Archipelago between Finland and Sweden
Largely unnoticed by the world, there is the island region of Åland in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia. Between Stockholm in Sweden and Turku on the Finnish side, 6,500 individual islands are spread over an area of 6,784 square kilometers and make up one of the largest archipelagos in the Baltic Sea. The Åland archipelago is entirely Swedish and has its own flag. In 1921, by decision of the League of Nations, Åland was added to the young Republic of Finland. However, the Ålanders are only bound by the Helsinki guidelines for key issues. First and foremost, the residents enjoy their seclusion on a beautiful strip of the end of the world.
Discover and enjoy – the landscape of Ahvenanmaa / Åland for water sports and nature lovers
Smooth rocky coasts, sparkling water and diverse archipelagos give the islands a very special magic. The nature is diverse and consists of barren rock cliffs, sweeping meadow groves and lush coniferous forest – a magnificent small mosaic of different types of nature. However, the sea is almost omnipresent. The countless islands and skerries make for an attractive paddling area. The Åland Islands are also a paradise for cyclists. Tours along the historic Postweg, past neat wooden houses, are particularly popular.
Culture and sights
The long history of the Åland Islands is evident from the many graves and finds from the Viking Age as well as churches from the 13th century.
The main town Mariehamn, the “city of a thousand linden trees”, combines the splendor of a capital with the charm of a small town. Mariehamn is home to an impressive maritime museum. The four-masted sailing ship Pommern from 1903 is located in the west harbor and is one of the most popular sights. The fortress-like church of St. Lars from the 13th century and the postal museum in the wing of the former Storby post and customs post are worth seeing in Eckerö. Meanwhile, the small fishing village Käringsund on the cliffs inspires with a hunting and fishing museum. Last but not least, Jomala attracts with many places of worship that are well worth seeing. The Viking cemetery in Lemland and the wooden church in Lumparland are also interesting.
Tip: You can taste a piece of Åland in the small Stallhagen brewery and in the Tjudö winery. Delicious drinks are produced here from apples and other fruits.
One of Finland’s most historic islands is located on an archipelago off Helsinki. A short trip by ferry, and in less than 15 minutes, visitors step onto a park-like island landscape that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. On the fortress and museum island Suomenlinna (Sveaborg – “Castel of Sweden), visitors experience an exciting journey through time. Worth knowing, mystical, moving – the diverse routes enchant in a very special atmosphere.
Excursion into maritime history
Suomenlinna is one of the largest sea fortresses in the world and was built by Augustin Ehrensvärd in 1748. At that time Finland was still part of the Kingdom of Sweden. On a total of six islands, the fortress resembles an entire district with 200 buildings and 1,000 inhabitants. It was considered impregnable, but was conquered by the Russians in 1809 without a fight.
Kings Gate is the landmark of Suomenlinna. The King’s Gate was built between 1753 and 1754 as the entrance gate to the fortress. Not far is the flag bastion “Bastion Zander”, one of the oldest buildings in the entire area. Four bastions form the Suomenlinna fortress chain impressively. No less impressive are the cannons from the Russian era, which are located on the Kustaanmiekka sandbanks.
The island offers a remarkable museum landscape in a small area.
The Suomenlinna Museum is a fascinating guide through the history of the sea fortress during the Swedish, Russian and Finnish eras. In addition to Ehrensvärd – there are many other museums as well as the Vesikko submarine and a toy museum.
Island atmosphere between casemates and lovely cafés
The gourmet restaurant Walhalla is located in one of the casemates in the castle on Kustaanmiekka.
Many pretty cafes and restaurants line the island belt. On a small hill in Piper’s Park, Café Piper is enchanting in a beautiful location. The terrace offers a spectacular view of the Gulf of Finland. The café has been open to summer guests since 1928.
A detour to the island of Harakka (Stora Räntan) is also worthwhile. Characterized by lush vegetation and many species of birds, it is also the home of various artists. There are exhibitions on the environment and nature conservation as well as an open-air theater and nature trails.
If you like, you can stay on Suomenlinna until late on the bright and warm summer nights. The last ferry leaves at 2 a.m.