This weekend I went to Kökar, a Swedish speaking municipality with a population of 244 and is part of the Åland Islands (belonging to Finland) which are located between Finland and Sweden. The Åland islands can be reached by ferry from Turku within 2.5 hours.
The Åland Islands are part of the Finnish Archipelago and are one of the most popular sailing places of the Northern countries. There is also a ferry connection (Viking Line and Tallink Silja) from Turku and Stockholm connecting the Åland Islands (via Mariehamn) to the mainland. The majority of the population speaks Swedish as their native language.
How to get there?
Waiting for the ferry. The transportation is arranged by Ålandstrafiken where you can also find a price list in case you are planning to travel by car. There are also free ferry connections between the islands. Even so, the weather was sunny it felt quite chilly due to the strong wind on board. I saw plenty of sailing boats on our ferry trip as this area is very popular among sailors. The Åland islands are not just popular among sailors but also a popular bicycling destination.
Where to stay overnight?
I have stayed over night in Hotel Brudhäll but of course, there are also possibilities to camp in your tent in Kökar. Some Hotels also do have an own harbour for their guests.
One of the highlights of the island is the church of St. Anne which was built in 1784 and there is also a Bronze Age site dating back to 1150 BC. The organ which can be found in the church of St. Anna was also quite impressive. There was also a model ship hanging from the roof which is quite popular in churches nearby the coast in Finland and Sweden. I also saw a midsummer pole. and a maze (called Jungfrudans in Swedish) at Vålberg rock.
There is a lot of variety in the landscape even so you are on an island. There is the sea on the one hand and then on the other hand you have forests and bushes. Marked trails can also be found on the Åland islands, The bog cotton is also quite common – this plant is usually growing in swamps.
The Aland Islands are great for hiking and cycling. It’s also not too demanding since the islands are rather flat. The Aland Islands is also a great adventure for the whole family. Definitely worth a visit!