The allure of Åland's archipelago continues to beckon Finnish tourists, even beyond the summer months, as the waters of the Baltic Sea remain warm well into autumn. With a short ferry ride away from the mainland, Åland offers a paradise of activities for nature enthusiasts, golfers, anglers, and food lovers alike.
Finnish tourists have now become the largest group of visitors to Åland, surpassing the Swedes, and this trend extends into the autumn season.
"Mainsland Finns have discovered the uniqueness and exotic charm of Åland. We've noticed that domestic customers want to experience Åland even more comprehensively than the Swedes, placing emphasis on the quality of accommodation and dining," says Niko Micklin, Director of Marketing and Sales at Visit Åland.
The autumn months in Åland offer plenty of activities for travelers interested in nature, sports, and culture. The mild climate in Åland, with the Baltic Sea keeping temperatures relatively high, creates a more favorable atmosphere than mainland Finland.
"Early autumn is an excellent time to travel to Åland. Hotel availability eases after the busy summer season, and you can find suitable accommodation even with short notice. Attractions and restaurants remain open, ensuring there's no compromise on things to do and culinary experiences," Micklin adds.
The most popular way for mainland Finns to reach Åland is by taking a ferry from the port of Turku. Viking Line is the operator with the highest number of passengers traveling to the islands. Their ferries, including the Viking Glory and Viking Grace, transport visitors to Åland twice daily, offering a year-round opportunity to enjoy the unique archipelago views, first in the Turku archipelago and then in Åland.
"Growth in local tourism is evident, and our booking situation for this autumn, including Åland, looks promising," says Johanna Boijer-Svahnström, Head of Communications at Viking Line.
Five Ways to Experience Åland
For Golf Enthusiasts: Åland's golf season extends into October. The island boasts three top-notch, full-length 18-hole golf courses, including one in Eckerö and two near Kastelholm Castle. The Åland Golf Club, set amidst majestic scenery, recently renovated its courses to meet international standards, making it one of Europe's finest.
For Hikers: The colorful archipelago nature in early autumn is an outdoor paradise. Åland offers 30 hiking trails and nature paths, with the five-kilometer Grottstigen panoramic trail winding through the rugged landscapes of Northern Åland. The stunning rock formations along the route also attract boulderers.
For Cyclists: Explore Åland by following the archipelago's ring road. The northern route traverses the northeast archipelago, while the southern route cuts through the southeast archipelago toward the main island. Ferries connect the various islands, and Åland's compact size allows for day trips from your base. Renting a bike in advance is recommended for September travel. Some hotels offer complimentary bike rentals, and you can also bring your own bike on the ferry.
For Anglers: In August and September, Åland's waters are perfect for catching pike and perch, while later in the autumn, you can target sea trout. Fishing guides arrange private and group trips to the best fishing spots. Fishing permits can be purchased online, even on the day of your trip. If you go fishing with a guide, they will take care of permits along with providing fishing rods, lures, and life vests.
For Food Enthusiasts: The highlight of September is the Skördefest harvest festival, held from September 22nd to 24th. During this event, visitors can explore local, Åland-grown produce on Åland farms and even in the homes of families living in the countryside. Skördefest involves dozens of farms, offering ample opportunities for tastings and exploration over two days. Viking Line's special cruises make it convenient to join the harvest festival. If you bring a car, you can explore the countryside and farms at your own pace.