Järsö

10 popular bicycle routes

The Åland Islands offer shifting nature where the environment quickly varies from leafy green forests to historical monuments or sea views. The distances are short and by bike you’ll get close to nature. There is plenty of sightseeing to choose from and behind every corner awaits a new experience. We’ve listed 10 popular bicycle routes – choose the one that best suits your condition and interests!

1. The old postal route

This route will give you a good overview over the main island of Åland. Bicycle 65 kilometers across Åland along the historical postal route, marked with posts painted red according to an original model.

The stretch goes from the west towards the east by the villages Storby – Kyrkoby – Marby – Kattby – Bjärström – Emkarby – Gölby – Ämnäs – Godby – Haraldsby – Kastelholm – Tosarby – Finby – Bomarsund – Prästö – Vargata – Hummelvik. You can, of course, make your trip in the opposite direction.

In order to bicycle comfortably at your own pace and be able to stop at interesting spots along the way, it’s good to reserve two to three days for this route. Along a large part of it there are separate bicycle paths so that you may bicycle safely away from traffic.

There are many spots for sightseeing along the route, e.g. the Eckerö Mail and Customs House which welcomed post rowers to the most western point of the postal route in Åland. You’ll pass by the medieval churches in Eckerö and Hammarland, where at the latter you can find ancient graves as well as a leaf meadow with gorgeous bloom in the spring and grazing animals in the summer.

In Kastelholm lies Åland’s only castle, a prison museum and the open-air museum Jan Karlsgården with its preserved buildings. Bomarsund has fortress ruins from the era of the Russian Empire, and on Prästö you can hike along a trail with several historical cemeteries.

The route continues onward with a cable ferry to Vårdö, where you can find beautiful shipyards and the author Sally Salminen’s childhood home. From Hummelvik the journey continues onboard ferries to the archipelago communities Kumlinge and Brändö.

Along the route you can spend the night at e.g. Käringsunds Camping, Käringsund Resort & Conference, Björnhovfda Gård, Susannes B&B, Brobacka gästhem , Godby Vandrarhem, Kastelholms Gästhem, Puttes Camping or Sandösunds Camping

2. Järsö

This route south of Mariehamn is for anyone who loves to bicycle by the sea whilst enjoying stunning views! The return route is approximately 18 kilometers.

Start by bicycling southward along the Ålandsvägen-road and onward to the picturesque Järsö. The road offers overpasses, embankments, rich archipelago vegetation and a lot of sea.

You can stop at the easily accessible 2km nature trail by Nåtö Biological station. This trail is said to have the most versatile biodiversity in Åland, and it’s especially gorgeous during early summer.

Towards the end of the road to Järsö awaits a well-earned coffee break at the summer café Stickstugan Hantverk & Café, which is filled with handcrafted knitwork in all kinds of colours. You can also walk the 2km long nature trail in Järsö which gives you glimpses of the archipelago fringe.

It’s good to note that it’s not allowed to cycle along nature trails nor the longer hiking paths. There are separate trails that are suitable for mountain bikers.

3. Sålis and Skarpnåtö

If you’re in Hammarland, the Sålis Battery with its traces of the world wars and a lookout tower offers an interesting excursion. Skarpnåtö with its folk museum is also a worthy visit.

From Skarpnåtö the bicycle ferry Silvana runs over to Snäckö in Geta, where you can take a break at the summer restaurant Lolo’s Seaside Café. The bicycle ferry operates once a day during the summer season, with the exception of Sundays.

If you choose not to take the ferry but to turn back in Skarpnåtö you can bicycle along small roads with rustic surroundings through Hammarland. Pass by through the small villages of Bovik and Bredbolstad to Mörby and onward to the Frebbenby village, where you can find a well sorted grocery store to get some provisions and Susannes B&B if you’re looking for a cozy accommodation.

4. Geta – Godby – Mariehamn

In Geta you’ll find magnificent nature and amazing views at the restaurant Soltuna by the Geta hills. Along the Getavägen-road you’ll also find Grannas Bistro. The road slithers onward through stunning apple orchards to Finström.

Here, instead of bicycling along the Getavägen-road (high road 4), you can choose the smaller Vandövägen-road, which will lead you to Finström’s church, beautifully located amidst apple orchards. From Finström’s church you can continue along the Pålsbölevägen-road back to high road 4. 

The stretch from Geta to Godby is about 23km and from Godby to Mariehamn around 17km.

5. Norra Sundsvägen

Sund offers breathtaking views along the hilly Norra Sundsvägen-road and historical sightseeing such as the Kastelholm castle ruins with surrounding area, Sunds church and Bomarsund. Start at e.g. Kastelholm and bicycle to Bomarsund, a stretch of approximately 10km.

