One part of Finnish culture that not many people from outside of the country are aware of is the practice of spending weekends and holidays at lakeside cottages for fishing, swimming, boating, and other outdoor activities with the family. Hotels in Finland can be expensive and it takes more than a week or two to experience everything in the country, so renting one of these cottages is a highly affordable alternative.
Koli National Park, in the Karelia region of Eastern Finland, is an area of stunning natural beauty and there are multiple rental cabins in the area. The Pearl of the North, from Finland Cottage Rentals, is a particularly fine example and a great illustration of the beauty of summer cottage architecture. The wooden interior is decorated in warm colours giving it a homey feeling and the cabin is ideally located for all country activities, with the national park and ski resort only 30KM away. Lake Höytiäinen has even been voted the best lake in Finland for pike fishing.
Finland Cottage Rentals, Joensuu, Finland, +358 45 895 5088
If you have come to Finland to ski then a rental cabin may be a more cost-effective option than a hotel or resort. Lomarengas has cottages at dozens of ski resorts, as well as other locations throughout Finland which, in the summer, also serve as ideal spots for fishing and boating. They range from large luxury cabins to small, rustic wilderness lodges.
Lomarengas, Helsinki, Finland, +358 306 502 502
The once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the northern lights draws many to Lapland, but the specialist hotels can charge upwards of 500 euros per night. A more affordable and authentic option is to rent a cabin in Lapland, such as the beautiful cabin Aamunkoi. You can gather around the firepit at night to keep an eye out for the aurora, enjoy the comfortable interior of the cabin and have a base for all of the other Lapland activities.
Aamunkoi, +358 40 725 7611
Some particularly fine examples of modern ski cabins are those offered by Ruka in the Rukatunturi ski resort. They are practically on the doorstep of the resort with a ‘ski in ski out’ operation and connections to the local resort and services. The modern interiors and furnishings may appeal to guests who might prefer them to some of the older, more rustic cabins but still embody a classic Finnish feeling.
Ruka, Rukatunturi, Finland, +358 40 860 8365
If you only want a brief experience of the summer cottage life, or wish to be close enough to Helsinki to take in the sights of the city as well, the Lakeside Cottage Experience in Nuuksio National Park available through Feel the Nature is ideal. There are options for day trips or to spend a single night in one of their lovely log cabins in the national park. If you haven’t visited Finland before or are new to summer cottage life, it makes for an ideal first taste.
Feel the Nature, Helsinki, Finland, +358 10 581 3890
Not all summer homes are located on lakesides: on the Turku Archipelago, the largest archipelago in the world, there are also cottages located on private islands, providing fishing and boating in the Baltic Sea. An island cottage from Archipelago Booking allows you to explore the archipelago, visit the shops and cultural sites in the city of Turku, and even take the ferry for a short break to Sweden, which is an overnight journey across the Baltic Sea.
Archipelago Booking, Nauvo, Finland, +358-2-410 6600
This one isn’t technically a cottage but does still make for unique accommodation. This houseboat near the city of Jyväskylä, which can be booked through Novasol, allows you to travel the lake system, which is a prime spot for fishing, dock in the city harbour or enjoy the beaches. It has all the comforts of a regular cottage, including a unique onboard sauna.
Novasol, Virum, Denmark, +45 3914 3555
Lake Saimaa is the only place where you will find Finland’s most endangered species, the Saimaa ringed seal, which is the rarest seal in the world. While it is best not to disturb the seals’ homes, there is still a lot to see and experience at Lake Saimaa throughout the year, from fruit picking to ice fishing. Loikansaari rents out cottages and villas across the lake and there is the well-placed Manor Boutique, a shop where you can pick up hand-crafted souvenirs and local travel information.
Loikansaari, Savonlinna, Finland, 0440 640 116
Tampere is the second largest city in Finland and is surrounded by numerous lake systems and forests. The best way to experience a taste of both the city and country life is through German-based Inter Chalet which rents out cottages with saunas and boats across the area, some of them just meters away from the water. These chalets combine the authenticity of the traditional look with modern conveniences which aren’t available in some of the more traditional rental cottages such as internet access, air conditioning, and dishwashers.
Inter Chalet, Freiburg, Germany +49 (0)761 – 2100 77
Described on their website as ‘a Finnish Fairy Tale’, SuomenSatu rents out cottages throughout Levi and Koli, all of which look like houses from fairy tales whether you visit in winter or summer. Their cottages range from PielisLinna, which is perfect for a romantic couple’s getaway, to KolinPivi, which caters to families with children. Their cottages are also all conveniently close to their corresponding local ski resorts.
SuomenSatu, +358 45-1715-405