3 x sustainable places in Finland

Credits: The Barö


3 x sustainable places to experience in Finland

Learn how these accommodation & activity providers have taken sustainability into their everyday operations
Credits: The Barö

The Barö, Inkoo, Helsinki region

The Barö hotel, opened in summer 2021, embodies a strong commitment to sustainability. By employing modular construction, the hotel reduced its disruption to wildlife, avoiding continuous building noise and minimizing tree cutting. Today, after two years of operation, wildlife thrives, with deer often seen near the hotel's panoramic windows.

The Barö features 18 separate accommodation rooms which fit around 45 guests in total, and includes two meeting spaces and the environmentally conscious The Berg restaurant. "At The Berg, we pride ourselves on offering sustainable cuisine crafted from local ingredients or those sourced from trusted suppliers", says Netta Paavoseppä, Marketing Director and partner of The Barö.

Tranquility stands out as a top priority in the Barö. The hotel premises are located at a short walking distance from the parking lot, and direct vehicle access to the hotel is prohibited, so the noise and vehicular pollution won’t affect the peaceful stay. For those who prefer not to walk, hotel provides an electric vehicle service.

Guests can indulge in carefully curated packages, such as the three-day trip offering sauna visits, dining experiences, boat trips, local beverage tastings, and bike excursions. The hotel actively supports local entrepreneurs in both activity offering and hotel amenities – for example mugs in hotel’s restaurant are hand-made by local artist based in the same municipality. The Barö proudly holds the Green Key certificate, Sustainable Travel Finland label and is part of We Speak Gay and Hotel for Trees networks. Responsible sourcing, biological water treatment, and support for local businesses are key components of their sustainability initiatives.

"As a proud member of the Hotel for Trees network, we make a meaningful contribution to reforestation efforts. For guests staying multiple nights who choose to forgo housekeeping services, we participate in the network's initiative to plant a tree for each unused cleaning, reinforcing our dedication to environmental preservation", adds Paavoseppä.

The Barö's rooms boast large scenic windows with breathtaking views to the beautiful Archipelago nature
Credits: The Barö

Bearhill Husky, Rovaniemi, Lapland region

Bearhill Husky, a family-owned husky kennel company based in Rovaniemi, offers an unforgettable wilderness experience just a half an hour drive from the city centre. Along with thrilling husky activities, they provide cosy accommodation nestled just a few hundred meters away from the kennel.

Immersed in the tranquil wilderness, guests can unwind in a comfortable cabin equipped with modern amenities. One can indulge in the warmth of a personal wooden sauna, unwind in the hot tub, and take a refreshing dip in the serene Viiksjärvi lake, known for its crystal-clear waters.

"The well-being of our huskies is our top priority, and we proudly demonstrate it to our customers. Our dedicated employees are the cornerstone of our operation, ensuring the welfare of our dogs. As stewards of the pristine wilderness, we are committed to addressing environmental concerns. To minimize traffic impact, we arrange transportation for all our customers from Rovaniemi, eliminating the need for individual car journeys," explains Veronika Butinova, the co-owner of the company.

"For husky rides, we have created own trails on our forested land. Formerly used for industrial purposes, we are now working towards obtaining protected status for this valuable ecosystem. From the outset, we envisioned offering husky tours year-round. While winter offers exhilarating sled rides, the summer season presents opportunities for scenic walks in the woods and canoeing trips. Expanding our offerings beyond the snowy months is now a priority as we aim to make Lapland an enticing destination throughout the year," adds Butinova.

"Providing accurate information and offering products our customers love are of utmost importance to us. In our facility, the dogs have ample space to roam, socialize, and engage in various activities during the summer months. Transparency is key in the animal business, and it is our responsibility to provide a fair and fulfilling life for our huskies", continues Butinova.

"We actively participate in animal welfare projects and collaborate with the University of Lapland to enhance awareness of dog sledding culture and animal welfare. Our kennel welcomes visitors with an open concept, allowing them to witness firsthand our care and training of working dogs. Educating our guests about our kennel operations and promoting animal welfare in tourism is our top priority," shares Butinova.

"Our year-round operation also contributes to the local economy, providing employment opportunities for the community. We collaborate with local suppliers, transportation services, and offer handcrafted souvenirs made in the neighbouring village. All our buildings are constructed using locally sourced wood from a nearby location and carved just a few kilometres away. We strive to support the local community by reinvesting as much as possible. Furthermore, we engage in charitable activities, supporting local charity organizations and contributing to ecological initiatives. This summer, we are installing solar panels and transitioning to electric cars, utilizing eco-certified electricity," adds Butinova.

Bearhill husky kennel holds Green Activity certificate, Sustainable Travel Finland label, Greene Energy certificate and is part of VAOLO network.

Husky swamp training in the summertime
Credits: Bearhill Husky

Äksyt Ämmät, North Karelia, Lakeland region

Äksyt Ämmät, translated as Snappy Ladies in English, has been offering guesthouse accommodation and acted as a local DMC in North Karelia for over 25 years. "Situated in the remote town of Nurmes, Finnish North Karelia, we take pride in being surrounded by serene wilderness, far from the hustle and bustle of big cities. Our location has actually become our strength, as visitors often express that the most memorable part of their holiday is experiencing the tranquil forest amidst falling snow during winter," shares Minna Murtonen, co-owner of Äksyt Ämmät.

"Our guesthouse, a nearly century-old building, primarily caters to clients from Finland and other European countries. Additionally, we serve as a meeting place for locals, hosting different events organized for example by the village association, including activities for children", adds Murtonen.

"One of our most renowned tour products is the "From guesthouse to guesthouse" experience, available throughout both winter and summer. These tours offer a variety of activities, such as skiing, multi-activity winter weeks, biking, hiking, canoeing, Finnish cuisine, and sauna tours. Our accommodation, Majatalo Pihlajapuu, also offers specialized tours for women and visually impaired guests. This beloved program has been running since the early 2000s", celebrates Murtonen.

In recognition of our exceptional tours, Äksyt Ämmät received the prestigious award for Finnish Best Travel Destination in 2022. "Sustainability lies at the heart of our business, as we prioritize collaboration with local small companies and nearby communities. For instance, we actively support the local unemployment society by offering budget-friendly activities to individuals at risk of social exclusion. Additionally, our guesthouse's sports hall provides services to the local village residents. In our commitment to offsetting carbon emissions, we participate in the Carbon offset program, making donations to support local nature preservation and the WWF. Moreover, we hold the TourCert certification and the HI-Q&S system certificate for Hostel", explains Murtonen.

Sustainability is also woven into company’s tour products. The "From guesthouse to guesthouse" tour emphasizes the use of one's own muscle power, being guiding principle for many of our tour offerings. Guests appreciate the eco-friendly concept of transporting bed linens between guesthouses through luggage transfer on week-long or two-week-long tours.

Äksyt Ämmät is also a part of the We Speak Gay and Welcome Cyclist networks, promoting inclusivity and welcoming travellers of all backgrounds. Company’s commitment to sustainability, local collaboration, and environmentally-conscious tour experiences reflects its dedication to providing memorable and responsible adventures.

Landscapes of Northern Karelia region
Credits: Äksyt Ämmät