What to expect of accommodation in Finland as a digital nomad? We stayed in Finland from the 3rd of September till the 9th of October, but from the 24th of September till the 9th of October we were in the Åland Islands part of Finland. Since Åland is quite a special place, accommodation in the Åland Islands is a separate post!
After Tromsø in Norway, our plan was to travel to Finland through one of the ‘bunny ears’ called Enontekiö. The most obvious place to stay in that area right across the border and into the Eurozone and Schengen area was the town of Kilpisjärvi. From there it’s possible to go to the Three-Country Cairn between Finland, Sweden, and Norway. Jonas found a cabin on Airbnb that would suit a stay of three nights. We hitchhiked there from Nordkjosbotn in Norway.
We did a self-check-in. The cabin is close to the Alajärvi part of Lake Kilpisjärvi and from the wooden deck, there’s a very nice view. There’s a hot tub on the veranda that we didn’t use or ask how it works since it looks complicated. Inside, there’s first a sunroom that’s a nice place to keep our shoes. From this sunroom is the access to the boiler room and then the bathroom, more on that later.
The living room/kitchen/dining area is one big space. The TV wall mount allows it to turn out to face the couch. The dining table is obviously not great for working online since it’s round, short, and has stools without any back support. We did some light maintenance work from here, but otherwise, we spent our time in Kilpisjärvi in nature. The kitchen has everything you need for some basic cooking. It came with coffee and there’s a shop less than one kilometer away (open on Sunday). There’s also a fireplace that we used once for that above the Arctic Circle ultra coziness.
To get to the bathroom, you kind of need to leave the house. It’s always a bit cold on this walk, but the bathroom itself was warm. The host showed up once to try to install some hooks in the bathroom but realized she had the wrong thing. So yes, the place is still somewhat under construction. We also noticed that the shower cabin wobbles a bit when you’re in it, like a skyscraper in the wind. I guess it still needs to be mounted to the wall.
And finally, let’s cover the bedroom. After Norway, we found it very nice and spacious. Still no bedside tables. We had to make the bed ourselves when we arrived, which was a bit unexpected for the price point but okay. The bedroom was warm enough during those few nights we stayed there.
It was a lovely cabin and the most ✨aesthetically pleasing ✨ place we stayed in Finland, but yes, these were Svalbard prices. But the area is incredibly beautiful and I’m very happy to have stayed here for a bit. A bunny would visit the house every day and there are reindeer walking about nearby as well. If it was a little warmer, I’d loved to ask the host about the nearby sauna from where it’s also possible to swim in the lake.
Muonio, Lapland ⭐
I hitchhiked to Muonio and Jonas took the bus. I arrived earlier, so I checked into the Airbnb which was a house split in two parts next to Muonio’s abandoned hospital. The friendly host met me outside and showed me around. I had a very good first impression.
There’s a lovely west-facing veranda with a swinging bench to drink your morning coffee or evening beer. Beyond the entryway, there was a welcome sign for us, which was a nice touch. The hallway has a door to the bathroom and shower, which came with some provided shampoo. There’s also a large closet to hang our many jackets and stuff away our backpacks.
The kitchen was well-equipped and came with some cooking basics such as oil, salt, and coffee. It was here that we were first introduced to the Finnish concept of ‘the top drawer is a cutting board‘ which became commonplace. There’s a table here that we used for work. Jonas got a few hours done immediately upon arrival. You notice the space is kind of L-shaped; behind the table, the space continues in a straight line to the bedroom. There was a bookshelf with lots of provided reading material about both the Muonio area in Lapland and Finland in general.
The bedroom was small but comfortable. I remember sleeping really well here. We would do evening walks in the nearby forest to try to get a view of the Muonio River. On our one full day in Muonio, we spent it kayaking on that river, which was amazing.
At the end of our stay, our host drove us to the end of town so we could hitchhike together to Tornio. We were the first guests he had who used this method of transportation, car or bicycle being more common here. We also found out a bit too late that he has a Norwegian forest cat that we would have loved to meet. If we had known in advance how lovely this place was, we would have allocated more than two nights here.
Our next stay was a bit longer in Tornio/Haparanda. Tornio is the Finnish side of a town on the border with Sweden below the Arctic Circle. The idea was to have a few days that would be less intense and finally get some work done. Also, the plan was to visit IKEA across the border and eat Plantbullar.
The entryway/living room/kitchen area was kind of awkwardly split up by this middle column that was a big closet. The kitchen was well-equipped and there were cooking basics. There was again a cutting board in the top drawer and we figured out we hate that the most important drawer takes up this function. You could see that the apartment usually has someone living in there. The dinner/work table was small, so every time we ate we had to break down our office and put our laptops on a chair. Not the worst, but it’s always a bit of a circus.
The TV area was very nice. The couch is big and very comfortable. We enjoyed watching The Recruit here with a blanket and a hot cup of tea. From here there are two doors, one to the bedroom. The bed was quite skinny, but we made it fit. However, it was no bed to hang out longer than to catch the necessary sleep.
The sunroom/balcony had these big glass windows that would open very wide. Since it’s a few floors up in a gusty spot, we had to be careful with that. There was a cozy sitting area with blankets where we had our coffee. This is also where we could dry our laundry on a sunny day. There’s a view of the orthodox church down below.
Now the best part of this apartment was definitely the bathroom. There’s a sauna that we used a couple of times. Neither of us had ever been in charge of heating a sauna, so we had to Google it. To get the temperatures high enough, it’s important to plug the hole in the ceiling. We enjoyed this a lot and felt we had finally truly arrived in Finland.
This is also where the washing machine/dryer was located. It’s two systems in one and though we usually never use dryers, we were in a bit of a need of clean clothes as we didn’t have a washing machine since Tromsø.
