The last three days I have been on a bicycle trip together with Caj in the Archipelago National Park. Last year, I was cycling the Turku Archipelago Bicycle Trail which I completed in 24 hours. However, you should probably take a bit more time to explore the area properly.
There are two major differences between the two routes – namely, there were more services on the way, but it was also more expensive to travel the Archipelago National Park Trail route.
The new route goes from Turku to Pensar, Korpoström, Aspö, Örö (which I also visited last year with my packraft) and then back to Kasnäs where you can either take the bus (around 20 EUR) or cycle back to Turku (around 90 km).
Turku to Pensar
After I picked up Caj, we cycled along the Archipelago route from Turku to Granvik where we were supposed to take our first ferry to the Pensar island.
On the way to Granvik, we stopped at the Resturant Sattmark in Prainen where we had a fantastic lunch – Caj ordered ribs and beer, and I (Patrick) had a goat cheese salad.
We also found a café, gift shop, and a guest pier. However, since we had only 1 hour time we decided to focus more on our lunch.
From Sattmark it was just another 8 km trip to the harbor in Granvik, where the ferry transported us free of charge to Pensar.
The ferry stopped at several other places on islands during the trip where people left and entered the ferry m/s Viken. There was no possibility to buy coffee, tea or any refreshments on board but the ferry was also rather small.
Sailing was also a quite popular activity at that day as the sea was quite crowded with sailing boats. Once we reached Pensar, we cycled along an unpaved road until we reached Pensar Syd where we stayed overnight. The hotel was a gas station in former times.
The area was also used by the Lotta organization (a civil guard for women) during the second world war and we also found a monument dedicated to that time.
The museum of Pensar Syd can be visited free of charge. It displays objects and pictures from the period of the second world war. Handicrafts can also be purchased here. There was also a monument at Pensar Syd, 2 saunas, a grill place and a dartboard available for guests.
After a swim in the sea, we rested for 1 hour and had dinner (which was excellent). Afterwards, we hiked up to the monument at the top of the hill where we had a great view over the archipelago.
On the way back to our room we had a chat with our host and she explained to us that buildings like the museum are not typical for the archipelago area. We asked our host to pack our breakfast into a plastic bag as the ferry was leaving quite early.
Pensar to Korpoström
The next day Caj’s phone was ringing and woke us up. We packed our stuff and cycled to the nearby harbor on the other end of the island where we landed the day before. At the harbor was also the collection site for trash and a small hut with the timetable of the ferry.
Caj said that it’s a good idea to make a reservation with the ferry beforehand as it may not operate if there are not customers.
The ferry was again free of charge and once on board, we had our breakfast and a cup of tea which was available for 1 EUR on board.
Once we reached our destination with the ferry we cycled to Nagu where we bought more breakfast and snacks at the local grocery store.
From there it was another 25 km ride to Korpoström where we stayed overnight in the Saaristokeskus. The hotel also featured an exhibition, sauna, and a guest harbor. Moreover, there was also a small shop.
The prices of the restaurant were a bit on the upper range (e.g. broccoli soup for 15 EUR or a “variety of tomatoes” for 10.90 EUR) but the quality was excellent.
After lunch, we went to the Sauna and had a swim in the sea. The next day we had breakfast at the Saaristokeskus in Korpoström which contained croissants, porridge, cheese and eggs.
Korpoström to Aspö
After breakfast, M/S Amanda from Aspö Charter picked us up to bring us to Aspö where we had a stopover and then continued to Örö. A one-way ticket including bicycle costs 75 EUR and the trip takes about 3 hours. There was also a possibility to buy coffee, tea, and buns on board and the crew was really nice.
Aspö is a small island with 11 inhabitants on it. There is also a small church and a local store where you can buy local handicrafts and snacks.
It’s a typical fishermen village. I asked one of the inhabitants what they are doing here during the winter and she said that they always find something to do.
Aspö to Örö
Once we left Aspö towards Örö we had plenty of time taking pictures and videos. Örö is a fortress island and has been open to the public since 2014.
Since we had only 4 hours time to spend on the island we decided to bicycle from the Northern to the Southern tip and back to save some time. The flora and fauna on Örö are quite unique.
The Bengtskärs lighthouse which is about 10 km away from Örö can be seen in the distance. The canon on Örö has been used to defend the lighthouse when it got attacked by the Russian army during the second world war.
Caj and I enjoyed the trip very much. It’s a bit pricey to cycle the route with all the accommodation (about 100 EUR per night) but it’s probably a great way to see different places of the archipelago and the service and quality is good. It’s also not difficult to cycle the route as there are only a few hills which you have to cycle up and down.