It’s the sort of promise we always make to ourselves before a holiday: to spend less time on our phones and live in the moment. Do we actually ever keep it? Of course not. We take photos, message our friends, read fashion articles and play Candy Crush, all the while surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the natural world. But one Finnish island is stepping in and cutting us off from our mobile phones.
The island of Ulko-Tammio, which belongs to Finland’s national parks, has declared itself a ‘phone-free zone’. Situated on the Eastern Gulf of Finland, the island is uninhabited by people but is home to a number of rare birds and plants. Its rocky shores and lush nature are ideal for hiking along. While the observation tower in the middle of the island offers unbeatable views too.
“The island of Ulko-Tammio, which is located off the coast of Hamina, will be a phone-free area this summer,” said Mats Selin, an expert in island tourism at Visit Kotka-Hamina. “We want to urge holidaymakers to switch off their smart devices and to stop and genuinely enjoy the islands.”
The campaign aims to encourage tourists to Ulko-Tammio to unplug and truly engage with the amazing island, as well as their fellow visitors. It is, however, totally voluntary. So you don’t need to panic about withdrawal symptoms kicking in if you decide to embark on the digital detox. The island receives great mobile coverage too.
“Switching off your phone, exploring nature and meeting people face-to-face are bound to boost your mood and well-being,” said Sari Castrén, psychologist and Research Manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. “We spend countless hours scrolling our social media feeds, so taking a short break from them means you have more time for new experiences.”
You can visit Ulko-Tammio, which lives off the coast from the city of Kotka, either by private boat, a commuter ferry, or a water taxi. Taking somewhere one and two hours depending on the weather. If you fancy spending a night free of your phone on the island, you can pitch up a tent or stay in a cabin maintained by Parks & Wildlife Finland.
Learn more about visiting Ulko-Tammio here.