The best way to enjoy Åland is by boat. You can either take a ride on a ferry or go on an unforgettable excursion during your stay here. Apart from simply enjoying the unspoiled nature, you might also catch a glance of a curious seal. There are various types of boats for rent. Would you prefer a leisurely trip in a beautiful sailboat, or would you rather have more speed and spray on board a rigid inflatable boat? If you would like to get really close to the unique archipelago we recommend a kayak trip. You may choose between package tours or your own custom-designed excursion. Boat- and canoe rental: Ro-No Rent
The Åland archipelago offers an infinite number of kayaking opportunities. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or veteran kayaker, there are suitable routes for you. The archipelago creates excellent conditions, whether you prefer the tranquil bays or rugged skerries near the open sea. Do you want to come close to nature and animal life and spend time on your own in peace and quiet? Or, perhaps, you prefer kayaking in a group with a guide along a designated itinerary? Some of the most popular places to visit are Kobba Klintar and Kastelholm, as well as the Märket lighthouse for very experienced kayakers. Nimix Kayakrentals:
The Paddle Shack is an activity centre in Mariehamn. They have offered a varying range of sporting activities through the years, lately narrowing the scope of their services to paddleboard and kayak rentals, and offering kayaking courses. Their skilled instructors also organise a climbing school for groups.
Åland offers world class wreck diving. More than 500 ships are known to have been wrecked due to the difficulties of navigating in the archipelago. The unique water climate contributes to preservation of old wood structures, and steel hulls corrode slowly. In the summer of 2010, a fascinating discovery was made in the Åland archipelago: the world’s oldest champagne and beer were found aboard a 200 years old schooner. Accompany professional diving guides and experience Åland's underwater treasures. Every year new shipwrecks are discovered. If you fancy taking up diving, follow a diving course on Åland. Basic and further training is offered within the NAUI training system.
Åland has a shoreline numbering an incredible 17,000 km. Beaches lie in all directions. The mildness of the maritime climate and the contrast between calm bays and strong winds creating powerful waves outside the islands mean ideal kite surfing conditions. According to the local kite surfing professional, Patrik Larsson, Åland boasts at least 150 days of good surfing conditions annually. In the summer it's best done on the waves, and in winter in open water further away from the shores. Kite surfing is popular on Åland. Both beginner courses and courses for experienced kite surfers are offered. Kite on your own or with an experienced guide.
There are two fantastic golf courses on Åland: Åland Golfklubb and Eckerö Golf. Thanks to the favourable climate the season is long: from May to the end of October, some years even into December. Åland Golfklubb’s two well-known 18-hole courses are located in the beautiful historical settings of Sund, where the courses offer views of the sea and the castle of Kastelholm. Go to: Eckerö Golf Kyrkoby. Eckerö 22270 +358 45 70046532 www.eckerogolf.ax [email protected] Åland Golfklubb:
The Åland Museum (history and ethnography) and Åland Konstmuseum (art museum) are both housed under the same roof. The permanent culture and history exhibition on display at the Åland Museum gives excellent insight into the history of the province. Art from Åland is displayed at the Konstmuseum, and there are always a few temporary exhibitions. The discovery of world's oldest champagne in the region is highlighted through an exhibition entitled “Champagnegaleasen” (the champagne schooner).
The Mariehamn Maritime Museum (Ålands Sjöfartsmuseum) narrates the story of Åland's seafaring tradition via informative, family-friendly exhibits spread over three floors. The display contains historic artefacts like rare photographs and remaining parts of ships once in use.
Get close to wildlife, and enjoy a great activity for the whole family. Get on the safari carriage on a guided tour, and see the symbol of the province of Åland, the red deer, known as the prototype of Disney’s Bambi. Fallow deer, wild boars, ostriches, and - since recently - lamas also live on the grounds. Best time to visit is in spring, when the deer get their spotted calves and the wild boars get their lovely striped piglets.
A well-restored castle ruin located in idyllic surroundings. The atmosphere at Kastelholm, a medieval castle, is magical. During the reign of Gustav Vasa Kastelholm became a royal castle. A visit provides excellent glimpse into the history of the islands and of the castle itself.
