Getting back to traveling this year has been such a blessing and something I will never take for granted. A few weeks ago, I got the unique opportunity to jet-set with a group of women for an influencer trip to Finland. We were hosted by Visit Finland and Visit Rovaniemi. This was my second international trip since getting vaccinated and if you’ve been following me for a while you know I take all my travel decisions very seriously. After reviewing Finland’s COVID statistiics, vaccination data and travel restrictions; and the fact my entire group would be vaccinated, I decided to go to Finland.
Did you know that Finland has been voted “happiest place in the world” four years in a row. This is no shock, especially after you learn about their free education, healthcare and daycare; their emphasis on gender equality and its beautiful vast nature. While there is no such thing as a perfect place, Finland might be close enough for the Finnish people.
Our trip started in beautiful Helsinki which is the nation’s capital. Helsinki is a charming city with lots of restaurants and shopping but without the crowds. I was really impressed with the gastronomy in Finland. Granted, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was so thrilled to find that every meal was better than the last.
Where to stay : Artic TreeHouse
The highlight of my trip was in Rovaniemi. We got to stay at the Artic TreeHouse, which was absolutely breathtaking. Perfectly tucked in the lush woods with chic modern interiors, it is the ideal getaway location to stay while in Rovaniemi. Beautiful floor to ceiling windows allow guests to take in the gorgeous views. Imagine how beautiful it is during a snowy day or with the Northern lights in all it’s glory. It’s own restaurant, Rakas Restaurant was equally brilliant with an artistic flair and the tastiest dishes. Even if you don’t stay at Artic TreeHouse, iIhighly recommend this restaurant. However, I can’t emphasize how much I loved staying at Artic TreeHouse.
Things to do
Just a few steps from the hotel, is Santa Park which is the cutest indoor amusement park that embodies most of the things we love about Christmas. We got to tour the entire park with the elves. This is the perfect family friendly destination and kids would love meeting the elves, traveling through the train through the park or crossing the artic circle underground. It was definitely a fun experience.
Visit the Reindeer
Another noteworthy fact about Lapland, Finland is that there are about 200,000 reindeer. Each reindeer, even the free roaming ones are owned by a family or individual and can be identified by the distinct earmark branded on the reindeer. It is very possible for you to see free roaming reindeer in Rovaniemi. If you don’t you can also visit these iconic creatures at a reindeer farm. We had the opportunity to see some of them up close and personal at Konttaniemen Porotila, a reindeer farm in Rovaniemi. This was the cutest novel experience for me.
Aurora Floating Experience
The Aurora floating experience was quite the adventure. Imagine gearing up in an orange floating suit that is reminiscent of a space suit. Then, getting into a freezing lake in the pitch dark, and if you’re lucky, viewing the Aurora Borealis while floating. While we didn’t see the Northern lights, floating on the lake was an amazing experience. I was a tad bit scared at first because I still don’t know how to swim. However as soon as I got into the water, it was actually an exciting then peaceful experience. We had a guide with us the whole time, who went through all the safety precautions, how to navigate in the water and kept us safe through the experience.
Another fun activity was dog sledding. We visited and toured Bearhill husky and learned about ethical and sustainable dog sledding practices. It was reassuring to learn about the conditions in which the dog were trained and taken care of. After a quick introduction and safety check, we proceeded down the trail in the rain. This was definitely a unique experience which I enjoyed. However, I recommend that if you plan on participating in dog sledding that you do some research about the company of choice and make sure they are doing so ethically and responsibly.
How to get to Finland
Living in Chicago, it was an easy 8h 45min flight to Helsinki and another 1h 20 minute flight from Helsinki to Rovaniemi. There are direct flights from Chicago to Rovaniemi as well. I can’t thank Finnair enough for making our business class flights to Finland, Rovaniemi and back to Chicago so seamless. I was able to get some much needed rest on each flight thanks to the seats that transformed into a horizontal bed. The staff and service was amazing! Simply thankful to have had this experience. Regardless of what flight you may be taking, I highly recommend going to Finland either with friends or family. If you have kids, they would be over the moon happy at Rovaniemi.
What to pack
Of course, this depends on the time of the year that you decide to go. I was in Finland in the second week of October. Helsinki was in the 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit, while Rovaniemi was 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit with lots of rain. Naturally, sweaters, a warm jacket and rain boots are in order. Since I’m a fashion girl, I obviously overpacked (don’t do that). I recommend, checking the weather in advance of your trip and planning accordingly. If you plan on participating in any outdoor activities, don’t forget your comfy boots and warm weather essentials. I’ve linked most of my outfits below.
:: My Outfits ::