Coming to Åland by boat?
A nice way getting to Åland is by boat. Åland is an archipelago of over 6,000 islands in the Baltic Sea. Constitutionally, it is a Swedish-speaking autonomous province of Finland. Sea travel is a vital part of Åland's economy and a major local employer. The main ports are located at the capital Mariehamn, at Berghamn and at Långnäs on the east shore of Fasta Åland (the main island).
The Silja Line, Viking Line and Tallink ferries operating between Helsinki, Turku or Tallinn and Stockholm call briefly at Åland, at either Mariehamn or Långnäs. As well as providing useful transport links, this also permits the sale of duty-free alcohol etc. on board the ships. This is due to Åland's special constititional status and exemption from normal European Union rules on Value Added Tax and other tariffs, negotiated by Finland as part of talks leading to membership of the EU in 1995. Vessels must call at an Åland port to qualify.
A network of ferries operated by Ålandstrafiken provide inter-island services (and links with Galtby and Osnäs ferry harbours in Finland).
Eckerö Linjen operates a ferry service between Berghamn port in Eckerö, Åland and Grisslehamn port in Norrtälje, Sweden.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Buses on the main island.
There is a limited amount of urban transportation in Mariehamn, which is free.
Then there are five bus routes across the main island and Vardo from Mariehamn [not free.]
Route 1 goes to Eckerö at the north-west with its amazingly big postal house and museum, museum of hunting and fishing and terminal of the Eckerö line, the shortest crossing from Sweden.
Rote 2 is for Geta at the far north with an interesting church and good marked walks.
Rout 3 we did not use but it goes NE to Saltvik. Route 4 goes to Kastelholm and Bomarsund [mentioned in some other tips] and on to Hummelvik on Vardo across a cable car ferry. [see my entry on FREE ferries.]
Lastly route 5 goes to the port of Längnas and the port for Föglö [see free ferries]
- Castles and Palaces
- Museum Visits
These ferries are only automatically free to pedestrians, though motorists may qualify if they stop overnight at one of hte smaller islands. They are the Province's own transport. and I strongly advise checking with the phone number below when you think you know what you want.
There are many smaller ferries between the islands but there are four main services from the main island. One is a short crossing from Svinö in the main island to Föglö. One is from the southern port of Längnas to te island of Scäckö. Then there is the northern archipelago line from Hummelvik on Vardo via Enklinge, Kumlinge and Lappö to Torholma at the south of the Brandö chain.
If you can get across Brandö, you can then continue to the mainland in another ferry. Lastly there is the wonderful Southern Archipelago line which we took to Kökar [pronounced Chirke with the final e almost silent] via Overö at the far north of Föglö and Sottunga, the smallest settlement in Åland or Finland. See my tip on Kökar among Off the beaten track tips.
- Budget Travel
- Hiking and Walking
The best way to see the sights is on a bike!
City Sport & Cykel, Mariehamn, tel. 14 950. D6M
Degerby Mat & Café, Föglö, tel. 50 002. L11Å
Karlby guest harbour, Kökar, tel. 55 928. Q13Å
Käringsund Resort & Conference, Eckerö tel. 38 000. C6Å
Puttes Camping, Sund tel. 44 040. K7Å
Remmarhamn guest harbour, Kumlinge, tel. 55 572. O6Å
RO-NO Rent, Väster- & Österhamn, Mariehamn, Eckerö tel. 12 820. B11M, F9M
Sandvik guest harbour, Kökar, tel. 0457 342 9242. Q13Å
Sandösunds camping, Vårdö tel. 47 750. L6Å
Svinö Stugby, Lumparland, tel. 35 781. K10Å
Övernäsgården, Östernäsvägen, Mariehamn, tel. 12 525. G13M
Skarpnåtö, Hammarland – Hällö, Geta.
21–30 June & 2–14 Aug:
From Skarpnåtö 11 am and from Hällö 11:30 am.
From Skarpnåtö 11 am & 4:30 pm. From Hällö 11:30 am & 5 pm. NB! Not on Sundays.
Price: EUR 9, EUR 5/child, EUR 5/bike trailer.
