And with this post, my blog has risen from the dead!

I figured another trip to the land of the Finns called for a yearly blog post. I have plans on sharing my other travels from my time in between but, well, no promises shall be made.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to travel back to Finland to promote Finnair’s StopOver Program. The program offers passengers flying through Helsinki the option of spending up to five days in Finland at no additional cost on either end of their journeys. Although my assignment was the same, my experience this time around was entirely different.

We spent three nights in Helsinki and three nights in Hanko, a beach town on the south coast of Finland. I loved both portions of the trip for a variety of reasons, but the main one being the food…I can’t say enough good things. If you like fresh fish, potatoes, vegetables, bread, and berries…go to Finland. Everything was impeccable.

This trip seemed to centralize around art, hospitality, food, and local businesses. It was a wonderfully creative way to explore the Scandinavian landscape and felt uniquely unlike my time before. I truly loved every minute.

Scroll for imagery and more details from our journeys :)

Scenes from the air with Finnair

Streets of Helsinki

After settling into our rooms at Hotel Katajanokka, we enjoyed a delicious Dinner at Garden by Olo for our first night.

Golden hour at Uspensky Orthodox Cathedral

Exploring the Kauppatori Farmer’s market where I tasted the best strawberry I’ve ever had in my life.

After the farmer’s market, we took a ferry to Lonna Island for a delicious lunch at the local restaurant. I had my first fireweed salad and my life has been forever changed.

We stopped by Allas Sea Pool for a sauna and a dip. Fun fact, there are more sauna’s in Finland than cars. The brown cube on the ferris wheel is actually a sauna :)

Dinner at Restaurant Shelter left me speechless. Probably my favorite of the trip but it’s just cruel to pick favorites at this point…

10:30pm sunset in Helsinki on the left followed by the next morning’s Marimekko fashion show on the right.

An aesthetically pleasing lunch at The Cock.

Followed by a visit to Helsinki’s incredibly innovative art museum, Amos Rex.

Ending our time in Helsinki with a delicious dinner at Restaurant Emo.

After three nights in Helsinki, we traveled south for our second leg of the trip. Before arriving in Hanko, we stopped at a small town called Fiskars (home of the Fiskars scissors woohoo!). Even with less than 1000 inhabitants, Fiskars has a very strong artist community. After a wonderful vegetarian lunch at Restaurant Kuparipaja, we attended the opening of Fiskars Biennale Art Exhibition, followed by a quick stop by Ägräs Distillery Tap Room.

Once we arrived in Hanko and checked into the Regatta Spa Hotel, we headed downstairs for dinner at Brasserie Regatta.

The following morning we took an archipelago cruise to the Bengtskär Lighthouse. We learned of it’s history, had a wonderful lunch, climbed to the top, and saw hundreds of nesting eider ducks surrounding the property. It was quite surreal to look at a map and see how we were just this tiny dot at sea.

Clear blue skies of Hanko from the top of the city’s water tower.

A wonderful dinner at the oldest restaurant in Hanko, Restaurant Origo. The mayor of Hanko was so kind to join us for this meal, and we were grateful to learn his hopes and goals for the city as well as the world.

Our final day was dedicated to relaxing and enjoying the scenic spa.

In the early evening, we took a quick ferry to a private sauna in the eastern harbor. After getting nice and steamy, we jumped in the baltic sea for a brief (and freezing!) dip.

We ended our final evening with a delicious seafood BBQ at Brasserie Regatta.

The sunset that night couldn’t have been a more beautiful farewell from such a magical place.

Thank you to Finnair, Visit Finland, My Helsinki, Hanko Tourism, Hotel Katajanokka, Hotel Regatta, Zapwater Communications, and all our wonderful tour guides and hospitable partners who made this trip possible. This was a week I will never forget. Thank you for allowing me to capture the joys of your country through the lens of my camera.

Until next time,


Julie Kennedy1 Comment