Oulu, North Ostrobothnia⭐
This was a great spacious apartment. Again, we should have spent more nights here and fewer in Tornio or Vaasa. Somehow, we never got these things right!
I hitchhiked to Oulu and Jonas took the bus. He had already set up his office by the time I arrived. The double door kept the cold out and was a good space to store our deerfly-infested clothes after visiting Hailuoto. The hallway led to all the rooms except the bedroom, which means it passed the Feng Shui sniff test. The bathroom access was fast and we could put our clothes in the top loader washing machine immediately after coming home. The only big downside was the wet bathroom setup of the shower, which means that you have to put the toilet paper and other stuff that can’t get wet out of the way before showering.
The living room, bedroom, and kitchen areas are by the windows, which is great for the mood in low-light Finland. The living room had an Xbox and a very big TV. There was also a Ball Chair, which I learned is of Finnish design. The bedroom was spacious and had side tables and wall sockets. It had a guitar with a broken A-string, which I hopelessly tried to fix.
The kitchen was really large and great for cooking together. The pantry also had some goodies that inspired us to cook stuff. The apartment is really central and close to a few supermarkets. The round dinner table also functioned as our digital nomad work space. We’re not the biggest fans of round tables, but it was big enough to simply shove our work to the side for lunch.
I would stay in this apartment in Oulu again and for a longer time.
While Tornio marked the start of the less soulful Airbnbs in Finland, Vaasa and Turku were the absolute lows. There was nothing specifically wrong with them and they were all quite functional, but there was just stuff that was not thought about at all and none of them were memorable. What Vaasa and Turku have in common is that these Airbnbs were run by companies that run the interior design and cleaning service centrally. They are a bit cheaper than what’s run by individuals, but it also feels like we’re feeding the vultures.
The apartment in Vaasa was sort of a studio apartment. The entryway was small and had these closets, most of which were locked. There wasn’t any space to put our backpacks away. Also, it was very vertically oriented, which made it hard for me to reach stuff without risking my life. The bathroom had a washing machine and a good shower.
The kitchen had everything we needed and nothing more. The pantry came with some basics and random items, such as a bag of Estonian buckwheat (which we loved!).
The living room couch area was a bit small but we could work with it. But then there was the bedroom right next to it in a nook. Two single beds with a bedside table in the middle and some kind of candy for us which I didn’t like and Jonas tolerated. It was okay, but there was an empty condom wrapper inside it that wasn’t cleaned out. Boo.
Something that was also very weird was the pictures of wine bottles with a price tag on them of several hundred euros. What is for sale, a poster of a wine bottle or an actual bottle of fermented grape juice? What is this side-hustle grift in a country where even basic bitch beer is quite pricey?
Lastly, the dining table was in the sunless sunroom. That was also our working table. It was kind of cold there and looking at the pictures on Airbnb, the table used to be inside. There was also some crap for human babies, which takes up a lot of space and is all around unnecessary. Stop trying to have every type of guest over when you can’t even build a good space for one type of guest.
Needless to say, I wouldn’t stay here again. Vaasa was a cute town with a nice coastal walk.
Turku, Southwest Finland
The last accommodation in Finland we stayed in before leaving the mainland for the Åland Islands was in Turku. I was looking forward to staying in this city quite a bit. It was fun despite the unpleasant company behind this Airbnb.
It started right after booking the place: they sent me an email to ask for personal details beyond what Airbnb already knows of me (which is enough). They linked to a third-party website of the company that runs a bunch of Airbnbs in Turku called Sleepwell Apartments. The russian-language website asked me to upload a copy of my passport (hell no). Eventually, after much pushing, it turned out we could also get the check-in information without sending my details to the kremlin.
Upon arrival, the apartment was fine. The entryway was nice and the living room/TV/kitchen area was good. We had to break down the kiddy chair and put it away in the closet so we had more space. Again, I wouldn’t know how one would stay here with an infant or two, but this Airbnb tried to appeal to more demographics than it should. We had a round table that was big enough to both work and eat from. The kitchen was well-equipped with the basics and we cooked some pretty decent meals here.
The bedroom was again two single beds with a nightstand in the middle. There was a view of other tall buildings in the city from the window. The closet was empty and had lots of space. In many regards, the apartment was much better than the one in Vaasa.
There was a sunroom/balcony thing again that was fine to sit in. At first, I was afraid of having to take care of another plant outside of my housesitting duties. But thankfully, that monstera deliciosa was plastic.
Now the highlight: the bathroom had a pretty amazing sauna. It even came with special disposable bench pads. There was also a washing machine.
A day before checkout, I received a message on Airbnb from Sleepwell Apartments for us to pay an extra €39 for cleaning. Airbnb already includes a cleaning fee, so this was just scammy and scummy of them, trying to prey on one’s lack of knowledge. Also, the checkout list asked us to put our trash in the bins, but they were inaccessible with our housekeys, so that was also useless information that ended up making us stressed right before our ferry to the Åland Islands. I would 100% not recommend you book with Joakim’s Sleepwell Apartments.
Now a palate cleanser, the video of the ferry ride from Turku to Åland:
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Kilpisjärvi: €405 total for three nights on Airbnb. That’s €135 per night. Oof. Not much choice up there, but the cabin was cozy AF.
Muonio: €142 total for two nights on Airbnb. That’s €71 per night.
Tornio: €438 total for five nights on Airbnb. That’s €88 per night.
Oulu: €235 total for three nights on Airbnb. That’s €78 per night.
Vaasa: €260 total for four nights on Airbnb. That’s €65 per night.
Turku: €308 total for four nights on Airbnb. That’s €77 per night.
That’s a total of 21 nights in mainland Finland, which comes down to an average of a little over €85 per night.