Comprising around 6,700 islands in the Baltic Sea, the Åland Islands are a Swedish-speaking archipelago and an autonomous region of Finland. On the largest island of Fasta Åland is the capital city, Mariehamn, with only 60 of the region’s thousands of islands inhabited.
Things to do in Åland
From the historic streets of Mariehamn to the remote landscapes of Kökar, the Åland Islands offer a fascinating excursion from Finland, Sweden or Estonia.
Explore the Pommern. This four-masted barque was constructed in Glasgow in 1903 and is anchored in Mariehamn as a museum ship. As you tour the vessel, learn about her reputation as a “lucky ship”, having survived both World Wars and losing only four crew members along the way. The Pommern forms part of the Åland Maritime Museum where you’ll find ship figureheads, bottled ships, sea chests and nautical paintings on display.
Visit Kastelholm Castle. Constructed by the Swedes in the 14th century, this medieval fortress was originally positioned on an island surrounded by moats. Hear about its tumultuous history as you browse the medieval artefacts excavated from the site or coincide your visit with the medieval-themed festival that takes place here each summer. Kastelholm Castle is located adjacent to the Jan Karlsgården open-air museum, which offers a glimpse into 19th-century life in the Åland Islands.
Escape to Kökar. In the far south-west of the Åland Islands is Kökar, which has been inhabited by seal hunters and fishermen for thousands of years. It attracts visitors to its beautiful beaches and wild natural areas, which include the Ice Age-shaped cauldron of Kälskär. You can delve into the local history at the Kälskär Folklore Museum or explore the ruins of the medieval Franciscus monastery next to Kökar Church.
Getting around Åland
Mariehamn Airport is the main aviation gateway to the Åland Islands and has regular flights to Helsinki, Turku and Stockholm. Ferries also connect from all three cities to the Åland Islands while both buses and ferries travel throughout the archipelago.