Best Things to Do in the Åland Islands: Top 12 Attractions to Visit

by Jen
Best Things to Do in the Åland Islands
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Are you thinking about visiting the Åland Islands this year? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in the Åland Islands. These breathtaking sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

The Åland Islands—a hidden gem tucked away between Sweden and Finland, where the Baltic Sea unfurls its beauty in the most poetic way imaginable. Imagine a place where the sun dances on the water’s surface, where the air is tinged with the salty kiss of the sea, and where time seems to slow down just for you. Welcome to the Åland Islands, a destination that’s as enchanting as it is off-the-beaten-path. And when you’re here, there are plenty of things to do in the Åland Islands, from exploring pristine nature to savoring local cuisine and delving into the archipelago’s rich maritime history.

If you’ve been yearning for an escape that combines natural splendor with a dash of Nordic charm, then you’ve hit the jackpot. From cycling through idyllic landscapes to sailing into the sunset, the Åland Islands offer a buffet of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re an adventure junkie, a history buff, or someone who simply wants to unwind, this archipelago has got you covered.

So, grab your notebook and start jotting down your dream itinerary because we’re about to explore the best things to do in the Åland Islands. Trust me, you’ll want to remember every single detail. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in the Åland Islands.

The top places to visit in the Åland Islands right now
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Best Places to Visit in the Åland Islands

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in the Åland Islands? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this idyllic vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Åland Islands places to visit.

Are you looking to immerse yourself in nature with activities like hiking through lush forests, kayaking along picturesque coastlines, and cycling through charming villages? Or would you prefer to explore the archipelago’s rich maritime history through museum visits and enjoy leisurely moments by the Baltic Sea’s tranquil shores? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in the Åland Islands can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in the Åland Islands that you should know about.

1. Kastelholm Castle

If you’re a fan of medieval architecture and history, a visit to Kastelholm Castle is among the Åland Islands things to do that you shouldn’t miss. Nestled on a scenic islet, this 14th-century fortress offers a captivating glimpse into the region’s past. As you wander through the stone corridors and climb the ancient staircases, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different era.

What makes Kastelholm Castle even more intriguing is its role in the political landscape of the Nordic countries. It has been a prison, a royal residence, and even a refuge during times of war. The castle’s museum showcases fascinating artifacts that tell tales of intrigue, power struggles, and everyday life in medieval Åland.

For those who love the great outdoors, the surrounding area is a paradise for nature walks and picnics. The lush forests and serene lake views make it one of the best places in the Åland Islands for a day trip. And if you’re visiting during summer, don’t miss the annual Medieval Days event, where the castle grounds come alive with historical reenactments, market stalls, and traditional games.

Kastelholm Castle is one of the best things to do in the Åland Islands.
Explore the captivating Kastelholm Castle for a medieval journey in the Åland Islands.

2. Mariehamn

Ahoy, sea lovers! If you’re wondering what to do in the Åland Islands that combines both maritime history and modern charm, set your sails for Mariehamn. This harbor town is a nautical dream come true, boasting an array of maritime museums, historic ships, and a bustling port that’s a hub of activity all year round.

The crown jewel of Mariehamn is the Pommern, a four-masted merchant ship that’s been converted into a museum. As you explore its decks, you’ll get a sense of the sailor’s life during the golden age of shipping. It’s an experience that’s both educational and downright fun, making it one of the coolest activities in the Åland Islands for families and history enthusiasts alike.

But Mariehamn isn’t just about ships and sea. The town is also home to lovely parks, local boutiques, and a variety of eateries serving delicious Ålandic cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for some shopping, a leisurely stroll, or a hearty meal, Mariehamn has got you covered.

If you’re looking for a destination that offers a mix of history, nature, and culture, Mariehamn is undoubtedly one of the best places to go in the Åland Islands. It’s a port of call you won’t want to miss!

Visit the Pommern in Mariehamn, a four-masted ship museum, for a fun and educational experience of the golden age of shipping.
Visit the Pommern in Mariehamn, a four-masted ship museum, for a fun and educational experience of the golden age of shipping.

3. Bomarsund Fortress

If you love exploring history, then Bomarsund Fortress is a must-see. Built by the Russians in the 19th century, this fortress was intended to be a military stronghold but met its fate during the Crimean War. Today, it stands as a hauntingly beautiful ruin, offering a glimpse into the turbulent past of the Åland Islands.

Walking through the remnants of the fortress, you’ll encounter massive walls, intriguing tunnels, and panoramic views that are nothing short of breathtaking. It’s not just a walk; it’s a journey back in time. For those who love to capture moments, the fortress provides countless opportunities for some epic photography.

But wait, there’s more! The area surrounding Bomarsund is a haven for outdoor activities. From hiking trails to fishing spots, it’s one of those Åland Islands places to visit where you can easily spend an entire day. Pack a picnic, bring your camera, and don’t forget your sense of adventure.

