To see our YouTube video on visiting Vaasa please click here.
Vaasa Finland is a place we’d never heard of until our son showed interest in the Applied Technology program there that is taught in English. After passing an entrance exam he was accepted to the Vaasa School of Applied Technology which meant we got the opportunity to fly over and help him get settled in his dorm room.
From our current location in Bury St. Edmunds in the UK we hopped on a flight from Heathrow and flew into the airport in Helsinki. It’s around a 3 hour flight from London and after arriving we rented a room at the Hilton at the airport. If you stay at the Hilton there be prepared to pay 10 euros a day extra for internet service in the room, 12 euros a day for parking, and even 10 euros extra for getting room service. It’s a little annoying all the add-on costs, it sometimes feels like the Hotels are taking a page from what the airlines are doing.
Helsinki to Vaasa is a 5-6 hour drive and for the drive there we decided we would take the southwesterly route and take in the sights on the drive. I mistakenly thought we would be able to see some of the coast on this route but the trees were so thick that all that was visible were the forests and the farms that had been carved out of the timber.
Finland has a wild and untamed feel to it much like the Northwestern US or British Columbia although it’s not as mountainous. In the four days we spent in Finland it rained every day so rain coats and umbrellas are a must if you travel there.
Arriving in Vaasa we stayed at the Hotel Kantarellis’ and the room cost was 134 euros per night. Yeah, no extra for internet in the room but parking was an additional 8 euros a day.
Vaasa has wide spacious tree-lined streets and there is a definite catering to pedestrians and people who ride bikes. There are bike and walking paths everywhere.
After spending a lot of time in the stores there to get our son the supplies and furniture he needed to set up a dorm room we spent some time walking on the paths near the water. Beautiful country with lots of wildlife and it only takes a few minutes walk to completely leave the city and find yourself surrounded by nature.
The buildings in the city are large and blocky and most buildings have multiple shops in them much like a mall setup in the States. We found Finland much like living in the UK, things are much more expensive than what prices are in the US.
On our final night there we decided we would splurge and go to the Gustav Wasa restaurant which got high reviews on Trip Advisor. We decided we would try the 7 course tasting menu with wine. The meal was a 3.5 hour event and looking back at it was probably one of the best meals we have had in a few years. The wait staff Tina and Charlotta were attentive but never pushy and when we finished the meal the chef Ludwig came out to make sure we enjoyed the meal. Definitely put eating there on your list if you ever visit Vaasa.
Below is what we had on our evening out at Gustav Wasa:
- Dill and herb soup
- Bread and truffle butter
- Cava sparkling wine from Spain
- White fish, potatoes, citrus sauce, & roe
- Yealands Way Riesling wine from New Zealand
- Perch, crayfish sauce, mashed potatoes, celeriac, cauliflower, radishes
- Le Petit Chablis chardonnay wine
- Burned egg yolk, wild rabbit with red wine sauce, risotto, & carrots
- Yealands Way pinot noir wine
- Reindeer filet, potato cake, carrots, cabbage
- Barbera d’Alba wine from Italy
- Finnish blue cheese, fig nuts & syrup
- We were offered port wine but declined
- Raspberry sorbet
- Lingonberry foam with chocolate & cloudberries
- Blueberries, strawberries, & white chocolate
- Sparkling dessert wine
My favorites were the dill and herb soup and the reindeer filet. Barbara liked the perch and the reindeer. To see images of our 7 course tasting meal please click the link to our YouTube video on Vaasa at the top of this post page.
We really enjoyed our visit to Vaasa and if our son stays in school there the next trip back we want to take one of the boat tours offered at the harbor.
Two Digital Gypsies Rating – 4 Stars
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