There’s a Finnish series of children’s musical films that were filmed in a small town with dreamy, colourful wooden houses, a harbour with little boats floating on the waves and the sun constantly smiling down from a blue sky. I remember how as a child I kept telling myself that I’ll go there one day and see the magical city myself. Now I did. I went to Naantali.
In every single way visiting this town was being a child all over again. I am very child-minded, which is something I desperately tried to hide as a teenager. I thought it made me uncool. Nowadays I know that the child inside me makes me enjoy things even more strongly than if it wasn’t there. And this winter day in Naantali definitely made the child in me very very happy.
Because I fell completely in love with this town, I will now share my Naantali top tips with you! If you’re ever in Finland, it’s definitely worth a visit – even just for some photography, because Naantali is gorgeous!
The old town is probably Naantali’s best feature. It’s exactly what you will imagine Scandinavia to be like. Absolutely gorgeous. The houses are so crooked and so colourful, I just wanted to live in every single one of them.
Then we had waffles at a cafe called Amandis. These are apparently the world’s best waffles – I haven’t had enough waffles to judge but these were definitely yum! Amandis offers sweet and savoury ones and I would love to try the smoked salmon one next time.
Our next stop, the Moomin World, made my heart smile. Moomins are the Finnish national pride. It’s a series of books which were also turned into a TV series (and lots of souvenirs) and the stories are full of deeper messages on life, crisis, sexuality. I’d say all Finns grow up with the Moomins and I am a massive fan, so meeting them in Naantali was a super nice surprise. This place is quite popular for families and Japanese people and just seeing the round, blue Moomin house is an experience.
The last mentionable place in Naantali is Herrankukkaro, which they translate to Mama’s Pocket in English, because it is just as comfortable as sitting in your mum’s pocket. It is this tiny village of old wooden houses by the sea, that remind me very much of an old robber’s village in films. Do you know what I mean? It was even placed on a shore between cliffs and rocks and it had a sauna inside a cave (they had to have the fire going for two days before we arrived in order to get it warm!!). We had a hot pool outside, but obviously also the frozen sea to dip in. Best. Night. Ever. The dark, rustic sauna and chilling in the hot pool underneath the stars really made us relax, and open up really. One of the best thing of this trip were the people and I really got to properly get to know them on this sauna and jacuzzi night.
So what’s Naantali to me? Happy days, beautiful views and wonderfully relaxing ways to spend the nights. Cuteness overload. Lots of things to make me smile. If you can’t make it down to Herrankukkaro, there’s always the spa with saunas and pools, which is a bit closer to town. I can’t wait to be back in summer to see the dreamy old town and the harbour in full bloom.