My original plan was to go to Ahvenanmaa by car for a weekend. But after a deep and more detailed research I came to a conclusion that two days is just not enough. It’s doable in three days, but best is to have at least four. It also means that it will need a bigger budget as well. Long story short, plan A went right out the window. And for some unknown reason I haven’t prepared any plan B, which is completely out of character for a control freak like me.
Why I chose Hanko? Well, I’ve never been there before. Plain and simple.
There was no time to make any specific plans for this road trip. Only thing I knew is that Hanko will be our final destination before we head back home, and that we probably are going to stay a night somewhere in Hanko area.
Hanko is about 120 km away from our home in Espoo. And if we took a straight road, we’d arrive there in one and a half hour or so. That is why my husband suggested to visit a couple of places on our way.
We made our first stop in a small village with a funny name, Snappertuna. There is not much to see; a few wooden houses, kinder garden and an old cemetery next to the church. Yet there is something about this place that makes me feel nostalgic.
Next we went to Tammisaari (Ekenäs in Swedish), which used to be a medieval fishing village. Most of the Old Town buildings are from the 19th and the end of 18th centuries. And that what makes this place so special.
Tammisaari reminded me of Porvoo, they both have streets that look like a collection of vintage postcards. But even though they have many similarities, the vibes are totally different. Porvoo is a very popular tourist destination, so it is overflowed with tourists all year around. Tammisaari on the other hand is almost tourist-free. The atmosphere here is more relaxed, more easy going, more peaceful, more zen. This town seems to have it all, the history, the character, the beautiful old houses, Ekenäs church that looks like a medieval castle, the harbor and the beach. It’s idyllic! And that is why I want to say to Porvoo, “I’m sorry, but things have changed and Tammisaari is my favorite town in Finland now.”
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The day was coming to an end and it was time to book an accommodation. Unfortunately, all the places in Hanko were reserved. There were no vacancies in Tammisaari either. I found a couple of possibilities on Airbnb, but the prices were ridiculous. They were almost as high as the prices in a good hotel in Helsinki.
It’s not the first time when I’ve noticed that Finnish B&Bs and guest houses are usually much cheaper than the best offers on Airbnb. Keep it in mind, if you decide to travel to Finland.
Anyways, I used Google maps to search for motels, B&Bs, etc. within a 40-kilometer radius. To my surprise 99% of the places were booked. But then again it was a high season in Finland, so no wonder. Luckily, I managed to find that 1% in Fiskars, and we reserved it right away via phone. Now we had a place for a night; a room with a shared bathroom in the Villa Taika guesthouse (Fiskarsintie 513).
So, as you can see things don’t always go according to plan, and that’s how it happens in real life. Besides there is no need to react negatively when things are not going your way, you can always turn it into adventure. At least that’s what I usually do.
This time though I was especially happy that my plan went sideways, because Villa Taika turned out to be one of the coolest and funkiest places, I’ve ever stayed in. The interior and décor of each and every room are done in same style, some sort of Indian fusion. My reaction to this place was, “WOW!”. It is truly unique, it has a soul.
There is also a double bed in the room, but it’s not possible to see it on the photo. And that’s the view from the window:
So cosy and homey. It felt like I’m visiting a distant relative for a weekend.
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As for Fiskars village, it’s a nice and quiet town. It is very popular among artists, artisans and designers. There are a few workshops, designer shops, café and restaurants. Fiskars even have own brewery!
It is also a hometown of the world’s famous brand Fiskars, which was established back in 1649 (!). I think one of their most popular products are the orange-handle scissors.
In my opinion, Fiskars village is perfect for so called “lazy weekend getaway”.
Clock tower building from 1826:
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Next morning right after breakfast we headed towards our final destination, the southernmost point of Finland, Hanko Peninsula.
The church and the water tower were rebuilt after they’ve been destroyed by Soviets in the World War II.
Previously these red wooden buildings were used as a storage, but nowadays it’s a line of different type of restaurants.
First thing that popped into my head when I saw Hanko was… Jūrmala, Latvian resort city on the Gulf of Riga. I guess, they have some similarities, like nature, resort vibe and lots of wooden seaside villas.
Walking along the harbor, looking at the sailing boats, enjoying the light breeze and the warmth of the summer sun; it all made me feel like I am somewhere else, somewhere abroad, on a vacation. So strange… I’ve never felt anything like this before in Finland. Usually when I hear the word “vacation”, I imagine a white sand beach, tall palms and clear blue sea water. Best example would be Southern Europe. Not Southern Finland. I don’t know what the reason might be, but it just feels different in Hanko. There is definitely something in the air.
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If you are planning to drive the same route as we did, then I would suggest you visit Raseborg and its medieval castle. It was originally built on a small island in the north end of a sea bay. The sea level lowered over the years, and it became harder to reach the castle by boat. So, over time Raseborg castle lost its importance and was abandoned.
Mustion linna is a lovely place as well.
For more photos and video, you can check my Instagram stories and IGTV.
Hope you enjoyed it!