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Blog 26/03/2020

At one with nature – hammocking in the Arctic

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Kicking back in a hammock might be most commonly associated with the soft sand and gentle ocean tides of a beach holiday. But anyone who's ever enjoyed the supreme comfort and enchanting sense of weightlessness that these unique pieces of furniture offer will know that their relaxing properties are not confined to hotter climes or sandy strands. For a truly different kind of hammock holiday, why not head to Halipuu forest in northern Finland?

Colloquially known as the hugging forest, Halipuu is a nature lover's mecca. People from all over the globe come here to adopt a tree, enfold it in a warm embrace and spend a few hours at peace with the planet in a setting quite like no other. In today's modern world of commerce and complications, the restorative power of getting away from it all and reconnecting with nature under a canopy as unspoiled and idyllic as this Arctic forest is worth its weight in gold.

A remarkable history

It’s no wonder that Halipuu commands such an aura of magic and majesty, since the site has an incredible story attached to it. With the outbreak of World War Two, countless lives across the globe were thrown into disarray – including that of Kaarle Raekallio. Just a toddler at the time, Kaarle was forced to flee his island home and seek refuge on the Finnish mainland. As compensation for the land they lost, the government gifted Kaarle’s family a small parcel of Halipuu forest to try and help them put down roots in their new home.

Fast forward more than half a century and Kaarle has become Pappa (“grandfather”), the patriarch of his own family. But it’s not just humans that Pappa counts among his kin – after nurturing his woodland to maturity with the intention to harvest it for timber, Pappa found himself unable to part with his new friends. Instead, he put his Lappish pine offspring up for adoption and opened up Halipuu to the whole world, inviting tree huggers and nature enthusiasts from every corner of the globe to come and experience his own personal piece of paradise.

Reconnect, rejuvenate, relax

Guests at Halipuu forest can expect to be heartily welcomed by Pappa’s family – of both the arboreal and corporeal varieties. After a gentle stroll through the idyllic woodland surrounding the Raekallio homestead, you’ll be walked through a series of meditation and relaxation exercises designed to put you in the perfect frame of mind to enjoy your experience. Then you’ll be cocooned into a warm and cosy hammock to reconnect with nature and enjoy the Arctic environment in a manner quite unlike any other.

After your session under the pines is complete, you’ll be treated to a warming blackcurrant soup and a homemade snack crafted by Grandmother Terttu for the ultimate in Nordic hospitality. The site is open all through the year, meaning you can visit during the International Day of Forests in March, Tree Hugger’s Week in August or even come in the icy extremes of winter for a chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive but enthralling Aurora Borealis. Whenever you visit, you’re sure to return from your getaway refreshed and ready to take on the world once more.

Supporting sustainability

Visitors to Halipuu are not only guaranteed a truly restorative experience, but one that’s good for the body as well as the mind. That’s because the Lappish pines in Pappa’s woodland are highly sensitive to air pollution, meaning that the flourishing flora all around is testament to the cleanliness and quality of the Arctic air. By supporting Halipuu with your custom, you’re helping to sustain the forest for future generations to enjoy, as well.

Indeed, you don’t even have to arrive in person to make a difference. Halipuu runs an online adoption programme, in which patrons can sponsor a tree for a period of five years. During that time, they’re encouraged to stop by and see their adopted alpine friend as many times as they like, or else connect with the Raekallio family over video link if a physical visit isn’t possible. Contributing to conservation schemes such as these is key to giving back to the planet and ensuring that it’s every bit as verdant and vibrant decades down the line.

Finnish fancies

Kalipuu comprises just one opportunity to be at one with nature, but Finland as a whole and Lapland in particular offer a variety of similar experiences. For those who wish to see this captivating country in all its splendour and reconnect with their natural roots in the process, an extended trip might be an ideal option. As well as dropping in on Pappa and his brood, there’s also the chance to hunt for the Aurora within the Arctic Circle over a number of days. Traverse the tundra in a husky-drawn sled, indulge in an exotic bath in a geothermal spa and even say hello to Saint Nicholas and his reindeer.

Luxury accommodation options in Lapland are also in high supply. The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is home to the original glass igloo, allowing guests to stare up at the starry night sky or – if they’re lucky – witness the Northern Lights from the comfort of their own bed. For a more panoramic place to rest your head, the Arctic Treehouse Hotel is a bucket-list destination perching up among the pines. Meanwhile, those in the market for more traditional lodgings may prefer the Arctic Light Hotel, which is housed inside the former City Hall of Rovaniemi. Wherever you feel most comfortable, we’ve got an option to suit.

Quintessentially satisfied customers

At Quintessentially Travel, we pride ourselves on delivering a thrilling experience that goes above and beyond the expectations of our clients with each and every holiday we tailor make. By taking the time to really get to know our guests, we can envisage what constitutes their ideal getaway and then create a detailed itinerary that’s uniquely geared towards their tastes and preferences.

Equipped with that knowledge, we can then consult our team of international travel experts, who have spent years scouring the globe in search of the next hidden gem. Whether it be hammocking in the Arctic Circle or kicking back on Caribbean beaches that most inspires you, we’ve got the knowhow and the global network of contacts to make it happen. We have established excellent relationships with all of the world’s elite hotels and resorts, giving you access to preferential rates and additional VIP benefits (such as room upgrades, flexible check-in times and resort credit) which really make a holiday memorable. To learn more about how we can turn your next escape into something unbelievable, get in touch with Quintessentially Travel, today.

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