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.
“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.
Text and photos Amanda Soila