Take a tour of Finland’s eco island

Take a tour of Finland’s eco island

With interest in eco-travel ­continuing to surge, many travel operators are jumping on the bandwagon. But going green was more than a mere whim for Pertti and Virpi Illi, who founded Rakinkotka eco-village in southeast Finland back in 2001. Today this island colony of cottages boasts its own hybrid power system supplying energy for the entire island, and all food served is entirely organic or locally produced.

“All the cottages are built from recycled logs saved from dismantled hay barns and huts around the country that would have otherwise ended up as firewood,” says Pertti.

The sturdy logs were rebuilt into some 30 cottages dotted around the wooded island and connected by duckboards made of ecological heat-treated wood. With 62 beds, two roomy meeting spaces, three saunas, and 26 hectares of land for roaming, Rakinkotka Island is particularly popular for company outings and family holidays. Other special packages offered include bird-spotting outings, silence retreats, and even digital detoxes. And with the surrounding sea literally everywhere, fishing is a natural highlight of many visits.

The cottages of Rakinkotka eco island are built from recycled logs.

“Every guest is welcome to try out fishing if they wish. For many, angling can be a novel and quite unique experience – a new way to connect with nature,” says Pertti.

After a successful fishing trip, the catch is prepared in the kitchen for evening dinner. Seasonal fish, game, and vegetables are the stars of the menu.

“A lot of our ingredients are sourced from the island, such as vegetables, eggs, mushrooms, and wild herbs and flowers,” says Virpi, who manages the culinary side of the island experience. For the three chefs of Rakinkotka, the constantly changing seasonal ingredients pose a positive challenge inspiring traditional Finnish treats served with a fresh new twist.

While the owners and staff remain busy throughout the year, the island provides a tranquil escape for the visitor. Listening to nature’s soundtrack – the music of the sea and the wind – is the ideal way to relax the exhausted mind.

What to expect

  • Flavours: Wild, green, and mostly gluten-free.
  • Special steam: The true speciality of the island is a smoke sauna built into the bedrock, which requires an entire day to heat up.
  • Behind the scenes: A hybrid power station located next to the sheep pen supplies electricity for the entire island using solar panels and wind power.
  • Sleep: The bungalows provide an irresistibly cosy cottage feel.
  • How to get there: Half an hour’s drive and a ten-minute boat ride from the coastal town of Hamina.

vimpa.fi/en

Text and photos by Amanda Soila

This article is published in the Summer 2017 issue of Blue Wings.