Make sure a visit to Bomarsund Fortress is on your list of coolest things to do in the Åland Islands. It’s a captivating blend of history and natural beauty that you won’t want to miss.

Visit Bomarsund Fortress for a glimpse into Åland Islands' turbulent past.
Visit Bomarsund Fortress for a glimpse into Åland Islands’ turbulent past.

4. The Åland Archipelago: A Sea of Opportunities

Ah, the Åland Archipelago—it’s not just a cluster of islands; it’s a paradise for anyone who loves the great outdoors. Imagine hopping from one island to another, each offering its own distinctive charm and set of activities. If you’re wondering about the Åland Islands things to do, this is your answer.

Kayaking in Åland Archipelago through the serene waters, you’ll feel like you’re in a different world altogether. The archipelago is also a haven for birdwatchers, with species you won’t find anywhere else. And let’s not forget about the fishing opportunities—whether you’re a novice or an expert, the archipelago has something for everyone.

But it’s not all about nature; the islands are dotted with quaint villages that seem like they’re straight out of a storybook. From artisan shops to local eateries serving the freshest seafood, these villages are Åland Islands attractions in their own right.

The archipelago should be right at the top. It’s a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, adventure, and local culture. Trust us, you’ll leave with memories that last a lifetime.

Explore the outdoor paradise of the Åland Archipelago, hopping from one charming island to another.
Explore the outdoor paradise of the Åland Archipelago, hopping from one charming island to another.

5. Eckerö Post and Customs House

Step into the Eckerö Post and Customs House, and you’ll find yourself transported back in time. This 19th-century building is more than just a historical site; it’s a living testament to Åland’s rich maritime and postal history. For those wondering where to visit in the Åland Islands, this is a must-see.

Designed by renowned architect Carl Ludvig Engel, the building itself is a masterpiece. Its neoclassical architecture and intricate details are awe-inspiring. Inside, you’ll find a museum that tells the story of the postal service between Åland and Sweden, complete with antique postal carriages and uniforms.

But the experience doesn’t end indoors. The surrounding area offers a plethora of activities, from scenic walks to picnics by the sea. It’s one of those unique places in the Åland Islands where history and nature coalesce.

What makes Eckerö Post and Customs House truly special is its ability to engage visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a family looking for a fun and educational day out, this is an essential place to visit.

So, ready to dive into the past while enjoying the present? Eckerö Post and Customs House is waiting for you. Is this among the top things to do on the Åland Islands? You bet!

Step into the Eckerö Post and Customs House to journey back in time and discover maritime and postal history.
Step into the Eckerö Post and Customs House to journey back in time and discover Åland’s maritime and postal history.

6. Sjökvarteret Maritime Quarter

The Sjökvarteret Maritime Quarter—where the past and present sail together. If you’re searching for unique things to do in the Åland Islands, look no further. This charming area in Mariehamn is a living workshop where you can witness boat-building and other maritime crafts in action.

The quarter is a labyrinth of narrow alleys, red ochre sheds, and a harbor filled with wooden boats. It’s not just a place; it’s an experience. You’ll see craftsmen at work, using traditional methods to build and repair boats. It’s like stepping into a time capsule, but one where the clock hands are always moving.

And it’s not just about boats. The area is home to several small boutiques selling handmade crafts, local art, and maritime souvenirs. It’s one of those Åland Islands attractions that offer something for everyone.

The Maritime Quarter also hosts various events throughout the year, from maritime fairs to concerts. Are you a boat enthusiast or just someone who appreciates fine craftsmanship, then this is one of the best places to go in the Åland Islands.

Ready to set sail into a world of craftsmanship? The Sjökvarteret Maritime Quarter is your next port of call.

Sjökvarteret Maritime Quarter in Mariehamn, where the past and present come together in a living workshop of maritime crafts.
Sjökvarteret Maritime Quarter in Mariehamn, where the past and present come together in a living workshop of maritime crafts.

7. Lemböte Church

When you’re exploring the Åland Islands, it’s easy to get caught up in the natural beauty and outdoor activities. But what about a little spiritual rejuvenation? That’s where Lemböte Church comes in. This isn’t just any church; it’s a must-see in the Åland Islands for anyone interested in history, architecture, or spirituality.

Built in the 13th century, Lemböte Church is one of the oldest wooden churches in Finland. The moment you step inside, you’ll feel a sense of peace wash over you. The church’s interior is simple yet awe-inspiring, with wooden pews and a stunning altarpiece that dates back to the 14th century.

But here’s the twist: the church is also home to a fascinating museum that showcases the history of Christianity in the Åland Islands. From ancient artifacts to modern-day religious practices, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the spiritual life of this archipelago.

