Idyllic Finland: The Ultimate 4 Day Travel Guide

Kimito Island The Wanderlust Bug

 

 

I visited Finland for the first time back in June, and instantly fell in love with the tranquility, way of life and of course the iconic midnight sun. Here is my ultimate 4 day guide that will get you to all the best bits of Finland and leave you wanting more. From sweeping national parks and waterlily lakes to treehouse villages and smoke saunas, Finland really is one of the most exciting places to be for the summer.

 

DAY 1 – Helsinki: Finland’s foodie paradise

Fly into Helsinki with Finnair and begin your Nordic adventure. The country’s buzzing capital is small yet seriously sophisticated, and is definitely the place to be if you’re into creative eating…

Spend your first day sipping creative cocktails (think Seaweed & Riesling, Liquorice root & Lemon) at Hotel Lilla Roberts and experiencing a fabulous 9 course meal (omg) at Bronda.

For your first evening activity, head up to the rooftop Ateljée Bar to watch the sun set behind the dusky skyline. With magnificent sweeping views of the city, this place has to be a must for any sunset lover.

Klaus K Rooftop The Wanderlust Bug 3

 

DAY 2: The Kimito Islands: Lighthouses, Cafés, The Great Outdoors

Head out to the islands of the Turku Archipelago – the Kimito islands to be exact. The islands must be reached by ferry from the mainland.

A picturesque cycle route along the coastal trail of Kimito will bring you to the tranquil oasis that is Westers Garden. The owners pride themselves on making everything from the vegetables and herbs that are grown in their garden alongside the manor.

Standing alone on the island at 52 metres above sea level, it is easy to see why Bengtskär is a popular destination with visitors. The lighthouse often hosts exhibitions and events, and if you have time why not spend a night in the boutique hotel in the tower?

Take the short ferry journey to Högsåra island where you will find the sweet and picturesque Farmors Café known for its freshly baked cakes and local delicacies. Söderlångvik Manor, an elegant villa dating back to the 1500’s is only a stone’s throw away, a must for anyone in search of Finnish history.

 

DAY 3: Treehouses & Underground Saunas

If you want to feel like a woodland fairy, take a trip to the Storfinnhova Forest Village where you will find a handful of treehouses hidden high up amongst the trees.

If you can picture the lost boys’ underground hideout in Peter Pan, then you aren’t far off imagining the underground candle-lit smoke-sauna that weaves around the forest creak.

Stretching across two levels, the water from the upper basin flows down through the underground stream and cascades down into the pool below. Simply heavenly.

 

DAY 4: National Parks & Waterlily Lakes

Wake up refreshed after your night in the forest and take a short ferry to another of Finland’s absolute treasures: Teijo National Park. A nature lovers dream, activities include rowing, wild swimming, canoeing and strolling around the many waterlily lakes.

No visit to the area is complete without a visit to Mathildedal Brewery and Bakery for the most delicious freshly baked bread and thirst-quenching beer.

Just nearby, a budding baker named Ada Bakes bakes the most divine cakes I have ever tasted – make sure to check out her family’s Ironworks village if you’re passing through.

After lunch, head back to the capital and on to the airport to catch your flight home. Rest assured you’ll be back soon, I promise you won’t able to stay away. 🙂

I was a guest of Visit Finland on this trip.

 

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FLANNELS: The Travel File: Ibiza

FLANNELS: The Travel File: Ibiza The Wanderlust Bug

 

From whitewashed Ibicenco villages and crystal clear turquoise waters, to stylish beach clubs and world-class DJs, Ibiza is one of the most exciting places I’ve ever visited (I just can’t seem to stay away)!

And it’s not only glitz, glam and music – the island is full of history and culture. No visit is complete without a wander around Dalt Vila, Ibiza’s Old Town, so make sure this is at the top of your list.

I put together a travel file of must-dos and must-sees for Flannels, that will definitely want to make you visit Ibiza for yourself.

