Seven interesting film locations you can visit in Åland
It’s not only ordinary visitors who like Åland. Film and TV producers have fallen in love with spots in Åland and chosen to make films and TV programmes here. We have listed some well-known locations you can visit when you come to Åland!
The lighthouse island of Lågskär from the film “The Disciple”
Lågskär, with its easily recognisable lovely red lighthouse, is located south of Mariehamn. This is where the psychological thriller “The Disciple” directed by Ulrika Bengts was filmed in 2012. The film is about a 13-year-old boy who came to Lågskär in 1939 to be a lighthouse keeper. The chief lighthouse keeper he meets rules life on the island and his family with an iron fist, and the film is about the mechanisms of power in the most open of all enclosed spaces: an island where you are trapped, although the horizon is clear and unbroken in all directions. “The Disciple” was chosen as Finland’s entry for best foreign film at the 2014 Oscars.
How to get there: You need a boat to get to Lågskär. You could contact one of the water taxi companies or hire a boat from someone like RoNo Rent if you feel comfortable about driving a boat yourself.
Ideas before your visit: When you visit Lågskär, you should – of course – climb up the lighthouse and enjoy the view. Take a picnic basket and enjoy a snack as you gaze on the view of the open sea. Lågskär is also a bird observatory and a Natura 2000 area, so make sure you take any rubbish home with you, take care as you move around and keep to the paths when you’re exploring the island.
The old fishing village in Käringsund from the TV series “Vi på Saltkråkan” (“We on Seacrow Island”).
Käringsund fishing village and natural harbour in Eckerö, western Åland, is a unique area with about fifty old fishing huts and boathouses. This will remind you of a time when fishing was an essential part of people’s livelihoods, and several scenes from Astrid Lindgren’s TV series “We on Seacrow Island” were filmed here.
How to get there: You can walk from Eckerö Linjen’s ferry pier in Eckerö Berghamn, in fact: it takes about ten minutes. In the summertime, there is also a mini-train that runs between Eckerö’s attractions. The journey by car from Mariehamn to Käringsund takes 30 minutes. You can also take the bus: get off in Storby or Berghamn and then walk the last stretch.
Ideas before you visit: There is plenty to see and do in Käringsund, so make sure to give yourself lots of time. When you’ve finished strolling around the fishing huts, taken selfies and eaten your picnic, you might want to visit the Åland Hunting and Fishing Museum, which is located nearby. Käringsund Game Safari and the Leklandet adventure playground in Eckeröhallen are also a stone’s throw from there. If you need to cool down in the sea, we recommend the beach at Käringsund Resort & Conference.
Hermas Museum Farm on Enklinge from the film “Iris”
The Hermas Museum Farm is located on the island of Enklinge in Åland’s eastern archipelago. This is where Ulrika Bengt’s film Iris takes place, which is about the complex relationship between parents and children. Eight-year-old Iris is sent away from her comfortable 1890s life in Stockholm by her artist mother to live a simple archipelago life with a relative in Åland instead. She finds friends of her own age here and lives a glorious summer holiday life in the naturally beautiful archipelago.
How to get there: Take the archipelago ferries’ northern line (Norra Linjen) from Hummelvik in Vårdö on Åland’s main island. The ferry docks at Enklinge and the Museum Farm is two kilometres from the harbour – you can either walk there or go by car.
Ideas before you visit: The Hermas Museum Farm is only open in the summer, but if you come to Enklinge at other times of the year you can still view the archipelago farmhouse from the outside. Hermas is the last totally preserved group of old-fashioned farm buildings in the Åland archipelago and the farm boasts about 20 buildings. Wander around among the houses and you can feel as though you are transported back in time by hundreds of years. Read more about the Hermas Museum Farm here.
Viking village from Viking Warrior Women
There is a Viking village in Kvarnbo, Saltvik, in the north–eastern part of Åland’s main island. This is where Urban Canyons filmed parts of the documentary Viking Warrior Women, which is about the female Viking warrior Signe. The film-makers were inspired by actual archaeological finds from a Swedish Viking grave, where it was established that the warrior buried there was a woman.
