The Travellers' Club - Holidays for discerning travellers Halnaker Park Cottage, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QH
Telephone 01243 773597

ROMANTIC FINLAND - Art, architecture & music

5-14 July 2012

with Mark Powell

To book this tour, click here

PROVISIONAL COST: Including flights to Helsinki, 9 nights  accommodation in twin bedded rooms with breakfast & dinner at 3* and 4* hotels; all transport and touring by private coach, entrance fees, guided visits.         £1645

EXTRAS: Insurance, Single room supplement £345, additional meals, tips.


One of the smallest European countries in terms of population and economic strength, Finland punches far above its weight in quality of architecture, and if we look at the period at the end of the 19th, into the 20th centuries it matches this exceptional level also in art and music. This tour looks at these excellent buildings of all periods, from early gothic stone, brick and wooden churches, through cool, classical works of the Russian tsarist occupation, extravagant and inventive National Romanticism to the world-renowned masterpieces of AlvarAalto. We also visit galleries and artist's houses of the turn of the century when artists such as  Akseli Gallen Kallela, Albert Edelfelt and Helene Scherfbeck were rediscovering and depicting national myths and legends, in particular the Kallevala, a collection of folk tales. As a parallel to the artistic activity, Sibelius in particular was inventing a Finnish national style in music and we visit sites connected with him.
Other aspects covered by the tour include the maritime heritage: we take a boat trip to the island fortress of Suomenlinna, visit the excellent maritime museum in Turku and may glimpse some of the biggest cruise ships in the world which are built there.
There is a wonderful heritage of vernacular architecture in Finland, and this is not neglected in the tour. We visit Skansens in both Helsinki and Turku. 


Day 1 Fly Finnair to Helsinki. Drive directly to Mustio Manor Hotel, Mustio. The hotel is set in an idyllic landscape park of the manor house, which we can explore before dinner.

Day 2 We take a guided tour of the Manor House at Mustio before continuing to the former iron making centre of Fiskars. Here we wander among the many well preserved buildings, dating back to the 17th Century, and see the Fiskars Company museum. We then visit the medieval castle of Raasepori, once on an island in an estuary, but because of the rise in land level, now high and dry. We continue to Turku, where before checking into the hotel, we visit the open air museum. Check in at the Hotel Hamburger Bors.

Day 3 We go to the great brick cathedral, full of chapels and monuments of a high artistic standard, many of the former Swedish overlords. We continue with the river front, the Pharmacy Museum, and the Art Museum. In the afternoon we stop at the Maritime Museum, which has an excellent lunch buffet, and see the displays of the local shipping and maritime trade activities. Turku is still of world importance in shipbuilding: the largest cruise liners are built here. Lastly we explore the Old Castle, once residence of the Swedish governors, and its museums.

Day 4 We make an excursion to Nousiainen, to see one of the most important medieval churches in Finland, with its mural paintings, and brass cenotaph of St Henrik, a Flemish work of 1420 and the most important medieval monument in the country.  We then visit Naantali , an idyllic seaside town famous for its musical Festspiel, We visit the former monastery church with its gothic painted and carved altars and break for lunch. In the afternoon we go on to the Manor House at Louhisaari, one of the finest in Finland and former home of the great 20th century statesman Mannerheim. Before returning to Turku, we stop at the baroque church at Askainen which once served the Swedish Governor General.

Day 5 We leave Turku for the Spa Hotel Rantasipi Aulanko at Hameenlinna. En route we stop at the Glass making centre at Ittala, the Holy Cross church at Hattula, purest High Gothic example in the country, with the largest number of murals in any parish church, and the castle of Hameenlinna. In the brick gothic castle, based on the architecture of the Teutonic knights, we see a museum and art collection.

Day 6 Excursion to the city of Tampere, where we visit the National Romantic cathedral by Lars Sonck, with paintings by H Simberg and M Enckell. We go to the Tampere Art Museum and Hiekka Art Museum, both with National Romantic paintings, and the outstanding modern Kaleva church. After further exploration of the city centre, we return to the hotel.

Day 7  Today we transfer to the hotel in Helsinki. Shortly after leaving our hotel we stop at the delightful church of Vanaja, which has a polychrome wooden pulpit set with naive carved figures. On arrival in Helsinki, we take a boat ride to the island fortress of Suomenlinna, the "Gibraltar of the North". We wander its quays with historic vessels, bastions and museum.

Day 8 In Helsinki, we walk the town centre, with the Esplanade, including Aalto's Academic Bookshop, the modern Artek furniture shop and controversial nude fountain-statue of Havis Amanda. We visit the best collection of National Romantic Art in the Ateneum Art Gallery. After lunch we see the Railway Station by Saarinen, the Senate Square with Engel's cathedral, the university building and library and Sederholm merchant's house. We finish with the National Museum with its overview of Finnish history and murals of the national epic Kalevala by Gallen Kallela. 

Day 9 We make an excursion to Sonck's 1912 Kallio church, the Gallen Kallela studio museum, the Hvitraesk national Romantic architects' studio-residence, where Saarinen, Lindgren and Gesellius lived and worked together, where we have lunch, P Hallonen's studio house and Sibelius's house at Ainola. 

Day 10 On the way to the airport for our late afternoon flight, we stop at the Open Air Museum of traditional Finnish architecture at Suurasaari