10 sustainable activities

Experience Åland in a sustainable way. There are plenty of activities that are kind to the environment, and many of them are free. We have listed ten of our favorite activities to give you inspiration!

1. Disc golf

Challenge your friends in disc golf on the versatile courses all around the Åland archipelago. In Åland, a group of enthusiasts decided to build a disc golf course in every of the 16 Åland municipalities. The project has come a long way as there are now eleven disc golf parks throughout the Åland Islands. The only equipment you need is one or a couple of discs, which you can buy in sports stores or borrow at the Tourist information at Visit Åland. The disc golf courses are open all year round seven days a week so you can play whenever you like. In addition to that, playing is free of charge.

2. Cycling

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. 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!

3. Birdwatching

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.

4. Hiking

There are more than 30 long-distance hiking trails and nature trails in total 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!

5. Experiencing green culture

Why not visit a museum? Both the Åland Museum and the Åland Maritime Museum in Mariehamn are working towards sustainable goals. 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. Make an excursion to the grand Eckerö Post and Customs house, the Bomarsund fortress or the medieval Kastelholm castle and its surrounding areas with the Jan Karlsgården Open-Air Museum.

6. Angling

Virvelinheitto on täydellistä rentoutumista. Arki unohtuu ja voit Experience total relaxation with a fishing rod in your hand. 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!

7. Vintage and second-hand shopping

Why buy new things when pre-owned ones are so lovely and there’s a generous supply? 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 brands like Labelled Fashion and Recycling, Oktober and The Little BBQ’s Junk Art, which you can find at Viktor Crafts & Design in Mariehamn.

8. Choose local tastes

By choosing Åland produced food and products on your plate you support both the local producers and the environment. A lot of the food produced in Åland is organic.

You can find organic dairy, grain, vegetables and fruit as well as delicacies made with them. A person who prefers Åland food is called axgan, a name derived from the Åland domain ax. Overall, it’s easy to track the origin of the food in Åland and the chefs in local restaurants value local ingredients highly in their cooking.

9. Climbing

There are plenty of observation towers and hiking trails in the Åland hills. You can visit places like the Getabergen, Sålis Batteri or Långbergen with the highest spot on Åland, Orrdalsklint.

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. Suitable bouldering rocks can be found for example in Getabergen.

Djävulsberget, Bomarsund

Ahvenanmaa on suosittu kohde myös boulderoinnin harrastajille, jotka kiipeilevät pitkin isojen kallionlohkareiden seinämiä. Boulderointiin soveltuvia kalliolohkareita on etenkin Getabergen-kallioilla.

10. Sailing and paddling

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. A network of sustainable guest harbors welcome boaters all around the Åland archipelago. Their service is of high standard and for example, you can empty your toilet tank in many of them – emptying of toilet tanks has been prohibited in Åland and Finnish waters since 2005. Read more about sailing and boat life in Åland.

Canoeing 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. You can even try SUP yoga! 

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