This European Island Is Cultivating a “Phone-Free” Environment

They want tourists to enjoy the surroundings technology-free

Ulko-Tammio features stunning rocky shores, rare flora and birds, and hikable nature trails
Visit Kotka Hamina

There’s this great restaurant in NYC called Hearth. On every table, there’s a box with a note that encourages patrons to put their phones inside so they can enjoy dinner and conversation without the distraction of their tiny hand computers. It’s a delightful detail, and one that really does make you slow down and enjoy the meal. But restaurants aren’t the only ones encouraging people to ditch their phone for a couple hours. Finland’s Ulko-Tammio is issuing a voluntary digital detox, hoping it will encourage visitors to simply enjoy the landscape instead of spending their entire time trying to capture it on their camera roll.

While it might make some uneasy to ditch their TikToks and Instagram stories for the afternoon, it would certainly do everyone some good to stop and smell the roses, especially in a place like Ulko-Tammio. Located in Finland’s Eastern Gulf, it’s uninhabited by people and can only be reached by boat. Once there, the island boasts stunning rocky shores, rare flora and birds, and hikable nature trails. 

Does Ditching Your Phone for Three Days Actually Rewire Your Brain?
I stuffed my iPhone in a drawer for 72 hours. Here’s what happened.

“The island of Ulko-Tammio, which is located off the coast of Hamina, will be a phone-free area this summer,” Mats Selin, an expert in island tourism at Visit Kotka Hamina, said in a statement. “We want to urge holidaymakers to switch off their smart devices and to stop and genuinely enjoy the islands.”

Of course, the digital detox isn’t mandatory, and there is a well-functioning mobile network on the island in case of an emergency. But Parks & Wildlife Finland is doing their darndest to encourage visitors to just enjoy their surroundings, which is obviously good for health and wellbeing. “Switching off your phone, exploring nature and meeting people face-to-face are bound to boost your mood and well-being,” Sari Castrén, psychologist and research manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, said in a statement. “We spend countless hours scrolling our social media feeds, so taking a short break from them means you have more time for new experiences.”

I personally love any excuse to ditch my phone and think any visitors to Ulko-Tammio — or really any other beautiful natural environment — should definitely try to do the same this summer.


Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.