Have you ever seen the sun set at midnight? No? Neither had we until we visited Hossa, Finland’s newest national park.
And to say the sun ‘set’ would be an overstatement because here in the northeast of the country, just a few kilometres from the Russian border, Hossa can have 24 hours of sunlight in the summer months.
Getting into bed at 11pm with the sunlight streaming through your windows is a strange sensation. It was pleasantly warm since we arrived and our hikes around this pristine countryside were blessed with cloudless blue skies and an average of 25 degrees every day. But when it comes to settling in for the night, make sure you have your eye mask ready because you’ll be tempted to stay up til the small hours watching the colours in the sky change from sharpest blue, to delicate sun-blushed yellow to a deep amber silhouetted by the tall spruce trees.
On our final night in Hossa, we were invited to try out Stand Up Paddleboarding for the first time by the lovely guys at Hossan Lumo. Owners Lenny and Maija Daly have been living in rural Hossa for almost 18 months and, as their second summer season has arrived, their lakeside campsite and luxury cabins are now ready to take in summer guests. They’ve also teamed up with Teija Mäkinen who runs LazyDogSUP to offer Standup Paddleboarding on the lake. And, of course, their adorable pups Mikke and Vicky also get in on the action. Check out our little video on our first experience SUPing and some beautiful views of Lake Hossa.
If you’re tempted to experience the Midnight Sun for yourself, here are a few tips to help keep that body clock in order and make sure you get those well deserved ZZZs:
1. Bring an Eye Mask
Really simple, but without it, I’m not sure how I would have managed to get to sleep at all. It’s just as bright at 11pm as it is at 11am so being able to create a little darkness is essential.
2. Make sure to wind down
We found we were just so excited and in awe by the colours of the sunset that every night we would leave our room, put on our trainers and walk down to the lake shores to take some photos. Being exposed to the light again only meant our energy levels spiked and we found ourselves full of beans at midnight. Get a cosy routine going, even if that’s a cup of tea or a long shower before bedtime.
3. Plan activities for the morning
If you’re planning to hike or go mountain biking, try to do it as early in the day as possible. Your body will get a kick start from the morning and will naturally wind down after that.
4. Wear yourself out
Go hiking, biking, walking, canoeing, SUPing… even a morning run! Anything that will get your body feeling energised for the day time, but then sleepy and ready for rest come evening. Finland is not the place to be lying in the sun sunbathing all day anyway, so pack in some adventures where you can.
5. Think about coffee
Anything with caffeine will definitely keep you up later than usual, and unless you want to see the midnight sun through to til dawn, think about cutting out coffee from 3pm onwards.