The nature of Åland is formed by the interaction between land and sea. Wherever you walk you are close to the water and wherever you sail you are close to land. The Åland Islands are quite windy and quite sunny. If the summer rains away in other northern regions you'll usually find a spot of sunshine in Åland. When you venture further out into the archipelago you will notice the vegetation becoming more barren and the pine trees becoming more crooked. On the largest island - "mainland Åland" - forests as well as meadows are larger. The massive pressure and violent erosion of the ice age have worn the rocky islands into smooth, rounded shapes and created many interesting geological formations.
Åland is known for an abundance of the delicious fish perch, as well as other fish. There are many places who rent cabins with fishing included - as well as fishing guides if you want to know where the really good spots are. Sports fishing is practiced a lot here in spring and fall, and there is one challenging catch that everybody tries to hook: a large pike.
Note that fishing in most areas are subject having an individual license, which can be purchased by anybody for cheap.
▸ Pike with spin rod or fly rod
▸ Redfin perch with any rod or net
▸ Flounder with net
▸ Herring with net or jig
If the weather conditions have been favorable, the forests will be full of mushrooms and berries by fall and 2017 was a record year for mushrooms. Out on the more remote islands you can find the delicious cloudberries growing in their fields and wild strawberries are found here and there. Even though the forests aren't big, they are populated by many elk and more than 25 000 deer.
Locals and visitors alike have the right to roam freely in nature and forests - as long as they don't disturb cattle and crops. We also have many nice hiking trails in Åland, marked with painted rods so you don't get lost. Everything from short strolls to longer hikes are on offer, in exciting landscapes. Many of the trails have been renovated during 2019 and 2020.
Åland is connected to the sea more than anything else, and seafaring has been a deep part of our history. If you arrive by ship, as most people do, you will already see our archipelago from the deck. But the experience is completely different tacking between islands on a sailing boat or aboard a tour boat on your way to a beautiful bay. A secret pleasure among many locals is to make a boat trip out and anchor by one of the thousands of uninhabited islands and spend their evening eating and drinking with friends and family.
If you want to have a real adventure close to nature you should rent a kayak and go paddling in the inner archipelago. Kayaking has become more and more popular in Åland in recent years.
There is an abundance of birds in Åland and around the islands of Föglö you have a good chance of spotting the impressive white tailed eagle soar high in the sky. In lakes and bays swans and wild ducks swim and dive about. Around Åland several towers for bird watching have been erected. Especially Kökar has invested in becoming a top destination for ornithology. During spring there is ample opportunity to see many beautiful and interesting birds - and enjoy their singing everywhere around Åland.
Seals are iconic animals in Åland and are often fount pretty far out at sea, although seal pups sometimes make a visit into the town of Mariehamn or even to people's lawns. Seals have been hunted on Åland since prehistoric times. During the bronze age, seals were hunted for their oil and today they are hunted to protect the catches of local fishermen. If you want to experience these intelligent and beautiful animals close-up a seal safari is the perfect activity in your trip to Åland.
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