Sunday Special – Åland Islands, Finland

Want to practice you Swedish while in Finland? Then head to the autonomous Finnish archipelago of Åland, just off it’s southwestern coast, in the Baltic Sea. This region of Finland is completely neutral, demilitarized, and is strictly Swedish speaking and has been since 1921. It is comprised of 6,700 named islands and 20,000 that they haven’t named (that would be a big project). I’ve heard you can even rent an island if you so wish.

The capital of Mariehamn is a wonderful starting point and is best explored by foot. It seems a quaint city with plenty to explore and cafes to rest your wandering feet.  Island-hopping is a popular way to see a number of these islands. Take a ferry and go off to see the Franciscan monastery on Kökar or explore the historical paintings on the church in Kumlinge.  Looking to stay active? Then cycling, hiking, fishing, and spending time on the water in a canoe or kayak are available. And don’t forget to try some of the local craft beer produced by Stallhagen with many varieties. They have even recreated the world’s oldest known beer when a crate of the beer was salvaged from a shipwreck at least 170 years old. Now that is a brewery that I can admire.

Stallhagen_Historic_Beer
Stallhagen’s historic beer – looks tasty! – Photo credit: Jonnie NordStallhagen Historic BeerCC BY-SA 4.0
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View of ship in Mariehamn, capital city of the Aland Islands, Finland – Photo credit: DigrAX Mariehamn viewCC BY-SA 4.0
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Kokar Island, one of the numerous Aland Islands in Finland – Photo credit: MuymuymyuKokarCC BY-SA 3.0

 

 

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