Fall in love with the charming Finnish archipelago
The Finnish archipelago has a short season, and the sights of the archipelago are at their most dazzling in the summer. We listed three easy-to-access destinations of the Finnish archipelago:
Archipelago Sea – the most beautiful archipelago in the world
The Archipelago Sea near Turku has been described as the most beautiful archipelago in the world – and not without a reason, there are more islands and islets in the Archipelago Sea than anywhere else in the world. The islands of the inner archipelago can be explored easily by car, bus, cycling and on foot, as the islands are connected by bridges and ferries. The outer archipelago can be explored by boats.
The Archipelago Sea is definitely worth visiting by bike. The traditional Archipelago Trail is one of the most popular bike tour destinations in Finland. The circular road runs from Turku via Parainen and Nauvo to Naantali, including unique outer archipelago landscapes. The distance of this spectacular adventure is 250 kilometers.
There are many impressive sites along the Archipelago Trail. One of the most interesting ones is the historical island of Seili in Nauvo. In the 17th century, the island was a deportation center for the mentally ill. Today, the former Seili hospital area is one of the nation’s most important built cultural environments. In Finby in Nauvo, you can explore the mysterious Troy Town (in Finnish Jatulintarha meaning giant’s garden), a labyrinth lined with stones, which origin has remained a mystery.
A very special destination in the heart of Archipelago Sea is the lovely island idyll of Brännskär, inhabited by two families. In addition to the café and sauna, this small piece of paradise offers accommodation in the most delightful, homely log cabins.
Deviate from the Archipelago trail to the outer archipelago to the picturesque Island of Utö, which is the southernmost island in Finland. Utö's ruggedly charming islet landscapes invite visitors to explore the unique archipelago nature, and it offers the most excellent destination for bird watching. In Utö, you can also explore Finland’s oldest lighthouse still in operation. Inside the lighthouse you can also find a church!
Another tempting attraction in the Turku archipelago is the scenic Kimitoön Island. Explore the charming country idyll of Kimitoön by visiting some of its many villages such as the Dalsbruk ironworks village, the unique Högsåra pilots’ village and the Viking village of Rosala.
Treat yourself at the cake-table of the romantic Farmors cafe and fill your cultural appetite in Söderlångvik Manor and fairytale-like apple garden. Adventure in the forts of Örö fortress island and stay in Bengtskär's stone lighthouse, which enchants the visitor with its soaring 52-metre height.
Kvarken – a unique natural heritage site
Maritime Vaasa is one of the oldest cities in Finland. In the vicinity of Vaasa, you will find a unique piece of marine Finland, the Kvarken Archipelago, which is Finland's only Natural Heritage Site on the international UNESCO World Heritage List. The Kvarken islets and islands rise rapidly from the sea with the annual speed of eight millimeters, making the Kvarken Archipelago the youngest landscape in the world.
In the Kvarken Archipelago you will find interesting sights from fascinating lighthouses to idyllic small archipelago villages and great spots for bird watching. In addition to driving and boating, you can explore the archipelago area by cycling or hiking. In the summer, admire the splendor of the rocks by canoeing.
In the village of Replot, you can enjoy seafood at Restaurant Arken and from the Replot bridge, the longest bridge in Finland, you can admire the stunning seascapes, the port of Replot and the cute red boathouses. At Kvarken Brewery you can enjoy local beers with the local extremely fresh water as the secret ingredient.
Fall in love with Norrskär's black-and-white lighthouse made from granite and brick and sense the power of the sea on a rocky and almost treeless island. For culture enthusiasts, Kvarken archipelago offers cultural thrills in the many of archipelago's museums, where you can explore the local lifestyle.
Suomenlinna – a marine world heritage site
The sea embraces Helsinki spectacularly from three different directions, which is why it is worth exploring the capital also from the seaside.
The most famous island in Helsinki is Suomenlinna, which is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Suomenlinna sea fortress has played a significant role in the turning points in Finnish history, and the area has served in the defense of three different countries: Sweden, Russia, and Finland.
Today, Suomenlinna is one of Helsinki's districts and is permanently inhabited by approximately 800 Helsinki residents. The eight different islands of the archipelago offer the visitors wonderful nature attractions, historical gems, and unforgettable taste experiences. You can explore the tunnels, walls, and cannons of the fortress independently or on guided walks. Suomenlinna, famous for its stunning scenery, is also a popular summer beach and picnic destination for Helsinki residents.
One reason for the island's popularity is the ease of travel there. The ferry departing from the Helsinki Market Square operates between the mainland and Suomenlinna multiple times a day. The ferry connection is part of the public transport system, so you can use the normal HSL ticket to get there.
Other unparalleled island adventure destinations in Helsinki include the small and atmospheric island Lonna, Pihlajasaari, a magnificent nature destination known as the villa island, and the captivating Vallisaari, famous for its wild meadows.