In 1832, Russia began construction of the fortress of Bomarsund. Since Åland then constituted the westernmost part of Czarist Russia and had a location of strategic importance, Russia desired a strong military presence and an impressive fortress there. During the Crimean War, in 1854, an Anglo-French naval force attacked the fortress, which resulted in the Battle of Bomarsund. The fortress was demolished and today only ruins (and the Bomarsund Museum) serve testament to Russian presence and the grandiose plans once wielded for Åland. If you wish to find out more about this part of the struggle between the great powers during the Crimean War, visit Bomarsund, and watch the film “Bomarsund, vägen till fred” ("the road to peace").
For a more hands-on experience, do not limit yourself to simply watching horses compete at the Mariehamn trotting track. There are several establishments offering riding lessons, camps, and guided horseback riding tours. Ride slow or gallop in unspoiled countryside and along the beaches. The service is offered all year round. There a few places in Åland that offer horseback-riding opportunities, some of these include: Aftonsol: +358 18 33629 www.aftonsol.info www.facebook.com/Stall.Aftonsol Tellholmsvägen 262 Hammarland Åland Midgård Islandsstall:
Visit the Ålandstravet tortting track in Mariehamn. Catch the action at warm up and feel the excitement at the start of an exhilarating race. Trotting competitions are organised monthly from spring to autumn. In addition there is a large number of jumping, dressage, and Iceland horse competitions on Åland.
Combines modern Scandinavian cooking with the special atmosphere of one of the oldest stone houses in town. Indigo serves classic dishes in new ways. The bar stocks one of the archipelago's largest selections of beer. Unlike the refined dinners, lunches are a relatively causal affair.
Good food and a beautiful view of the Käringsund straits from all tables. Large open-air restaurant with two swimming pools, with an open view of the playground. Entertainment Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Popular theme evenings and show nights are also organised by the Käringsund restaurant.
Known for its delicious, guaranteed fresh fish dishes. Restaurant Glada Laxen is located in the eastern archipelago on the island of Bärö, housed in a former Coast Guard station. Glada Laxen is reached by boat or by taking the archipelago ferry operated by Ålandstrafiken to the island of Kumlinge. Call when you are on your way, and you will be picked up by the staff in the restaurant boat from the harbour on Kumlinge – a real archipelago adventure. It is possible to stay overnight at the Glada Laxen.
Restaurant Q offers an excellent culinary experience in a beautiful and stylish summer restaurant. It uses ecological and local produce, moulded into flavourful works of edible art. It makes for a good excursion for the whole family. Take some time to enjoy the long sandy beach and the unobstructed view of the sea.
One of the relatively recent additions to Åland's dining scene, Kvarter5 is a sophisticated Nordic restaurant featured in the highly-esteemed White Guide. It makes use of fresh seasonal ingredients to cook up some of the archipelago's best meals. To stay on budget, go for lunch instead of dinner.
This stylish brasserie enjoys a fantastic waterside location, its sunny terrace hovering over the water and interior design featuring interesting steampunk elements. The cooking is superb, with an especially large offering of seafood and grills. Live music plays in the summer.
The ultimate coffee break on the island of Eckerö. A lovely combination of high class pastries, chocolate, good coffee, and art exhibitions in a magnificent building. Feel the atmosphere in the old post and customs office, enjoy the tastes and let yourself be inspired by the works of art.
Do you share Mercedes’ passion for chocolate? You must not miss Amorina, with Mercedes Urbano-Winquist’s handmade chocolates. Amorina is a dream for chocolate lovers. Local products such as liqueurs, berries, fruit, butter and cream, all combined with the best cacao from her home country Venezuela.
Chef Björklund of Åland's most successful gastronomic endeavour (Smakbyn) also runs this delightful casual "pizzeria", serving an Åland variety of everyone's favourite guilty pleasure, the local take on it known as plåtbröd. There are also drinks and desserts made with locally-sourced dairy. Outdoor seating.
Perched on top of the highest hill in the entire archipelago, Soltuna is more than just an eatery - views unfolding from here are quite mesmerising, and a 5-km long hiking trail leading down to the Geta caves starts from here, too. There is a semi-formal restaurant and casual cafe on site.
