Mariehamn, the capital of Åland, is the starting point for most visits. This little maritime town welcomes you with its charming wooden houses and lovely cafés with summer terraces. Mariehamn is best explored on foot. Don’t miss the Pommern, a four-masted sailing ship, anchored in the western harbour by the Maritime Museum.
The archipelago ferry will take you on a two-and-a-half-hour journey from Lumparland to Kökar, an isolated island where the ruins of a medieval Franciscan monastery are the main sight. With around 250 residents, Kökar is the second-smallest municipality in Finland.
3. Explore the Ruins of Bomarsund
The Russian Czar’s granite fortress was destroyed by the British and the French in the Crimean War before it was even completed. Nowadays, visitors can explore the ruins for free, making for a fun family adventure. There’s also a café and restaurant at the nearby campground.
First mentioned in historical records dating back to 1388, Kastelholm Castle is where Swedish kings, including Gustav Vasa, spent time. For centuries, the main east-west route across the Swedish Empire passed through Åland. Now the castle, with its art collection, is open to the public from May to mid-September.
Åland has three 18-hole golf courses. Åland Golf Club, a lovely facility with two courses, is located next to Kastelholm Castle. In addition to a beautiful course, Eckerö Golf has a large driving range and lies in the westernmost part of Åland, just five minutes from the harbour where the Eckerö Line ferries arrive from the mainland.
6. Treat yourself to Seaside Luxury at the Havsvidden
The Havsvidden Hotel on the island of Geta is a luxurious little hideaway by the sea. It has its own small harbour, a helipad and gourmet restaurant offering outstanding cuisine. Even if you’re not staying in the hotel, the food alone – including local specialities such as Åland fish soup – is worth the journey.
Åland is great for touring on a bike. Roads are flat and ferries and bridges link the numerous islands together. Everywhere is suitable for families and the sightseeing starts as soon as you hop on your bike. Bikes can either be brought over on the ferry or rented in Mariehamn.
8. Enjoy the Peaceful Seascapes
In Åland you can spend all day canoeing or kayaking without encountering anyone. Canoeing and kayaking are excellent ways to experience the natural beauty of Åland while getting great exercise – you might even catch a glimpse of a sea eagle!