{Finland} A winter wonderland

 

Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti 11

 

Visiting Helsinki last year, I stayed fascinated by how close Finland was to nature. Lakes, forests were a cherished part of the city and yes, you were welcome to forage there for berries and mushrooms alike… The ferry to Tallinn offered a stunning view on the sweet little islands along the coast, some with just a handful of wooden houses, their colours blending beautifully with the autumn ones. Such a peaceful way of living, in harmony with the seasons.

The lake region, a mere 1h30 drive from Helsinki airport seemed the perfect place to spend half term with the children, let them forget tablet and video games for a while. We drove through forests of tall and elegant firs, draped in dark green foliage. Here and there a few houses, painted red and white, standing out in the landscape. Reindeers grazing peacefully in the fields, raising their head to watch us go past.

There is was, our sweet little retreat, right by the lake, the trees reflecting in the water.

We settled in, made a fondue, played games.

And then, the magic happened.

It snowed.

 

Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti 5 Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti 4 Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti lake Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti 6

 

It started at dusk with just a few flakes, building up to a thick carpet. Forget bedtime: there was snowmen to make and snowball fights to make… We then warmed up in the sauna, as Finnish tradition dictates, then settled down by the chimney fire, hot chocolate in hand. I could picture this as a snow globe scene: the red wooden house by the lake, gentle light shining through the windows, swirls of snow all around.

We had arrived in Finland in autumn. There were still touches of copper, golden yellow in nature. We woke up to a winter wonderland, a stunning palette of grey, black and white. I poured myself a cup of coffee and went to sit on the little pier by the lake, watching the steam rise and the firs reflect in the water, flakes dancing gently all around me. And oh, trust me: there is no better therapy in life…

 

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There soon was laughter behind me. The children were playing hide and seek, over the moon to be ankle deep in snow, their cheeks already pink in delight. We drove to Rauma, to see the pastel coloured houses of the historical centre. There was only a gentle dusting of white there: we watched toddlers rolling snow to make a sculpture, collecting dozens of dried leaves as they went along. Blending seasons together in the most artistic way…

But back home, oh, it was still snowing. There was something ever so heart-warming going back to our little cottage, beautifully wrapped in white, finding comfort in simple things: cooking some hearty food, curling up on the sofa with a book, or simply dreaming.

 

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New dawn, new day, new landscape.

We could see reindeers trail around the house, leading to the water.

And on the now partly frozen lake, long lines of duck paw prints.

The snow itself, iced, was sparking gently.

Finnish magic.

 

Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti 20 Finland Winter Wonderland snow winter Vesilahti 16

 

Needless to say, leaving Finland was hard… We already have plans to return in the summer, enjoy a BBQ by the lake, jump in the water, go kayaking. A paradise, away from everything where we can enjoy focusing on the most essential thing in life: being a family.

 

Practical information:

>> Where do I start? We flew from London to Helsinki, rented a car from there.

>> How to get there? Norwegian Airlines has really good prices from London and offer free WIFI during the flight.

>> Where do I stay? If you want to book the exact same cottage by the lake, in Vesilahti, click here.

>> How far is it? 1h30 drive from Helsinki airport.

>> What can I do around? Tampere (Moomin museum), Turku (with ferry rides to the many islands around), Rauma (adorable pastel coloured wooden houses) are all within driving range.

 

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48 Comments

  1. Jess
    November 8, 2017 / 16:48

    This looks absolutely magical! I’m not too sure I’d trust myself foraging but I’d love to wonder around the woodlands in a setting like that. Wow!

  2. Chocoralie
    November 8, 2017 / 19:10

    @Jess Thanfully there are walking tours for those who quite not know where to start… But imagine picking bluebberies in autumn – such joy!

  3. November 8, 2017 / 19:45

    Finland is on our list of places to visit. It looks like such a beautiful place to visit and we would love to see the Northern Lights there. My two little ones would love running about and playing in the snow.

  4. November 8, 2017 / 21:00

    This sounds like the perfect place to get away from it all and just enjoy the nature – and your family. The serenity you describe, the joy of this remote place with no gadget for the kids except what they find around – must be really relaxing. Now and the pictures are just marvelous – winter paradise! Really a great inspiration for a winter break.

  5. November 8, 2017 / 21:58

    WOW!! How utterly beautiful! I’ve nevr been to Finland but it really does look like a winter wonderland. I would love to go there!

