The Archipelago Trail, approx. 250 km
A short description for cyclists
From the centre of Turku follow the cycle path towards Helsinki. After Kaarina turn onto Skärgårdsvägen/Saaristotie following signs for Pargas/Parainen and Korpo. Immediately after Kaarina you leave the mainland behind you. Crossing your first bridge you arrive to the Kuusisto island where you can take the opportunity to visit the ancient ruins of Kuusisto castle.
The middle of the impressive Rävsund/Kirjalansalmi suspension bridge marks the border between the cities of Kaarina and Pargas/Parainen.
Piles of white limestone rocks act like sea markers leading you on to Pargas/Parainen 27 km from Turku. Arriving in Pargas/Parainen the white sails in the roundabout give you your first real feeling of the archipelago. Pargas/Parainen is a true archipelago town being bordered on all sides by the sea. Turn left at the roundabout and you quickly come to the centre of this busy market town. Pargas/Parainen offers a comprehensive range of services to the visitor and the local tourist information centre will be happy to provide you with all the information you need about the Turku archipelago.
Continuing your journey from Pargas/Parainen, follow the road Skärgårdsvägen/Saaristotie once again. The next bridge you come to is at Sattmark where you will find the popular new Sattmark and Lenholm hiking and nature trails. Further along the road, 18 km from the center of Pargas/Parainen, you come to your first ferry at Lillmälö. These yellow ferries are both free and frequent. It is worth noting that local people and those who work in the archipelago are given priority on ferries. Their vehicles display either green, yellow or white plates. Cyclists however can board the ferries without queuing.
The crossing to Nagu Prostvik takes about 10 minutes and the journey from the ferry to the centre of Nagu is about 15 km and includes two bridges. The bridge spanning Norrströmmen affords especially outstanding views.
The popular guest harbour in the centre of Nagu is just one of the services you will find in this picturesque small town. Don’t forget that Nagu also has the last bank cash dispenser before Kustavi. If you like you can shorten your trip by taking the new ferry, m/s Östern, from the centre of Nagu to Hanka in Rymättylä (via the island of Själö).
15 km after leaving Nagu you arrive in Pärnäs. The 5 minutes ferry crossing from Pärnäs is free and brings you to Korpo. To avoid the sometimes very heavy traffic choose the Storlandet sand road. Turn right immediately after the centre of Nagu towards Mielis. This is part of the national cycling route.
The road Skärgårdsvägen/Saaristotie continues for 7 km until you come to the Galtby crossroads and just 3 km further to the centre of Korpo.
Here you will find a popular market in the middle of the village. The Handicrafts shop, pottery and art gallery are all worth visiting. You can also have a game of mini-golf. The views from Rumar viewing tower make the 7 km trip from the town centre worth the effort.
From Galtby take the free ferry and follow the Archipelago Trail to Kittuis on Houtskär.
Alternatively you can visit Norrskata, also accessible by ferry from Galtby. Norrskata offers accommodation and meals if you want to stay overnight. From Galtby there are connections to Åland, via Kökar to Långnäs. You will find timetables for these crossings in the brochure entitled Skärgårdstrafiken. Ferries between Korpo and Houtskär are not that regular so check the timetables and make your plans accordingly. Morning and evening ferries are the busiest so why not stay overnight in Korpo or Houtskär?
The complete route through Houtskär is 27 km with the Kivimo and Björkö ferries providing a free service for the short crossings on your ride through.
As well as a wide variety of accommodation options and delicious food Houtskär gives you a real feel for the atmosphere of the archipelago.
The longest sea crossing is from the island of Mossala to Iniö.
The M/S Antonia can carry 190 passengers. You have approximately an hour to enjoy the outstanding natural beauty of the archipelago and enjoy a cup of coffee from the cafeteria. You have to pay for this trip but the fares are very reasonable.
In Iniö you arrive in Dalen harbour on Norrby where you will find all the services you need in the small village. The ferry takes you on to the island of Keistiö where there is a shop, guest harbour and cottages to rent. All the villages in the archipelago offer Bed and Breakfast accommodation. From Norrby you take the free ferry to Kannvik harbour on the island of Jumo. The trip through Iniö is 8 km.
The 25 minutes boat journey to Heponiemi harbour in Kustavi.
Kustavi has many places of interest to the visitor and should not be missed. The sights and shops are clearly marked on the Archipelago Travel Map. Take the Kustavi road and then turn right towards Taivassalo. Alternatively turn left towards Vuosnainen and its’ pretty guest harbour. From here the main island of Åland and its’ capital Mariehamn are accessible via Brändö and Kumlinge. The straight distance from Laupunen to Turku is approximately 83 km.
Once you arrive in the centre of Taivassalo the Archipelago Trail goes in two different directions.
One of these takes you by boat from Hakkenpää harbour to Teersalo in Velkua. Please check the timetable carefully because the ferry only runs between Hakkenpää and Teersalo during 3.6-13.8.2012 and twice per day. Link to timetable: m/s Kivimo. From Velkua you can either take ferries to Palva and Velkuanmaa or continue on to Askainen and the historic castle of Louhisaari. From Askainen you can continue on to Merimasku and Rymättylä both of which are a must for the visitor. From Rymättylä you ride on, via the pretty harbour town of Naantali, back to Turku.
Now you have completed the whole 250 km Archipelago Trail.
As you can see this route description is very short and we have not mentioned all the sights, shops, restaurants or accommodation options. We recommend you allow enough time to spend a few days and nights on the route in order to give yourself just a tiny taste of the most beautiful archipelago in the world. Remember, you can travel The Archipelago Trail in both directions.
Order your free copy of the Archipelago Travel Map from the Archipelago Travel Information Centre, tel 0400 117123 or by email: email@example.com
For more information see www.visitarchipelago.com