Summer in Åland
DISCOVER 6,700 ISLANDS
There is plenty of room for manoeuvre on Åland’s 6,700 islands and skerries. You can even find an island of your own to stay on. A lot of the accommodation and places on the ferries quickly become fully booked, especially in July. Book in good time or else be ready to go on the spur of the moment when there are opportunities. Why not camp in a tent, bring your caravan or come in your own boat? Otherwise there are always occasional vacancies at hotels and guest houses where you can get a good, tasty breakfast into the bargain. Or rent a cabin for a longer period – or just for a couple of days.
Åland is just as nice in June and August, but it is quieter then than in July. June is tempting because of the long light evenings and midsummer celebrations, not to mention the profusion of flowers in the beautiful nature conservation areas and apple orchards. August provides the best bathing temperatures and there are plenty of relaxed and enjoyable events in the late summer darkness.
Always close to sea
Åland, which enjoys the most sunshine hours in the Nordic region, has long days on the beach or the red rocks to offer. Enjoy the sea view on the sandy beach in Eckerö Degersand. When you’ve had a dip, a picnic might be in order, unless you’d rather sit down at table and be served at the restaurant next door. There is plenty of excellent locally produced food to be had.
Lilla Holmen beach area, which is situated almost in the centre of Mariehamn, has a child-friendly beach with a pier, diving raft, beach volleyball pitch and a fun climbing ship. The Mariebad swimming pool has its own beach in Österhamn and provides an alternative when there is both sun and rain. If you are interested in history, you can combine a cooling dip with a hike around the fortress ruins in Sund Bomarsund. It was there that the British and the French captured Åland, which in the middle of the 19th century was the Russian empire’s frontier post to the west.
It’s quick and easy to hire a car, bicycle, kayak, zoom or boat and set off exploring the island state. The main island is called mainland Åland – it is only 45 km north to south and 50 km west to east. Otherwise you can also island-hop in the vast archipelago on board the Ålandstrafiken ferries.
In the summer there are Pirate Club activities, Sjödagar (“Åland Sea Days”) in Mariehamn and a Viking market on old Viking grounds in Saltvik Kvarnbo. Many concerts and musical events for different age groups and tastes also take place in the churches, on the stages and in the open-air restaurants all around Åland. Åland’s Maritime Museum in Mariehamn puts on fun programmes for the whole family and displays the world’s oldest pirate flag. The unique sailing vessel Pommern close by is well worth discovering, as is the medieval castle in Sund, Kastelholm, which was the centre at the time in Åland’s history when Åland belonged to Sweden.
When you get to Åland, do look into Åland’s Tourist Information Office at Storagatan 8 in Mariehamn or go to www.visitaland.com for up-to-date information. You will also find maps, available tours and lists of travel agents as well as other useful information for your trip to and stay in Åland.