  6. November 9, 2017 / 00:09

    It’s a winter wonderland! Your pictures are amazing. I love how you prioritize your family. We really have to make time for the most important people in our lives.

  7. November 9, 2017 / 06:54

    My husband and I live in Iowa, where we have a lot of snow in the winter as well. Our family also has a lake house. Your description of being out by the water and watching it snow .. I know the feeling exactly. It’s peaceful and beautiful. The kind of moment (and feeling) you want to sear into your memory. x

  8. Chocoralie
    November 9, 2017 / 08:13

    @Emma I have just started exploring the country and can’t wait to go back this summer to swim in the lake with the children, kayak, cycle, enjoy the crayfish parties too… Definitely a fantastic family place!

  9. Chocoralie
    November 9, 2017 / 08:15

    @Renata Green Finlands makes you forget you have wifi – in this digital world, this is quite something, isn’t it? It brings you back to what really matters, rebalances you. And that’s winter! In summer there are so many ourtdoors activities to enjoy…

  10. Chocoralie
    November 9, 2017 / 08:17

    @Five Little Doves Living in England, I am mostly used to rainy winters… I was as excited as the kids to see that much snow! But in cities, it gets mushy so fast. In Fin;and, it kept its beauty…

  11. Chocoralie
    November 9, 2017 / 09:56

    @Karla I travel a lot for work so we focus on quality moment with the kids… Holidays are out “memory making” time 🙂 We even bought some temporary hair colour dyes (24 hours) and everyone joined in. That was quite something as we all went for different colours. We became a rainbow family!

  12. Chocoralie
    November 9, 2017 / 09:57

    @Ali Rost How wonderful it must be to wake up to this every single morning and see it gently change with the seasons! XXX

  13. Misty Nelson
    November 9, 2017 / 17:04

    These pictures have me so excited for winter and snow days with my family! Now, if Christmas could hurry up!

  14. November 9, 2017 / 17:33

    brrr, these pictures are so… “wintery” 🙂
    Finland is in my bucket list and I hope I can enjoy its nature as soon as possibile!

  15. November 9, 2017 / 17:36

    This reminds me of Norther Michigan! Such beauty and so sad that people can’t see the beauty the snow brings!

  16. November 9, 2017 / 22:39

    Sounds like the most relaxing vacation. I’ve never seen pictures of Finland in the winter. It is absolutely magical! I live in a cold climate so visiting a cold climate is not my personal idea of a vacation but hey, you only live once and seeing the world is a wonderful gift. Coming back in the summer sounds more like my cup of tea. 😉

  17. November 10, 2017 / 05:57

    Love your writing! I can feel as I”m in the same adventure as yours by reading this peaceful post. Finland is indeed a wonderful country with amazing nature which I would love to visit. Thank you for the practical informations you shared.

  18. November 10, 2017 / 07:12

    I’ve been there but in May and it was daylight all day long. It was magnificent. Judging from your amazing photos it’s a wonderful place all year round.

  19. November 10, 2017 / 11:57

    wow you’ve captured some amazing spots here. I absolutely feel the vibes of the place. It’s putting me into a christmassy mood cause of the lot of snow 🙂

  20. Chocoralie
    November 10, 2017 / 11:58

    @Misty Nelson It makes you LOVE winter, doesn’t it?

  21. Chocoralie
    November 10, 2017 / 11:59

    @sabrina barbante It was suprisingly not so cold! The kids did not have gloves – I really wan’t expecting snow – and played for a good hour before really feeling icy. Perfect 🙂

  22. Chocoralie
    November 10, 2017 / 21:43

    @Hayden I love how snow erases all the imperfection in nature, only highlighting its quintessence…

  23. Via Bella
    November 11, 2017 / 00:30

    You are right- that looks so peaceful. I love that it snowed while you were there. That hits the spot for me.

  24. Chocoralie
    November 11, 2017 / 16:04

    @Sharon Koenig I fully understand you! Summer here is fantastic too – the lake region has a magical, romantic side to it. Imagine BBQ just by the like or foraging for mushrooms in autumn…

  25. November 11, 2017 / 16:34

    Snow… so magical. This alone must make a trip to Finland a must-do. A wonderful experience, I am sure the kids will never forget this white week abroad. Wonderful pictures too, as always.

