Ten sustainable activities
Experience Åland sustainably. There are plenty of activities that are kind to the environment, and many of them are free. We have listed ten of them to give you inspiration!
When you pedal along Åland’s red roads, you have the time to really enjoy the beautiful countryside. In the spring you’ll be spinning past fields of flowering wood anemones and apple tree orchards, in the summer along verges full of lilac wood cranesbill and bright, cheerful daisies, and in the autumn you can enjoy the vibrant yellow, red and orange hues of deciduous trees. Does cycling make you hot and sweaty? Cool down with a dip in the sea! Read more about cycling in Åland.
Åland’s location in the middle of the Baltic Sea makes it a natural gathering spot for many species of birds. The lighthouse island of Lågskär south of Mariehamn gets sightings of over 200 species per year! Take your binoculars with you and visit, for example, the bird observation tower in the Herröskatan nature reserve in Lemland or the tower at Torpfjärden in Jomala. The white-tailed sea eagle – a magnificent bird of prey – is a symbol of Åland. It was an endangered species in the 1960s, but the population has recovered and today you are likely to see one when you are out and about.
There are three long-distance hiking trails and countless nature trails in Åland. The hiking trails are between ten and 60 kilometres long, and the nature trails between one and eight kilometres. St Olav Waterway also goes through Åland and is the first pilgrim’s route to run through an archipelago. Put on some comfortable shoes and fill up your water bottle. You can pick berries and mushrooms alongside the paths! Read more about hiking in Åland.
Experiencing green culture
Why not visit a museum? Both the Åland Museum and the Åland Maritime Museum in Mariehamn are working towards obtaining sustainability certification. The Åland Museum has an exhibition of cultural history and the Åland Maritime Museum, as the name suggests, enables you to learn more about Åland’s proud maritime history. If you prefer the outdoors, you’ll find a lot to see out in the countryside, such as the Bomarsund fortress, the Jan Karlsgården Open-Air Museum and the Art Park, which is open in the summer at the Åland Folk High School.
Total relaxation with a fishing rod in your hand. You get to leave everyday life behind and enjoy the archipelago while experiencing excitement when the fish are biting! In Åland good fisheries management is taken to be a prerequisite for a good angling experience. The Ålanders want to have fish stocks that are robust and healthy, so there are several ongoing restocking projects at the same time as large numbers of juvenile fish are bred every year. In order to protect individual fish that are essential for restoring stocks and to counteract overfishing, there are regulations as to how many fish may be kept and their minimum size. ‘Catch and release’ fishing is common, where the use of hooks without barbs are used so as to avoid hurting the fish! Read more about angling in Åland.
Vintage and second-hand shopping
Why buy new things when old ones are so lovely? There are plenty of flea markets and second-hand shops in Åland. For example, Emmaus has a shop in the centre of Mariehamn and another in Godby where you can buy clothes, books, china and much more. Are you looking for interior furnishings and fittings to make your home personal and unique to you? You may find what you want at Bygg- och Möbelreturen in north Mariehamn. There are also many craftsmen in Åland who focus on recycling. For example, have a look at Labelled Fashion and Recycling, Oktober and The Little BBQ’s Junk Art.
Reading a locally produced book
Mariehamn’s town library is a facility that has sustainability certification. This is a place where you can borrow books, newspapers, magazines and films, or simply sit down and enjoy the tranquillity of being there. The Alandica collection contains literature either about Åland or written by Ålander authors. The collection consists of over 5,000 books and of music, films, maps, etc.
There are plenty of observation towers and hiking trails in the Åland hills. You can visit places like the Getabergen, Sålis Batteri or Långbergen. The most stunning wooden observation tower can be found by the Färjsundet Straits in Finström: climb up it and look out over the bays and rural countryside. Åland is also a popular destination for people who enjoy bouldering (climbing up large rocks).
With the wind as your engine, you can wend your way quickly and quietly without having an impact on the sea. The Åland archipelago has beautiful coves and thousands of islands. You can escape the crowds and may often have a whole bay to yourself. Since 2005 the emptying of toilet tanks has been prohibited in Åland and Finnish waters – it must be done in the guest harbours. In the spring of 2020, the five first marinas on Åland were awarded the international Blue Flag eco-label certification. The sustainability work continues now with the aim that further Åland guest harbours will be certified for the boat season 2021. Read more about sailing and boat life in Åland.
A kayak lets you experience the archipelago in a whole new way. Glide along shallow inlets or on the open sea. Expert guides can tailor tours specifically for you based on your knowledge and paddling experience, and you can also go on paddling courses in Åland. In addition to different types of kayaks and canoes, you can also have a go at paddling standing up on SUP boards – and you can even try SUP yoga! Read more about paddling in Åland.