We have been spending time in my hometown of Kokkola in Finland. While we were there, we also visited Luoto, a nearby tiny municipality, to see a place called Tyynelän Tonttula (Tyynelä Elves). It is a fun place for a quick stop if you are passing by the area, or spending time either in Kokkola or Pietarsaari. Tyynelä is usually open in summer months and during Christmas time, so before going, make sure to check their website to ensure it is actually open.
Tyynelä Elves was started when an antique sales person, Eija Perkola realised that her 18th century farm house was missing an elf. Just like in Harry Potter, in Finnish folk tales, it is common for every house to have their own elf living either in the barn, sauna or attic. Eija was not able to find a ready elf that she liked, so she decided to make her own. The elf came out so nice that many of her friends wanted one too, and soon people started to buy elves from her. Later Eija opened the doors of her beautiful house to the public and started showcasing the elves in Luoto.
There are many old fashioned barns, an old windmill and a few farm houses on the Tyynelä yard. The other house has a cafeteria and another is for the elves. Both houses have been furnished with antique furniture, and especially the cafe was beautiful. The Cafe building also has a little elf shop where one can buy an elf or some other souvenirs. One can visit the barns to see what the elves are doing. One of them is a store, in another they are building toys, and still another is a chapel. One shed also showcases some old toys and antiques.
A new thing this year is the elf workshop where one can see how the elves are made. Each elf is hand painted and therefore unique. The elf master also sews clothes for elves and gives them a name. There are many sizes of elves; the biggest ones are human size. The most special of the elves are for sure the wedding elves, the Head Elf Topi and a singing elf.
Tyynelä Tonttula is a great place to stop for a cup of coffee or with the kids. Our 6 year old seemed to fully enjoy the elves, even though one can not play with them. I on the other hand, enjoyed the summer day in my old home country.
The entrance fee to Tyynelän Tonttula is 7€ for adults and 3€ for kids (2018). We happened to visit on the kids day when all children were free.
If you want to see more of the Tyynelä Elves, check out my Instagram profile @paulagaston. You can find some videos under the Highlights on the front page.