Finland Wants to Send You on a Free Summer Vacation With a Local Guide

The country’s “Rent a Finn” program is pairing a few lucky travelers with locals to show off what makes Finland the happiest country in the world.

Finland Wants to Send You on a Free Summer Vacation With a Local Guide

Finland says the secret to happiness is access to the outdoors.

Photo by Tommaso Fornoni on Unsplash

For the second year in a row, Finland ranked number one in the annual World Happiness Report out of 156 countries. Many factors, including a high GDP per capita and free access to education, may contribute to the overall sense of well-being in Finland. But Visit Finland thinks the answer is much simpler.

“Our secret is in our nature, very literally,” according to the country’s tourism board. “When others go to therapy, Finns put on a pair of rubber boots and head to the woods.”

This summer, Finland wants to share the secret to its happiness by pairing travelers with local guides, who will talk about how their connection with nature improves their lives. Through this program, dubbed “Rent a Finn,” nearly a dozen locals throughout Finland will host visitors at their countryside homes for a long weekend.

What does the trip involve?
During your three-day stay, you’ll be paired with a local guide who will welcome you into his or her home and take you into the Finnish countryside. Dates for the visits range from June to August this summer and the trips are located throughout the country.

For example, you could be paired up with Petri, who lives with his wife and dog in a small village in the middle of a national park on the Baltic Sea. There, you could have the chance to go hiking, biking, or just sit by the campfire with them near their home on the southern coast of Finland in June.

Or you could go to Lapland in August, where you’ll be the guest of Laura and Joni. Over a weekend, they’ll take you on walks through the forest or swimming in the lake near their home in Sodankylä in the northern reaches of the country.

How do I apply?
Because there are a limited number of spots open, you’ll need to apply at to be considered for the program. From now until April 14, you can submit a short film of up to three minutes that highlights who you are, what your connection to nature is, and why you want to go to Finland. Visit Finland will then review the videos and contact the selected winners directly.

Applicants can be solo travelers, families, or a group of friends. Knowledge of the Finnish language isn’t necessary, but you must be comfortable speaking English. Visit Finland will cover international flights and accommodations during the three-day stay.

>> Next: Plan Your Trip With AFAR’s Guide to Finland

Lyndsey Matthews is the former senior commerce editor at Afar, covering travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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