I don’t think I need to tell you that autumn is here. Even if you live in the southern hemisphere or your country is going through an Indian summer, the obsession over pumpkins and skeletons on social media has probably told you. I think autumn is a great time of year to visit Finland, but many attractions such as guided tours and theme parks close up shop on August 31st, which make it seem like there’s very little to do. But I’m here to challenge that. Whether you live in Finland or are just visiting, here are some activities unique to the season:
- Go exploring.
I’ve only just arrived so there’s still a lot of Turku for me to discover. I haven’t even been to the castle or the landmark archipelago yet. Autumn walks are great to warm you up and you can see some lovely autumn colours at the same time. Ponds and puddles are already starting to ice over here and when winter comes, it’ll be both too cold and too icy/snowy to take a walk or use your bike so it’s best to do it during autumn while you still have the chance.
- Practice your art.
This season seems to awaken something in artists of all disciplines and inspire us to create something new, ironically enough at a time when nature is dying. It’s a great feeling to wrap up in a blanket (I suggest a blanket fort) with a hot drink (most likely a pumpkin spice latte) and do something creative.
I’ve been using the internet’s obsession with autumn photos to practice my photography, with mixed results. You could even practice your painting if you still have any feeling left in your fingers.
- Stock up on winter clothes.
Even in autumn, you’re going to need a good supply of warm clothes in Finland – long johns, leggings, thermal shirts and a good coat. And a hat of course.
On the bus, I like to play ‘who has the best hat’. I always win.
You don’t want to be left without them when the weather takes a turn for the worse so it’s best to be prepared for when autumn arrives. If you’re visiting from abroad, you can stock up on some thermals which are much cheaper than they are in most countries.
- Wear a miniskirt and cute tights.
Even so, the change of season is no excuse for not wearing the cute clothes you want. As long as you make sure you’re warm enough and have enough layers on underneath, you can pull off almost anything. I gladly and proudly wear a cute mini and patterned leggings while everyone else is wearing their boring thermals. If it works for Japanese school girls in anime, it can work for you too!
- Eat an ice cream outside.
As the largest consumer of ice cream in Europe, the chill of autumn doesn’t stop Finns from enjoying an ice cream. You’ll often see someone walking down the street happily enjoying one. Soup, stew and coffee is all well and good, but don’t think that you have to survive off of them or that you have to deny yourself an ice cream just because of the season.
- Go for a walk on the coast.
This is actually a river but you get the idea.
I grew up on the coast and I can tell you there’s nothing like a walk on the beach or cliffs with bracing wind in your face. As long as you wrap up warm it feels great. Just because its autumn doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beach in some way. And coming in from the cold and enjoying a hot chocolate is an equally satisfying feeling.
- Air out your sheets.
Freshly aired out sheets help you sleep better and most apartments have these wire frames outside to beat the dust off of your sheets and blankets. I’m often woken up by the sound of someone beating a blanket 15 yards away from my bedroom window. Once again, you won’t be able to do this in winter so it’s best to do it now before your sheets turn stiff from ice.
- Have a bonfire.
In the UK we have guy fawke’s night where we have a bonfire and light up fireworks for slightly creepy reasons we’ve long since forgotten. Finland doesn’t have this tradition but you don’t need an excuse to have a bonfire, cook marshmallows, drink soup and have a sing song. (Damn, that last one sounded very 1950’s!)
Don’t let the cold and darkness of the season depress you or stop you from visiting our lovely country, enjoy autumn any way you want to!