Thanks to Kriss Saunders from Arc Adventures for yet another fabulous mini guest blog.
Finland: Coast & Archipelago
This vast and alluring coastal region of Finland is dotted with more than 50,000 beautiful islands, creating the world’s largest archipelago.
With a coastline stretching over 1,000 km (620 miles), there are endless ways to experience Finland’s iconic maritime culture, from the picturesque wooden villages and artisan ironworks towns to lively coastal cities and quaint fishing hamlets.
Most of the islands are concentrated in southwest Finland between Turku and Åland. The number of permanent residents on the islands here is roughly 60,000, with 27,000 of them living in Åland – a popular holiday destination with enchanting scenery.
Finland has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites – five of which are found in the coastal area – as well as many wonderful national parks offering plenty of opportunities for visitors to connect with nature and history.
What’s more, there are a variety of accommodations in the archipelago, from hotels to B&B and camping, but also lovely little boutique-style hotels with great service, activities, attention to detail, and excellent food.
Finland’s coastline is embraced by tens of thousands of islands in every different size, flora, and fauna imaginable and hopping between them is an excellent way to experience the enticing variety.
The most fun way to island hop is of course by water, and visitors can journey among the islands by boat or canoe. Once on island, walking or cycling around the coast is the most authentic way to immerse oneself in Finnish life by the sea
The Archipelago Sea (the body of water between the Finnish mainland and the Åland islands) has an excellent ferry network servicing the main islands and connecting them with the Finnish mainland and the Åland main island. The ferries are used by locals and visitors alike, and many of them are actually free!
The best-known product in the archipelago is the Archipelago Trail, and its shorter offshoot, the Small Archipelago Trail. The Archipelago Trail is a 250 km (155 mi) route that leads from Turku via Pargas to Naantali and back, and it can be done both ways, clockwise or counter-clockwise. In summer months, the circular route can be driven or cycled. The route consists of eight ferries with car and nine if following the route by bike and can be done in one day by car. The best experience, however, deserves two to five days. Accommodations and services can be found on all islands within the trail.
There is too much to describe in one blog, but I hope this gives you just a snippet of what Finland’s archipelagos offer!