Visit the Maritime Museum, the Museum Ship Pommern and the Maritime Quarter in Mariehamn to find out more about the islands' fascinating maritime history.
The things that make Åland unique are its unspoiled archipelago and the beautiful bedrock, worn smooth by glacier ice, that gets its red colour from the area's rapakivi granite. Åland's 6,500 islands have a world to offer where the sea is always nearby. Did you know that Åland has more sunshine hours than anywhere else in Northern Europe between May and August?
Another of Åland's distinctive traits is the midsummer sight of maypoles, colourful garlands and olde worlde windmills. You can see some of them in the Jan Karlsgården open air museum in Kastelholm where you'll also get to see what a typical Ålander farm looked like around the end of the 19th century.
Annual Champagne Auction
The world’s oldest, still drinkable and most exclusive champagne on the market can be bought at an annual auction held in Mariehamn. This year’s auction and champagne event takes place on 8 June at Alandica Culture & Congress Centre in Mariehamn.
In the summer 2010, a shipwreck was found at a depth of approximately 50 metres in the Åland archipelago. The wreck had a cargo that contained intact champagne bottles, among other things. Much of the ship’s history, including its final destination, is still unknown, but according to the experts the champagne is from the first half of the 1800s.
The bottles originate from the world-famous champagne houses Veuve Clicquot, Juglar and Heidsieck Monopole. Today the bottles are owned by the Government of Åland.
The first champagne auction was arranged in 2011 by the Government of Åland in co-operation with Alko and the world’s premier wine auction house Acker Merrall & Condit from New York.
After an introductory auction of other unique vintage bottles from 1950–2000, two highly anticipated vintage bottles from the shipwreck were sold. A single bottle of Juglar almost made the world record, selling for an impressive €24,000, and only beaten by the bottle of Veuve Clicquot that was sold for an amazing €30,000.
The financial surplus is ear-marked for charitable causes, such as marine archeology and the Baltic Sea aquatic environment.
Åland in brief
Part of Finland and a member of the EU
Within the Schengen area
Currency: The official currency is the euro but Swedish crowns are accepted in most places.
Time: Eastern European Time
Total area: 6 787 sq km
A total of more than 6,500 islands of which 65 are inhabited.
....and then there’s Åland’s spectacular scenery. You'll never come across anywhere so beautiful and so accessible. The warm waters are perfect for swimming and diving. Wandering around the picturesque churches and historic ruins is both fascinating and informative. Not to mention sunbathing on warm rocks, with sea eagles flying high above, kayaking in the open sea, and sunsets that seem to go on forever.