Paddle in the Åland archipelago around Mariehamn

Paddla i Åländska skärgården kring Mariehamn

Åland, so close, so similar yet so different. The archipelago is reminiscent of Stockholm's archipelago with the big difference of being very little exploited. It is easy to get here from the Swedish side. Ferry connections are available from Stockholm, Kapellskär near Norrtälje and from Grisselhamn in Roslagen. With yourself and kayak you roll onto the ferry to drive off after a few hours and after 3 kilometers launch the kayak at Lervik just south of Mariehamn. If you don't have your own kayak, you can rent one at the same location. There is also a bus connection here. Then it's just a matter of paddling away. During a half-day tour, you can visit the former pilot station at Kobba klintar. If you want to make a longer trip, you continue to the Båtskären furthest south in the Mariehamn archipelago. The nature experience is unique. The rich birdlife alone is worth a visit. It is described below in more detail where you can put in your kayak, or rent one, and find the way to Kobba klintar and to Båtskären. In the guidebook "Åland. Hike, cycle, paddle" you can read more about outdoor life on Åland and the surrounding archipelago. Suitable map in scale 1:50,000, you can e.g. purchase at the bookstore in Mariehamn, located on the pedestrian street in the center of town.

Just south of Åland's capital Mariehamn are Nåtö and Järsö, which stand out like a string of pearls straight out into the sea. They are connected by bridges and road banks. Around these islands there is an entire archipelago, the Mariehamn archipelago, to paddle in. The area is well suited for day trips, but of course you can also start a longer trip from here. However, a warning is in order. On the west side of the islands there is a fairway where the big ferries often pass. If you see a ship in the distance, wait in lee behind a cut until it has passed. The swells can be high and it can be difficult to see canoeists from the ship's dock, let alone make any evasive maneuvers. So keep away in time, the ships are coming faster than you think.

Insertion: The floating dock at SGU canoe rental, the marina in Lervik; alternatively at Dragsvik's jetty a little further south with the launching ramp on Järsö. At Dragsvik, you put the kayak in the innermost part of the marina by a grassy narrow slope towards the water.

To get to Lervik, follow the Ålandsvägen in Mariehamn to the south. It merges further into Ytternäsvägen. When after about 2 km you see water in front of you, turn right and then immediately left. At the first parking lot you pass on the left is SGU kayak rental. There is a pontoon and parking here. Further out in the harbor there is also a ramp. There is also a bus connection here from the city center, stop "Lerviks småbåtshamn". To Dragsvik's jetty, continue past Lervik and follow the road until it ends at Järsö. There you turn right onto a smaller road about one km to Dragsvik. A couple of ramps are available to launch at.

Kayak rental

AB Friluftsentrepreneurna SGU (Mariehamn). Phone: +358 18 14757

Nimix (delivers kayaks around fixed Åland to order). Phone: +358 50 66 716

More information

You can get more information in the guidebook "Åland. Hike, cycle, paddle" by Olle Persson, published by the book publisher Vildmarksbiblioteket. Or from Åland Tourist Information, Stora gatan 8, Mariehamn. Tel: +358(0)18 24000,

Feel free to continue reading about my trip in the Åland archipelago in the next post, " Kayaking around lervik and climbing cliffs" .

Olle Persson