The Archipelago Trail, a circular 250-km route around the Turku archipelago, is one of the most beautiful travel routes in Finland. Along the way, you’ll encounter 12 bridges, nine ferries and many picturesque archipelago villages.
Do the trip by bike and enjoy the scenery! It’s such a spectacular and easy bike route that the minute you say the words “bicycle trip” in Finland, someone immediately brings up this one. You can find more detailed directions here.
The material has previously been published in Mondo travel magazine.
CAKE AT SATTMARK CAFÉ, PARAINEN
Taste Sattmark’s own marzipan “princess cake” in a house dating from the 1750s. The wide floorboards, the intricate windowpanes, and butterflies painted on the ceiling take you back in time. Sattmark has also a fish smokehouse, a small souvenir shop and an old granary in which you can enjoy a relaxing massage, if you’re smart enough to book ahead! You can go for a hike along the nature trail (there’s a separate one for the kids) or take a rowboat out for a jaunt on the lake.
9 kilometres from Parainen in the direction of Korppoo. In June, you can get on the water bus m/s Autere at Parainen.
AN IDYLLIC NIGHT AT MARTHA’S INN, NAUVO
You can find real archipelago romanticism and nostalgia at this inn, built in 1917 by the local women’s association. Rag rugs cover the creaky floorboards, chandeliers light the downstairs, and you’ll find a sauna at the back of the garden. Originally the house was built in order to provide accommodation to the people from the outer archipelago who were coming to Nauvo to go to the church. Close your eyes and imagine it’s 1925!
Kirkkovalli 4, Nauvo.
FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT - SJÄLÖ ISLAND
If you want to experience something a bit off the beaten trail, you can visit the Själö island (Seili in Finnish), home of the grimmest history of the entire archipelago. Abandon all hope, ye who enter—the island hosted the mentally ill and physically incurable from the 17th century up until the 1960s.
The macabre stories told about the island are numerous—including the rumour that the lepers brought their own coffin boards with them when arriving on the island.
These days the island hosts the Archipelago Research Institute, part of the University of Turku—and well it should, as the nature on the island is breathtaking.
The ferry m/s Linta operates from Nauvo and Rymättylä from May until the end of August. In July, m/s Autere operates the Parainen-Själö-Nauvo route. You can find out more on the Pro Seili-Själö association’s website.
GET THE CHILLS IN GAMMELGÅRD, NAUVO
Rugs that crease up on their own, breaths of cold air through the rooms, squealing organs and doors opening and slamming shut—if you’re brave, you can spend a night in Hotel Gammelgård! If a ghost-infested old hotel isn’t scary enough for you, visit the little chapel at the back of the yard. It used to serve as a morgue.
Norrstrandintie 217, Nauvo.
TASTE THE ARCHIPELAGO FISH IN KORPPOO
Fillets of whitefish fried until crispy, and a delicious leek-potato cake served with a white wine-prawn sauce. Taste for yourself and you’ll know why “Archipelago fish” is the most popular dish on restaurant Rumar Strand’s menu. The local fisher couple Gretel and Kari Virta catch the fish themselves, the potatoes are from the next island over, and the chanterelles are hand-picked.
SPEND A NIGHT IN MATTAS, NORRSKATA
Leave all your computer comforts behind for a night of perfect archipelagic idyll, spend a night in an old granary and take a trip back in time –without even electric lighting!
Mattas. Kärvois, Norrskata.
SHOP LOCAL AT ISAKSSON’S, HOUTSKARI
Shop local at Isaksson’s! Forget computerized check-outs shoplifting alarms at the door. At Isaksson’s, you can buy your locally grown vegetables by just weighing the produce yourself and putting cash in a tin can.
Medelby, Houtskari. By the road; follow the signs!
BIRDWATCH AT BORGBERG, HOUTSKARI
Brown-bag your lunch and climb into the Borgberg birdwatching tower to admire the view—even if the surrounding trees have grown tall enough to hide the villages from sight. Pick up a postcard in the mailbox and leave a 1-euro coin as a payment.
Take a turn towards Hyppeinen at Träsk. Bike for about 4 kilometres and you’ll see a sign on the right side of the road saying Borgberg, 50 m.
BURGERS AT GRILL CAFE SKAGEN, HOUTSKARI
11 different kinds of hamburgers, a sea view, and a local favourite. Three very good reasons to stop at Skagen!
The Houtskari marina.
THAI FOOD ON THE ISLANDS: BRUDDALSVIKEN, INIÖ
Real Thai food in the Archipelago? Sample Oumi’s favourite foods at summer restaurant Bruddalsviken. The most popular dish is chicken with toasted cashew nuts.
Björklund Båtslip. Bike down from the Sophia Wilhelmina church along the Archipelago Trail towards Kustavi. You’ll find the sign on the right hand side of the road.
SLOW DOWN IN BERGSHAGEN, INIÖ
It’s hard to decide what’s best about Bergshagen’s inn. Is it the location on a tiny island, or the way the hosts greet all guests like old friends? Maybe it’s the breakfast, put together from organic breads, free-range eggs and delicious ingredients from Bergshagen’s own vegetable patch? The pace here is decidedly slow, and it’s no use looking for a television or a water tap.
TAKE A DIP IN JUMO, INIÖ
Swim towards the sunset and say hi to the sheep bleating on the opposite shore. You’ll find the swimming dock in the Jumo village, behind the cliffs where the midsummer pole stands.
FIND A TREASURE AT ETAPPI, TAIVASSALO
Whatever you might need in the archipelago, you’ll find it at Etappi. You can find postcards, fabrics, yarns, beer jugs, old Finnish crockery, handwritten books, ancient medicine cabinets and oil lamps, just to mention a couple of examples!
The Mäkilä house, Keskustie 1, Taivassalo. Open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Fridays from noon until 6 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
VISIT A MANOR AT LOUHISAARI, ASKAINEN
Come take a peek at how the wealthy classes lived in Finland in the 19th century! The Louhisaari manor, dating from 1655, is a rare example of palatial architecture in Finland.
For the history buffs, the Louhisaari Manor is interesting as the birthplace of C. G. E. Mannerheim, commander of the Finnish Defence Forces during World War II. Interested in history or not, you’ll enjoy the English-style landscape park surrounding the manor.
Louhisaarentie 244, Askainen.