Curious about what to do in the Åland Islands that’s a bit off the beaten path? Lemböte Church offers a distinct blend of spiritual and historical exploration. Whether you’re religious or not, this tranquil spot provides a perfect pause in your island-hopping adventure.

Lemböte Church is one of the best things to do in the Åland Islands. | Source: https://book.visitaland.com/en/
Lemböte Church: A must-see for history, architecture, and spirituality buffs amid stunning natural beauty and outdoor adventures. | Source: https://book.visitaland.com/en/

8. Åland Maritime Museum

Ahoy, sea lovers and history buffs! If you’re searching for cool destinations in the Åland Islands, look no further than the Åland Maritime Museum. This isn’t just a museum; it’s a full-fledged experience that takes you on a journey through Åland’s maritime history, which is deeply intertwined with the island’s identity.

The museum is a treasure trove of nautical artifacts, models of historic ships, and interactive exhibits that make you feel like you’re sailing the high seas. The museum offers something for everyone, from the young adventurer to the seasoned sailor.

When planning your Åland Islands itinerary, don’t forget to include the Åland Maritime Museum among your top destinations. This museum is more than just an ordinary exhibit; it’s a vibrant tribute to Åland’s maritime legacy, and it’s an experience you absolutely shouldn’t overlook.

Discover the Åland Maritime Museum—an immersive journey through the island's maritime history.
Discover the Åland Maritime Museum—an immersive journey through the island’s maritime history.

9. Jan Karlsgården Open Air Museum

Ever wondered what life was like in Åland back in the day? Well, Jan Karlsgården Open Air Museum is your answer. This is a living, breathing village that transports you straight back to the 19th century. If you’re looking for Åland Islands attractions that offer a special fusion of education and entertainment, this is it.

The museum is set in a stunning rural landscape and features a collection of well-preserved wooden buildings, each telling a different story of Åland’s cultural history. From old farmhouses to windmills, the architecture alone is worth the visit.

But the real magic happens during the summer months. The museum comes alive with traditional activities like weaving, blacksmithing, and even old-school farming. It’s one of the best things to do in the Åland Islands, especially if you’re traveling with kids. They’ll get a kick out of the hands-on experiences and maybe even learn a thing or two!

Are you mapping out where to go in the Åland Islands? Don’t overlook Jan Karlsgården. It’s not just a step back in time; it’s a step into the very soul of Åland.

Experience life in 19th-century at Jan Karlsgården Open Air Museum, where history comes alive.
Experience life in 19th-century Åland at Jan Karlsgården Open Air Museum, where history comes alive.

10. Stallhagen Brewery

Stallhagen Brewery, where the art of brewing meets Åland’s rich history. If you’re a fan of craft beers and local flavors, this is the perfect place to quench your thirst. Nestled in the heart of the island, the brewery offers a delightful experience that goes beyond just sipping beers.

What makes Stallhagen stand out?

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It’s not just the beer; it’s the entire experience. You’ll get to tour the brewery, learn about the intricate brewing process, and even meet the master brewers. It’s a fascinating journey that offers a glimpse into Åland’s brewing heritage.

And let’s talk about beer! From rich stouts to crisp lagers, there’s something for every palate. Don’t miss their signature brews, which often feature rare local ingredients like sea buckthorn and juniper berries. It’s a must-see in the Åland Islands for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life.

Looking for coolest things to do in the Åland Islands? Make sure Stallhagen Brewery is on your itinerary. Cheers to an unforgettable Åland adventure!

Stallhagen Brewery—a fusion of brewing art and rich history for beer enthusiasts in the heart of the island.
Stallhagen Brewery—a fusion of brewing art and Åland’s rich history for beer enthusiasts in the heart of the island.

11. Geta Mountain

Geta Mountain is not just your ordinary hill; it’s a rite of passage for anyone visiting the Åland Islands. If you’ve ever wondered where to visit in the Åland Islands for panoramic views and a sense of tranquility, this is your spot. The mountain offers a hiking experience that’s both invigorating and soul-soothing.

The trail leading to the summit is well-marked and suitable for all ages. As you ascend, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross babbling brooks, and encounter local wildlife. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, offering a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the surrounding islands and the shimmering Baltic Sea. It’s the kind of view that makes you want to sit down, take a deep breath, and just be. And if you’re into photography, the summit provides endless opportunities for capturing the beauty of Åland.

Geta Mountain's summit offers stunning views of islands and the Baltic Sea, perfect for serene moments and photography enthusiasts.
Geta Mountain’s summit offers stunning views of islands and the Baltic Sea, perfect for serene moments and photography enthusiasts.

12. Föglö Island

Föglö Island is the epitome of what makes the Åland Islands so enchanting. Accessible by a short ferry ride, this lesser-known island, Föglö is a paradise for those who love the great outdoors.

