Heinola is a fairly old town located only an hour and a half northeast of Helsinki, the capital of Finland. It has a scenic waterfront setting with the Jyrängönvirta River flowing through it and is Finland’s jumping off point for the scenic summer lake cruises. Best of all, Heinola hosted the Sauna World Championships from 1999 to 2010, which tested the endurance of sauna enthusiasts from over 20 countries to see who could sit in a 110 degree Celsius (that’s approximately 230 degrees Fahrenheit) sauna longest. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, this competition was opposed by the Finnish Sauna Society and was cancelled after the extreme sauna conditions led to the death of one finalist and the near death of another.
“Finland’s Most Beautiful Home”, or “Suomen Kaunein Koti”, is a 12-part reality show broadcast on MTV Finland that follows two interior designers and one architect around Finland in search of, you guessed it, Finland’s most beautiful home. And it is the 2014 champion, belonging to Tita Barner-Rasmussen and recently put up for sale, that has earned the Taste Maven Stamp of Approval. Originally built in the 1700’s as a village church and later converted into the home of a priest, this log cabin is the essence of rustic Scandinavian design, complete with white-painted wooden ceilings, walls and floors.