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Self-Drive travel route in Finland: On the footsteps of Moomin


Self-organized Moomin thematic travel in Finland.


The purpose of our trip to Finland - Moomins. All the most famous and most secret places associated with these amazing characters.

If you are planning a vacation with children in Finland, you and your children are Tove Janssons philosophical stories admirers, this route can give you some ideas for your holiday.

In the meantime, join us on Finland virtual tour in the wake of Moomin.

Self-organized Moomin thematic travel Photo: Filmkompaniet Alpha, Filmoteka Narodowa, Jupiter film GmbH, Moomin Characters

Finland is the homeland of Moomin. Moomin characters perhaps the most famous inhabitants of Finland, with the exception of Santa Claus.

White, thoughtful and sensible, kind and open-minded hippos from Finland - they are recognizable all over the world. They can be found not only in books, animation, movies, music and theater performances, games and various products and souvenirs. Moomins have their own hotel rooms in Finland, Naantali Spa Moomin Story, theme park in Naantali, own museum in Tampere, exhibitions around the country each year, the only Moomin cafe in Finland and Europe in Kuopio (opened in early 2015).

In addition to these attractions, there are few interesting places connected with the history of Moomin.

To begin with, let's take a look at the map, where all Moomin places are marked with red flags, which is worth a visit in Finland (there are More info by pressing the flag).




1. PORVOO, PELLINGE ARCHIPELAGO AND KLOVHARUN ISLAND



Tove Jansson, author of Moomin stories, and her family spent summer holidays east of Helsinki, on the islands of the archipelago Pellinge. She used the image and atmosphere of the islands in her fairy tales. For example, here on this small island Moomin Troll saves Moominmama from the giant wave. It is really worth to visit this place, which Tove loved so much, to be able to understand the Tove's unique worldview and philosophy.

Porvoo Moomin places Photo: VisitFinland.com (c) Jussi Hellsten

Porvoo Moomin places Photo: VisitFinland.com (c) Jussi Hellsten

First stop: the city of Porvoo.
Short trip from Helsinki takes only 40 minutes. Old city Porvoo - a place where time stopped. Bright-coloured 18th-century wooden houses, narrow cobbled streets, silence and slow time. In a small Valikatu street in Porvoo there is a little toy shop, where the Moomin doll house in the window has been there for decades.

Porvoo Moomin places Photo: VisitFinland.com

25 km south from Porvoo there is small harbour Tirmo by the sea. There is a free cable car ferry connections with neighbouring island, and from there it is easy to get to the next island of Suur-Pellinki.

Second stop: SODERBY-BODEN SHOP.

SODERBY-BODEN Photo: VisitFinland.com

SODERBY-BODEN - a tiny village shop in the center of the picturesque scenery among the wooden houses and meadows. This shop is open since 1927 and Tove visited the shop even as a small girl during her summer on vacation. Since 1978 the owner of this shop is Gerda Englund (she is on the picture), who was a close friend of Tove for many years. Nowadays Soderby-Boden shop sells beautiful Moomin products.

Gerda likes to tell one story about a visit of Tove and her niece Sophia once made to the shop. Sophia really liked and wanted a set of dolls porcelaine cups and saucers. Tove, very kindly and wisely said to the little girl: You cant have everything in the world that you like. You should only want things that you love so much you cant live without them. After pondering on aunts words for a while, Sophia said: Aunt, I cant live without that tableware! To this, Tove responded: In that case, you shall have it dear.

This story truly illustrates Toves attitude to material things and respect for the simplicity of life. It also demonstrates her love and admiration for children..

SODERBY-BODEN Photo: VisitFinland.com

Magic forest and walks.
Gerda of Soderby-Boden and her daughter Gunnel organise walks in the nearby woods in the summer. They know the perfect places in the woods where tourists are transported by mini-bus, and after exploring the forest trails they arrange a little pick-nick surrounded by pine forests and silence. This big rock morkokivi is looks like the Groke in the Moomins. The locals say it was painted in the middle of one summer night by the artist herself. It's a kind of a secret place for Moomin lovers and it is easily reached from the village.

Third stop: KLOVHARUN island.

SODERBY-BODEN Photo: VisitFinland.com

This is perhaps the most desirable, but also the most elusive place for Tove Jansson fans.

On a small remote Klovharun island there is Tove Jansson's and her partner Tuulikki's summer cottage still preserved. The surrounding scenery was all Tove needed to find inspiration for all her work.

The island is open to visitors only 2 weeks a year, in the summer. Therefore, those who would really like to get there, have to plan a trip well in advance.

Klovharuns little cabin just like it has been for decades: very simple and ascetic, with minimal facilities, but incredibly beautiful. Endless expanses of the sea and the whole universe was in possession of Tove.

The image of the island is easily recognizable in the description of the Moominpapa island. Here, as well as in the book, a lagoon is in the stone.

The summer house has a little secret - a huge cellar that is even larger than the cabin itself.

