5 things you must experience in Åland
You mustn't miss Mariehamn on your trip - the islands' capital which was named for a Russian tsarina. The shipping town that is full of memories of voyages on the seven seas. Here you can go on to the museum ship Pommern, smell the tar and get a real feel for the hard life at sea. Wander along idyllic small town streets, look at local art and crafts and go and have a coffee.
Or for the completely opposite experience, take an archipelago ferry to one of the 8 inhabited islands in the northern or southern archipelago. Experience a tiny village community, a little world in itself. Kökar is a good example. It has traces of a medieval ruined abbey to fire the imagination.
You'll find more history at Kastelholm, the large 16th century castle in the middle of Åland's main island. Gustav Vasa built the stronghold at a time when Åland lay in the middle of Sweden, strategically alongside the east-west route through the realm. Right by Kastelholm there are two truly fine 18-hole golf courses.
Eckerö is the most westerly point in Åland. This is where the ferries from Grisslehamn in Sweden dock. There is a rather magnificent Post and Customs House in Eckerö. It is an imposant building from a time when Eckerö was the terminal point in the world's largest empire that stretched from Alaska in the east to Eckerö's red granite rocks.
One of the most remarkable things to experience is sitting on the flat rocks and looking out over the sea. Sometimes you can see sea eagles soar by. You have a better chance of seeing a sea eagle in Åland than an elk in Sweden. Go to Geta, for example, or to any of the northern municipalities. Ask at the tourist information office for suggestions!