Island-hop around the archipelago
Ålandstrafiken’s ferries connect the Åland mainland with the archipelago and the Finnish Turunmaa region. As a passenger you travel for free whereas vehicles pay a charge and must be booked in on most lines.
The southern line starts out from Långnäs in Lumparland and goes to Föglö, Sottunga, Kökar and Galtby in Korpo in Turunmaa. To travel to Föglö you take the Föglölinjen from Svinö in Lumparland to Degerby or the cross line from Sottunga and Kumlinge or Långnäs to Överö. The northern line goes from Hummelvik in Vårdö to Kumlinge, Brändö and Osnäs in Gustavs in Turunmaa.
About two hours’ journey in a southeasterly direction takes you to the mythical Kökar with its barren countryside characteristic of the outer islands and skerries. Sights that are worth seeing include the ruins of a Franciscan monastery from the 1400s, the Bronze Age settlement of Otterböte and the Hembygdsmuseet old homestead museum in Hellsö. Källskär island has its Ice Age formation “Källskärskannan” (“the pot or jug of Källskär”) and also features traces left by an eccentric Swedish baron. You visit it by boat, or another excellent way to see it is to cycle around.
Sottunga, close to the channel between Sweden and Finland, is Åland’s and Finland’s smallest municipality, which has about 100 inhabitants. Sights worth seeing include the disused iron mines on Södö and the little wooden church that burned down but was rebuilt in the 1700s. In the summertime everything happens at the local community centre and in the guest harbour.
Föglö is an excellent choice for a day excursion or as a pit stop if you are going further out in the archipelago with the cross line or the southern line from Överö. Degerby is an idyllic spot – a walk among the wooden houses is highly recommended. Also recommended is a visit to the Föglömuseet or Enigheten, which have a long history as an inn and old court house yard since the end of the 1500s.
Brändö is a vast archipelago municipality with thousands of islands, some of which are connected by ferries and bridge embankments. A lot of people come here for the fishing. It only takes half an hour from Osnäs in Turunmaa to Åva in the north. This is also where the old postal route used to run. Pay a visit to charming Jurmo or continue southwards towards Brändöby with its church and school. The ferries proceed from Torsholma to Asterholma, Björkö and Lappo.
Kumlinge church, with its medieval mural paintings, old village pharmacy and the 16th century homestead Hermas on Enklinge are all worth seeing on Kumlinge. You can enjoy an exciting archipelago adventure by hiring an excursion boat with a guide. Alternatively, you can enjoy the view from Bärös old coast guard station, take the cable ferry to Seglinge, or continue your archipelago voyage southwards from Snäckö.
There is acable ferry from Prästö to Töftö and then a bridge over to Vårdö. At the other end there is Simskäla island where the author Anni Blomqvist’s house is situated. She wrote “Stormskärs Maja”, which was filmed for TV in the 70s. Sally Salminen wrote the novel “Katrina” with the village of Vargata in mind as a model. The chapel, school museum and the farm museums are worth seeing. The superpowers held their peace congress in Lövö in the 1700s.