The award-winning Stallhagen beers are produced on Åland. Familiarise yourself with the brewery, where the beer is produced with great care and professionalism. Each brew is mixed by hand, and no unnecessary preservatives are added. Guided tours are organised, where you have a look at the production process and enjoy a tasting of Stallhagen beer. Live music plays on the terrace and a concise dining menu is offered.
Arken is the legendary nightclub in the Arkipelag Hotel, Mariehamn’s year-round entertainment centre. Regardless where people have been eating or drinking previously, those looking to continue the night all eventually swarm to Arken, which keeps the party going until 4am on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Add zest to your visit to the Åland Islands with a luxurious casino evening. Poker tournaments, including international ones, are held on a regular basis. The casino is located in the same building as the entertainment hot-spot Arkipelag Hotel and its largest and liveliest nightclub.
The peculiar creations of this shop's owner and primary craftsman are something one is unlikely to have seen before: put together from discarded parts of machinery, old rusty tools and the like, the pieces are, indeed, unique, and range from bizarre creatures like a chainsaw spider to endearing piglets (made of rusty metal tubes) and piratical pieces like candle-holders and bookshelves.
Another shopping gem not to be missed is the Torggatan 15 collection of small boutiques, each with its own irresistible appeal. Torggatan packs everything from islands' art to clothing. Two stand-outs are Viktor Crafts & Designs, stocking items (clothing, accessories, home decor items, etc.) produced by a collection of local artisans, and Labelled, which sells wearable pieces made from recycled fabrics.
Finland can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
The Åland Islands enjoy a mild continental climate, characterised by moderately cold winters and relatively cool summers (averages for July, the hottest month, lie around 15 degrees Celsius). Since summers don't tend to get particularly warm, visiting in July will allow you to experience the archipelago's best weather, and possibly witness some of Åland's famous festivities, which occur throughout the month. Arriving the month before - in June - will allow you to join in on the famous Midsummer celebrations, and witness the "midnight sun".
There are three ferry companies: Viking Line, Tallink Silja, and Eckerölinjen. They have services from Stockholm, Grisslehamn and Norrtälje in Sweden, as well as from Turku and Helsinki in Finland and from Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. The Western Harbour in Mariehamn: Arrival of cruise ships and car/passenger ferries. Viking Line, Tallink Silja, Birka Cruise and Ånedinlinjen. Berghamn on Eckerö (to the west of the main island): Arrival of Eckerö Linjen’s ferry from Grisslehamn. Långnäs Harbour in Lumparland (to the east of the main island): Arrival of Viking Line’s and Tallink Silja’s ferries night-time. Arrival of Skärgårdstrafiken’s (archipelago ferry services) ferries from Korpo, Finnish mainland. Hummelvik: Arrival of Skärgårdstrafiken’s ferry from Brändö corresponding with a connection to Gustavs in Finland. Skärgårdstrafiken (Archipelago ferry services): Traffic to and from Åland’s eastern archipelago, as well as Gustavs and Korpo in Finland. Tallinksilja +46 8 22 21 40 From Finland: +358 600 15 700 www.tallinksilja.se Eckerö Linjen +46 175 25 8000 From Finland: +358 18 28 000 www.eckerolinjen.se Viking Line +46 8 452 40 00 From Finland: +358 18 26 000 www.vikingline.se
The Mariehamn International Airport is located a mere 5-minute car ride from downtown Mariehamn. There is no direct public transport connection, since the airport is located only 2km away from the city. Most visitors hire a cab at the airport (+3581810066). Air Åland +358 18 17110 www.airaland.com
Röde Orm Public transport in Mariehamn is free of charge. See the time table and bus routes at www.rodeorm.ax Note that in the summer the buses are replaced in part by cosy tourist trains. Ålandstrafiken There are five bus services on Åland. All of them depart from the bus station in Mariehamn. The buses are comfortable and the fares are low, not more than € 4 one way for an adult. For more information on time tables, routes and fares, go to: www.alandstrafiken.ax