Best tips for your biking holiday
The Åland Islands is the perfect destination for a bike tour. The longest distance on the largest of the islands, also called the Åland main island, is only 50 km from the east to the west and from the north to the south. There’s unique nature, many routes and roads in great condition and there are a lot of sights on a quite small area. Here we have listed some useful information that helps you in planning your bike tour in Åland!
Book your trip to Åland
You can plan your trip by yourself or also book a package tour including both trips and accommodation at the travel agencies in Åland. Take a look at bike tour offers at Eckerö Linjen, Viking Line and Ålandsresor. It’s good to book your trip well in advance especially before the high season June-August so that you will surely get the ferry bookings that best fit your schedule and the accommodation you prefer.
The Åland Archipelago route
An alternative travel route from the Finnish mainland to Åland is the archipelago route that goes on from one island to another with smaller archipelago ferries. This road is also recommended when you already are on the Åland main island but wish to see more of the archipelago.
On a bike tour along this road you’ll simply see more of Åland, and you may travel through the small archipelago communities all year round. There’s a northern and a southern route and what’s more, a diagonal route that combines these two and enables making a loop in the archipelago between the two main lines. Read more about the Åland archipelago route here.
Stay overnight in the archipelago
As we say archipelago we here mean the small island municipalities to the east of the Åland main island. When you travel to the Åland main island from Finland or vice versa along the archipelago route, you should book at least one overnight stay on some of the municipalities Föglö, Sottunga, Kökar, Kumlinge or Brändö – where there are many nice accommodation establishments. In that way your trip becomes less expensive and what’s more important, you get more time to explore the islands.
If your main goal is to get to the main island of Åland as quickly as possible, you should instead opt to travel with a ferry directly from Turku.
Rent a bike in Åland
If you don’t have a bike of your own and want to make shorter bicycle trips when in Åland, you can rent a bicycle, a tandem bicycle or a bike trailer at Ro-No Rent in Mariehamn. Many cottage villages and guest harbours rent bikes for their guests as well, on an hourly basis or even for a whole day.
You don't need much equipment for a day trip except a helmet, a drinking bottle and some sunblock. A reparations kit is often included when you rent a bike, and if you need some help with your repair, Ro-No will help you at the spot against a small fee.
Bicycle holiday with kids
Hiring a bike trailer makes biking with kids both easier and more fun. In case your children are old enough to bike by themselves you can always put your stuff in the trailer, or fill it with souvenirs you may buy on a flea market or in local handicraft stores along the way.
Biking, especially in the summer, can be really sweaty but there are many good spots for bathing around Åland where you can refresh yourself by taking a dip, and have a well earned break.
If you want to have a break under a longer biking stretch or, if you want to have a clear goal for a shorter bicycle trip, there are many nature trails and disc golf courses to choose from around Åland that suit the whole family.
A safe biking destination
Åland suits well for biking with children as it has many bicycle paths where you bicycle safely separate from car traffic. Smaller roads that may lack bicycle paths have often less traffic and in general, local car drivers show bikers respect when meeting in traffic.
If you should get into an accident or meet some other obstacles, eg. if it starts pouring, you can freight your bike on a local bus for a small extra fee. You can always call a taxi that can pick you up if necessary too – on the main island of Åland you are almost never further than 40 km or about 30 minutes by car from Mariehamn.
During the last few years new stretches of bicycle paths have been built along the main roads that also carry most traffic. Now you can bike most of the leg from Mariehamn to Eckerö on a bicycle path and the complete stretch between the villages Näfsby and Gölby.
There’s a bicycle path between Mariehamn and Långnäs and you'll bike safely on a bicycle path almost all the way from Mariahamn to Bomarsund as well as from Mariahamn to Geta.
In the countryside where there may not be separate bicycle paths the most suitable biking routes are often marked with white and green signs. When possible, they direct you to the roads that carry less traffic and that also offer the most beautiful views and landscapes.
The roads in Åland are in general paved roads and of high standard.
Tips on nice routes
There are almost a countless number of route options and since Åland is quite small on the map the road to the next sight or picturesque landscape is never too long. There are bigger roads with a speed limit of 90 km/h and smaller roads with a speed limit of 70 km/h.
By planning your route to the smaller roads you end up most likely to the most quaint villages and best preserved cultural landscapes. You may, of course, bicycle wherever you like depending on where you start and how far you want to head. To help you plan your trip and guide you to the best sceneries we have listed 10 nice routes with varying lengths.
It’s good to remember that you must not cycle along the marked nature trails or hiking paths since they are meant for hiking on foot.
Do you prefer a tent on a camping site or a comfortable hotel bed? There are several options for you to choose from when planning where to spend the night – beautiful camping sites where you can sleep in your tent or in a little cottage with simple facilities, high standard hotels with pools and sauna, B&B’s with unique character and small countryside hotels.
It’s good to be early with your booking, especially if you are travelling during the high season June-August. If you haven’t booked any accommodation, don’t worry. The camping sites most often welcome you even without a booking – if you prefer not to plan your holiday in detail.
Food and drink
EAT IN A RESTAURANT
Do you want to cook your meals on a portable camping stove or eat in a restaurant? If you plan to put a little more luxurious touch on your biking holiday there’s a wide range of restaurants and cafés around Åland. During the high season, from Midsummer until mid August, they have generous opening hours but if you want to be sure to get a meal after cycling to the restaurant, we recommend you to check the restaurant’s website in advance. Some of the restaurants advise you to make a table reservation beforehand.
LUNCH PACKS AND PICNIC
Are you planning to buy your meals in a grocery store and eat on a resting place when you get hungry? In that case it’s good to know that there isn’t a store in every village in Åland. We recommend you to prepare your biking stretches so that you pack enough food and drink with you so that you can manage until you pass by a store next time.
CHARMING COUNTRYSIDE STORES AND GROCERY STORES IN TOWN
Even the stores’ opening hours are more limited in the Åland archipelago and countryside than what you may be used to. However, the small countryside stores are charming and have a vintage atmosphere – and often a wide choice of products. It’s a treat to stop in a little countryside store and by supporting them you support the whole archipelago community at the same time.
In Mariehamn and outside Mariehamn there are big grocery stores with long opening hours even on Sundays. There are two grocery stores in Godby as well and they are open 7 days a week.