Activities in Åland
The Åland Islands are great for short or long bike trips, because of the flat topography. You can rent your bikes right away by the ferry terminals in Mariehamn or Eckerö, or start pedaling straight off the ship if you bring your own bikes. July and August are the most popular months for bicycle and MC tourism in Åland, but spring offers lush nature and fall gives you sunny days and fresh air. A large network of ferries traffic the various islands within Åland and bringin your bike on the ferries is cheap.
Fishing is one of the most popular past-times in Åland. Fishing tourism is well developed and most cabin renters offer guests small fishing boats, equipment and fishing licenses for their waters. Fishing licenses are needed for all fishing on privately owned water, they can be bought from your accommodation provider or online.
List of fish
3. Island restaurants
Few experiences are as appreciated among visitors as enjoying a good meal in the sun on one of the terraces of the island restaurants. Restaurang Seagram on Föglö has become a popular watering hole for locals as well as summer guests, with their famous fish buffet, summer balls and musical performances. The Salteriet restaurant on the tiny island of Sottunga is another favorite for boating visitors, with their great location on the marina. On the island of Bärö in Kumlinge you can visit Glada Laxen, which is a coast guard station turned into a hotel and restaurant. In Kökar, the restaurants Havspaviljongen and Hotell Brudhäll offer beautiful views.
4. Sauna baths
Just as in Finland, the sauna is an important part of Åland culture. The temperature is always high and the sauna is usually combined with a refreshing swim in the Baltic sea. The sauna tradition is strong in Åland and almost all accommodation providers offer a sauna to their guests.
Guesthouse Enigheten in Föglö is remarkable for their recently constructed beach sauna in traditional fashion, which is open to the public for reservations. On Sandösund Resort in Vårdö, guests can book a bath in their unique floating sauna.
There are thousands of uninhabited islands to visit in the Åland archipelago. Going by kayak you get closer than ever to nature and don't have to worry about treacherous underwater rocks. Several companies offer kayak rentals. Bring your camping gear for an unforgetable adventure among the islands, or go on an organized kayaking tour with an experienced guide.
The forests are full of tasty mushrooms during autumn, such as chantarelles, porcinis and russulas. Blueberries and lingonberries grow everywhere, and foragers can even be lucky enough to find cloudberries. Visitors are allowed to pick mushrooms and berries in small amounts for their personal use. There are many nature trails among the islands, some of them just a short stroll, some of them more challenging excursions.
7. Seal safaris & boat tours
Several operators offer seal safaris and boat tours in the archipelago. The natives have lived side by side with these intelligent animals since ancient times. The first settlers came thousands of years ago to hunt seals for their furs and extracting oil from their lard. Seals are still hunted at a smaller scale today, by fishermen who need to protect their nets. These animals are still very curious and will often pop their heads up next to tour boats to take a closer look at the visitors.
There are of course many boat tours and island visits also for those who aren't interested in seals.
8. Festivals and events
Seagram Jazz & Blues is a popular event in Föglö, where local, nordic and international musicians perform during two days. The restaurant also hosts many more events during summer, such as weekend dance balls.
Kumlinge attracts visits in the beginning of July with their three day music festival "Visor så in i Norden", continuing a more than 20 year old tradition.
In the end of August each year, the "Night of the Ancient lights" is held around the baltic sea. Participants light large bonfires to celebrate our common Nordic history. In ancient times, these beacons were lit to aid seafarers in navigating or to warn other villages and towns of impeding danger. The mystical tradition continues in Sottunga and Kökar, among other places
Sailing and seafaring has been a central part of the life of the Åland people since prehistoric times, both by small boats and large ships. The waters are still today busy with cruise and cargo ships, but also lots of leisure sailing vessles, following the winds from port to port. There are many visitor marinas among the islands, offering good service for good prices. Often they are accompanied by restaurants as well.
Digital or analog charts are absolutely necessary to navigate the Åland archipelago, as the waters are full of treacherous rocks hidden beneath the waves. If you stay in the ferry lanes you will avoid most risk, but also miss out on beautiful mooring spots.
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