Åland Islands– The Capital and the Surroundings
Once you disembark in the port you can take a bus or a tcab to downtown Mariehamn. You can cover the distance by walking as well and visit the Museum of Navigators and the famous Pommern fourmasted vessel. It is as unique sailing boat constructed in the begining of the 20. century - the only one in the world which was preserved in the original condition. The ship is a part of the museum and you can see it also from inside.
Ålandy is a very peaceful and crowdless place with almost untouched nature. People are very kind and you hardly meet anyone while making trips into the surroundings of the capital. Sometimes it is quite freaky.
We found accommodation near Mariehamn – at Ålands Idrottscenter (Godby) – a sports center which also operates a hostel. Rooms are clean, bathrooms renovated and you can cook something in a small kitchen. Moreover, there is a pool and many other sporting areas. It is easy accessible by a bus line from the capital.
We set off to Uffe På Berget observation tower which is only 2,5 km away on the following day morning. Apart form the beautiful view, there is a cafe below the tower. There you can buy something to drink or eat. Should you go another 5 km down the road (there is not much traffic) you get at Kastelholm, a 14th century medieval castle which is built on a small island. It is one of only five medieval fortresses which survived until today in Finland. Right next to Kastelholm, there is Jan Karlsgården open air museum with over twenty buildings which belongs to a homestead constructed in 1800. The largest Christmas market in Ålands takes place here in December.
Maybe it was a mistake to not mentioned at the begining, but there is a brewery producing own beer on the islands - Stallhagen. It is a small production about 3 kilometers from Ålands Idrottscenter or 4 km from Uffe På Berget. Even though it might seem quite unspectacular - the exterior looks rather like a barn - I recommend to visit a small beer tavern. For only several euro you can buy a six beer tasting including spreads, pastry, salami and cheeses. Everything is produced on this group of islands. The service is very pleasant and they will even tell you a little to every beer.
I recommend to plan a longer tour in Mariehamn on your way back. Buses are not so frequent here (on weekends especially). Therefore, you need to choose an early one and visit downtown at least for a while. For instance, you can visit the parliament, or walk down one of the oldest streets of the capital Södragatan or visit St George Church.
GPS: (Mariehamn) 60°05'47.6"N 19°56'09.6"E
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
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