Things you just have to do when in Finland

1. Go to a sauna and jump into the lake afterwards
Finland and saunas belong together. I won’t have to tell you about saunas, however I will tell you about the proper Finnish way to do it. Going to a sauna that is. A question often asked is if you should wear bathing clothes or if you go naked. In Finland, going to a sauna is a thing you normally do with friends and family. So if you are with strangers, there are two options: either men and women take turns and go separately or you wear your bathing clothes…

Before entering the sauna, take a shower. If you are going to a traditional smoke sauna make sure to bring something to sit on because the piece of wood you are going to sit on, will be burning hot! And if you touch the wall (or anything else for that matter) you will be black. With smoke.

After the sauna, you obviously take a plunge into the lake to cool down. And yes believe me, it was cold. And liberating. So basically, going to a sauna is all about:

1. sit
2. swim
3. rinse
4. repeat

Be sure that when you are repeating, you bring a beer. Or two… in Finland, anything is possible.

2. Eat liqourice ice cream
While in Savonlinna, try out the liquorice ice cream. You can buy it at the small booth just before the entrance to the castle. Finns love their liquorice (and I thought my country was the capital of liquorice. Boy, how wrong I was) and liquorice ice cream should definitely be on the menu for you to try. In case the booth is closed do not worry, liquorice ice cream is available widely throughout the region…

3. See a proper sunset
You can’t leave Finland without witnessing a proper lakeview sunset. Lakeview sunsets are common in Finland, at least when it’s a sunny day. If the day is almost over, head out to a shore, just sit down and wait until the sun starts to sink towards the horizon. If you are lucky, the surroundings will take the most beautiful colors and light up the sense of life again. Do remember, if you check an app for the sunset time, always make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes earlier. The time given is the time when the sun disappears and the time when you are already too late…

4. Try table curling
Who would have guessed that a table with some sand can make a fun night? When finding out that table curling was on our schedule I had to smile. Seeing myself sweep the water from the ice on a table like they do on the Olympics but then for real was a scary thought. However, when table curling it’s not ice but sand you are sliding the ball (or however such a thing is called) over. Rules are easy: just get as much points as you can! Make sure to bring plenty of friends and booze and let the fun begin!

And finally: get drunk on Salmiakki shots
The first shot made me cough, the second was better and I really liked the third. Salmiakki can only be explained as what your mother used to give you when you had a sore throat as a kid. Mix that with alcohol and you’re guaranteed to have a great night. And an even better headache the morning after…

Instead of adding pictures, I decided to share an amazing video that my friend Nella made. Basically, it shows it all you have to know about the things I mentioned. Except for the Salmiakki shots…

For more things to do in Finland, read our “10 Things to do in Saimaa” blogpost. I went to Finland as a part of the Outdoors Finland bloggers project, organized by Visit Finland. Click here to read all blogs about Finland, both in English and Dutch.

Thanks for sharing!



  • Tam Gamble

    Finland is at the top of our travel list (we just need to find some time to arrange a visit) but when we finally make it there we have already looked into completing a traditional sauna. I don’t like the cold but I think it’s a one time experience. I will be adding the Liquorice Ice Cream to the list as well. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Hannah

    I was in Helsinki just as a day trip from Tallinn and although the sunset wasn’t by a lake but over a parking lot as I waited to get back on the ship it was probably the prettiest one I have ever seen- so pinky/purple compared to what I have seen before. I loved it

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