February 1, 2012

Lapland is the home of Hostel of the Year 2012 in Finland

Hostelling International Finland has selected Visatupa, in the southern Sodankyla in Lapland, as Hostel of the Year 2012. Visatupa, which primarily functions as a dairy farm, has provided accommodation to tourists and travellers for over 30 years.

‘The fact that the majority of hostels are found in cities and tourist centres today makes us all the more pleased to have excellent countryside destinations such as Visatupa still in our network,’ says Hostelling International Finland Secretary General Ari J. Aalto. The association wishes to thank Visatupa for its long-term efforts to promote countryside tourism in Lapland, its active work on the local level, and its comprehensive range of services backed by a network of local businesses. Many regular customers visiting from Central Europe and even from Japan praise Visatupa’s ability to provide unforgettable experiences.

Visatupa is a family enterprise headed by Janne Sammalkangas. Three generations of the Sammalkangas family live on the farm: Janne, with his wife; their two toddlers; and Janne’s parents, the ones who started the accommodation business. The new generation stepped in a few years ago when Vilho and Milka Sammalkangas, the original proprietors, handed the business down to their son.

Janne Sammalkangas accepted the award at the Finnish Hostel Managers' Meeting in Helsinki

Visatupa provides its guests with a full experience of Finland that even many native Finns may not yet have encountered. In addition to nature, one of Visatupa’s greatest charms is its excellent food. Janne describes it as ‘simple home food’, but having reindeer, venison roast, or salmon and perhaps some home-made cheese for lunch is far from the regular Finnish fare. Picking berries in the woods is another tasty experience.

For years, Visatupa’s customers have praised the peaceful and cosy atmosphere, the proximity to nature, and the delicious food. Many of them, however, find that the most memorable experience has been the warm and friendly welcome given to them by the Sammalkangas family.