In commercial collaboration with Visit Kimitoön, Visit Salo, Visit Raseborg and Visit Hanko.
After having cycled the Turku Archipelago and the Archipelago Trail in the past, I found out that there is another interesting route to cycle – the Coastal Route – which also offers the opportunity to visit the biggest light house in the Nordics – Bengtskär. The route basically goes from Salo, Mathildedal, Dalsbruk, Kasn’s, Rosala, Bengtskär, Hanko, Raseborg and then back to Salo.
You can find all the pictures of this bicycle trip in the gallery slider at the end of this blog post.
Day 1: Salo – Rosala
Me and my friend Dustin left Järvenpää early in the morning and traveled by train to Salo where we got our bicycles which were provided by Carfield Bike Rental in Turku.
Initially, I was planning to take my own bicycle with me but it seems that there was no free spot for bicycles on the train throughout the whole day. I should have probably booked the train well in advance.
The weather forecast predicted rain for the coming days – where the first day of our trip should be the worst. There was even a storm warning for the Gulf of Finland.
We cycled around 30 km from Salo to Mathildedal and took us around 1.5 hours. We also passed by Teijo National Park – which I can also recommend as we had previously our Packrafting meetup there. The possibilities to take pictures during this part of the trip where a bit limited due to the heavy rain and in fact we wear soaking wet when we arrived in Mathildedal – a charming village between Salo and Kasnäs. We had lunch in Mathildedal Marina Restaurant where we enjoyed the nice sea view while having our burgers with fries. The weather seems to get better now as it stopped raining.
We continued our bicycling trip at 3.15 pm in more dry conditions even so it occasionally rained a bit.
One of the sights we passed in this section was the old Strömma Channel was built in 1844 to transport ore from the Koskinjoki river to Teijo. The new Strömma Channel was built in 1968 just 10 km west of the old one.
The other sight – the Dalsbruk Ironworks village – was founded in 1686 and was active till 2012 and some parts have been restored in the early 2000s.
We finally reached Kasnäs at around 21.30 where we had dinner in Kasnäs pavilijong which we enjoyed quite much since we didn’t have that many snacks with us and also run out of water.
Initially, we had planned to take a ferry from Kasnäs to Rosala. However, the last ferry left at 8.30 pm and we had to order a taxi boat which picked us up at around 22.00.
The trip with the taxi boat to Rosala took about 30 min and we were greeted by Paul at the harbor who has built and maintains the Sebbholmen EcoCamp on the Island. He showed us our cabin and the sauna – located next to the sea – which we really enjoyed after a long and sometimes wet bicycle trip. The cabin was super cosy with a view to the sea and we fell asleep at about 0.00 am.
At around 5.30 am I got up to record nature sound on the island.
I think we enjoyed most cycling the section between Dalsbruk and Kasnäs and it was also quite impressive to cycle over the 473 meters long and 18 meters high Lövö bridge which was opened in 2011 to replace the ferry. From the Lövö bridge we had a fantastic view over the area.
Day 2: Rosala – Bengtskär – Hanko
We woke up 8 am after a great sleep in our wooden hut. We packed our bags and went with our bikes to the Viking Center in Rosala where we enjoyed a fantastic breakfast and learned a little about the history of the Vikings in this area. The Viking Center displays the findings of the Vikings on Rosala and we visited reconstructed houses and even a Viking ship.
The food was excellent and we also had our lunch in the Viking Center – Sweet Potato Soup with self-made Pesto and Sour Cream and a Salad buffet. The staff was very friendly too and we were told that over 100 people live in Rosala throughout the year while some of the people only work on Rosala for shorter periods. There was also a guided tour as the Viking Center is basically an open air museum. There was also a nice souvenir shop where we found different items related to the Vikings but also the Archipelago.
Our ferry to Bengtskär left at 12.50 and it took us about 50 min to reach the island which is located in the open sea. First the light house was just a tiny spot in the far distance but the closer we came it turned out that it was quite a massive construction.
When I visited Örö – a fantastic island with a beautiful nature and a rich military history – I saw huge canons which has been built in Russia and where used to protect Bengtskär during the war. The light house on Bengtskär still has visible marks from the war.
Climbing up the light house was also an experience. On the different windows there were mini exhibitions which made the climb up more interesting. It was quite warm on the top as we were surrounded by glass so we decided not to spend too much time there.
