Real FINNISH: Cottage with sauna right on the lake
A guest at the Hawkhill Resort. A guest contribution by Charlott Tornow:
The Finns love their cottages like probably no other European people: weekend holiday homes in the forest and mostly right by the lake. After all, 65 percent of Finland's area is covered by forest, plus almost 190.000 lakes! Finns practically grow up with nature in their blood, so it's no wonder that there is a veritable cult surrounding cottages in Finland. There's a cottage holiday, cottage meetings, a cottage road, cottage socks, even a song dedicated to the cottage concept. Musician Arttu Wiskari sings in his song "Mökkitie": "Dad please let me drive the cottage road, I promise I'll carry the water to sauna, I remember the pebbles and stumps of this gravel road."
Spend your holiday typically Finnish in a holiday home by the lake
So if you are planning a vacation in Finland, you should definitely look out for a holiday home by the lake. How good that I have already found the right one for you. The nice thing about Finland is that it is never far to the next forest or national park, so that after a day or two of sightseeing you can leave Helsinki behind and immerse yourself in nature. Because it is just 50 kilometers from the capital Hawkhill Nature Resort in the middle of the Nuuksio National Park.
This trip took place in February last year. Due to the current situation and the dynamic situation, when planning your trip, we recommend that you refer to the Foreign Office pages to inform you about the current regulations in your travel destination.
The Hawkhill Cottages are tucked away in the forest about 50 kilometers from Helsinki
It takes just under 50 minutes by car from Helsinki, if you like it more sustainable, you can take the bus to Kattila and walk the last four kilometers - light luggage is of course essential. Alternatively, I recommend taking the bus to Veikkola, from where a taxi will bring you to the cottage door. Additional navigation with a mobile phone is not unimportant, because the Hawkhill cottages are hidden in the forest and 20 minutes from the next major road. During the journey you dive deep into the forest, which is an important prerequisite for the ultimate cottage feeling - because only when you are far enough away from civilization can you really get involved in nature. And there's a lot of that here.
The ten holiday homes of the Hawkhill Nature Resort are located directly on one of the countless small lakes in Finland and are surrounded by lush green coniferous forests. The houses are, of course, a reasonable distance from the nearest one - after all, you want to have some peace and quiet - and thanks to their construction they blend in perfectly with the landscape: While the foundation is made of stone, thick deadwood and pine tree trunks adorn the facade and protrude on the sides pointed out - a bit like trees knocked over by the wind. The tree trunks can of course also be seen in the house, which gives you the feeling that you are living like a little bird inside the tree. When entering the houses it smells earthy, a bit like the last sauna infusion or the fireplace that the previous tenant may have been using. Large windows provide a view of the lake, which means that contact with nature is always established.
Sustainability and closeness to nature are very important to the hosts
You quickly notice how important architecture and interior design can be for your well-being, because super modern holiday homes would have been out of place here. Annu Huotari, who runs the Hawkhill with her siblings Matti Huotari and Kaisa Ala-Outinen, explains to me how important sustainability and closeness to nature are to her and her siblings: The houses are made of sustainable materials and with as little concrete and synthetic materials as built possible, the electricity used is CO2-free, the heating is operated centrally and only turned up on demand. All shampoos and cleaning agents that are used in the houses are vegan and sustainable and when it comes to catering, they rely on local producers, for example from the nearby town of Ojakkala.
You have the choice between self-catering or a complete carefree package
Speaking of catering: The Hakwhill Cottages are designed for self-catering, but a complete supply package can be booked for the duration of the overnight stay on request and the operators even cater to vegan or vegetarian requests. I definitely recommend the catering, because on the one hand the siblings attach great importance to the quality and sustainability of the ingredients, on the other hand it is an unbeatable feeling to be welcomed by a bulging refrigerator. There is also a small recipe book ready in every house, with which typical Finnish dishes can be cooked.
All around there is a lot to experience in every season
Of course, you can eat all the time here or enjoy the view of the lake and the calming sound of nature on the terrace. Or you can jump into the water in summer, go ice bathing in winter, fish for fish, go canoeing, have a BBQ with family and friends or collect berries and mushrooms in the forest. I definitely recommend a lonely hike through the national park and a visit to Reindeer Park Nuuksio, which you can reach on foot in just under two to three hours. Yes, you read that right, here in southern Finland there are reindeer that you can visit, feed and pet if they want. When the fir trees are heavily laden with snow in winter and the northern lights can even be seen on very clear nights, there is definitely a Lapland feeling here.