Organise a trip to Finland with the help of local travel experts, Magni Mundi, and uncover the vast diversity of Northern Europe’s most mysterious country – from world-famous architecture to UNESCO-listed pastries.

The mythologised subarctic wilderness of Finland’s northernmost region, Lapland, tends to be the headline-grabber in Finnish tourism. “People don’t know that much about wider Finland and Finnish culture in general,” says Karoliina Vitikainen of Magni Mundi, a Finnish travel agency offering tailor-made trips and tours all over the country. “Because of that, it’s fascinating to present our cultural history to people.”

Based in the south-west coastal town of Turku, Magni Mundi works with small local businesses all over the country to deliver its bespoke travel packages and tours. “A guided tour can be an hour or a day, or we can arrange the whole trip, from accommodation and meals to cross-country travel, depending on the budget and what visitors are curious to see,” explains Vitikainen. “We organise everything from cultural family holidays to architectural tours for students and researchers with expert guides – or even honeymoons.”

Magni Mundi: Discovering Finland has never been so easy

In the summer, boat trips on Lake Päijänne are a must. Photo: Harri Taskinen

Finland’s medieval villages, ancient rock paintings, and bronze-age and iron-age burial sites make for incredible archaeological tours, while art-lovers will find a vibrant contemporary scene in Helsinki. “The culture here is so rich. We run a tour to the heritage village of Kauttua, where you can learn to bake the traditional Euran Rinkilä – wonderful little sugary, heart-shaped pastries that are listed under UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage,” says Vitikainen.

“But of course, the world-famous architecture of Alvar and Aino Aalto is our best-known attraction,” she continues. Mid-century designs by the prolific Finnish architect couple can be found over the country, such as the must-see Villa Mairea in Noormarkku, Pori – a beautiful private summerhouse to which Magni Mundi offer special visiting dates, and the stunning 1933 forest health centre, Paimio Sanatorium.

In Kauttua lies Jokisauna – a riverbank sauna and café designed by Aalto in 1944. “It still has a lot of original features and furniture from Aalto’s company, Artek. You can stay overnight, and they serve a beautiful selection of locally sourced delicacies.”

Magni Mundi: Discovering Finland has never been so easy

Säynätsalo Town Hall interior. Photo: Harri Taskinen

A room of one’s own… in an architectural masterpiece

On a tour of Alvar and Aino Aalto’s buildings, Säynätsalo and Jyväskylä are vital stopoffs. “Säynätsalo Town Hall is one of Aalto’s most important projects,” says Harri Taskinen of Tavolo Bianco – a company that arranges stays in three original apartments and two guest rooms in the building. “It was built in 1952 and was the municipal centre until 1993. It has always housed a library, while retail space, a post office and bank have come and gone. Today you’ll find a second-hand bookshop and a barbershop, while three apartments belong to residents of Säynätsalo,” he explains. “It remains an active part of the community.”

A stay here allows guests to experience the changing light inside the building – a crucial aspect of Aalto’s design thinking – while the rooms are finished with Artek pieces, textiles from Finnish design house Marimekko, and items loaned from the local Jyväskylä University – itself designed by Aalto. Meanwhile, visitors can enjoy another important building in the neighbourhood: Muuratsalo Experimental House – Alvar and his second wife Elissa Aalto’s self-designed atelier and summer residence.

Magni Mundi: Discovering Finland has never been so easy

Holiday season in Turku. Photo: City of Turku, Timo Jakonen

“We can arrange anything”

But Säynätsalo offers more than stunning architecture. “Säynätsalo is an island on Lake Päijänne. There are two others, Lehtisaari and Muuratsalo, and nature is a vital part of the experience,” says Taskinen.

“In winter, we can organise winter sports, hiking or ice fishing in the area. Many visitors wonder how we can be outside when it’s -15 or -20 degrees – but it’s an amazing time to experience Finnish nature. You don’t need special gear as there’s not so much snow that you can’t follow a path, and the sunlight in winter is enchanting.” “For photographers, it’s a magical time,” agrees Vitikainen. “We call it the ‘blue moment’, when the light is perfect.”

While Säynätsalo is blanketed in snow during winter, tourists are often surprised by how variable the Finnish climate can be. “In Turku, there might not be snow at all in the winter. It can be completely different, even though it’s not far away. Finland is not just Lapland,” says Vitikainen, with a smile. “Likewise, in the summer we have incredibly long, light days. Travellers with Magni Mundi have really enjoyed boating from Säynätsalo Town Hall to Muuratsalo Experimental House, to see it from the lake. This year we also saw a huge interest in summer biking in many locations. One group came for ten days, for road cycling and off-roading, and particularly enjoyed Säynätsalo and its beaches, blue lakes and islands.”

“We can arrange anything at Magni Mundi. While you can book your own trip, it’s very time consuming to put together a detailed itinerary in a foreign country. The question is, how much do you value your time? We’ll do the legwork and connect you to local experts and experiences that you may not have found otherwise.”

Magni Mundi: Discovering Finland has never been so easy

The riverbank Jokisauna in Kauttua designed by Alvar and Aino Aalto in 1944. Photo: Toni Glad, Glad Media Oy

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Stay at Säynätsalo Town Hall

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