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Finland's Aland Islands 8-day Self-guided Cycling Tour Moderate Level
A round trip on the Baltic Sea, in the Turku Archipelago and the Åland Islands. This tour is an enjoyable mix of cycling and ferry crossings. You cycle along the historic Great Mail Route that once passed from Turku to Stockholm. A wonderful cruise with the greenest cruise ship on the Baltic; M/S Viking Grace, will finalize your tour.
Shaped by the ice age, the beautiful Finnish Archipelago consists of thousands of islands and islets. The enchanting sea, the barren outer islands and the unbroken peace offer you an atmosphere in which you can totally relax and have a regenerating holiday. You will find old villages and idyllic harbours as well as fascinating towns and attractions such as museums, historic buildings and ruins. Enjoy fresh and delicious Archipelago food provided by the local fishermen and farmers and admire the local artisan handwork. Don’t forget to try the Finnish sauna!
Suggestion: You can take the ship from Mariehamn optionally to Stockholm and spend your last night there!
The tour is most suitable for adults and youngsters, but probably not suitable for children under age of 12 years. Note that when there are ferry trips, the time spent on route is long and the daily journeys get relatively longer. Terrain is gently undulating, there are some steep but short ups and downs. The route runs mostly on secondary roads and cycle paths. There are several ferry trips. Daily distances from 23 km to 53 km.
Accommodation in medium class hotels and guesthouses. Services in the room, (except day 2: toilet in the room, shower and sauna in another building)
Service vehicle / back-up service
Route description and map (one per each room, English / German / French / Italian / Finnish)
Cruise ticket to M/S Viking Grace (or to M/S Viking Amorella when going to Stockholm)
Sauna on day 2
Use of saunas, pools and Jacuzzis in Havsvidden (day 5)
Outward and return journey
Lunch and dinner
Entrances to the museums / attractions
Surcharge for last night in Stockholm 50 Euros
Everything not specified
Minimum 2 people (solo traveller on request)
If you would like to rent a bike (trekking or city bike 90 Euros) or e-bike (210 Euros), please contact our office when booking: [email protected]
Included in the bicycle rental:
Per each room: 1 x map holder, 1 x repair kit, 1 x pump and 1 x spare inner tube
Per each person: 1 x waterproof pannier, 1 x bottle holder, 1 x odometer
We recommend to take own personal helmet with you. Helmets can be borrowed, but as there are not many, you should ask at the time of booking.
The bicycles are available from welcome meeting (Monday morning) to 7th day’s (Saturday) evening (if spending the last night in Stockholm, bicycles must be left at Mariehamn Saturday afternoon).
Extra days of rental on request.
Flight to Helsinki, then bus (long distance bus connection) from Helsinki airport to Turku (approx. 2,5 hours), then local bus from Turku to Naantali (approx. 25 min.)
You can choose to arrive in Turku from Helsinki also by train. In that case you need to take a train or a bus from the airport to the centre of Helsinki, where the main railway station is located, and then take a train to Turku.
There is also an airport in Turku, but there are only a few companies that fly to Turku. Ryan Air flies to Tampere. From Tampere there’s a bus and a train connection to Turku.
One possibility is to fly to Stockholm (Sweden) and take a cruise ship (Viking Line or Silja Line) from Stockholm to Turku and then take the local bus from Turku to Naantali.
1 or 2 children sharing room - 615 Euros
Slow Tours offers a number of other Cycling Tours in Europe
Independent arrival in Naantali. Take a walk through the idyllic old town and harbour and enjoy good food in one of the beautiful seaside restaurants. Naantali is one of the oldest towns in Finland. It was founded around the medieval Brigittine convent of which the church still dominates its skyline. Known as the Sunshine Town, Naantali attracts local and foreign visitors from around the world with the ever-popular children's favourite Moomin World theme park, as well as with the largest Spa in Scandinavia. The official summer residence of the President of Finland, Kultaranta estate, is also located in Naantali, on Luonnonmaa Island. The beautiful garden of Kultaranta estate can be visited in summertime on guided afternoon walks. Don’t miss the traditional evening vesper drumming, just before eight o’clock by the corner of Naantalin Kaivohuone.
Naantali – Kustavi | 53 km (+ ferry trip)
Your cycling begins in the Turku Archipelago. Once you leave the town, you cycle through countryside and cross bridges with characteristic archipelago seascapes. The route follows partly the historic Great Mail Route that once passed from Turku to Stockholm. Then you make your first ferry trip. After a long cycling day you can relax your mind and muscles in a Finnish sauna.
