Vuokatti, located in Arctic Lakeland, was the place I was able to accomplish one of my dreams, going husky sledding with Tuomas driving the entire time.
Yes him driving the husky sled the entire time was part of the dream as well 😆
Vuokatti is also home to some of the greatest cross country ski trails in Finland. Roni, one of our media guides, told us he is able to ski from his home to the Haapala Brewery (more about the brewery below) and only had to take off his skis once!
That’s my kind of scenic tour 🍻
If you are ready to go on a new adventure and break away from the cityscapes then make sure to add Vuokatti to your bucket list.
I love getting opportunities to see more of Finland’s beauty so when Tuomas and I were invited on a press trip by Vuokatti and DiscoverFinland, we practically jumped out of our seats to have the chance to explore it together.
7 Must Have Winter Experiences in Vuokatti
Husky Sledding at Vuokatti Safaris
Riding the husky sleds was without a doubt the most magical part of the trip. It was so beautiful to ride through the sparkly frozen fields and see snow covered trees.
It was one of those moments that made me truly appreciate moving to Finland.
But before we could ride the husky sled we sat down inside and watched an informational video on how to drive the sleds.
This was something I was really nervous about
What calmed me down was the owner’s anecdote about his huskies
“The dogs are professionals they know what they are doing”
I still didn’t want to take any chances though, and asked Tuomas if he could drive. So thankful to have him there.
If you are also scared of driving the husky sled you can ask one of the workers at the farm if it’s okay if they drive you.
There was a woman in our tour group who was also a bit nervous and they accommodated her to ride as well.
Though Tuomas and others who drove that day said overall it is a very intuitive experience that just made sense.
Maybe I’ll drive the next time, because husky sledding is something I would love to do again.
You can check out more about Husky Sledding here on Vuokatti Safaris website
Enjoy Some of Vuokatti’s Local Brews: Haapala Brewery
After exploring Vuokatti and enjoying the husky sledding we stopped at Haapala Brewery to fill our stomach with a savory lunch and thirst quenching beers.
One of the coolest things about Haapala Brewery is how everything is locally sourced. The fish we ate was caught in Vuokatti as well as the ingredients in the beer.
They have a carefully selected variety of beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. We got the blonde ale (VAAROJEN VAALEA) and Tuomas got the Porter (USVAINEN UITTO)
The blonde ale was light and crisp tasting, and it paired deliciously with our lunch.
Tuomas later tried the Porter and says it’s perfect for those that like dark and heavy beers, you can really appreciate the tar taste in it.
And as they say in Finland, “If sauna, tar, and beer don’t fix it then nothing will.”
We also bought some of their Cardamom-Blueberry Lemonade that tasted exactly like a mustikkapiirakka.
If you are interested in trying out some of their beers and live in Finland, you can ask your local City Market to carry it or you can order directly from Alko.
Relax and Unwind at the Vuokatti Aateli Zen Spa
If you are traveling to Vuokatti for a romantic getaway with your partner, then you will want to book a time at Vuokatti Aateli’s Zen Spa.
The spa is located within the Vuokatti Aateli Hotel and can be booked for private use.
You and your partner can order champagne and enjoy hearing the sound of the water fizz off the kiuas (sauna rocks) then take a dip into the sensuous swimming pool.
Use this spa as a way to slow down and create new memories with your partner.
You can book your Private Spa Time here at Vuokatti Aateli
Visit Vuokatti’s Sauna Vault
Have a one of a kind experience at Saunaholvi’s sauna vault. This unique sauna is an underground sauna built on the hillside that is continuously heated by a wood stove.
This Sauna has the makings for a romantic getaway as it is also possible to order pampering treatments and meals to the sauna through Saunaholvin’s partners.
Just be sure to ask on their booking page.
Watch the strain of everyday life escape from your partner’s shoulder while also taking in the beautiful views.
You can find out more about Saunaholvin here on their website.
Don’t Miss the Breathtaking Views at Vuokatti Vuori
On our way back to the Kajaani Airport we made a stop at the top of Vuokatti Vuori to check out its magnificent views. The vuori (mountain) is 326 m high and is the highest point in all of Vuokatti.
Something about a view that high up makes you have perspective in life. It’s one of those views that make you think about your life and the world around you.
That or I am overly romantic and get lost in my thoughts when surrounded by snow and the beauty of Vuokatti.
After this trip, I have really wanted to learn how to cross country ski. I have only tried once and failed pretty spectacularly.
I fell every 5 minutes and cried because a tractor was coming very slowly in our same direction, over dramatic right. 😂
It would be nice to go to one of the Ski Schools that Vuokatti has to properly learn. I can just picture me now out there with all the little kids on the bunny slopes falling way more times than them.
You can find out more information about Vuokatti’s Ski School here.
Go Cross Country Skiing
Another reason I would love to learn how to ski is because of all of Vuokatti’s Ski trails!
They have such a great ski network locally and there are some trails that go along with some of the places I have mentioned in this post.
I would recommend asking the hotel or some locals what are some places close to the Ski trail. From looking at the map I believe Haapala Brewery is along some of the trails.
That would make for a fun adventure, skiing then grabbing some lunch and beers for when you’re back at the hotel.
You can find a map of Vuokatti’s ski trails here on Vuokattisport website.
See Where Champions Train at Vuokatti Ski Snow Tunnel
During our press trip to Vuokatti we were able to check out Vuokatti’s Ski Snow Tunnel where both the Finnish and Russian teams train during the summer.
Yes you can ski all year round in Vuokatti, it’s pretty amazing.
