Survivors Finland

Take a peek behind the scenes

Survivor Finland were filmed in Haparanda

One of world´s largest TV formats was filmed last summer in Haparanda. Survivor is one of the first reality TV formats, and certainly the largest adventure format in the world. The show has been filmed around the world, usually in tropical heat, but so far not in an arctic environment. Now, however, the program is showcasing our unique archipelago of HaparandaTornio!

The worldwide TV format has its origins in the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson. The program is now being made under various names in more than 50 countries and in total 260 seasons have been filmed. The show has been a success and there has not been an end in sight. Due to COVID-19, most production around the world was cancelled for the first time. Luckily Finland and Sweden refused to be discouraged and in collaboration created their season in the Nordics. 

Finding the way to the arctic archipelago

When it came to scouting out possible filming locations, accessibility played a major role, as did safety. To travel across the world to a location in the Philippines was not an option. Most importantly they had to find an archipelago, which was as untouched and in as natural a state as possible. So travel towards HaparandaTornio began. Choosing which islands to film on is not that simple and location is everything on this series. The islands needed to be as easy and quick to reach as possible, but also away from prying eyes. A good pier and deep enough water for boats was important, but there couldn’t be any other boaters nearby at the same time. There had to be a sandy beach, but also forests to roam in. The contestants needed their space to plot and hide, but the terrain couldn’t be too uneven for the cameraman. Not such an easy task to accomplish.

Gossiping in the bushes

Fortunately our archipelago is diverse, with long and shallow sandy islands as well as rocky and forested ones. The chosen ones last summer were e.g. Kataja, Koijukari, Halsö and Seskar-Furö. If these islands could talk, we would hear some pretty tantalizing gossip. According to the producers, the climate and nature encouraged the competitors to be active. In the heat of the tropics, days are usually spent lying around doing nothing. There was no need to suffer from sweating in the North, so the tribes were actively looking for food and moving around the terrain. Of course, they also retreated to the shelter of the islands to plot. Fish rose from the sea to the point where the stomachs of the contestants were full. Forest berries provided a delicious snack and mushrooms spiced up their dinner. 

Many were afraid of the cold and, of course, mosquitos. In the archipelago by the sea, the breeze keeps mosquitos to a minimum and the cold often wasn’t a problem, summer can be warm even in the north. The light of the north received much praise from the film crew. There is plenty of it in the summer time as the sun doesn’t set completely at night and the light during the day is truly varied and excellent for shooting. 

Find your inner adventurer

Spot the filming locations in HaparandaTornio and find your inner adventurer. You will be transported to the archipelago by Kim Innala on the Haparanda side or by the Ponkala family with their boats on the Finnish side in Tornio. You can also cycle to Seskarö and enjoy the atmosphere of the archipelago. There are plenty of sandy beaches, forest trails, peace and quiet and a relaxed archipelago lifestyle to take in. You can stay in tents, or in comfortable cottages. There is also a handy bike route to the Toranda Event Centre or cycle up the river bank to catch fish and try river rafting in Kukkola. You may also be interested in where the series’ exciting tribal councils were filmed. To do this, you do not need to go far. Just head from the twin city centre along the seafront to the Cape East Hotel. While you are there observing the facilities, you may as well stay in the comfort of the hotel, dine in the restaurant and relax in the spa. Just to be clear, the Survivors couldn’t take advantage of this luxury. But you have that privilege, so seize the moment. Adventurers deserve their rewards.