Åland has always been a popular tourist destination. Sweden has been the biggest source of tourists in previous years. During the coronavirus restrictions, the largest number of tourists began to arrive from Finland. A lot of tourists from mainland Finland visited the archipelago this summer (2021). The Finns have really found Åland. It can be assumed that interest in Åland will continue in the future, in the autumn and in 2022.
The most significant attraction of the archipelago is its nature. The tourist can enjoy the idyllic scenery, where the sea, islands, fields, flocks of sheep flash alternately. The tourist also finds something to see and to do in addition to nature: historical sights, delicious local food, pike fishing, sports, art, events.
The best way to travel in Åland is by bicycle. This is the most popular mode of transport for tourists. The cycling season starts in the spring and lasts until October.
The Åland archipelago includes more than 6,700 islands. Many islands are connected by bridges, but sometimes you have to use a ferry to get from one island to another. Good bike paths are often marked with white-green bike path signs that lead to quieter village roads.
Many tourists arrive on the island by ferry with their own bicycle, but you can rent a bicycle on site. (Bicycles may run out of bike rentals at the peak of the tourist season.)
RO-No Rent has two rental offices in Mariehamn. One is located opposite the West Harbor Ferry Terminal, the other - next to the East Harbor. Addresses: Havsgatan 29, Västra Hamnen / Ångbåtsbron, Östra Hamnen AX-22100, Mariehamn.
Åland is a great destination for a lover of good food, a paradise for the local food gourmet. Mariehamn has numerous attractive cafés and restaurants for the gourmet. Cozy landscape cafés can also be found all over Åland. Many of the restaurants offer local, seasonal produce.
When traveling in Åland, you should not miss the traditional Åland pancake. It is a pancake made from semolina or rice porridge, traditionally served with whipped cream and plum jelly.
Places to visit in Åland
Tourists traveling to Åland first arrive in Mariehamn. Mariehamn is located on a narrow peninsula between two harbors. Large passenger ships from Stockholm, Helsinki, Turku and Tallinn usually stop at the West Harbor. The Viking Line and Tallink Silja terminals are located in the West Harbor of Mariehamn.
The eastern port of Mariehamn is home to Åland's largest guest marina (MSF's guest harbor).
The distance between the West Harbor and the East Harbor is about 2 kilometers (on foot or by bike).
The Nautical restaurant is one of the best in Mariehamn. The restaurant is located by the sea, 650 meters from the West Harbor Passenger Ship Terminal. Most of the tables have great views. (Address: Hamngatan 2, Mariehamn.)
The restaurant location can be seen on the map of Finland.
Mariehamn Water Tower. Mariehamn Water Tower is located on the west side of the city, on Badhusberget Hill. Mariehamn Water Tower Hill is within walking distance (1.1 km) from the West Harbor Ferry Terminal (1.7 km by bicycle). The water tower is not accessible, but from the top of the hill there are great views of the city, the harbor and the sea. It is definitely worth climbing the hill.
Mariehamn Maritime Quarter. Mariehamn Maritime Quarter is located just north of Mariehamn's East Harbor. It is a peaceful place where you can walk, watch boats and take photos, sense the living maritime history of Åland, discover boat building, iron forging and other handicrafts.
Tourists are advised to visit if you are hungry or want to see the construction technology of old ships. Must try herring burgers sold at a beach kiosk. The Marine Quarter is open to visitors every day of the year.
Åland Cultural History Museum and Åland Art Museum.
The Ålands Museum is located next to the East Harbor in Mariehamn. The distance from the West Harbor Ferry Terminal is about 1.5 kilometers. The museum's main exhibition presents the history of Åland.
The Åland Art Museum (Ålands konstmuseum) is located in the same building. The art museum presents the different art of Åland. In addition, the museum hosts changing exhibitions.
One ticket usually takes you to both museums.
Please check opening hours before visiting. The museum may be closed.
Address: Ålands Museum, Storagatan 1, 22100 Mariehamn.
Åland Maritime Museum (Ålands sjöfartsmuseum). The Maritime Museum is located right next to the harbor in Mariehamn. It is an interesting place to visit for anyone of all ages interested in maritime history, a great place to visit with children. The Pommern museum ship can also be reached with the same ticket.
Pommern is a former cargo sailing ship that is now a museum ship in Mariehamn.
The Nautical Restaurant is located upstairs in the Åland Maritime Museum. It is a popular place to visit for those who want to enjoy quality food.
Address: Hamngatan 2, 22100 Mariehamn.
Kastelholm Castle. The medieval Kastelholm Castle is located in the Sund of Åland, about 22 km from central Mariehamn. It is a magnificent historical destination, an interesting place to visit for the whole family. The Vita Björn Prison Museum is also located in Kastelholm. There are also other attractions near the castle. Guided tours in Finnish are organized in the castle.
Opening hours (2021): May 2 - September 30 - daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entrance fee (2021, Linna and Vita Björn): adults 8 €, children 7–17 years, seniors and students 5 €. A bus to Sund runs through the castle in summer.)
Behind the castle is the Jan Karlsgården Open Air Museum. In the museum you can see Åland buildings from the 19th century. (Old buildings have been moved to the museum from all over Åland.)
Smakbyn. Smakbyn, or taste village, is one of the must-visit destinations for the gourmet in Åland. The building has a 180-seat restaurant, a distillery, a shop selling Åland products and a drink cellar. Smakbyn produces cider and other Ålandic spirits and liqueurs in its own distillery.
I’ve seen reviews that Smakby’s food splits people in half. Some praise it to heaven, but others are a little disappointed.
Smakbyn, is located about 250 meters from Kastelholm Castle.
Skördefesten på Åland. The harvest festival will be held in Åland on the second last weekend of September, 17-19 September 2021. Visit the open spaces, sample local food and drinks, meet the food producers. The ferry companies organize a Harvest Cruise from Helsinki to Åland. Accommodation can be booked online.
Accommodation in Mariehamn
There are not many hotels in Mariehamn, so you do not have a very wide selection. Here are the hotels with good guest reviews. Book accommodation.
Park Alandia Hotel (4 stars). The hotel is located in the center of Mariehamn. Address: Norra Esplanadgatan 3, 22100 Mariehamn, Finland.
Hotel Arkipelag (4 stars). Arkipelag Hotel is located in central Mariehamn, only 50 meters from the marina.
Address: Strandgatan 35, AX-22100 Mariehamn, Finland.
Hotel Pommern (4 stars). Hotel Pommern is located in central Mariehamn. Address: Norragatan 8-10, 22100 Mariehamn, Finland.
Hotel Cikada (3 stars). Hotel Clikada is located next to Mariehamn’s West Harbor and the Pommern Museum Ship. Address: Hamngatan 1, 22100 Mariehamn, Finland.
Hotel Esplanad (2 stars). Hotel Esplanad is 200 meters from Mariehamn’s main square, Torggatan. The hotel offers simple rooms in the city center.
Flights to Åland
Mariehamn Airport is the only airport in Åland for commercial use. It is located in the municipality of Jomala, three kilometers north of the center of Mariehamn.
Flights are operated from Helsinki-Vantaa and Stockholm airports.