In the Turku archipelago in Finland, there is one special place for me that I want to share with you. On the island of Vartsala in Kustavi an old school building is turned into this perfect, cozy little café. Adjoining the café, there is also a lovely interior design and gift shop, selling a variety of seasonal products ranging from locally made candles to handmade garden ornaments. There is all kinds of lovely stuff on sale and every time I visit the place I do have trouble not going head over heels about all the pretty little things I suddenly feel the urge to buy. Quite often I have to go through the same debate with the little shopaholic side of me in my head – I need this, no you don’t, but I want this, not now, but I reeeeeaallly want it (prettyprettyplease…)!!
Vartsala, as well as the whole Finnish archipelago, is a place you want to visit in the summertime as there is absolutely nothing happening in the wintertime. If, for some reason you do happen to be in the area in the wintertime, the school is open year round from Thursday to Sunday, in the summertime also on other days too. In the summertime, the place is at its best. The interior of the café is a lovely place for a hot cup of coffee or drinks in the winter time and during the summer, you can also enjoy a glass of sparkling wine in the lovely garden and enjoy the summer, the beautiful surroundings and relaxed atmosphere.
Visiting this place has become a tradition for me anytime I’m in the area. Quite often, when spending a whole weekend on a nearby summer cottage, by Saturday afternoon at the latest I do get the feeling that I really want to go and visit the old school. Especially when the weather is nice, spending an hour in the garden with a cold drink, a sweet bite and good company really makes you love life even more.
So how to find this place then? I’d assume most likely not by accident.. Vartsala is on the way when travelling between Kustavi and Åland island on the northern archipelago route, but other than that, there is no road to anywhere else, so you need to know where you are going. The popular archipelago ring road passes close to Kustavi, but from there you need to take a ferry to get to Vartsala.
It is also possible to stay overnight in here, part of the old school has been transformed into a 2-bedroom apartment accommodating up to 6 people. The cost for the stay is 30eur per person for a night, so here is a good option for a different type of holiday in the archipelago