Åland Islands – Finland but they speak Swedish

The Ã…land Islands are about as close as you can be in Finland without being there.  You see, these islands – an archipelago, technically speaking – are an autonomous region of Finland. The islands have their own police force, parliamentary representation, national airline, postage stamps, and other things that make it a different place than Finland.  Oh, and did I mention they speak Swedish?  It’s terribly confusing, so you might want to stick to English.

But beyond the novelty of saying that you’ve been, why else go to Ã…land?

  • Eat.  The island has its own creamery and makes a delicious bread as well, a sweet blackbread.  You also have to try an Aland pancake, which is made with rice.  The texture reminds me of super-healthy pancakes, but these are tasty too.
  • Drink.  You won’t go thirsty even though you’re on an island!  Aland has a brewery, Stallhagen, as well as Tjudo,a winery that makes apple vodka.
  • Relax.  This is probably the best reason to go to Alan.  It’s an idyllic place, where time slows.  Sit on the rocks and watch the ocean go by – or jump in for a swim.  Get a ferry to one of the uninhabited islands and go for a hike – truly alone.   Or site on a terrace in a cafe and watch the world go by.  You’ll realise it doesn’t spin nearly as fast as you thought it did.

If you plan to stay on the islands, you can find the best prices at hotels in  Mariehamn, the main town, using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.

If you’ve been there, what are your tips for things to do on the Aland Islands?

Photo by ezioman