KLOVHARUN Photo: VisitFinland.com

Even if you can not get to the island KLOVHARUN, visiting the neighbourhood area and islands is worth of it. Places delicious. You can take a basket of pastries and coffee with you and make a little picnic on the beach. By the way, SODERBY-BODEN shop website has some recommendations on how to arrange a picnic basket and not to forget anything.

In order to feel the real magic beauty of these places and the atmosphere that inspired Tove Jansson's imagination, we recommend to stay overnight in a hotel or guest-house in Porvoo or near the coast: ACCOMMODATION NEAR PORVOO.


2. HELSINKI AND LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND OF SODERSKAR



We are moving further along the route towards Helsinki. Moomin are an essential part of Finnish culture and inspire designers and manufacturers for many years. It is possible to find several large Moomin shops in Helsinki where you can buy whatever you like: books, games, pottery, textiles, interior decorations, interesting souvenirs and gifts, children's clothing, collectible items and many, many other things.

Interesting place to visit - ARABIA ceramics factory in Helsinki. You can visit the factory and learn the manufacturing process or even draw your own mug on special days when the factory is open for public, as well as visit the Museum of Ceramics. You can also buy factory production and of course something from Moomin collection.

Arabia Moomin Photo: VisitFinland.com

From the center of Helsinki, from the Market Square, as well as from the eastern district of Vuosaari small cruise ferries depart to the lighthouse island SODERSKAR. It's a real Moomin place. Coming here, you can immediately feel yourself in the center of 'Moominpappa and the sea' story! Soderskar Island is about 2-hour ferry trip from the center of Helsinki. This is a delightful place with clean sea air, the mystique of the island and lighthouse and inspiration. It is possible to take a day cruise to the island or stay in the lighthouse at night.

Lighthouse SODERSKAR Photo: VisitFinland.com

It seems that this is the exactly the same lighthouse from the book.

'He gazed at the dark and deserted lighthouse for a long time, and gradually it began to grow smaller amd more like the picture he had carried in his mind for so long. <...> Moominmamma looked around. How poor the soil was! And there were so many stones everywhere, masses of them all over the place. It certainly wasn't going to be an easy matter a garden there. <...> It was odd that there wasn't a single tall tree. Everything seemed to grow so close to the ground, groping its way across the rock.' ('Moominpappa at sea', Tove Jansson)

Lighthouse island SODERSKAR Photo: VisitFinland.com

Lighthouse island SODERSKAR Photo: VisitFinland.com

Lighthouse stairs are wooden and creaking, as in the book. And when you climb on it to the top of the lighthouse, you feel like Moominpappa. The view from the windows of the tower is very similar to the one described in the book.

'Moominmamma came slowly up to the door and looked in. The lighthouse was quite hollow, like a rot- ten tree trunk, and from top to bottom was a rickety winding staircase. With what seemed like an awful effort, the staircase climbed up and up in smaller and smaller spirals, creaking and groaning as Mominpappa went up it. A little daylight filtered through holes in the thick walls... <...>' ('Moominpappa at sea', Tove Jansson)

Lighthouse SODERSKAR Photo:

In the lighthouse caretaker office there is a small cafe. Of course, the main food to be ordered there - pancakes with strawberry jam! This is the real Moomin food. By the way, if you will plan a trip to the lighthouse departing from Vuosaari, there is a small cafe Kahvila Kampela near the marina, where they cook real Moomin food - Pannari (thick pancakes, baked in the oven, with the whipped cream and strawberry jam). It's also one of the modern districts of Helsinki with nice promenade along the sea.

ACCOMMODATION IN HELSINKI.


3. LIGHTHOUSE ISLAND BENGTSKAR



On the way to the main Moomin attractions in Finland - Moominvalley in Naantali - there is one more place which has very similar spirit to those places described in fairy tales. This is also an island and also a lighthouse. If the SODERSKAR lighthouse fully match the description in the Tove Jansson book in appearance, atmosphere and details, the BENGTSKAR island is very similar in location to the Moomin story, and maybe this place was also a prototype of Moominpappa lighthouse ('this is the very last island, nobody lives beyond it').

Lighthouse BENGTSKAR Photo: VisitFinland.com

Bengtskar lighthouse is the southernmost destination in Finland. It stands on a small, treeless island. The island can be reached from a little village Kasnas on a small boat (during summer it runs every day). By the way, Kasnas is a very beautiful place, and there is nice SPA-HOTEL located. This is a great place to stop overnight by the sea on the way to Moomin World in Naantali.

BENGTSKAR island is completely naked, no vegetation, only solid rock and endless sea around.
'Its probably the biggest lighthouse that was ever built. And do you realize that this is the very last island, nobody lives beyond it there?s nothing but sea? Were looking the sea straight in the face, so to speak, and far behind us are all those people who live on islands much nearer to the mainland. Its a wonderful thought, don't you think?' ('Tove Janssons Moominpappa at Sea (Translated by Kingsley Hart))


4. TURKU, NAANTALI AND MOOMIN WORLD



The Moomin World theme park is located in the Naantali sunny city, west coast of Finland. Moomin season starts in early June and Moomin World park opens at that time. Moomin World is open only in the summer until the end of August. As you know, the Moomins sleep during winter time, and at this time the park is also closed. It opens only for 1 week during the winter ski holidays in February.

