Ahvenanmaa (Åland)

Ahvenanmaa (Åland)

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The Åland province (called Ahvenanmaa in Finnish) has its own flag, stamps and culture. It includes more than 6400 autonomous islands. Swedish is spoken in various dialects and few locals actually speak Finnish. The islands are a perfect place to explore by bike. Campings are abundant and cottages are available on many places of the beautiful islands. It is a small world apart from the rest of Finland; you will experience a completely different culture, expressed in folk dancing, Maypole decorating and pervasive small-town charm.

The area's main attraction is Kastelholm Castle in the town of Sund at the eastern end of the main island. The castle's age is not exactly known, but it was mentioned in writings in 1388. It was of strategic importance during the 16th and 17th centuries. Nearby you will find the open-air Jan Karlsgården Museum, the best place in Finland to experience the famous Midsummer festivities. Bomarsund Fortress, built in 1842, is now in ruins and serves as memorial of the time Finland was ruled by the Russians.

Åland has excellent connections with both Sweden and the Finnish mainland. There are daily ferries and flights. Free inter-island ferries connect many islands in the region. The main town of Maaarianhamina and the town of Sund are accessible by bus, and all the islands of Åland are bicycle-paradise. Accommoation and restaurants are widely available.

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