You can also exit high road 2 in Finby about halfway to Bomarsund, and take a break at the idyllic dairy farm Mattas for a tasty snack or lunch. Continue along the road towards Brändbolstad where you can explore one of Åland’s hill-forts, a historical settlement up on a hill, and enjoy a coffee break whilst taking in the beautiful views. The road winds through forests and cultivations back to Kastelholm.

6. Vårdö – Sandövägen

This route is regarded as one of the most scenic on Åland according to many, and it offers a hidden surprise. 

When you bicycle from the Vårdö church towards the island of Simskäla, you’ll pass by Åland’s school museum and Flowpark where you can challenge yourself on high-altitude courses amidst the tree tops.

From the northern Sandö the road continues over bridges and embankments until it suddenly ends – in the middle of the sea! Enjoy the pleasant sea breeze and turn back, or await the small ferry that will take you to the island of Simskäla, the home of author Anni Blomqvist.

On the way back the restaurant Kallas skärgård in Sandö is a recommended place to visit. There you can eat a good meal and take a stroll in their beautiful garden.

7. Kökar

Although most roads on Kökar are on land with no direct views out over the sea, biking is  still a great way to get around whilst visiting the island. The distances are short, the roads winding and small and there is hardly any traffic.

It’s easy to bicycle to the island’s sightseeing, e.g. the beautiful St. Anna church and Franciscan chapel in Hamnö. Whilst getting around by bicycle it’s easy to stop at any time wherever you like when you see a beautiful view or need to take a break to rehydrate.

Spend the night at e.g. Hotel Brudhäll, at Antons gästhem B&B or Sandvikens camping.

8. Föglö

A day trip to Föglö gives you a taste of how life is in the Åland archipelago communities. Begin your bike trip in Mariehamn, approximately 26 km from the ferry port Svinö, or park your car in Svinö and take your bike onboard the archipelago ferry to Föglö. Here you can bicycle around in the picturesque village Degerby with its aged tree houses and gardens.

The church of Föglö from the 15th century lies about 4 km from Degerby and is a pleasant trip to make by bike. If you’re keen on doing a longer trip, you can bike through the community to the ferry port in Överö. You’ll pass small villages, landscapes of cultivation, small overpasses and beautiful archipelago environments along the road. Stop for a break at Café Solklart in Sonboda. The distance between Degerby and Överö is about 16km.

You can make a day trip to Föglö, but if you want to spend the night you can stay at e.g. Carlsro seaside hotel in Degerby.

9. Short excursions near Mariehamn

If you want to make a quick trip by bicycle from Mariehamn The Önningebymuseet museum is a great trip destination for you. Here you can experience the Önningeby settlement’s art and stop for an enjoyable coffee break in the café before you continue out towards the Lemström canal, a widely popular visitation spot. In the park which stretches along the canal you can enjoy ice-cream whilst looking at the boats passing through the canal.

Another alternative is to visit Ramsholmen 5 km west of Mariehamn. Ramsholmen is a nature reserve with deafeningly beautiful leaf meadows and a magnificent spring bloom. Within the reserve is located a 1,5 km nature trail. You can safely bicycle the entire way to Ramsholmen along a bicycle road and upon arrival you can find an ice-cream kiosk during the summer.

10. Criss cross in Eckerö

During the last few years etaps of new bicycle roads have been built along the 33 km long road between Mariehamn and Eckerö, so you’ll be able to bicycle on the bicycle road for the most part of the distance.

Upon arrival in Eckerö there are several interesting spots that can be visited by bicycle. Labbas folk museum is located in the middle of Storby, and a stone’s throw away from there is Åland’s highest maypole.

Continue bicycling west towards the lavish Eckerö Mail and Customs House where Kafé Kalesch serves up both lunch and snacks. Located nearby is also the Post Bridge and the beautiful Sandviken bathing place.

From the Eckerö Mail and Customs House you can continue onward via the ferry harbour Berghamn along a nature trail to Käringsund’s fishing village, an area with beautifully patinated boat houses, Viltsafari game safari, Åland’s Hunting and Fishing museum as well as the Gastropub Bodegan in Käringsund’s guest harbor. 

Continue along the trail over the hill to Käringsund Resort & Conference, where you can find a restaurant, a beach and plenty of outdoor activities to try out.

If you wish to make a longer trip, the Degersand beach is located at a nice bicycling distance of 9 km from Storby. Bicycle to the village Torp and continue onward to the best beach on Åland. 

There you can enjoy refreshing bathing in the Åland Sea, spend the night at Degersand’s camping and cabins or even rent a sauna by the beach. Enjoy dinner at Restaurant Q or ice-cream and cold drinks at the beach bar before you head back.

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