A dense network of transport, top quality sports arenas, accommodation close at hand and experienced organisers all make Åland, with its 50-odd facilities, a perfect destination for training and competition trips. Hundreds of sports clubs hold tournaments in Åland every year.
The facilities are of good quality and the staff on the spot are flexible and approachable. The arenas accommodate football, ice hockey, volleyball, floorball, swimming, basketball, tennis, gymnastics, golf, equestrian sports, rifle shooting, strength training, bowling, curling, boules, martial arts, sailing and athletics.
The BrändÖluffen half-marathon in Brändö covers the distance at sea level across 14 islands and embankments in a fabulous archipelago landscape. Åland has a number of other exciting challenges to offer such as the Käringsund triathlon, Åland marathon & half-marathon and cycle races of different lengths and with different features.
Groups can choose between staying at a hotel in an urban environment in Mariehamn or in cabins and guest houses out in the countryside in Godby and Eckerö or in the archipelago. In addition, the accommodation is often within walking distance of the facilities and sports grounds.
The standard package usually includes travel, accommodation, tournament registration and any meals. The package can then be extended in accordance with any requests the group may have, organising match opposition if required or different leisure activities such as barbecue evenings or visits to the public baths.
The important thing is for mealtimes to be tailored to sportspeople. Hotels often have group menus for sports and training travel. Food shops are open every day from early in the morning until late in the evening for those of you who like to cook in the holiday villages.
The journey itself is yet another advantage if you meet, train and compete in Åland. The journey by boat is quick and affordably priced, and it is possible to hold meetings in the conference rooms on board.
There are plenty of cup competitions and tournaments at weekends. They are professionally organised and you will automatically get the whole package including opposition, reserved grounds, courts, etc. and referees. You can even arrange a trip to Åland to round off the season or to get the next one off to a good start.
If you book in good time, you can choose freely between facility times, local training opposition, different types of accommodation and different varieties of leisure activities.
From beginners to elite
Both the junior league and world-class sports stars train and compete in Åland. Before the world championships in Helsinki in the summer of 2005 the Swedish athletics team opted to set up its final preparations camp in Åland.
The island state is just as suited to sports teams as it is to companies, associations, school classes, pensioners and other groups of relatives and friends. The common interest to connect them may be anything from cultivation, choir singing or art to special anniversaries and events. The Åland Convention Bureau takes care of conferences and larger meetings.
Åland is close to both Finland and Sweden but still manages to be slightly foreign to both of them. There is plenty to see and do in a small area.