Åland consists of 6500 islands and skerries, strategically situated where the Gulf of Bothnia becomes the Baltic Sea. The location is perfect for birdwatchers and it’s easy to get there. You don’t have to be an expert to have really amazing experiences.
Take the ferry to Åland’s most southeasterly island
The beautiful island of Kökar is situated in Åland’s most southeasterly archipelago. You get here with the ferry from the Finnish side or from Åland’s mainland. The island has only 250 inhabitants, but it is a municipality in its own right, with a shop, school, bank and services. In the summer there are plenty of places to stay, as well as restaurants and cafes. But we have tested coming here during the low season and have been able to enjoy the island’s beauty in a way that is really special.
Antons Gästhem is open all year round – there we get to chat to Gunnar Sundström. He is a bird enthusiast himself and tells us about everything there is to attract visitors to Kökar.
What do you think people should take the opportunity to experience on Kökar?
“Apart from birdlife? People should take a trip on our lovely longboat, the Tjutt-Tjutt. There are plenty of beautiful islands and skerries around Kökar. I recommend them all!”
Focus on birds in flight
Åland is strategically situated in the centre between north and south, east and west. Kökar is a particularly good choice for you whether you are an ornithologist or simply a lover of nature. You can get to experience large flocks of birds in flight, plenty of birds of prey and sometimes even the really rare varieties. If this is your particular interest, it is recommended that you do some background reading before your trip. The Finnish ornithologist and author Ari Linna has written precisely about birdlife on Kökar.
The season is long. The best time to see many birds is from March to May in the spring and during the whole of September and October. But Gunnar tells us that there are some enthusiasts who come every year in order to experience the last birds of the year and the first. They quite simply celebrate the New Year on Kökar.
It’s easy to get there
You can see on the map that Kökar is situated at the furthest point out in Åland’s archipelago. Yet it’s easy to get there. That’s a huge advantage compared with other islands in the Baltic Sea where there is a high density of birds. Ålandstrafiken runs several ferries every day from the Turku side and from the Åland mainland. There is more information available on our travel pages as to how to get to Åland.
Feel free to take your own car on the ferry: there are excellent roads on Kökar. You can get around by bicycle but if the weather is bad, a car is a nice way to travel.
Prepare your own food
In the low season some of Kökar’s eateries are closed. But the shop is open all year round and Antons Gästhem rents out apartments that have their own kitchens. Contact details for Antons Gästhem are available on our pages on where to stay, as well as for other places to stay on Kökar and in Åland.
What do you at Antons Gästhem have to offer a guest who is interested in nature, apart from a boat trip with the Tjutt-Tjutt?
“You can hire canoes or bicycles if you want to go out on your own. If you’d like a little help we’ll be pleased to provide recommendations and organise guides for you.”