THE ÅLAND ISLANDS

Travel westwards and you will arrive at Eckerö, the westernmost district in Finland. From the windows of the imposing Post and Customs House you can admire the Åland Sea and nearly get a glimpse of Sweden!

When travelling north you pass through large orchards with apple and pear trees. Make a stop and visit the local producers and taste their products.

Cross Färjsundsbron (Ferrysound bridge) and you are in the eastern part of the main island. Kastelholm Castle, Åland´s only medieval castle, is located in the district of Sund. Visit the castle and learn about the former rulers of the county. At the open air museum JanKarlsgården you will get to know how farmers lived during the 19th century.

Travel 10 km further east and you reach the ruins of the Russian fortress Bomarsund, built between 1830 and 1854 and never completed. The fortress was conquered and demolished by British and French forces in 1854 during The Crimean War.

In connection with the peace treaty in Paris in 1856 Åland was demilitarised and the demilitarisation is still valid today.

Mariehamn | Archipelago | Nature & culture

Welcome to

Mariehamn

Mariehamn is a small and pleasant town, which you easily get to know. In the Western Harbour, the majestic 4-masted barque Pommern is moored adjacent to the Maritime Museum.

Take a walk from the Western Harbour to the Eastern Harbour following the lime tree avenue past the shipping companies or walk along Södragatan with wooden houses from the 19th and 20th centuries. The view-point (The Spa Hotel Hill) can be reached along narrow footpaths. From the hill you get a good view of the town, situated on a long and narrow neck of land.

Along the Järsöroad you can really feel that you are in the archipelago. In the area you find many different species of sea birds and also rare plants i.e. orchids.

Take a rest in the city centre and stroll along the streets past the Selfgovernment building, and maybe as far as the Maritime Quarter.

Visit the

Archipelago

On a day trip the district of Vårdö can be reached. Across bridges, causeways and by cable ferries you can go as far as the village of Simskäla. In Simskäla you can visit the home of Anne Blomqvist, a famous Åland authoress, who set her novels in this location.

Take the inter-island ferry, Skarven, and visit the island district of Föglö. The voyage takes only half-an-hour. En route you can deepen your knowledge of the Åland shipping history by visiting the shipmaster´s homestead of Pellas and get a glimpse of the schooner Leo, once a very fortunate ship, now a wreck in the inlet of Lumparsund.

The novel Leo, based on the success of this sailing vessel, is the first in a triology by Ulla-Lena Lundberg

Kumlinge and Brändö can easily be visited when you continue to mainland Finland. Kumlinge church with its frescos in original condition is fascinating, not to mention Kökar church built on the foundations of a Fransiscian monastery from the 15th century. On the island of Källskär, situated in the outermost archipelago you will find one of the wonders of nature, a stone jug, called Källskärskannan.

Nature & Culture

You will find a surprisingly rich seasonal plant- and birdlife on Åland. Travel around absorbing local traditions and the impressive midsummer poles. All over the islands you find local crafts, arts and delicacies. Do taste the Åland pancake?

 

Photo. Ramsholmen nature reserve