Celebrate New Year in Åland, or spend a long weekend in the archipelago on your winter holiday. Winter in Åland is not familiar to many, but there are plenty of reasons to travel here even during the low season.

 

Early winter

Thanks to the mild sea climate autumn is often warmer and longer in Åland than in the mainland. Snow doesn’t most often come until at the end of the year which makes hiking on the many nature trails a perfect outdoor activity even in the late autumn. So wear some water resistant outerwear and proper shoes, pack your backpack with something to sit on and a warm drink and head to a hike in the beautiful archipelago nature. Have a picnic at a lookout or by the water and enjoy the peacefulness.

Having a boat trip is possible even in winter. Contact a local water taxi company for a tailored and safe boat trip. You can also canoe in winter time. 

When was the last time you saw a sky full of stars or could distinguish the Milky Way? When there’s no snow and the darkness falls, the darkness is really intense. Light sources are few especially in the countryside and in the outer archipelago, so a night sky full of stars is a magical sight.

 

Christmas starts in Åland

Lillajul on the first Advent is an old tradition and a popular one. It’s like Christmas but on a slightly smaller scale. The Christmas tree is smaller, the Christmas presents are smaller and the Christmas buffet has fewer dishes. However, the atmosphere is as exciting and peaceful as at Christmas.

Lillajul also starts the Christmas celebrations generally and when the traditional Christmas market is on at the Jan Karlsgården open-air museum, the Christmas atmosphere really gets going. Then the whole month of December gets filled up with Christmas markets, concerts and buffets in restaurants. A visit to Åland in December is certain to bring the Christmas spirit to life.

Life on the ice

When the sea freezes the archipelago landscape is transformed to a winter paradise. You can make your way over the bays in a completely new way using long-distance ice skates and poles. There are regular excursions with experienced guides, and provided you have the right instructions and safety equipment, you can safely get around on the ice.

Would you prefer an ice rink to have fun on? Islandia in Mariehamn has free skate times, and the Olympic sport of curling is a popular group activity at the curling centre in Eckerö.

Ice-fishing is fun and an exotic activity to many. It’s exciting to drill a hole in the ice, jig for perch and pike perch or set up a fishing rod and wait for the little bell to ring, telling you that a pike has taken the bait.

Cross-country and downhill skiing

If you enjoy skiing, at Åland’s Skiing and Biathlon Centre you can head out on the cross-country track. You can hire skis on the spot and in winters when there isn’t much snow, artificial snow is provided. Some of Åland’s golf courses also have ski trails running through them when the winter is cold enough, and people who like to slalom and snowboard can enjoy some excellent winter days on the little but fun Germundö Alpin hill. After a couple of hours in the crisp winter air, you mustn’t forget to have a sauna, relax when you give wilderness bathing a go, or have a dip in a hole in the ice.

Workout, swimming and cinema

Winter is the high season for indoor activities, of course. Go to the cinema, disco bowling and visit Mariehamn’s town library. You can indulge in your choice of fun in the water at the Mariebad and Åland’s Sports Centre swimming pools, and spend time in the museums to learn more about the exciting history of Åland. The Åland Maritime Museum, the Cultural History Museum of Åland and The Åland Island Art Museum have generous opening times even during the winter season. Are you up to physical exercise there are gyms and workout from yoga to CrossFit to fit all tastes.

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