It’s quite easy to discover the harbour and shipping town of Mariehamn on foot or by bicycle, or bus. It is a ten-minute walk from one harbour to the other. Where the ferries arrive in Västerhamn is where the four-masted barque and sailing vessel Pommern is situated below Åland’s Maritime Museum by the Badhusparken.
The Esplanaden boulevard
At the turn of the century between 1800 and 1900 there was a charming seaside hotel in the park. The sauna, doctor’s premises and pavilion down by the ÅSS Marina still remain from that time. A trail leads up to the Badhusberget, from which there is a magnificent view of the town.
The Esplanaden boulevard, an avenue lined with lime trees, runs from Västerhamn to Österhamn with a parade down the middle. St Göran’s church is located halfway along, and on the north side several of the old shipowners’ houses remain. The Tourist Information Office is located straight opposite the church.
Most of the town’s shops and many restaurants and cafés are located in the Torggatan pedestrian precinct in central Mariehamn. The square houses the seat of power, the Självstyrelsegården, which comprises Åland’s parliament and provincial government, the town hall and the government building. On the slope up to the town hall there is a statue of Tsarinna Maria Aleksandrovna, who gave her name to the newly founded town in 1861.
The Östra Utfarten
The Östra Utfarten begins by the Självstyrelsegården, which is built in the style of the 70s, and continues past its contemporary, the Hotel Arkipelag, to the newer culture and congress building Alandica, the blue town library and the Högskolan på Åland university college’s training restaurant Hjorten, opposite the Mariebad public baths. These include a spa section, adventure baths and their own beach by the Slemmern.
Down in Österhamn by the Slemmern you also have the Tullarns Äng green area and Lilla holmen bathing beach; the MSF guest harbour and marina; Ångbåtsbryggans Äventyrsgolfen and several restaurant boats, not to mention the Sjökvarteret (Maritime Quarter) with its boatbuilding and craftwork.
The Östra Utfarten leads to the Rökerirondellen roundabout, from which you can follow it further to Strandnäs and the small industrial area, Bollhalla and the trotting track in Norrböle as well as Åland’s central hospital and all the other municipalities on mainland Åland.
Leafy Södragatan, with its fin-de-siècle wooden houses designed by Hilda Hongell, runs parallel to the Esplanaden boulevard, from the Högskolan’s easily recognisable Maritime Studies buildings on the west side to the town hall in the east. Norragatan is another delightful parallel street where you go past the lycée by Åland upper secondary school.
Ålandsvägen-Västernäsvägen are streets that run from the Västra Utfarten at the north end to Järsövägen in the south, through the town as far as Sleipners riding club and Espholm recreation area. On the way you have Lervik marina and Fiskehamnen harbour, from which you can enjoy a glorious walk that winds its way alongside the beach and rocks back towards the ferry terminal in Västerhamn.
In the town Mariehamnsbussen take care of public transport with one line going north and one going south. The buses run once an hour in the summertime and during working hours. The bus terminus is located at the crossroads between Nygatan and Torggatan. You can get around the town for 2 euros.
If you want to take a proper sightseeing tour, there are tours by minirailway in the summer courtesy of Röde Orm.