Kustavi – Brändö Islands | 41 km (+ cable ferry & 2 ferries)
Today you leave the Turku Archipelago and travel by ferry to the Brändö Islands, the northmost part of the Åland Islands. Before heading to the Brändö Islands, we suggest you visit the Artisan Village of Kustavi, where you can find local artisan workshops and reputable artisan pottery. The Great Mail Route leads you through the island chain of the Brändö Islands. In the middle of the Archipelago Sea, one after another, the bridges connect the numerous small islands together. Here you can really feel the connection with the surrounding nature and sea. The geological evidence and the effect of the Ice Age can be discovered on the bare ice-scratched “whaleback” formed rocks. Enjoy the silence and fresh air in this unique environment.
Brändö Islands – Kastelholm / Godby | 23 km / 32 km (+ ferry & cable ferry)
A ferry trip through a beautiful seascape will bring you to the main island of Åland. This day is dedicated to attractions, culture and history. The Great Mail Route first brings you to the district of Bomarsund ruins. The fortress of Bomarsund was once the most magnificent structure on the Åland islands. The fortress was constructed as an important outpost to the west by the Russian Empire and was bombarded during the Crimean War in 1854. In consequence, the Åland islands were demilitarised and the fortress was never rebuilt again. Today the area is a historical monument, easily accessible to visitors. The main fort has a beautiful location on the shore and sheep are taking care of the environment and its biodiversity by pasturing around the ruin area. Then you arrive at Kastelholm, where the Kastelholm castle, Great Mail Route exhibition and open air museum Jan Karlsgården lies. At the Great Mail Route exhibition you can see the entire itinerary of the historic Great Mail Route. Worth visiting is also Smakbyn, a famed restaurant of Åland- and Nordic cuisine with distillery and shop, and the local small brewery Stallhagen.
Kastelholm / Godby – Havsvidden | 35 km / 25 km
Today you cycle to the northmost top of the main island. The route leads you first through a characteristic countryside landscape with apple tree plantations every here and there. As you approach the north, the scenery gets more intact and wild. Before taking the route to Havsvidden, you can deviate to Getabergen, a popular viewing point and tower with a vast view over the thick, green forests and the blue sea. Finally you arrive at your accommodation in Havsvidden, a special place by the edge of the island. Here the barren red granite rocks, the windswept stunted pines and the blue sea create a wonderful contrast. The day’s cycling will be rewarded with warm sauna, refreshing seapool and comfortable jacuzzi.
Havsvidden – Mariehamn | 47 km
Today you head to the capital of the Åland Islands, cycling through the inland countryside. You pass Jomala church, which is one of the oldest churches in Finland. Finally, you arrive at Mariehamn, a reputable shipping town on a peninsula with two important harbours. The town’s entire history and development reflects the life of people living surrounded by water. Worth visiting are the maritime museum and the museumship Pommern, the Maritime quarter and St. George church.
Maarianhamina - Turku approx. 5 km (+ optional trip 6 km or 21,5 km) OR Mariehamn - Stockholm
It’s time to leave the Åland Islands behind and return to the mainland of Finland. Before that you still have time to explore the lovely Mariehamn and its surroundings. You can make a circular cycling trip to a charming neighbourhood and continue with a back and forth trip towards the south through a wonderful island chain where the scenery of the sea and beautiful villas will enchant you. A pleasant cruise with luxurious cruise ship M/S Viking Grace will bring you to Turku. You travel through a wonderful archipelago of tens of thousands of islands. The cruise starts in the afternoon and lasts five and half hours. You arrive at 8pm in Turku, the oldest city of Finland. From Turku harbour you have a nice ride along Aura River to the centre of Turku. Turku is the former capital of Finland and European Capital of Culture 2011. In the summer the city overflows with events and festivals with themes like tango, middle age, music, theatre, art, design and much more. Some of the main attractions are the cathedral, Turku Castle, Aurajoki riverside, market on the Market Square, Forum Marinum maritime centre and its museum ship fleet (including the full-rigger Suomen Joutsen), Luostarinmäki Handicrafts Museum, Turku Art Museum, Market Hall, Sibelius Museum and the magnificent Main Library. The river is the heart of the city. Walk along the Aura River medieval cobblestone streets and admire old sailing ships. There are many nice cafès and restaurants in the centre and by the riverside. You could also choose to take a ship from Mariehamn to Stockholm.
Departure or extension of your holiday.
Ask us about booking hotels for staying extra nights
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