6 THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IN ÅLANDEverything you can do in these amazing islands on the Coast of Finland
We already wrote about our experiences traveling through the Åland Islands. But, every time we look through our pictures from the islands, we manage to find more to talk about. The islands are beautiful and we need to spread the word about them and convince you all to go there. Really, you need to plan your visit.
First things first. Let us introduce you to the Åland Islands.
The Åland Islands are a group of islands between Sweden and Finland. Officially speaking the islands are Finnish, but they speak Swedish and they had their autonomy awarded to them by the League of Nations in 1921. This was the only way to settle the long-running dispute between Sweden and Finland about who owns Åland. In fact, nobody owns Åland and they are an autonomous area surrounded by the Baltic Sea and they take care of most things themselves.
Fotostrasse was there in June 2015 and we tried our best to travel all around the islands. The list below is filled with the 6 things you need to to in Åland. We did them all and you should do them all too.
Play Frisbee Golf in Lappo
Lappo is a small island in a part of Åland called Brändö and they have the only Frisbee Golf field anywhere on the islands. We went there without even knowing what Frisbee Golf was and we had a lot of fun learning and playing it; although, very poorly.
You don’t even need to know how to play Frisbee Golf to enjoy playing it in Lappo. The field has an amazing view of the harbor and the surrounding islands and just being there and playing poor frisbee golf was great.
Since frisbee golf seems to be the next big thing in Finland, you need to try it out in Lappo and go back home and spread the word about this weird sport.
Rock Out at the Fish Bait Festival
Fotostrasse was lucky enough to be in Åland when their biggest rock festival took place. Names like Backyard Babies and Imperial State Electric were playing there and it was great to watch big names like those playing together with some rock bands from the islands.
But what makes Fish Bait something even more special is where it is held. The concerts are held on a stage in the middle of the lake! We didn’t believe it when they told us, but it is true!
The rock festival takes place at Pub Stallhagen and they have the best beer you will ever find in Åland. As you can imagine, we didn’t have anything to complain about at the Fish Bait Festival.
Did you know that Mariehamn is the capital of Åland? Well, now you know and you need to go there to explore everything the smallest cosmopolitan city in Europe has to offer.
Mariehamn was founded in 1861 when Åland was still a part of the Russian Empire and this is why the city was named after Maria Alexandrovna, consort of Tsar Alexander II of Russia. Nowadays, the city has around 11.000 people and it’s the cultural and economical center of Åland.
Go fishing in Jurmo
Jurmo is a small island north of Åland with a population of 25 amazing people all of whom you will probably meet if you travel there. They also have a lot of Highland Cattle, but we will focus on the fishing in Jurmo.
One of the first things we did after getting to Jurmo was go fishing with our Finnish Crocodile Dundee. Kaj is the name of the guy in the pictures above and he took us around the island and showed us how to fish the Jurmo way.
We didn’t have a lot of luck catching fish, but truthfully it did not matter. The view was amazing and we even tried what he described as the Jurmo Sushi. It was amazing and we highly recommend it.
Visit the Russian Ruins from the Battle of Bomarsund
Bomarsund was a Russian fortress in Åland that was destroyed by an Anglo-French task force during the Crimean War. At the end of July 1854, a British fleet of 25 ships surrounded the fortress and over 12.000 French soldiers were ready to take over Bomarsund.
The attack happened on August 13th and the small Russian forces were hopeless. After the surrender, French and British forces decided to demolish the fortress and today you can visit the area and go through the ruins.
Even if you don’t care about military ruins you will love this place. You can visit the small museum that tells the war story and you can enjoy stunning views of the Baltic Sea. Don’t tell anyone, but you can enjoy the best views from the Prästö and Notvik Towers. You read it here first.
Rest your body in Degersand
After fishing, playing frisbee golf and rocking out, you may need a few days to rest before heading back home. The place to do this is Degersand. There it feels like time has stopped in front of your eyes while you walk on the largest sand beach in Åland.
Don’t forget to save your place at the beach sauna, because the best view of the sunset is from inside the sauna. You can run into the water after the sunset.