  26. November 12, 2017 / 16:43

    Finland is totally amazing place to go to in the winter months. I was in Lapland earlier this year and loved being close to the nature. The reindeers love getting close to us by the roadside! Loving the photos in this post and glad you loved Finland

  27. November 12, 2017 / 23:10

    This is so beautiful and would be an absolutely magical winter experience. One thing I’m guilty of when it comes to traveling is that I always tend to travel during warm weather months, or escape to warm places when it’s cold. I definitely need to break out of that shell and give cold weather traveling a try, especially when I see places like this! Stunning!

  28. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:37

    @Rose Sahetapy Thank you ever so much for your kind words. Finland – and Iceland, another of my favourite – are so in touch with nature… Fantastic places to reset 🙂

  29. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:38

    @Akamatra In May already? Wow! Ionly went in autumn and winter. Helsinki is fantastic at Christmas! Taking due note to go back in spring 🙂 Thank you!

  30. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:40

    @Anna I’m so glad it does! Snow is the best way to love winter 🙂

  31. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:43

    @Via Bella I couldn’t have asked for more perfection! Although summer there… that must be quite something too!

  32. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:46

    @Silke They still talk about Iceland – they saw frozen lakes with tiny icebergs there but this definitely did beat it!

  33. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:48

    @Danik Oh that sounds absolutely magical… We did see a few reindeers in the fields but getting close to them… wow!

  34. Chocoralie
    November 13, 2017 / 00:49

    @Holly I was exactely like you not so long ago and then I discovered Iceland. And I wanted to see it in all seasons. I realised as long as the beauty is there O can do with the cold 🙂

  35. November 13, 2017 / 15:25

    I’ve always wanted to go there, as I find it fascinating especially in Winter. This article just reminded me that I’m missing out, wow!

  36. November 14, 2017 / 04:12

    Your pictures are beautiful. I love the pops of color in the snow. Stunning.

  37. November 14, 2017 / 20:43

    I have to admit, winter is not my favourite season, but in Finland it looks so magical! If I’m going to bundle up for cold weather anywhere, it’s going to be somewhere where I can see reindeer:)

  38. Chocoralie
    November 15, 2017 / 10:15

    @Dany Imagine spending a cosy Christmas in that little house by the lake… What a dream!

  39. Chocoralie
    November 15, 2017 / 10:21

    @Catherine It’s the right balance and the right red too, a deep, heartwarming, this is home red 🙂

  40. Chocoralie
    November 15, 2017 / 10:22

    @Jennifer I’m like you – I’m a summer person. But if it’s beautiful enough, I will forget the cold 🙂 I wish I had had more time there to wait at sunrise to see the reindeers come to the lake…

  41. Kerri
    November 16, 2017 / 08:23

    I love winter in Europe as where I live we don’t get a winter (well we get a few days of 12 degrees celsius and that is all 🙂 ). I’ve been to Iceland but never to Finland and based on this I’m there! Your photos are just a magical winter wonderland that makes me instantly want to be there with you eating that fondue and playing games (and possibly sipping on a cognac). Thanks so much for all of this, I loved it.

  42. Chocoralie
    November 16, 2017 / 15:49

    @Kerri I’m in love with Iceland, which I visited 4 times. To me Finland was a natural continuity – I longed for the same harmony nature, but with a few more trees… Trust me – this is the place for you if you ever need to reset 🙂

  43. November 16, 2017 / 22:54

    Finland looks so beautiful it reminds me alot of where we are in Canada….especially the snow! There is something magical about it, and being able to spend time in a sauna and have a hot chocolate after a day of snowman building is something kids remember forever. A perfect place to unplug from electronics and connect.

  44. Chocoralie
    November 17, 2017 / 09:37

    @Amy Oh, how lucky you are! Sounds like I need a Canada therapy too 🙂 I can’t picture a more wonderful winter lifestyle…

  45. November 17, 2017 / 14:38

    I’ll be honest- I grew up in a place where we got a lot of snow every year and I’ve grown accustomed to hating the winter season. But somehow, Finland makes me feel like I have to go see all that snow! Maybe just because it’s in a different country??

  46. November 17, 2017 / 17:10

    Wonderland endeed! Visit belarus, in the winter there is also a fairy tale!

  47. Chocoralie
    November 18, 2017 / 11:39

    @Brianna I can fully understand… I usually hate the cold in winter and snow turns to mush quickly. But this carpet of white does bring a kind of harmony… In that case, it has a black and white, beautifully dramatic touch to it too!

  48. Chocoralie
    November 18, 2017 / 11:40

    @Roman What a wonderful idea – will go and google fairy tale pictures straight away (it’s that kind of day!)

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