The island is a haven for kayaking, with its intricate network of waterways and inlets. Paddle through serene waters, surrounded by lush greenery and the occasional splash of a jumping fish. It’s an experience that connects you with nature in the most intimate way.

But it’s not just about the water activities. Föglö is also home to quaint villages where time seems to have stood still. Walk through cobblestone streets, visit local artisans, and indulge in some of the freshest seafood you’ll ever taste. It’s a culinary journey as much as it is a visual one.

As the sun sets, find a cozy spot by the shore and let the golden hues of the sky wash over you. It’s one of those unique things to do in the Åland Islands moments that you’ll cherish forever. Föglö Island is an experience that captures the essence of Åland in every sense.

Föglö Island: An enchanting paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, just a short ferry ride away. | Source: https://www.aland.travel/foglo-en/
Föglö Island: Åland’s enchanting paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, just a short ferry ride away. | Source: https://www.aland.travel/foglo-en/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in the Åland Islands

Looking for more content on the top things to do in the Åland Islands? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to the Åland Islands:

What’s the best time to visit the Åland Islands?

The ideal time to visit depends on what you’re looking for. Summer is perfect for outdoor activities and enjoying the archipelago’s natural beauty. However, winter offers a unique, tranquil experience, complete with the chance to see the Northern Lights.

How do I get around the Åland Islands?

Getting around the Åland Islands is convenient and enjoyable. Visitors can explore the archipelago by renting bicycles, taking advantage of the well-maintained network of bike paths, or by using the efficient public bus system. Ferries also connect the major islands, making island hopping accessible and scenic.

Is Mariehamn worth visiting?

Mariehamn, the capital of the Åland Islands situated between Sweden and Finland, is a unique destination that offers a blend of Swedish and Finnish cultures. Here’s why Mariehamn is worth considering for a visit:

  1. Maritime Heritage: Mariehamn has a rich maritime history. The Åland Maritime Museum and the ship Pommern, which is anchored nearby, provide insights into the island’s seafaring past.
  2. Archipelago Beauty: The natural beauty of the Åland archipelago is undeniable. With its serene landscapes, clear waters, and picturesque harbors, Mariehamn offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.
  3. Cycling Paradise: The flat terrains of Åland make it perfect for cycling. Mariehamn serves as a great starting point for various cycling routes that take you through the islands’ scenic landscapes.
  4. Local Cuisine: Being an island, Mariehamn offers fresh seafood. Local restaurants serve dishes that are a blend of Swedish and Finnish culinary traditions.
  5. Events and Festivals: Mariehamn hosts various events throughout the year, including the Åland Sea Days maritime festival and the Rockoff music festival.
  6. Compact and Walkable: The town is relatively small, making it easy to explore on foot. The wooden houses, tree-lined streets, and harbors add to its charm.
  7. Proximity to Other Islands: Mariehamn can serve as a base to explore other parts of the Åland archipelago, each offering its unique attractions.

Are the Åland Islands family-friendly?
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Yes, the Åland Islands are highly family-friendly. With their safe and clean environment, a range of outdoor activities such as cycling, hiking, and swimming, as well as interactive museums and attractions, the islands offer a welcoming and engaging destination for families with children of all ages.

Beautiful bridge on an island in the Åland Islands archipelago.
Beautiful bridge on an island in the Åland Islands archipelago.

What language is spoken in the Åland Islands?

Swedish is the primary language spoken in the Åland Islands. It is the official language, and most residents are fluent in it. However, many people, especially in the tourism industry, also speak English, so visitors should have no trouble communicating in English while exploring the islands.

Are the Åland Islands worth visiting?

Absolutely, the Åland Islands are a hidden gem worth exploring. With a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and rich history, they offer something for every type of traveler. Whether you’re into kayaking, cycling, or simply soaking up the serene landscapes, Åland promises an unforgettable experience.

What are the Åland Islands known for?

The Åland Islands are renowned for their stunning archipelago, maritime heritage, and Swedish-speaking population. A haven for outdoor enthusiasts, the islands offer exceptional opportunities for kayaking, cycling, and hiking. Rich in history, they also feature captivating museums and historical sites, making it a diverse and intriguing destination.

Concluding Thoughts on Visiting Åland Islands

And there you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the Åland Islands, a destination that’s as diverse as it is captivating. From the adrenaline-pumping activities to the soul-soothing landscapes, Åland offers a unique blend of experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers. Whether you’re an adventure junkie, a history buff, or someone simply looking to unwind, Åland has something special waiting for you. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to pack those bags and set sail for one of the coolest activities in the Åland Islands—exploring this Nordic paradise. Trust us; this is one journey you won’t want to miss.

The top things to do in the Åland Islands for all types of travelers
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