This year I had the pleasure of being invited along to the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience in and around Finland. NBEFinland ties into the MATKA Nordic Travel fair held in Helsinki every year. MATKA is the biggest travel fair held in the North of Europe.
So what is the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience all about?
Rather than only hosting a travel fair, the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience ties in with the MATKA Travel fair to showcase the Nordics to a variety of different bloggers to explore, discover and showcase what’s on offer around the region before and after the travel fair.
It’s the perfect opportunity to network with Nordic related travel companies as well as exploring what’s on offer at the same time.
For Travel Dave, the plan was to move to Finland and focus more on the Nordics as a niche for 2016.
This year marks a special one for me as it marks my 10th travel blogging anniversary that all started in Finland and I wanted to head back to mark the occasion.
NBEFinland took part at the start of the year and could not have been more perfectly timed.
I’m over the moon to have been selected to take part and thought I would write up a blog post about the whole experience and what went on at NBEFinland.
#NBEFinland – you have probably seen me use this hashtag a lot and you can use it across all social media platforms to locate other bloggers who took part in the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience and discover loads of content to inspire you to discover the Nordics.
Post and Pre NBEFinland trip to Ruka Kuusamo and Northern Karelia.
Before and after MATKA, Travel bloggers have the opportunity to apply for a Post trip or a Pre Trip to explore the Nordic region. Travel bloggers explored many Finnish regions such as the Åland islands and Sienajoki, as well as Sweden and Estonia as well.
Here are some sneak peak pictures to give you an idea of what we got up to (Blogs to follow soon!).
(Ice fishing in Northern Karelia, very peaceful indeed, great way to explore the Finnish nature and outdoors in winter time)
Lots went on during the pre and post tours as part of the Nordic Bloggers’ experience. Here is what happened during the 5 days between, surrounding the MATKA travel fair in Helsinki.
Forenom Apartment Helsinki, Finland
Forenom apartments played host to the participant bloggers of NBEFinland. We were invited to stay in the city centre of Helsinki, which made it easy to access the MATKA travel fair every morning.
Forenom are a new type of hotel, more like easy to rent short stay apartments.
They come with kitchen units included and include a keyless PIN code door access.
You can turn up on the day and rent an apartment for a month, extremely easy!
They have everything for you that you could possibly need to make you feel at home in Finland.
Lovely Nordic design in easy to find locations. It’s easy to set up your own temporary home.
Periscope tour of Forenom apartment in Helsinki or around Finland
For readers of Travel Dave, Forenom have kindly offered a €10 Euros off coupon voucher for your next stay. Simply enter the code: BLOGLOVE at check out. Happy days! Enjoy the discount on your next stay with Forenom
MATKA Nordic Travel Fair, Helsinki, Finland
MATKA (Which is Finnish for “trip”) is a Nordic focused travel fair which lasts for three days in Helsinki, Finland every year. MATKA is open to the general public to explore what’s on offer around the Nordic region as well as what’s on offer for Nordic travellers.
For the industry and Travel bloggers attending Nordic Bloggers’ Experience, MATKA opens a few days earlier to allow some time to arrange meetings and networking space before MATKA opens its doors to the general public.
Work shops for travel bloggers
The great thing about MATKA was the many workshops on offer for travel bloggers and industry to take part in. Many workshops were held to pick up some new valuable skills and also open up to the industry to also come along and learn too.
StopOver Finland and Finnair travel blogger campaign.
This was a great idea for NBEFinland bloggers to have a chance to create and pitch a project idea to StopOver Finland and Finnair for their latest campaign.
Finnair will be promoting new StopOver ideas around Finland for passengers wishing to stop off on their way to Asia.
Finnair now has the new A350 connecting Europe to Asia in the fastest time. If you want to stop over in Finland for 5 hours or 5 days, you can now explore and spend more time in Finland.
It’s a great idea and a wonderful opportunity to partner up with travel bloggers to promote this new campaign.
(crowded planet picked up the prize, congratulations! I’m looking forward to their new project coming soon)
I didn’t end up winning, but still took a lot from the pitching process and learning experience and hope to work with both StopOver Finland and Finnair in the close future.
Finnair kindly offered me a voucher as the runners up prize and I will be flying with them to Turkey at the end of this month to celebrate. Thank you Finnair!
After the announcement Flying with Maggie another runner up in the pitch, kindly offered me her Finnair voucher so my girlfriend could join me to Turkey as well. Very kind of her indeed. Thank you very much, Maggie!
Meeting a Moomin
Visit to the Finnish Sauna Society.
(Janicke from Norske Reise Blogger taking a dip in the ice water. Thank you for sharing the photo!)
This was a very special part of the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience. We were given access to the the Finnish Sauna society club house for one night in Helsinki. The club house is normally cut off to the general public, but for one night only they opened their doors and invited us along.
This was a unique place to try the Finnish sauna experience and try this unique Finnish tradition.
For those who were brave enough, a special ice hole had been carved out from the lake below for us to jump into after the sauna. It was a special experience indeed. Freezing, but totally worth it!
Visit to Nuuksio National Park, Espoo.
Finland is covered by nature and only a short drive away from Helsinki you can reach Espoo. It is the 2nd largest city in Finland and home to Nuuksio, one of Finland’s many national parks that you can visit.
We were invited to the Nuuksio national park to take part in a winter experience and take part in some snow sports such as snow shoeing or Nordic skiing.
It was great fun hitting the snow and grabbing some fresh air in the national park. At the end of the day we surrounded a nice cosy fire in a teepee tent and grabbed a kuksa of glōgg and a Finnish sausage on a stick. Lovely!
Can watch a Periscope video from the snow sports activity at Nuuksio National park
(Lots of fun out on the snow in Espoo, Finland!)
One of the highlights of the Nuuksio national park is the newly built Finnish natural centre Haltia, and we were invited to have a look around and learn about the Finnish nature and the many outdoor activities you can take part in at the centre.
We were invited to enjoy a special dinner at the Finnish nature centre, Haltia. The meal was prepared using local ingredients. It was an incredible experience to dine in this lovely well designed building. It was a lovely way to end the day before we headed back to the capital city, Helsinki.
Visit Helsinki, Helsinki Secret residence.
This was pretty cool! On the last day we had a farewell party at the Helsinki secret residence.
Not so secret any more after 50 bloggers checked out the place for our farewell party!
Visit Helsinki has opened up a residency, which bloggers can apply to take over and write about the hidden secrets they discover around Helsinki.
We were able to check out the swanky pad on our last day and I have to say the place looked incredible. Great opportunity if you’re in town and fancy checking it out. You can apply and vote here
Thank you for reading about my Nordic Bloggers’ Experience
Thank you for reading my post about the Nordic Bloggers’ Experience. If you are looking to apply in the future, you definitely should. I wanted to share with you my experience because I had such an awesome time and met so many incredible people. It really was a special event and I want to thank all the organisers for making it possible.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment in the comment section below, or send me an email. Thank you and happy future travels!