ISLAND HOPPING IN THE ÅLAND ARCHIPELAGO
The Åland archipelago with its 6 700 named islands and 20 000 islets is a number one destination for all who long for a relaxing holiday, but offers activities for adventurers as well. Whether you travel along the Åland archipelago trails or follow the S:t Olof’s Waterway you’ll find loads of hidden gems to explore. Here are our best tips for the most interesting routes and excursions at sea for your best holiday ever.
FROM AN ISLAND TO ANOTHER
Countless islands, a mild sea climate and most sunny hours in the whole Nordic make the Åland archipelago a versatile destination to explore all year round. A great way to experience Åland is to island hop.
The sea is always close and the archipelago trail goes over islands, bridges and causeways. Where the road ends another journey begins – continue your travel with an archipelago ferry or by boat. Choose the most convenient way of travelling. Using many different modes of transport will enrich your experiences.
ÅLAND ARCHIPELAGO TRAIL
Distances are short in Åland and the landscape shifts from greenery of woods to rocky shores and lines of weathered boat houses. Every turn reveals yet another beautiful seaview, smooth cliffs or lush pastures. In addition, there are a large number of interesting sights around the whole Åland.
The Åland archipelago trail offers several different route options all the way from the Åland mainland eastwards through the Åland archipelago to the Finnish archipelago and mainland. You can start your adventure at Kustavi or Korppoo in the Finnish archipelago and island hop all the way to the Åland mainland. The route from Kustavi goes via Åland archipelago municipalities Brändö, Kumlinge and Vårdö to Sund in the Åland mainland. From Korppoo you can travel via Kökar, Sottunga and Föglö to Lumparland in the Åland mainland.
Map out a route and direction that suits your holiday plans. Let your trip take time. We recommend you to reserve enough time for your travel so that you can experience all top sights and places worth visiting along the Åland archipelago trail without any hurry.
If you travel by car or motorcycle and like to book a spot for your vehicle on the archipelago ferries, be advised that you need to overnight at least once on some of the Åland archipelago islands on your trip from Kustavi or Korppoo to the Åland mainland. And that we highly recommend as well – by staying for a little longer you get to experience the calm and true archipelago atmosphere and the moments that make your holiday unforgettable.
The mainland of Åland is only 45 km from North to South and about 50 km from East to West so you can easily visit many interesting places even during a shorter stay.
GENUINE ARCHIPELAGO LIFE
Islands, islands and more islands. Large and small ones. Inhabited and uninhabited. The Åland archipelago is like when the archipelago is at its best. Stop off at small and picturesque archipelago villages, see interesting sights, visit museums, cozy summer cafés and snug farm shops. Take a nap on sun warmed cliffs and enjoy the views over grey boat houses and red windmills, breathe fresh sea air and taste clean and locally produced food. Look at the seaview, listen to the waves, smell the salt of the sea and feel the soft breeze on your skin.
S:t OLOF’S WATERWAY
Did you know the S:t Olof’s Waterway is the only pilgrim route that goes through archipelago? The waterway starts in Turku, Finland, and goes through the Åland archipelago to Sweden where it consolidates with the S:t Olof’s Way, which goes all the way to the shore of Atlantic in Trondheim, Norway.
In Åland the Waterway has been cut to seven different laps, each of them about 15–20 km. As a whole the waterway from Korppoo in Finland to Grisslehamn in Sweden is 205 km. Two thirds of the route are waterways that you can travel by archipelago ferry or by your own boat. Some of the laps you may travel by taxi boat or by bus. Travelling by different modes of travel and in addition, both on land and on water, makes the trip varying and more interesting. Some laps of the archipelago route suites perfect for biking, sailing or even kayaking. Read more about the S:t Olof’s Waterway and other hiking and nature trails in Åland. Cut your trip into shorter phases and overnight between the phases to explore more of the versatile Åland archipelago.
BOAT EXCURSIONS TO LIGHTHOUSES OR PILOT STATIONS
If you have travelled to Åland by ferry, you probably have noticed the white buildings on a small island outside Mariehamn. It’s the old pilot station Kobba Klintar, a fantastic excursion destination to visit and only a 10 minutes boat trip from Mariehamn. During summertime there’s a taxi boat that drives to Kobba Klintar every day from the western harbour in Mariehamn and other times according to agreement. The boat Fiskelyckan leaves from the museum ship Pommern and takes you to the old pilot station where windjammers used to get a pilot onboard to help in navigating safely to the port of Mariehamn.
On Kobba Klintar you can watch ferries pass by, take a look at the buildings such as the island’s museum. Surrounded by the sea, it’s easy to imagine how it was for the pilots to work on the island in stormy weathers.
The taxi boat company Shipland with Vilhelm Holmberg as captain drives to the pilot station and other islands outside Mariehamn all year round. Book a day trip to some of the uninhabited islands outside Mariehamn or learn about history on some of the lighthouses or old pilot stations in the Åland archipelago. Excellent boat trip destinations are for example the island of Rödhamn where you can look at the old radio station now working as a museum, and the lighthouses Sälskär and Märket.
From the island of Kökar you can visit the island of Källskär by boat, a fascinating destination with unique stone figures, cultivations and statues in the middle of the barren nature.
From Kumlinge and Enklinge you can take a boat to Bärö, where the restaurant Glada Laxen serves delicious fish dishes. The former coast guard station on the island offers nowadays also accommodation and in the monitoring tower you can admire the sea view over the archipelago and open sea in the height of 40 meters.
Read more about interesting excursion destinations in the Åland archipelago.
RENT AN ISLAND OF YOUR OWN
How would you like to stay overnight in Åland? There are many great accommodation options both in Mariehamn and in the countryside as well as on the smaller islands in the archipelago. What’s your favourite – a hotel in the centre, a cozy bed & breakfast, a camping site with easy access to sea, a simple cottage among others or perhaps – staying on an island all by yourself? If you travel by boat, Åland offers several high standard guest harbours and nature harbours where you can anchor and stay overnight.
If you are keen to experience how it would be like to live on an island all alone there are several options to choose from. At the hermitage on the little island Gyllenklobb at Sandösund in Vårdö you can stay overnight in a cottage for two and enjoy a hot tub outdoors. The hermitage Sommarö is located on the island of Långharan in Föglö. Sviskär island outside Saltvik in northern Åland offers accommodation in a hermitage for four people. Silverskär island and the modern fishing hamlet and retreat Klobben is perfect for groups, for example family meetings or team days.
SEE YOU IN ÅLAND!
No matter what mode of travel you use or what direction you come from, the Åland archipelago always offers unique experiences. The sea is close wherever you go and there is a lot to experience for all ages and tastes. Come and find your new favorite spots and activities! The five star tourist information in Åland is happy to help you in planning the trip of your life.
Site updated 20.4.2021