Looking for a summer vacation destination with access to the seafront, perhaps to the archipelago as well. At the same time, it could be nice to do a little shopping and get to know a new culture. A travel buddy is perhaps interested in fishing and is looking for new adventures himself. Eating is a important of course, so you have to find good places to eat! HaparandaTornio could be for you, so welcome! Here you will experience double the adventure in two countries at the same time. Read here for the TOP 5 summer experiences you can’t miss while visiting us.
Picture: Puotikarin satama
Survivor experiences in archipelago
The archipelago in HaparandaTornio finds a way to amaze it´s visitors. The Survivors Finland and the Swedish Robinson were filmed two years ago in Haparanda archipelago. We recommend booking a day trip with Innala to Sandskär or Torne Furö, magnificent islands with national park views. There is a sandy beach to relax on, an old fishing village in Sandskär and above all room to roam and peace with gentle northern sea breeze. In Sandskär, you can also stay in the idyllic archipelago cottages of the national park. Cottages and boat trips can be booked at Innala Archipelago. You can also book a boat taxi to the islands from Finnish side by contacting family Ponkala in Puotikari: email@example.com or +358 40 5267484. Mr Pekka Aho will also be happy to take you to the archipelago by boat. Call +358 400296425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If boating is not your thing, the archipelago can also be reached by car or bike. Seskarö island is located only a short drive from Haparanda. The island has wonderful beaches, you can paddle, bike and enjoy the beach life. Here you can also stay in cottages and surely rent a sauna. Check out more information from Seskarö havsbad.
Kukkola village and rapids
Kukkolaskoski and Kukkolaforsen, idyllic and historic fishing villages on both sides of Väylä, as the locals call Tornio River, are a must experience. The river is the longest free-flowing river in Europe and has the longest unrestrained rapids in Europe. Try taming the rapids and book your river rafting experience with Nordic safaris. A sure adrenaline rush in the offing. You can also take part in the fishing programme crossing the border on a fishing raft enjoying the sun and later on the caught fish by the open fire. On the Swedish side in Kukkolaforsen, there is a fishing museum, a great restaurant, a sauna academy and of course a great setting for accommodation on both sides of the river. The cottages also accommodate the whole family.
In Kukkola, you can observe the traditional way of dip-net fishing as the local fishermen skillfully fish in traditional style from over the pier structures that look a bit shaky, to be honest. Both salmon and whitefish rise here! You can also nook your dinner on the river pier in Kukkolaforsen or on the river raft from Nordic Safaris.
After nature experiences, it is nice to jump into the urban atmosphere. HaparandaTornio offers nice shopping opportunities from IKEA to small local boutiques. Here, however, you can shop congested, our cities are small and the streets wide. Remember to visit the border between the two countries to take a photo in the heart of the cities in Victoria square. It is a shared marketplace of Tornio and Haparanda cities. The square is named after Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden who also inaugurated the square. Victoria square is an extraordinary place even by global standards, for marketplaces located on the border are quite uncommon. In the Nordic countries Victoria square is the only one of its kind and only a couple of counterparts can be found from Europe.
History & culture
Then comes the tip for cultural hunger and rainy day. The Tornio Valley Museum presents the culture of Tornio Valley as its name implies. Here we live in two countries, in two cultures, to which Meänkieli and culture also adds an interesting addition. Have you heard reggae in Meänkieli yet, we bet you have not? Definitely worth checking out!
In Kukkolaforsen there is also an interesting fishing museum in the culture village of Kukkola. There you will understand the significance of the traditions in fishing for the area.
During the summer time the coffee breaks are enjoyed outdoors, so when ever there is even a bit of the sunshine we locals find a terrace where to sit casually. There are cafés in the city centers and in the rural landscape of Taavolagården, in Hulkoff gården, in Kukkola by the rapids, by the seafront in Toranda, a small village café Paperivalo in Karunki.
While there was talk of a TOP five, we need to add a one-time over the ban. After all, we can’t recommend HaparandaTornio without a sauna experience. The world’s largest sauna is located in the easternmost point of Sweden at the Cape East Hotel. Psst.. here by the way was filmed the Survivors Tribal Council! You can also relax in the sauna on the sauna ferry, in the sauna world of Hovilompolo, on the premises of the former Lapin Kulta beer factory with a great river view, and by the sea in Toranda. A general sauna shift is organized in Kukkolaforsen during the summer, but if that day is not suitable for you, you can book the sauna anywhere, anytime for your own use. And we proudly say from anywhere, as each hotel and attraction offers a sauna experience.