Hidden gems of the Finnish archipelago

2 minute read

Credits: Rob Smith

The coast of Finland has a different rhythm altogether

Dominated by the presence of the sea, this region hums in a way of its own. The archipelago is a rich blend of bilingual culture, ancient fishing traditions and maritime heritage. Here are five of the region’s hidden gems – add them to the list for your next journey over!

Rent your own island in Åland

The Åland Islands are an autonomous group of more than 6,500 islands, 60 of which are inhabited and offer accommodations for travellers. Cabins come in all price categories, from budget-friendly to chic boutique. The ultimate option, of course, is booking a stay on a private island. Gyllenklobb, for example, offers a cabin that sleeps up to four people and an adjacent floating sauna, while Långskär has a cabin with a sauna in Kumlinge. On Lökskär, you’ll find a cabin that accommodates up to five people and has a sauna by the waters of the Vårdö archipelago. Finally, Hermit’s cabins for two are available on Långharun. Book a stay wherever you choose and enjoy the peace of the Åland Islands.

Credits: Visit Åland

Take the Nordic pilgrim’s path from Turku

The St. Olav Waterway is a Nordic pilgrim’s path that starts in Turku then meanders through the Finnish Archipelago and onward to Norway. Starting from Turku Cathedral on the Finnish mainland, you’ll take in breathtaking views as you wander from island to island, traveling through the archipelago and into Sweden. Once you reach Swedish shores, the route splits into various paths leading to the spectacular town of Trondheim, Norway. The St. Olav Waterway is part of the St. Olav Way, which is, in its entirety, part of the official Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. Established by the Council back in 1987, these Cultural Routes physically demonstrate how countries’ unique heritages contribute to a shared, living European cultural heritage. A proud member of this illustrious bunch, the St. Olav Waterway is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in Nordic culture – and enjoy spectacular sights along the way.

Credits : Rebecka Eriksson
Credits: Flatlight Films

Make a river pilgrimage from Turku

Turku is also the starting point of two river pilgrimages. Both routes begin at Turku Cathedral and provide a relatively relaxing escape from everyday life. Follow along the banks of River Aura on the Way of Helena, a quaint walk of approximately eight kilometres. You’ll stroll through Koroinen to the churches of Catherine and Mary before circling back to the main Cathedral again. It’s a stress-free walk that takes a few hours and is doable with minimal preparation. The Way of Peter, on the other hand, is a tad longer at approximately 35 kilometres, so it usually takes several days to complete. During this journey, you’ll travel along the River Aura all the way to Lieto Church. You can take both of these routes on foot, by bike and/or partly by kayak. Remember that these modern pilgrimages include few religious aspects, but they do offer a wonderful way to connect with the nature and history of Finland.

Learn more about the pilgrimage map and passport at Citynomadi site.

Credits: Tiina Tahvanainen

Attend a harvest festival in Åland

While the Åland Islands are well-known for their summer activities, nothing beats autumn in the region. As cold fronts begin hitting their shores, these islands turn on a different type of charm, and there’s no better way to experience it than at a harvest festival. The grandest fete of the year is Skördefesten, or Harvest Festival, which is held annually during the month of September on the main island. During the event, Åland welcomes visitors with three days of fun featuring fresh produce, open houses at local farms and cellars, and a variety of interactions with farm animals. Bring along a cooler so your delicacies stay fresh!

Credits: Minna Suhonen

Celebrate Halloween at the pumpkin patch in Salo

Each year around Halloween, the town of Salo goes crazy for pumpkins. Head to Halikko in Salo to see fields full of pumpkins, mostly imported from abroad but beloved nonetheless. Rannikon puutarha, or the Coastal Gardens of Halikko, actually feature more pumpkins than people during the festivities! After the sun sets, stop by to have a look as 2,500 stunning, hand-carved jack-o-lanterns light up the night.