Want to experience something new? Here’s 5 tips!
Do you like being active, seeing new places and experiencing new flavours? The Åland archipelago is filled with treasures for you to explore! Come close to the origin of foods and the local culture and take part in the genuine archipelago lifestyle.
Go island hopping and stop wherever you see an appealing sign by the road – it can lead you to a quaint café or a small bakery, a shop filled with handicrafts, art exhibitions or yard sales.
Here you’ll find our five top tips for spots to visit. Cross them off your list and continue exploring the rest!
1. Experience Mariehamn, the maritime town
Feel the maritime atmosphere in the Maritime Quarter in the eastern harbour of the town. Here you can get acquainted with local handicrafts, ships being built and fine jewellery.
In Mariehamn everything can be found within a walking distance. Stroll along Torggatan street in the midst of town. Enjoy the greenery along the Esplanaden park lane, go shopping, visit quaint cafés such as Café Viktor, Bagarstugan or Svarta Katten and the many restaurants in both the town centre as well as guest harbours on both sides of the town, ÅSS in the west and MSF in the east.
2. Visit one or several museums
Åland has several unique and original museums and the Sailing Ship Pommern is an obvious choice for visiting. She is one of the best preserved sailing ships in her size class and something unique you can’t experience anywhere else in the world. Pommern’s interactive exhibition takes you to the 1930’s and on a trip around the world. If you’re keen on learning more about Åland’s maritime history you can continue your visit to Åland's Maritime Museum next to Pommern.
At the Cultural History Museum of Åland you can learn about Åland’s history and see interesting art exhibitions. Here you’ll easily forget the time so make sure to reserve at least an hour or preferably two!
You can find several smaller museums spread around Åland. Learn about fire brigade history, mail rowing over the Sea of Åland, hunting and fishing in the archipelago or life at an old archipelago farm with a history going back to the 16th century.
3. Enjoy a coffee break at a café and visit farm shops
What would be better than a coffee break paired with delicious pastries made from local ingredients during your journey around Åland? Cosy cafés in Mariehamn are e.g. Café Viktor, Bagarstugan and Svarta Katten.
In the countryside you can take the chance to stop at Solkulla Gård, Stickstugan, café Brobacka gästhem or dairy farm Mattas Gårdsmejeri, where ice-cream is made from the farm’s own milk. Kafé Kalesch in Eckerö Mail and Customs House serves brunch, primarily vegetarian lunch and lighter meals in one of Åland’s fanciest buildings in a historical environment.
During the last weekend in May you can visit open farms all over the countryside and shop spring vegetables, ingredients and gorgeous handicrafts. The event is called Åland Spring Fair and resembles the popular harvest festival Skördefesten arranged every autumn.
4. Island hopping in the Åland Archipelago
It’s easy to go island hopping to Åland – start your journey by hopping on the ferry from Grisslehamn, Kapellskär or Stockholm in Sweden.
Travel then by car or by bike through the main island of Åland and continue by an archipelago ferry to the island municipalities like Föglö and Vårdö. From there, you can hop from island to island all the way to the Finnish mainland or just travel around the archipelago before you return to the Åland mainland.
From Finland, start your trip with archipelago ferries from Kustavi or Korppoo. You can also travel by ferry from Turku, Naantali and Helsinki.
There are several quaint accommodations on the islands of Kökar, Kumlinge, Sottunga, Lappo and Brändö. And best of all – here you can see genuine archipelago life and experience a comfy atmosphere you can’t quite find anywhere else!
Want to try island hopping for just over a day? Make a boat excursion from Mariehamn and explore the islets outside the town, or bicycle across bridges and embankments to the beautiful Järsö south of Mariehamn.
5. Learn more about archipelago life on a boat excursion
The sea is always nearby wherever you go in Åland, and to get the most out of your visit we recommend that you experience Åland from the sea. Take a day excursion out to the old pilot station Kobba Klintar or the island of Rödhamn with taxi boats Fiskelyckan or Shipland who arrange day excursions or tailored experiences according to your wishes. An excursion to the Sälskär lighthouse with M/S Silvana is something totally unique.
Åland Expeditions and the organisation Ådans Vänner welcome you to join them on a boat excursion where you get to see colonies of common eider up close on the islet of Båtskär south of Mariehamn. While there you’ll get to hear about the islets’ rich history as a pilot station, mine, lighthouse and nowadays wind park.
You also get to dive deep into the history of the common eider who nest here and learn about measures taken by the organisation towards helping the endangered birds. The best time to see nesting eiders is during May.