Vaasa – sunniest place in Finland

Typical Finnish House

Typical Finnish House as seen in Vaasa Finland - Photo Credit: Cheryl Patterson

Vaasa, Finland is a city known to be the sunniest place in Finland with 1900 hours of sun annually. In the summer that means long days of sunshine for enjoying all sorts of in and outdoor activities.

Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site
Vaasa is located in the central west coastal area of Finland on the Baltic Sea.  It is the site of the only World Natural Heritage area in Finland, the Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site.

The 5,600 islands of the Kvarken Archipelago feature unusual ridged washboard moraines,  termed the De Geer moraines, formed by the melting of the continental ice sheet, 10,000 to 24,000 years ago. The Archipelago is continuously rising from the sea in a process of rapid glacio-isostatic uplift, whereby the land, previously weighed down under the weight of a glacier, lifts at rates that are among the highest in the world. More on the Kvarken Archipelago.

Exploring Vaasa
There are many different modes of travel open for visiting this site – through cruises, kayaking, and even on foot. During the International Marching League event in early August, you can even do a guided walking event through the islands where event participants spend a day walking and traveling through the Archipelago.

Vaasa Finland Harbor

Vaasa Finland Harbor - Photo Credit: Cheryl Patterson

Vaasa also has many beautiful beaches for water sports and two water amusement parks – Tropiclandia spa and water park and Wasalandia amusement park.  Both parks are on or close to the waterfront.

Vaasa was the capital of Finland for a short time in 1918.  It is the site of the first steam mill in Finland, and there are many historical options for things to do in this small Finnish city.  A walking tour of these historical site can be found at www.visitvaasi.fi .

Don’t miss the Stundars Open Air Museum and Centre for Culture, the Maritime Museum and the Old Vaasa Museum.  (If you walk Vaasa during the International Marching League event in August, you will pass by all of these museums.)

IML Walkers in Vaasa, Finland

IML Walkers in Vaasa, Finland - Photo Credit: Cheryl Patterson

The Vaasa Walking Event
My favorite time to visit Vaasa is to participate in the IML walking weekend in August, as there is a planned and marked route to walk and passing by all the interesting sites in the area. There are many surprises for the new visitor on the route.

The walking event starts at the Market Square in the middle of Vaasa, which is between the HS Shopping Center  and the Rewell Shopping Center.  Registration is open inside the Rewell  Center the evening before the walk starts (Thursday)and on the subsequent mornings.  The walk offers 5, 10, 21, and 40 km distances for one, two or three days and the Friday event also gives the option of walking the Archipelago for a small additional fee.

If you visit Vaasa during this weekend, you can participate in the Night of the Arts  Cultural event, which is held annually on the 2nd Thursday of August in Vaasa. It is a huge event in the market square with music, Finnish food and vendor booths. There are free openings of museums and other cultural sites as well as the opening parade of the IML walking event!

Getting to Vaasa
Reaching Vaasa is not that difficult – there is a small airport in town, and the train station is a couple of blocks from the center of town at the Market Square.

Historic Building in Vaasa Finland

Historic Building in Vaasa Finland - Photo Credit: Cheryl Patterson

Accommodations and Dining
There are many opportunities for accommodations – from camping and hostels to the Raddison and Sokos Hotels.

Food is plentiful – from the Sokos Hotel hosting the Amarillo Bar and Restaurant with a Tex-Mex flavor, to an Irish Bar across from the Radisson Hotel, as well as ice cream shops galore and other stalls surrounding the Market Square.  On weekends, the Square hosts stalls for the Farmer’s market where fresh produce and crafts items native to the region are for sale.

Check out the many faces of Vaasa…you’ll be glad you did!

More Information
Vaasa Tourist Office
International Marching League Vaasa Event
Map of Vaasa Finland

Cheryl PattersonGuest Contributor, Cheryl Patterson, is a teacher for the Department of Defense School System in Germany.  During the week she works with Army kids on an American Army Post, and on the weekends she and her husband take advantage of living in Europe, by traveling all over the continent.  The Pattersons are avid participants in the walking sport of volksmarching, and incorporate the sport into their world travels.

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