5. Helsinki: RIB Tour to Summer Cottage with BBQ and Sauna
Spend a day with some locals at their summer cottage and enjoy the best that Finnish summers have to offer – barbecues, sauna time, and hiking in a beautiful natural setting.
Meet the guide in Vironallas, the leisure boat port in front of the old Market Hall on the Market Square, Kauppatori. After a short safety briefing, you'll be geared up and ready to go. Cruise through the archipelago on the west side of the city, passing summer cabins, boaters, and wildlife on the way to your destination.
On the 45-minute cruise, chat with the guide about the history and traditions of the area. Learn how part of the archipelago was leased as a Soviet naval base following World War II and how it is today.
Your afternoon hosts will be waiting for you on their small private island, owned by their family for over 100 years. If you're lucky you may even bump into more than one generation of the family, as it is their place to escape the city and spend their long summer days.
Leave the language-learning app at home, as your local hosts can accommodate you in English, French, German, Danish, Finnish, or Swedish. Your hosts are happy to take a break from their everyday lives to welcome you and show you how their days are spent in the archipelago.
Take a nature walk and learn about which berries to eat and which mushrooms to pick. Take in views of the surrounding water and imagine the moose that occasionally swim from one island to another.
Enjoy the Scandinavian design cottage and, together with your hosts, light up the genuine wood-heated sauna. If you're feeling adventurous, you may even combine the sauna bath with a refreshing dip in the sea, just like the locals do.
After the sauna, the hosts will prepare a homemade lunch which you can share in the warm summer sunshine.
At the end of the 2-hour visit, it's time to head back to the city. The guide will happily adjust the return route to your preferences – either cruising back among the islands or checking out the open sea.