Enjoy Nordic luxury this winter with a trip to Finland
Looking for a luxury winter getaway to blow away those January blues? There’s no better way to kick off the new year than by getting away from it all for a few days – but while sun-drenched long-haul destinations such as the Caribbean might be your usual choice, this year, why not try something different?
Rather than escaping the cold winter weather, we say embrace it instead. January in the UK might not be much fun, but some countries know just how to do snow in style. One of those is undoubtedly Finland – somewhere you may never have considered visiting before. But whether it’s heading for the mountains for an action-packed getaway or cosying up in a log cabin beside a roaring open fire, there’s a Finnish break for you.
We’ve rounded up some of the best destinations to choose from to get you inspired – all you have to do is book those flights.
The Finnish capital of Helsinki is beautiful, clean and easy to get around, making for the perfect untapped city break destination, whatever the time of year. The trendy Design District is dedicated to all things Nordic and cool, while the stunning UNESCO-listed fortress island of Suomenlinna – which is well worth a visit – is just a 10-minute ferry ride away.
If you’re in search of some exciting nightlife, then Helsinki certainly won’t disappoint; with one of the most luxurious club scenes in Europe right now, it offers a great night out. The Finns love to gamble, online as well as offline, and they are also huge fans of getting dressed up in their finest for the occasion. The best place to experience this first-hand is at the Helsinki casino, where celebrities and VIPs from across the Nordic region and even nearby St Petersburg can often be found letting their hair down.
Lovers of luxury will be spoilt for choice when it comes to opulent accommodation choices in Helsinki, with five-star hotels and apartments available in most areas of the city. The newly-refurbished art nouveau Seurahone is conveniently located slap bang next to Helsinki train station, while the internationally-renowned Haikko Manor & Spa is just 30 Km out of town in the charming seaside town of Porvoo.
Turku and the Finnish Archipelago
You may not have heard of the city of Turku, but once you’ve been there, you won’t forget it. Standing proudly on Finland’s west coast, it’s the gateway to Archipelago National Park, made up of thousands of islands which stretch all the way to Sweden.
The best way to reach the islands is on a luxury cruise aboard former WWII steamship Ukkopekka, which now offers day or evening dinner cruises from Turku’s Castle to Naantali and Loistokari Island. But make no mistake; Turku is also worth visiting in its own right, as it is known to be Finland’s friendliest city, as well as being home to the Mehilainen Sports clinic. This is where the world’s top footballers from past and present – including Pep Guardiola and David Beckham go to get treated. If you want the highest-class medical care in an elite environment, then Turku is the place to head.
Above the Arctic circle, Finnish Lapland is a winter wonderland of Northern Lights, perhaps best known for its endless snow and of course for being the home of Santa. The main city of Rovaniemi is the official home of Saint Nicholas, and his grotto is open all year round for a visit. Just make sure to take a carrot for his reindeer, to avoid being placed on a naughty list.
This part of Finland has some of the most romantic luxury accommodation options anywhere in the world. You can choose from sleeping in a glass igloo and falling asleep while gazing at the Northern Lights, or live out your childhood dreams by spending the night in an Arctic treehouse. Snowsport fans can head to nearby Levi for the best skiing and snowboarding north of the Alps and enjoy a Husky Sleigh ride through the forests of Lapland.
Winter doesn’t have to be dull and dismal, and these vibrant destinations are proof, offering the perfect mix of culture and cosiness, with plenty of snow thrown in for good measure.