With two additions to their family, Anna Belousova and her husband, Ilya, decided to invest in a long-term quality holiday home which they could all enjoy. Opting for a shared holiday ownership that allowed them to do holiday home swaps, they joined RCI nine years ago and in that time have enjoyed many memorable holidays together as a family. Anna tells us about the many special family holidays they have spent in Finland, one of her favourite destinations.
"My husband, Ilya, and I became RCI members in 2012. When we had our second child we began to think about the options for quality family holidays, as we believe this is a big part of our life together. Before the birth of our children, my husband and I travelled a lot, so we know how important it is to be comfortable while holidaying. We really wanted to enjoy home-from-home comforts and that’s why timeshare is perfect for us.
Why timeshare for this family?
We decided to buy timeshare at a Holiday Club Finland resort, becoming RCI members at the same time so we could do holiday exchanges into different resorts in Finland and further afield. It was one of the best decisions we have ever made! We carefully studied all the advantages of owning timeshare and agreed it was just right for our family. It took us a while to understand how the exchange system worked, but when we made our first exchange, there were no questions left - everything was so easy! Since 2012, we have made 23 holiday trips with RCI and every time we have had a great holiday.
Myself, Ilya, and our two daughters, Sofia and Maria, have travelled to Finland and Sweden so far, as we love those destinations and have visited a lot of different resorts in these countries. I do believe that the geography of our trips with RCI will expand in the future and we are now looking forward to experiencing new places together as a family.
Finland for a family holiday
Finland has so much to offer as a year-round holiday destination. It is a country of lakes, the purest forests, silence and true natural beauty, which we all really love. You can walk on hiking trails in the national parks, play golf, relax in modern spa complexes in the resorts, fish, swim, go boating, picnic on the sandy lake shores and, in the winter months, have fun skiing and snowmobiling.
We have stayed in many of the resorts in the Holiday Club Resorts' network across Finland - all available as holiday exchanges using your RCI membership - because we love these resorts so much. We have stayed in Saimaa (C642), Katinkulta (2247), Airisto (3550), Pyhäniemi (3552), Punkaharju (2233), Ruka (3551) and Kuusamon Tropiikki (2591). Both the quality of the accommodation and the location of the resorts as a holiday base are excellent.
All the resorts have excellent service and are very comfortable. We especially like to relax at the Holiday Club Katinkulta resort; it is our favourite holiday home. It has wonderful entertainment on resort and there's lots to do nearby. We love to visit the restaurant, O’Learys Katinkulta, while we’re there, as the food is always so tasty and, as it’s a sports bar, we can watch our favourite sports to keep up with all the scores while we're on holiday.
Holiday Club Katinkulta is located on the shore of a large and very beautiful lake in the Vuokatti region of northern Finland. There are golf courses, an aquapark, a beach, many sports facilities and playgrounds for the children to enjoy. For those who like to walk - venture into the forest, which is also a place of natural beauty. We love to walk along the hiking trails. My husband plays sports, so the outdoor lifestyle in Finland really suits him. Every morning he would go for a run around the resort grounds.
The children love to go to the nearby water park! They splash and play on all the slides and have so much fun there. If we come to Finland in the winter, we take the children skiing, as there are some fantastic slopes nearby which bring another fun activity to our holiday as a family. We really would advise everyone to come and experience Finnish hospitality, especially at the Holiday Club Resorts' properties.
For the future, we really are now looking to travel to other countries, using our RCI exchange membership and exchange holidays. We want to show our children some of the world's exciting cities and to give them even more fantastic experiences of the lifestyles and cultures of many different countries. Our memories of our wonderful times together on our family holidays is, for me, our true wealth!"
Finland - A holiday for all seasons
Finland has far more to offer than Father Christmas and lots of snow. Although nobody can dispute that it is the king of winter wonderland holiday destinations, it may surprise many that it is also a fabulous year-round holiday hot spot.
The round-the-clock phenomenon of the midnight sun during the summer months means you have many more hours in your day to enjoy all the extraordinary things you can experience on a Finnish holiday. Being home to the world's largest wilderness, this country has miles and miles of pretty lakeside landscapes and sandy shores to explore during the warmer times of year. Summertime sees many Finnish families leaving their towns and cities to head off to Finland's Lakeland to holiday.
Backed by lush pine forests, the fragrance of the forests is far reaching and a constant reminder that you are among nature at its best here. When you want to move away from the tranquil shores, you can pack up your picnic and up the pace. You can always take to the water on an organised boat trip, in a canoe or kayak. If you want to keep your feet dry, then the cycle and walking trails are plentiful in these parts and will take you through some of the most unspoilt countryside you are ever likely to see.
Summer festivals are also a feature of Finland's warmer months. The annual Summer Opera Festival held at Savonlinna (4 July to 3 August) is one of the best musical extravaganzas to be staged anywhere. It is hosted in the 15th-century Olavinlinna Castle, which is open to visitors throughout the summer. The architectural magnificence of this place will have your spirits soaring, long before you hear the music. There are steamboat excursions around the castle, which sits on its own island within Lake Pihlajavesi, which is a splendid way to while away a few hours, even if attending a concert in the castle itself is not for you.
There are seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Finland and the unusual Suomenlinna is one of the more recent additions. The seven islands, bristling with ancient fortresses and dungeons, made the UNESCO list in 1991 as a remarkable piece of military architecture. And then, after stepping back in time with your visit to Suomenlinna, a 15-minute ferry ride will bring you bang up to date when you step off the ferry to find yourself in the busy and bustling city of Helsinki.
The snow falls early in Finland come winter, when it is the nights which are almost endless. Seeing one of nature's greatest light shows - the Aurora Borealis - is on so many bucket lists and the clear star-lit skies of Finland are perfect for catching this heavenly spectacle. Finnish Lapland is also the place to be if you want to catch Santa Claus preparing for the busiest day of his year, meet the reindeer and let them - or the huskies - take you on a sleigh ride through a sparkling winter wonderland that would rival any Christmas card picture.
The ski season starts in October, long before the European ski resorts open, so you can get the best start to your ski season, whether you are speeding down hills or silently gliding through the frosted cross-country runs. Walking boots are always an alternative to skis if you want to take in the scenery at a slower pace. Winter attractions in Finland are many. A visit to coastal Kemi to explore the icy halls of the world's largest SnowCastle, in all its glistening glory, is an experience you will remember forever. Share a fish supper with the welcoming Sámi people in their kotas during an organised excursion to Inari-Saariselkä, the vast wilderness they call home.
Whether it's the midnight sun painting the vast lakes golden or the snow enveloping the landscape in its frost-jewelled blanket, you will always have a beautiful backdrop to your holiday in Finland, whatever the season.
If you are already an RCI member, you can use your membership to take advantage of accommodation in more than 4,300 resorts in over 110 countries. Click on the RCI Resort Directory button below to see where you could be holidaying - and always check out some of those countries you might never have thought of visiting, such as Finland, to enjoy discovering a whole new world of holidays...
Don't forget that you can always check your personalised RCI Account online - or look out for your monthly RCI Account Statement mailings - to be sure that you don't waste any of your trading power or points, and are getting away on all the fabulous holidays throughout the year that you deserve.
Timeshare owners should get real value from their ownership by joining RCI to swap their home week for the thrill of world travel. Click the Join RCI button below to sign up in just a few simple steps.