Exploring Pensar Syd Finland – Finnish meals, sauna and Baltic sea
After visiting Aland islands we took Silja cruise and then a small boat to the Pensar island which is 300 hectares big. There we slept in houses called Pensar Syd located in the Southern part (syd means South). There are just 17 permanent inhabitants staying on the island all year round so this is the right place if you wish to explore authentic Finnish nature. In summer time approx. 160 people inhabit the island. Most of the people here speak Swedish as their mother tongue.
The boat you can take from Granvik to Pensar is a free ferry running four times per day during the summer season. There is also another ferry connection from Kirjais on the other side of the island which we took on the way out of the island. The ferries are supplied by the Government from the taxes.
The tourist season here is from mid-April to mid-September but it depends on weather, boats and groups that come here. Just up to 30 cyclists visit the island per season as they are too far from the main road. Mostly domestic tourists from inner parts of Finland come here for fishing in summer. Then later on come business groups, schools and church camps.
I have to be honest with you. After staying at all those cool luxury places on the Aland islands, we were a bit surprised to get to Pensar Syd and see we had to share rooms and some even outdoor toilets and showers. (Just so you understand the trip was planned for us so we didn’t know about it beforehand). Unfortunately, most of us girls on the trip were ”having our days” which made it a bit of a challenge but soon the swear words were replaced with appreciation of the quiet nature around.
At least that was my case as I needed some peace and quiet and what is better for that than getting grounded in the powerful nature?
Learning more about the place, it made me appreciate some very important details about it: mostly the eco-approach, tasty meals made of organic, mostly home-grown ingredients and traditional sauna. Aw, and we stayed there during Full Moon which was priceless to watch! White night magic, yes!
Pensar Syd Finland
Pensar Syd is a recreational area with many different activities. It offers different kinds of accommodation: one villa, one cottage, three single rooms in the main house, and the newest hostel (the long yellow building). The dining room on the second floor of the main building can accommodate up to 25 people. This is where we had both buffet breakfast and menu dinner. Two saunas are found at Pensar Syd which is unique in a place like this, as usually it is just one sauna.
Pensar Syd is fully ecological and organic
The island used to be a civil guard area, but then Eva and Petter bought it in 2002 and opened in 2003. In 2005 they made a decision that it will all be ecological and organic. Water toilets would be impossible here because of that so they invested in the dry eco-toilets we see here now. The sea is the source of everything here so no toilet waste can get into the sea. It’s very difficult to clean the toilet waste before letting it into the sea so in here they prefer not to use those water toilets which tend to be full of bacteria anyway.
Green electricity is used at Pensar Syd and also most of the meal ingredients are from as close as possible. Almost everything is also organically grown. Just two wine labels and beer is not organic (wind is used for its production); everything else sold and used in at Pensar Syd is organic.
Pensar Syd is the only fully ecological place in this area which is one of the reasons why we visited it.
Petter used to compete in sailing competitions but Eva doesn’t sail. Petter wanted to go sailing to the Mediterranean but ended up in here in summer and then run a ski hotel in winter. Not possible to get income here in cold winter because the ferry boats sometimes do not even run on thick ice for up to two months. And sometimes you cannot get around not even on snow mobiles.
My vegan meals at Pensar Syd
The meals they offer at Pensar Syd are not *just* vegan so anyone can find what they like. However, my diet is gluten-free vegan if I get a chance, so everything I ate there was made especially for me. You have no idea how much I appreciate the effort of getting gluten-free vegan meals on small islands where there’s not much of a choice.
Honestly, I loved home-made rhubarb jam with granola for breakfast (never eaten anything like that), and then potatoes with radish and vegan pesto for dinner. Also the gluten-free seed bread with avocado and home-grown yellow and red tomatoes was finger-licking. The food tasted very fresh and reminded me of my grandma’s meals 🙂
Water snakes with yellow or white dots are not dangerous but the black ones can be dangerous so just stay away from all the snakes if you can.
There are deer who bark like dogs so don’t get scared.
Also four mooses live on the island but they are very shy.
Spend time observing many birds.
Look out for bobcats in winter.
As we are in the nature, you could get ticks so the best thing to do is to wear light-colored clothes to see the ticks (not dark clothes).
Gluten-free cider is sold at the restaurant.
All the water taps on the house walls have drinking water from three local dwells.
People take the nature trail, go to sauna, fishing, take rowing boats, kayaking, go for a swim.
Don’t expect very fast wifi as you are in the nature. We had internet in our house and also in the restaurant but both were usually too slow to do much online.
Pensar Syd sauna and Baltic sea swim
And what else I loved at Pensar Syd? Proper sauna afternoon/evening and swimming and sunbathing in the Baltic sea. I am not joking, it was so hot and sunny that when others went kayaking, fishing or boating, I chose to take a while to myself, do some yoga and meditation, and then sunbathe for a bit. I even enjoyed a quick swim in the Baltic sea and then a few more times in between the sauna sessions, too.
We rented the whole sauna house just to ourselves nd really had fun there sweating like crazy, then trying Finnish snacks and drinks and beating one another with birch leaves to improve the circulation. You so need to read more about what I learned about Finnish sauna traditions and have a laugh in my post about it 🙂
Alex is a crazy Slovak girl who made traveling the reason of her life. In March 2011 she quit her stewardess job and hasn't stopped ever since. Her motto is ''I live to travel, I travel to live.'' She writes about crazy travel, fun adventures and sexy photos.
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