sunbathe and swim, as well as the local beaches are one of the cleanest and most well-groomed in Europe. Many Finns like to come to these beaches in the summer on boats and stay there overnight.

As souvenirs from Suomi, tourists bring designer products made of glass, ceramics, wood and metal, national Finnish dolls, the famous Fazer chocolate. The symbol of Finland is the elk, and figurines made from it are in great demand. Moomin figurines are no less popular.

Finnish cuisine is not exotic and complex, it is fresh, high quality and natural. Potatoes, smoked salmon, vegetables, and rye bread will look like a typical Finnish dish. I advise to try the fish, as it is incredibly tasty here. Restaurants with national cuisine are ubiquitous.

 

The main thing upon arrival in Finland is to take warm clothes with you and a good mood for travel. Share your travel tips for this fabulous northern country.

A man relaxing in a jacuzzi watching the northern lights.

Reasons for traveling to Finland.

Posted By : Anita/ 132 1

Reasons for traveling to Finland.

 

Hey! This is Anita, the Ecotravellers’ new trainee. I am the first international student in this company! I am very happy to be part of the team and I hope to bring something new to the company.

This post will be useful for those who are choosing a place for their next trip or for those who still have doubts about whether to go to Finland. So why visit Suomi? What are the reasons for traveling to Finland?

 

Why visit Finland?

I am often asked this question when I talk about my travels in Finland. Indeed, at first glance, there is nothing special there what mainly attracts tourists: there are no luxurious palaces, antique ruins, huge waterfalls, and so on. However, believe me, Finland is an unusual and charming place!

 

Reasons for traveling to Finland.

One of the main reasons to visit the country is Finnish stunning wildlife. You may have already heard that Finland is a land of thousands of lakes. Moreover, more than 70% of Finland is covered with magnificent forests, it is more than in any other country in Europe! The Finns are very concerned about the environment preservation. The best way to appreciate the delights of living in nature is to stay in an eco-friendly accommodation such as the Igloo.

Here everyone will find activities of interest. There are many sports facilities in the country that are available to everyone for free. There are huge parks with cycling and jogging tracks. In summer, there are an unusually large number of cyclists, runners, and Nordic walking enthusiasts. Ice hockey is the most popular winter sport in Finland, although there are other sports too, such as biathlon, skiing, and snowboarding.

Saunas are an integral part of Finnish culture and a national treasure. There are about 2 million saunas in the country with a population of 5 million people, on average, every Finnish family has one. The modern variety and convenience of saunas allows you to satisfy any whim, there is even a sauna in the Ferris wheel booth right in the center of Helsinki.

Finland is rich in historical monuments, museums, wonderful architectural works. Despite Finland’s small size, there are hundreds of museums that cannot be visited in one trip. Every house and every street in Helsinki are already history!

Finns are very friendly, polite, and welcoming, and they will always come to the rescue if something happens. The crime rate in Finland is very low, you can walk everywhere at night without fear of a hooligan attack or robbery. Respect for other people’s property, opinion and life explains the low crime rate.

The polar lights and white nights are wonderful and fantastic phenomena. In winter, the aurora borealis glitters enchantingly with lights over the sparkling white of the snow. And in summer, the sun sets behind the horizon for literally half an hour, and if the weather is clear, then the rays paint the sky and clouds in bright pure colors.

Moomins are beloved characters of children and adults all over the world. If you are traveling to Finland with children, be sure to make a route to get to famous places, one way or another connected with these cute creatures. The journey promises to be truly magical.

Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is one of the main attractions, and for many people it is the main reason for traveling to Finland. Here letters from children from all over the world get into, here Santa learns about the innermost wishes and dreams of millions of people. If you want to see Santa Claus, learn about his life and work, get acquainted with the friendly elves, you do not have to wait for Christmas and New Year. Santa’s residence is open all year round and in summer visiting it is no less interesting and exciting than in winter.

 

I have just told you about a few reasons for travelling to Finland, but I assure you there are many more! This fabulous country is worthy of the attention of every traveler. Next time I will tell you what you need to know before traveling to Finland and share some tips with you.

If you have not planned your trip yet, and you want it to be memorable, then contact us.

A man admiring the lakeview from the deck of a glass igloo.

Floating igloo – unique glamping experience in Helsinki

Posted By : Katariina/ 212 0

Hi! It’s Katariina here, Ecotravellers’ new trainee. I am a soon-to-be bachelor of tourism and for my last internship before graduating I wanted to learn more about tourism marketing and sustainable tourism. I am very excited to have joined the team at Ekomatkaajat / Ecotravellers Finland. Upon agreeing about the internship, I was given a very special task: stay the night in a floating igloo in Helsinki. Seriously? Wow, I think I am the luckiest trainee on earth.