If you’re heading out to the island and are in search of a little inspiration, luxury, or even just the best places to eat, check out the feature here

 

 

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Review: Lazeez Tapas. ‘Bringing Out The Taste Of Beirut.’

Review Lazeez Tapas The Wanderlust Bug 2

Lazeez Tapas The Wanderlust Bug

Lazeez Tapas: Location to kill, mouth-watering food and a team that goes above and beyond.

Greeted with a warm smile and the sweet smell of apple and mint shisha, I sat down at the shimmering golden table out on the terrace at Lazeez Tapas in Mayfair. “You’re Liberty! Hello!”

I was, and I was here to try some delicious Lebanese tapas. YUM

I had never tried Lebanese food, so I was super excited. “You’ve never tried Lebanese food!?” Emilo the owner exclaimed. Now I felt bad. “You will love it, you’ll see. Some of the best food in the world.” And he wasn’t wrong…

Emilio stayed and chatted with my friend and I for a while, whilst we sipped crisp Lebanese wine and after no longer than 15 or so minutes, our first dish emerged from the kitchen: Motabaal. A dip made from grilled aubergine and tahini. Simply delicious.  Not only was this super speedy but the dish was clearly a crowd pleaser – cultural, colourful, and an explosion of flavours.

Review Lazeez Tapas The Wanderlust Bug 5

From that point on, dishes arrived in rapid succession, and we were greeted with the most scrumptious array of Lebanese food.

The second dish I sunk my teeth into was the Grilled Halloumi Cheese. Being a vegetarian, I’ve tried my fair share of halloumi and this was definitely a winner, with the perfect balance of creaminess and salt and a beautiful springy texture.

Review Lazeez Tapas The Wanderlust Bug 7

Dishes to follow included Patata Harra (spicy fried potatoes topped with coriander, chili and lemon sauce), Lazeez Falafel, Spicy Lebanese Salad,  Chicken Shawarma and freshly made pitta. Each dish was as delicious as the last, but I have to say the falafels were really something else – the perfect crunchy accompaniment to the rich, creamy hummus. Check out the rest of their menu here.

Not only is Lazeez Tapas a foodie paradise, but the restaurant also has a great cultural atmosphere, serving tea in Middle Eastern brass tea sets, serving baklava for dessert and shisha with a main course from 2pm onwards.

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Would you eat these crazy Chinese dishes?

Send To China

Say the phrase ‘Chinese dish’ to any westerner and it will conjure up images of sweet and sour pork, prawn dumplings and duck pancakes – classic dishes found at any UK based Chinese restaurant or takeaway.

Although these foods typically are Chinese, they have been adapted to fit in with western culture, and they are not necessarily the dishes that the Chinese themselves eat on a day to day basis…

Having briefly visited China, I can tell you that they branch out from these dishes and are a little more risqué than we imagine. They prefer their own crazy Chinese dishes.

For example, in a lot of scenarios the breast of a chicken would be the last part they would choose to eat, and alternative body parts would be higher up on the menu (think head, feet, liver, heart).

Crazy Chinese Dishes

 

WOULD YOU EAT THESE CRAZY CHINESE DISHES?

I spent a week in Beijing back in 2011. As a vegetarian in Beijing, it soon became clear to me that the Chinese food culture would be somewhat of a challenge.

Most dishes we came across were either ground dog with rice, charred tarantula and giant millipedes on sticks or vacuum packed chicken feet, and navigating through the rows of glazed animal body parts at the traditional markets was also an adventure.

 

WHAT DID I EAT?

Whilst I appreciated the Chinese culture and I found it so interesting, I was never going to discover my favourite dish there.

In fact, I spent most of my time ordering egg fried rice just to be safe (and consuming the jar of peanut butter that I smuggled across the border from Cambodia).

Crazy Chinese Dishes

 

Although a bit crazy, it was really cool to see how the Chinese really eat. Would you try these weird and wonderful foods? What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever tried?

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