Many people like to cycle in Åland owing to the short distances. One trend is that cyclists are opting for a little more comfort than they used to. It is less common for them to have a tent and spirit stove in their luggage carrier – increasingly they stay in hotels and eat out in open-air restaurants.
There are various bicycles, tandems and bike carts to hire on the spot. The biggest place to hire a bicycle is RO-NO Rent, which has outlets in both Mariehamn and Eckerö. Many accommodation facilities and guest harbours also hire out bicycles to their clients.
Hiring a bike cart makes a family’s cycling tour easier and more fun. If your children are older, you can put your luggage in it, or, if you find something fun to buy at a flea market or in an arts and crafts shop, you have somewhere to put it.
Apart from having a cycle helmet, you don’t need much more than a bottle of water and suncream for your day’s outing. A cycle repair kit is usually included when you hire a bicycle. RO-NO carry out services for a small fee if they come out and help you on the spot.
If you’re staying in Mariehamn, one recommendation would be a tour southwards towards Lemland Järsö. The path over the water is about 10 km one way and has bridge embankments and species-rich archipelago habitat to offer. When you arrive, you can have a snack at Stickstugans Hantverk & Café on Järsö or Fågelvik Bad, Café och Logi on Granö.
If you are going around Hammarland, Sålis Batteri with its traces of the world wars and Skarpnåtö with its local arts and crafts museum are both worth a visit. The Silvana bicycle ferry runs from Skarpnåtö to Hällö Pier in Geta.
The countryside in Geta is magnificent and there is a fantastic view of the Geta hills from Soltuna. Pettas organic bakery and arts and crafts café are on the way from Hällö Pier. The path then winds on for about 40 km through billowing apple orchards in Finström towards Mariehamn.
Sund provides staggering views along the undulating Norra Sundsvägen and is home to all the historic sights like Kastelholm, Sund church and Bomarsund. You can proceed northwards on small paths towards Saltvik or eastwards towards Vårdö.
If you want to experience the real countryside in the outer islands and skerries, you should go out into the archipelago with the Ålandstrafiken ferries from Hummelvik in Vårdö and Svinö and Långnäs in Lumparland. On the way to Lumparland you can make a pit stop at Skeppargården Pellas.
Föglö and Vårdö are good for day excursions whereas it is preferable to have an overnight stay (or several) if you want to discover Kumlinge and Brändö along the northern line or Sottunga and Kökar on the southern line. There is also a cross line between Föglö and Kumlinge via Sottunga.
The Tourist and Cycle Map tells you everything you need to know about all the cycle paths and places to see, making your tour even easier. It is on sale at various outlets including Mariehamns bokhandel and Åland Tourist Information.