Summer has come, the time to fish out dusty suitcases and tattered flip flops from the bottom of your wardrobe. When choosing the perfect place to visit more often than not; Greece, Italy, Spain and Indonesia come to mind. But up in Finland, lies a quiet, rustic and relaxing holiday getaway. Located between Sweden and Finland, Aland Islands form the smallest region of Finland. Accompanied with an equally small population, the residents of the Island are friendly and welcoming. For those of you who are interested in visiting Aland here are the 7 reasons why you should!
1. Go Cycling!
There is simply no better way to explore the island! With a couple rent-a-bike shops throughout the city; it is a convenient, low priced, enjoyable mode of transport! You can explore all the nooks and corners of Aland whilst enjoying the fresh Finnish air! Plus as Aland is quite a small area, you can even cycle to other municipalities for a day trip.
2. Visit Museums!
In Aland, there are plenty of museums littered across town (literally)! Most museums are located in Mariehamn but there are a few odd ones in other municipalities. With museum exhibitions ranging from fishing to archipelago culture, art history and fire engines there is something for everyone! The exhibitions are dynamic, easy to comprehend and most importantly interesting! Plus, almost all the museums free and welcome everyone!
3. Farm Cafes!
There are many cafes in the heart of Aland which are wonderful for snacks and treats, however there are a few cafes on the outskirts Aland which are spectacular! Johannas Hembaktar is one of the few farm cafes on the island. Now this is the one thing you HAVE to visit if nothing else! Their café is located in Saltvik and is open daily from 12-18! Their fresh baked pastries and bread are just scrumptious and always leave you craving more!!! Their bestseller, a soft-meringue passion fruit curd topped with fresh strawberries, is simply divine and I would definitely recommend you to buy more than one helping >.< !
4. Trips to Different Towns!
I mentioned this slightly in the first post but I will elaborate on it more here. Like in every country each town, city or place has different traditions and shops that makes it that little bit more unique. The municipalities I recommend visiting on your holiday in Aland are Eckero, Hammarland, Saltvik and of course Mariehamn. Other municipalities are quite similar and unless you have a specific shop in mind, you might find yourself a tad bit disappoint. Once we cycled all the way to Lumparland, to find a few closed cafes and empty stables
Yes the traditional Finnish past time has to show up on here sometime! Swimming in lakes provides a beautiful scenic view of the nature whilst relaxing in the cool water. What I love about swimming in lakes is that as the water isn’t salty, it doesn’t leave your hair matted and doesn’t leave a weird taste if some accidentally goes in your mouth, which is a definite plus in my books!
6. Rent a cottage!
In the rural lands of Aland, I would recommend you to avoid staying in your typical hotel and reside in Holiday Inns, Lodges, Cottages or Bed and Breakfasts. My family and I had the most exciting time staying in a lodge in Eckero. The Lodge we stayed in had access to a beautiful lake where you could go in for a paddle, canoe, row or even fish and all for free!!! Now that is a bargain! In addition, because our lodge was in a remote area where there was no Wi-Fi we could have family bonding time! You never really know how much time you spend on the web until it’s taken away from you!
7.Svartbröd bread and Kastelholm cheese
Now this is my last but certainly not least To-Do. Aland has their own unique archipelago black bread. The rye based bread is black, as its name suggests, round and quite flat. The taste is very unique and quite sweet. It gets its sweetness from the molass syrup. The bread is more loved and eaten by the Swedes rather than the Finnish because of it’s sweetness. The bread is generally eaten plain or with Kastelholm cheese which is also invented in Aland! Kastelholm cheese can only be found at Alands local ACA Dairy and originated from the 16th Century.
I hope you do travel to Aland as it really is a beautiful and scenic Island! If you have visited Aland, leave your thoughts and opinions below! Plus if you found this article helpful be sure to leave a comment below! If you haven’t visited Aland yet but would like to feel free to comment below as well! If you would like to see my pictures I took when I was in Aland mention that in your comment!!!
Lots of hugs,