As I am writing this article the 2022 Olympics are also occurring. So it’s cool to know that I have been at the same place that some of these great athletes have also trained.
Even though it is known as a training destination the Ski Tunnel is open for everybody and you can also rent a ski instructor here.
In the winter the Ski Tunnel is also used for when it is too cold outside to operate the tracks. So it’s always being used.
To find out more information about the Ski Tunnel you can check out Vuokatti’s website
Where to Eat in Vuokatti
I love that Finland, and especially the restaurants I am about to share with you, are very prideful on how their ingredients are locally sourced and are from farm to table.
It truly makes the dining experience more special when you hear that the fish was from the lake over there or they harvested and dried the mushrooms from the fall.
This makes dining a one of a kind experience that will help you to truly appreciate the beauty of each season and how the dish was prepared even more.
Restaurant Ainoa Vuokatti Aateli
Our stay at Vuokatti Aateli included this amazing breakfast spread!
Here you can find a traditional finnish breakfast with bread, meats, cheese and of course porridge with all the fixings!
I think my southern side just escaped, fixings is another way to say toppings. 😅
Restaurant Ainoa also has an enjoyable dinner menu that we were able to try. My favorite was their Kantarellikeitto (Kantarelli mushroom soup) .
I could have easily eaten at least one more bowl of it.
This link will take you directly to Aiona Vuokatti Aateli’s menu, but be careful not to lick your screen.
Grab Lunch and a Beer at Vuokatti’s Haapala Brewery
I have already mentioned that the food and beer were delicious. When we go back to Vuokatti we will have to stop by there again.
Their lunch buffet was truly delicious and affordable. Everything is local and I love their story.
The owners of the brewery were also a long distance relationship (LDR) couple like Tuomas and me. They met in England and talked for a few years, visited each other back and forth, until they decided to live in Finland.
Life and love happened in between and soon they started a family business which became the brewery.
The wife cooks and the husband and brother-in-law make the beer, all in the beautiful rustic country side farm house.
They are keeping the tradition of past meeting the future, by honoring classic nostalgic flavors while looking towards the future they are creating together.
Happala Brewery is open for lunch and you can check out their hours and menu here on their website
Restaurant Kippo has one thing that the other restaurants I have mentioned don’t. They have their own smoke cabin.
Which makes their menu a pleasure for all of your senses, with their food bringing out the smoky aromas.
The southern side of me wants to go back to try them out!
Not to mention their restaurant has the mark of Finland’s Cheese Society’s recommendation. I didn’t even know Finland has a Cheese Society, and now I need to figure out how I can be a member.
Restaurant Kippo is open all year round Tue-Sat, and daily during the skiing season, you can check out their hours and menu here on their website.
Where to Stay in Vuokatti
Hotel Vuokatin Aateli
While we were in Vuokatti we got to stay at the beautiful Hotel Aateli. This hotel is perfect for those who want to prioritize skiing during their stay as you are literally right next to the slopes.
Vuokatin Aateli is a private family owned hotel and they have a wide range of options.
You can choose to stay in the hotel and request a room with a sauna, book an igloo, or if you are into slow travel book a cabin to stay in.
If you are interested in staying here as well you can book your room directly from their page.
Reminder that brewery with great food and amazing beer? Well they also offer accommodations!
With incredible views of Arctic Lakeland while also sharing a bit of Finland’s rustic charm in their cabins and spacious outdoor sauna.
Haapala BnB is also a great place to host weddings and other big events. So if you’re planning a destination wedding I highly recommend coming to Vuokatti.
Break Sokos Vuokatti
Another great hotel option is the Break Sokos Hotel in Vuokatti. The hotel is located next to the Snow Tunnel and they offer both cottages and hotel accommodation.
In their cabin area you can go ice fishing and ice swimming. After spending time in the cold outdoors you can relax in the log sauna.
If you are new to the sauna culture in Finland you can book and experience with a sauna guide. During the event the sauna guides will teach you about the history and importance of sauna culture in Finland.
Sauna is one of my favorite parts of Finnish culture. I love how it warms up your being down to your core after spending hours in the cold outdoors.
The sauna experience will provide you with more appreciation for the history of sauna and it’s deep roots whether you are new or used to Finland’s sauna culture.
If you’re ready to find out more what Sokos Hotel has to offer, you can check out their link here.
How to Get to Vuokatti
Vuokatti is located in the middle of Finland and is within a few hours of Oulu and Kuopio.
A good majority of people who come to Vuokatti will come by their own car. Which means if you are driving from Helsinki you can expect that car ride to be a long, fun one, typically around 6 hours.
You can also get to Vuokatti by taking a bus, train, or a plane to Kajaani and rent a car from there to drive to Vuokatti.
During our trip we flew from Helsinki to Kajaani Airport and had a ride from there to our hotel Vuokatti Aateli.
All the places we visited during our trip were far apart from each other, and would have been hard to experience without having a driver. I strongly recommend either driving all the way here or renting a car once you get to the airport, train, and or bus station in Kajanni.
For more information on how to get to Vuokatti, you can visit Vuokatti’s page here.
Visit Vuokatti and #DiscoverFinland
Vuokatti is a perfect destination for both adventurers and those wanting a laid back experience to enjoy the scenery in Arctic Lakeland.
What impressed me the most about this trip was how centralized everything is in the area, while also having endless opportunities for excursions you can go on.
I would love to go back to Vuokatti in all seasons as they offer skiing all year round and other exciting activities outside of husky sledding.
And of course I want to go back and get some more of the delicious food and beer from Haapala brewery.
Looks like I’ll just have to order their beer from City Market and reminisce until we can go back to Vuokatti for another visit.
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