Moomin World Photo: VisitFinland.com

If you and your children read Tove Jansson's fairy tales and you know who is Snufkin and Hattifattener, as well as what Moomins eat for long winter sleep - fabulous island of Moomin World is worth a visit, and be sure to plan all day visit to the island.

If you are not familiar with the Moomins very close, you can still come to the Moomin World theme park, walk around the island with children on special routes, look into the puppet theatre, the Moomin post office, to the Moominpappa ship, as well as to swim at the local beach. Perhaps after that you will want to read the Moomin stories.

Moomin World Photo: VisitFinland.com

The city of Naantali and Turku also worth visiting. Those are ancient cities of Finland, very bright and beautiful. There is bus service between the cities and sea trams.

As we have said previously, in Naantali there is one of the best spa hotels in Finland - Naantali Spa. This is the most favourite place to stay for families with children. Some rooms at the hotel are decorated in the Moomin style: posters on the walls and doors, bed linen, crockery and toothbrushes holders in the bathroom with characters from fairy tales!

ACCOMMODATION IN NAANTALI

ACCOMMODATION IN TURKU

Moomin World Photo: VisitFinland.com


5. TAMPERE AND MOOMIN VALLEY ART MUSEUM



Then we continue our Moomin trip to the north. There are not so famous Moomin places, but unique and interesting.

Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley devoted to original works by writer and artist Tove Jansson. Museum collections comprise around 2000 works. The museum is based on the Moomin books by Tove Jansson. The original Moomin illustrations by Tove Jansson are an essential part of the atmosphere of the museum, and the three-dimensional tableaux built by Tuulikki Pietila add to our own picture of the goings-on in the Moomin stories. The main object of the collection is a blue five-storey Moomin House that is as exceptional as its residents.

If you are coming to Finland by flight to Tampere airport, you can start you Moomin trip from this point.

MOOMIN VALLEY ART MUSEUM Photo: www.muumilaakso.tampere.fi Moomin Characters

You can stop in Tampere for 1-2 days and visit Sarkanniemi Adventure Park and ANGRY BIRDS amusement park.

ACCOMMODATION IN TAMPERE


6. MOOMIN CAFE IN KUOPIO



A new Moomin cafe has been opened in eastern Finland, in city Kuopio, at the beginning of 2015. This Moomin cafe names Muumi Pannarikahvila is one of the first Moomin cafes in Europe.

One of the specialities of the cafe are the savoury pancakes with many different fillings, especially with strawberry jam.

The first Moomin restaurant was opened in Tokyo, Japan in 2003. Nowadays there are three restaurants in Japan and one in Hong Kong featuring Moomins. And now one in Finland as well!

ACCOMMODATION IN KUOPIO

MOOMIN CAFE IN KUOPIO Photo: www.facebook.com/pannarikahvila


7. SECLUDED COTTAGE IN FINLAND - IN THE HOMELAND OF MOOMINS



If you still have some time to travel in Finland, the rest of the holidays can be spent in a country cottage by the lake, with sauna and fireplace. Silence around, purity and calmness, an opportunity to be with family and friends - a great addition to the active theme journey in Finland.

You can spend evenings by the fireplace or on the summer terrace, enjoy sunsets, dream, fantasize or read Moomin stories. Being at homeland of these fairy-tale characters, Moomin would seem something very close and almost real.

On the map above, we have marked several options for cottage accommodation in Finland which, in our opinion, the most ideally suitable to complete the Moomin adventure in Finland.

COTTAGE HOLIDAY MINI TRAVEL GUIDE

FIND A PERFECT HOLIDAY COTTAGE IN FINLAND FOR RENT

COTTAGES IN FINLAND

BRIEF DETAILS OF SELF-DRIVE TOUR 'ON THE FOOTSTEPS OF MOOMIN' IN FINLAND


Type of tour: Independent self-drive trip in Finland
Duration: 8-14 days
Cities: Porvoo - Helsinki - Kasnas - Turku and Naantali - Tampere - Kuopio - Mikkeli or Savonlinna
Best time for travel: June - August


Distance calculation: Helsinki - Porvoo = 55 km
Helsinki - Kasnas = 192 km
Kasnas - Naantali = 115 km
Naantali - Tampere = 175 km
Tampere - Kuopio = 295 km
Kuopio - Mikkeli = 160 km. Kuopio - Savonlinna = 160 km
Mikkeli - Helsinki = 230 km. Savonlinna - Helsinki = 330 km.

Full itinerary: approximately 1300-1400 km

Have a nice and interesting holiday in Finland!



Some information was used from www.VisitFinland.com, www.faces-places.ru to prepare this material.

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