thinking of åland (finnish islands)

The year is coming to an end and there are still so many great memories to share. This time we are stepping back in time to July when we visited the autonomous islands of Åland. We stayed in the capital, Marienhamn, on our way back to Finland from Sweden. Åland is a great place for relaxation, biking from one island to another, bird watching, and a little bit of history too.

These islands are the perfect pit-stop for you if you like nature, sea, birds, biking, and a bit of isolation too (as there are less than thirty thousand inhabitants altogether in all these island). The only right way to get there is of course by a boat, so you get to see numerous islands and birds on your way. We loved the islands, and were lucky to have a good weather too. The added bonus on top of the cleanliness is that it feels very safe there – and one can let kids explore more freely than one normally would…

So here is out top list of things to do and see in Åland:
1. island hopping by a bicycle
2. visit medieval castle of Kastelholm
3. enjoy the slow country life of old days in the Jan Karlsgården village buildings
4. visit the museum ship Pommern 
5. explore the fortress ruins of Bomarsund and visit the little sandy beach next to the ruins
6. stop and explore the little handicraft shops and local cafes that you come across
7. sit down with a picnic and enjoy the blue sea and clean nature
8. walk around the leafy streets of the capital Marienhamn and admire how large cruise ship manage to turn around in the little port

…and if you are looking for a great meal (not local food though) try the Texas Longhorn in Marienhamn. Nice interior and oh-so-good food!

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of beaches, biking around, exploring little shops and cafes in Åland!

ålandAn interesting artisan shop in a little country lane


Stop for delicious treats in countryside cafes


Cute and rustic country cafe


When you come to the end of the island, you can either rest and enjoy the views or (in many cases) take a ferry to the next island

Crossing from one island to another

island life
Pretty much every house by the shore has its own dock and a boat or two

Biking in aland
Not always so easy to control the kid buggy with a one-gear old-fashioned bicycle!

Typical to islands is the colour scheme of green and blue everywhere

island beaches

Cooling feet after a day of biking. There are some really soft sand beaches scattered around

aland beaches
Quality beaches and depending on the weather the water can be relatively warm too

leafy walkways
Beautiful leafy walkway in capital Marienhamn

Museum ship Pommern

Historic museum ship Pommern

Old boats in the harbour
Marienhamn harbour area has both large cargo ships and old and new wooden boats of various sizes (as well as a nice museum area to visit)