How to get there: The best time of the year to visit the Viking village is the last weekend in July, when there is a large Viking market. Special buses run from Mariehamn to the marketplace, and you can also drive there and park in designated spots. The association Fornföreningen Fibula also takes group bookings: for instance, a group can book a banquet where Viking food is served and Viking games are organised.
Ideas before you visit: Dress up in Viking clothes of cool linen and cover yourself with sun cream so you can enjoy the sunshine in the Viking village. You can also walk a few hundred metres to Kvarnboviken and have a dip to cool down. Another attraction is the “Borge Swyn” Viking ship, which featured in the mockumentary!
The Rökka kiosk from the TV series “Thicker Than Water” (Tjockare än vatten)
The little pale blue Rökka hot–dog stand is located by what is known as the Rökerirondellen roundabout in north Mariehamn. It was one of several spots that were featured when the TV series “Thicker Than Water” was filmed in Åland. Other places that the TV team visited included the Badhusberget, Pub Ettan and Paf Casino in Mariehamn, so if you want to follow in the footsteps of the TV characters, there are many places you can visit.
How to get there: If you are in Mariehamn, you can either walk or cycle to the Rökka hot–dog stand. Follow the foot- and cycle-path northwards along the Östra (Eastern) exit and pass under the Rökerirondellen roundabout and you’ll quickly reach the kiosk.
Ideas before your visit: If you want to impress the hot-dog seller, you can study slang expressions to place your order like a proper Ålander. A classic order would be: “Två med rubbet, två nakna och en halva vitt” (Two with the whole works, two naked ones and a half of white), which means two hot dogs with buns and strong mustard, ketchup and gherkin relish, two hot dogs without buns and half a litre of milk.
Skarpnåtö homestead museum from the TV series about “Stormskärs Maja”
Skarpnåtö homestead museum is located in Hammarland in the north-western corner of Åland. The farmhouse is one of the oldest and best preserved in Åland; it was built in the 18th century and now functions as a museum where old objects from the farm are on display. This is where the very popular TV series “Stormskärs Maja” was filmed in the 1970s. The series is based on Anni Blomqvist’s novels about the hard life in the Åland archipelago in the 1800s, and the series is probably the most popular Finland-Swedish series ever.
How to get there: Skarpnåtö is located in Hammarland about half an hour’s distance by car from Mariehamn and about the same distance from Berghamn in Eckerö. If you are getting around by bicycle, in the summer you can also take the bicycle ferry M/S Silvana from Hällö in Geta over to Skarpnåtö.
Ideas before your visit: If you want to track Stormskärs Maja even more closely during your stay in Åland, you can also visit Simskäla on Vårdö. Anni Blomqvist, who created Stormskärs Maja, was originally from here and her novels had Maja living on Stormskäret, which is actually called Väderskär and is an island 40 nautical miles north of Simskäla. These days, Anni Blomqvist’s childhood home in Simskäla is a hotel: Stormskärs Värdshus.
The rocks facing the sea Norrhavet from the film “Devil’s Bride” (“Djävulens jungfru”)
Parts of the film “Devil’s bride” were shot on the red rocks facing the Norrhavet Sound in Geta. The film was about the witch trials in Åland in the 17th century, in which several Åland women were accused of being sorceresses and executed. In the film, these executions took place on the Norrhavet Sound rocks themselves, but in reality the rocks are a lovely place to visit. You can enjoy the view over the sea while having a delicious picnic. You can also book a stay at the Havsvidden Resort or visit the establishment and eat in its superb restaurant.
How to get there: Havsvidden is approximately a 40-minute drive from Mariehamn and about 50 minutes from Eckerö Berghamn. The resort also has a guest harbour so you can moor if you are exploring Åland in your own boat.
Ideas before your visit: Take your binoculars and camera with you. You are guaranteed to see boats, birds and fish jumping out in the sea, which you may well want to examine a bit more closely. You may also want to immortalise the changes in the sea and the sun when it sets, so make sure you have space on your memory card.