After we visited the Lighthouse we spent the remaining hour on the rocks where I also found old carvings. We left Bengtskär at 3 pm with MS Summersea (Marine Lines) towards Hanko where we arrived at 4.30 pm. On the ferry we ate ice cream and they also grilled sausages which costs 2 EUR.
We went to our hotel once we arrived in Hanko – Hotel Boulevard – a boutique hotel where each of us got a cell in the old police station.
Then we visited the Hanko Water Tower which offered a great view over the entire city and the sea. The entrance fee was just 2 EUR.
We had our dinner at Restaurant Origo which offers an Eastern Harbour warehouse atmosphere and classy archipelago food. They also had two options for vegetarians – a vegetarian burger and risotto with chanterelles and Rucola salad.
After dinner, we went with our bicycles to the Spa park to see the old beautiful villas. One of the staff in the water tower told us that the best way to explore Hanko is actually by bicycle.
Then we continued to the Bellevue beach where we spotted a carousel in the sea. The water was also clear and there was an inviting beach bar. Next, we visited Hanko Casino, a beautiful wooden restaurant with a nice fountain and beach in front of it. There were also 2 canons midsummer pole and traditional changing rooms at the beach.
Next, we visited the remaining of the light coastal battery which was active during the Second World War. They were built to shoot down German dive bombers and to protect the beaches. From this place, we had a fantastic view of the sea and it was a good spot for photography too!
As it was getting late we decided to go back to our hotel to have a good sleep as we have to cycle to Raseborg the next day which is about 43 km away.
Day 3: Hanko – Raseborg
After a delicious breakfast in Hotel Boulevard we went to Hanko Museum at around 9.30am which was closed on Mondays. We decided to bicycle to Bellevue Beach and have a visit to the House of the four winds – located at the end of the beach – which is famous for previously being owned by former Finnish Marshall Mannerheim. Nowadays, it‘s a Cafe with a fantastic view towards the sea and even an old coastal battery.
Then we continued our trip to Raseborg and came across a Soviet war memorial that won an award in 1969 as being the most beautiful Soviet war memorial outside of the Soviet Union.
Just a few kilometers further we visited shortly the chapel of Täktom which was built in 1920 and then continued our way through Raseborg. The landscape was mainly covered by pine trees and at some point, we passed by a 4 km line of boulders which formed the Harparskog Defense line and consists of 12.000 boulders. They were probably used against tanks. We also saw a bunker on the way and there was also the front museum which was closed on Mondays as well.
(Picture: Dustin Ehalt Photography)
Once we arrived in Raseborg we checked into Hotel Seafront which is located about 1 km from the old town which consists of wooden buildings and the Ekenäs church which has been built in 1680 in Neoclassical architecture. I also visited shortly Sonjan Herkku – a small store offering local specialties. The store is divided into three rooms – one for sweet products, one for salty products and one room with mixed products.
We bought ice cream and walked along the guest harbor where we found a couple of restaurants such as Restaurant GY Fyren where we had our dinner. We ordered “Confited quail thigh, fried quail breast and local spelt and gravy“ and as a vegetarian option “Spinach fritters with grilled zucchini and tomato sauce flavored with black garlic“. For dessert we had “Glaced rhubarb bavaroise with elder cream“ and “Lemon meringue pie and sherbet made of sorrel“.
After dinner we went to Ramsholmen and Högholmen – two islands nearby the old town – which were somehow special as the trees were quite different compared to the other trees we found in the area because of the different soil. On Ramsholmen we discovered a nice sand beach and at the end of Högholmen we found a nice spot on a cliff to watch the sunset.
Day 4: Raseborg – Salo
The next morning we had breakfast in Hotel Seafront packed our bags and took a shortcut to Salo which is 43 km away from Salo. This section was much easier to cycle than the long section on the first day and we felt relaxed when we arrived in Salo. We were told by a local on the first day to try one baguette at the market square just next to the bridge and they were delicious. We returned our bicycles to Hotel Fjalar and walked back to the train station.
Our final impression of this trip is that it was quite interesting – especially the section between Kasnäs and Raseborg offers nice scenery and history. Mathildedal is also very nice!
What could be better? The first day should be probably split into two days as it is just to far if you also plan to take pictures and have some breaks. There could be maybe more details on the map on what to see (natural or historical sights) especially between the sections from Salo to Kasnäs and Raseborg/Salo. Otherwise, it was fun!