Tel. 37 227, 040 022 9149.
Västra Simskäla, Vårdö – Tengsödavik, Saltvik.
28 June–15 Aug:
from Västra Simskäla 11 am and from Tengsödavik 11:30 am.
Price: EUR 9, EUR 5/child, EUR 9/bike trailer.
Tel. 040 078 3086.
Other times on request, min. price EUR 70 per ride (fewer than 8 pers.)
I bought the ticket from Turku to Aland --- not too expensive and we got some promotion that why we could go to Stockholm from Aland in this price,also we could come back from Stockholm to Aland again for free. So check the promotion of Viking Line before you make your decision.
We were in 'Amorella' Ship --- a restaurant , game rooms , duty free shop and conference rooms.
We had never been in the ship like this before --- first we were confused...very confused about our luggages because the lockers are not sutable for ours ( 1 locker for 2 euro ) Finally we found the storage room ... if you will be in "Amorella'' ,look at your right hand side and you will see the room with mirror door...you can keep your luggages in there ... the door will be closed before depart 30 minutes and will be openned again before dock 30 minutes...it's for free and safe.
Off to Åland....
Åland is situated between Finland and Sweden.
Most boats from Stockholm like the Tallink, Birka, Silja, and Viking lines all make a stop at Mariehamn.
It is possible to take a boat at night and arrive at Mariehamn in the morning. You can also take a flight to Åland but it is much cheaper to ferry it. Also in good weather, it is wonderful to sit out on the deck and take it easy. The nature in the summer is wonderful and so is the baltic sea.
The Eckerö Ferry line stops at Eckerö, the first main island in the Åland achipelago. You can transport your caravan, motorcycles or cars inside the ferry. There usually good packages for passangers with vehicles.
The company also provides bus services from Stockholm. It also offers discount rates for those intending to travel via bus+ ferry. Tickets are usually sold for one way but you can make a booking or buy return tickets at the counters as well. The ferry trip takes about 2 hours which is rather enjoyable in the summer as you can sit on the deck. The restaurants in the ferry are good and caters to different budgets. Good Åland fare on board. Its also tax free shopping!
Viking Line - travel between the islands
We took a boat of the Viking Line company around 8:00 am in Stockholm and arrived around 14:15 pm in Mariehamn. It was a really a great experience and I highly recommend it ! Watching all the little islands of the Baltic sea was quite magical...
A ticket from Stockholm to Mariehamn is 10 euros.
Torsholma to Åva
There are no buses making the run between Torsholma and Åva in Brändö. If you're taking the northern mail route, you'll need to make this journey. There should be a taxi when the Torsholma ferry lands. If not, ask at the ice cream stand. It costs €3.50 to get to Åva.
The ferries are free to walk on, though cars cost money I'm told. I took the ferry from Hummelvik to Torsholma and then from Åva to Jurmo. The latter ride takes ten minutes and drops you off in a bucolic wonderland of peace. Grab a schedule, though, because you'll need it.
ferries, ferries, ferries
There are several ferries to ýland every day, from the mainland of Finland and from Sweden. Many of the ferries are huge and they are not ment for transport, they are meant for cruising, spending money. But if you survive the karaoke, the pubs, the bad music and partypeople, then you get to ýland-the beautiful island!
I really recommend renting a car to drive around the island. It rained most of the day I was there so I couldn't find any better alternative. Renting a bike can be a good idea only when the weather is good. It costed 20 Euros plus insurance for 2 hours and another 5 Euros for the gas.
I got a car from Esso Car Rentel, Strandgatan 1B, Mariehamn
- Arts and Culture
- Road Trip
I went to Aland with my Uncle's family in Silja Line Europa (name of the type of the ship of Silja Line). It was the first time i was in such a huge cruise ship. I really enjoyed the facilities present in the Ship and the journey was not at all boring.
For more Pictures from Inside the Ship please see the travelogue on the homepage.
There are two big Ship companies Viking Line and Silja Line. They having Huge ships, having everything in them, from Cabins to Suite for spending the night and from Discoes to Saunas. You can comfortably reach Aland in them without getting tired or spending a lot of money.