About the AuroraHut floating igloo

Before arriving at the floating igloo, I did not want to read too much about it because I wanted to keep my reaction and thoughts as authentic as possible. However, here are a few facts about the AuroraHut floating igloo for you to better understand what I’m talking about. AuroraHut is an igloo-shaped boat with glass walls and glass roof. Boat because the igloo has a motor and can be driven to different spots on the water. The igloo can also be placed on ice during winter. The floating igloo is equipped with a double bed, small kitchen, composting toilet, and food cellar. I stayed at the floating igloo with a friend, and one of the things that amazed us the most was the attention put into details of the igloo. Everything was well-thought-through from reading lights and built-in Bluetooth speaker to wifi-connection and even an ice-fishing hole on the floor!

Enjoying the changing scenery through the igloo’s windows

The weather forecast for the day and night that we were going to spend at the floating igloo did not look too good: thunder, rain, and clouds. Typical to Finland, the forecast ended up changing. However, we got to follow the changing weather conditions through the glass windows: rain, clouds, sun, and even a beautiful rainbow that appeared in the afternoon. In the evening the sky turned pink and finally the city lights were switched on. I noticed my mood changing together with the weather. Being so caught up in the scenery changes and living in the moment, I felt like our stay was longer than just one night. It was like a mini getaway from the daily life.

Just a one-time wonder?

Something I thought about before the experience was whether staying at a floating igloo would be just a one-time thing, cool to try out once in your life and then moving on to the next new thing. While looking through the windows I found myself thinking how different the experience might be in different destinations, during different seasons and even in the same place from day-to-day depending on the weather. That is why I believe that there are no two identical stays at the AuroraHut.

The best of camping and a hotel stay at once

The term glamping, short for glamorous camping, has been trending in tourism during the latest years. The definition is “a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping” (Oxford Languages). I would say that the experience of staying at a floating igloo is glamping at its best. You get the perks of being surrounded by nature without having to worry about freezing yourself, getting soaked by a sudden thunderstorm or my favorite, attacked by the mosquitoes.

Environmental impacts of the floating igloo

Since the floating igloos are leased and sold through Ekomatkaajat / Ecotravellers Finland, I knew that staying there would be an environmentally friendly option. AuroraHuts are manufactured here in Finland, and for all the details, the company has collaborated with brands that are best on their field regarding eco-friendliness. The floating igloo does not need a building permit. Therefore, it won’t ruin the natural scenery. The igloo is heated with renewable fuel and operates with solar and biofuel power.

 

So, was the experience worth the hype? Yes definitely, if not even more so. Staying in a floating igloo is a very unique experience by itself. Staying in a floating igloo knowing you are choosing an eco-friendly accommodation option – even better.

Interested in reading more about unique accommodation options? Read also our previous post about tentsiles and sleeping in a reindeer park.

Three people in a tentsile with a sunset in the background.

Hidden treasures – unique accommodation in Finland

Posted By : Maria Ojajärvi/ 230

Ecotravellers Finland, established 2017, is company specialised in sustainable tourism in Finland. We have chosen ecological accommodations around Finland for our customers. Here are some of my favorite accommodations in Helsinki and Espoo!

Suggestion for 2021 – Helsinki

Are you interested in contemporary art? The first Helsinki Biennial will be held in Vallisaari Island 12.6.–26.9.2021. 

This unique nature tourism destination was opened for tourists in 2016. Vallisaari is also home to 1,000 butterfly species and moth species. This island is worth a visit!

Vallisaari is located only 20 minutes by boat from the Market Square in Helsinki. There are no hotels or hostels in Vallisaari. If you want to sleep in Vallisaari tree tentsile is the only option.

Suggestion for 2021 – Espoo

Nuuksio is easily accessible by public transportation. There are over 80 little lakes and ponds inside Nuuksio National Park and more than 30 kilometres of marked trails.

There are a lot of activities in Nuuksio to choose from.

Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is the first public building in Finland built entirely of wood. Exhibitions are worth visiting and the food in restaurant Haltia is very good and made of finnish ingredients.

Nuuksio offers two unique and ecological accommodations. Sleeping in a tree sounds amazing. It is very easy to climb into the tree tentsile and everything has been taken care of in advance. You will have guidance for all you need.

Another option is sleeping inside of Nuuksio Reindeer Park. Handcrafted Iglu cabin is made from natural materials. The iglu is very comfortable inside. When you open your window reindeer will come to greet you.  I totally well in love with this place!   

So – when are you planning on coming to Finland?