At the Åland Islands there is much to see and experience on a small area. Main Åland – as the islanders themselves call the main island – is not greater than 45 km from north to south and 50 km from east to west. It makes it easy to go around and discover the whole of Åland. A sightseeing tour of the island group offers everything from a medieval castle in Kastelholm and the seaport Mariehamn with the Pommern sailing ship to museums and beautiful archipelago landscape. Experience also local art, crafts and design.
THE MARITIME MUSEUM AND THE MUSEUM SHIP POMMERN
The Maritime Museum and the Museum Ship Pommern, both world famous, give insight into how the seamen’s life was aboard ship in calm seas, storms and when the captain chased the speed record for the Australia-England sailings, a common route for these ships in the early 1900´s.
THE RUSSIAN FORTRESS OF BOMARSUND
The fortress of Bomarsund is an exciting destination for an excursion. It was built in 1832 by the Russian army and the work continued until the fortress was overthrown during the Crimean War in 1854 when it was surrounded by 12.000 French soldiers and some 40 British war ships. The outcome was a given. Even if the fortress was ruined, it is still one of the Åland Island’s most interesting sights. As a consequence of the Crimean War, the Åland Islands were demilitarised and still remain so. The Åland Islands are called the Islands of Peace.
THE CASTLE OF KASTELHOLM HAS BEEN VISITED BY BOTH PIRATES AND KINGS
Take a tour to the castle of Kastelholm. The castle was built in the 1300’s and has in history been through both sieges and piracy. The Swedish king Gustav Vasa and his sons Johan III and Erik XIV have all spent time at the castle. After the death of Gustav Vasa, his sons fought for power. The fight ended when Johan put his brother Erik in prison. A small room in the castle has been pointed out as Erik’s prison.
JAN KARLSGÅRDEN – A FARMSTEAD FROM THE PAST
Jump a few hundred years back in time. Visit beautiful Jan Karlsgården, a typical Åland farmstead from the 1800’s. It depicts life as it was before the age of fast food and it is located just a stone’s throw from the castle of Kastelholm. The prison museum Vita Björn is also nearby. Just look across the bay to return to modern times – where one of the most popular golf courses in the Nordic countries is located.
THE ÅLAND CHURCHES – STATELY MEMORIES OF MEDIEVAL TIMES
In the 1200’s and 1300’s, after the heathen gods were abandoned, a surprising number of churches were built on the islands. There are still twelve medieval churches. They are possibly the Åland Islands most interesting memories from medieval times considering that their original function remains.
SALT AND THE MARITIME QUARTER
The Maritime Quarter with its small red boathouses rooms both boatbuilding traditions and crafts of all kinds. Here you can find e.g. both a boatbuilding museum and marine motor museum. Guldviva jewelry workshop and shop and SALT crafts house are real pearls for anyone who appreciates the beautiful and handmade.
The beachside swimming centre is a favorite of both young and old. While the kids play and enjoy the water slide, the adults can enjoy a massage or relaxation in the hot tub. Warm summer days the sandy beach outside is a favorite spot.
For those who are interested in food and local produce, Smakbyn is a good tip. Smakbyn is located in Kastelholm, with beautiful views over Kastelholm Castle. Here you will find restaurant, destillery and small shop with local crafts and foods. All led by Michael Björklund - previous chef of the year both in Finland and Sweden and known in the Nordic from several popular television shows and cookbooks.
If you are interested in beer, the Stallhagen brewery is a given destination. The micro brewery produces and develops hand-crafted beers and gives you an insight into beer brewing. In the brewery building is located Pub Stallhagen, that serves food, arranges brewery tours and beer tastings.