Spend a fabulous few days island hopping through the Finnish Archipelago. Explore as a round trip from Turku over a few days or on a longer pilgrimage along St Olav Ways towards Trondheim, Norway.
St Olav Waterway is the first pilgrim’s trail connecting Finland and Sweden over the sea!
From Turku, you can reach Korpo in four to five days or Mariehamn in about a week, but feel free to unwind and travel slowly. Enjoy wonderful sunsets after refreshing swims after sauna. Imagine how pilgrims and traders experienced the archipelago in years before cars and motorised boats. Take time to speak to locals and discover the secrets of The Finnish Archipelago.
You have the option to take a public ferry to an island in the outer archipelago to get away from it all or book a sailing boat, rowing boat or kayak trip to explore small rocky islets. The main route passes through the larger islands but you have the option to explore historical sites and smaller islands along the way.
In order to prepare for your trip, why not explore the trail and landscapes on Google "hike view"
Be sure to book accommodation a few days ahead. Summer are busy months, whilst some companies are open by request only during spring and autumn.
The route is mainly along cycle tracks, dirt roads and secondary tarmacked roads. When walking along roads without pavements or cycle paths, please walk on the left side, facing the direction of traffic and be aware of oncoming cars.
The route is marked with the square logo of St Olav Ways and arrows. On easier sections, there may only be a couple of signs per kilometre.
The archipelago is a sensitive area; please respect the nature and inhabitants of the archipelago. You can read about your rights and responsibilities according to everyman's right. Lighting fires is not allowed without the permission of the landowner and only when there is no general fire warning.
Ticks are prevalent in long grass and damp vegetation. Although it is very unlikely to pick up a tick if you keep to the trail it is a good idea to conduct a tick check in the evening especially if you have been in places of lush vegetation. Tick tweezers are a good idea. Here is more information about ticks.
Snakes enjoy the archipelago and love rocky warm places. They are normally shy and will slither away but it is wise to keep an eye out for them. There are two snake species in the archipelago grass snakes and adders.
You should carry a first aid kit and mobile phone, 112 is the emergency number in Finland.
Weather forecast and weather and fire warnings: http://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/
More information: www.stolavwaterway.com
You can get tourist information from http://www.visitpargas.fi
Turku is easily reached from Helsinki, Tampere and the rest of Finland by both bus www.matkahuolto.fi and train www.vr.fi. There are even direct busses from Helsinki airport. There is an international airport in Turku (TKU) with direct flights and onward connections to a wide variety of destinations.
Four daily sailings connect Turku with Stockholm and the Åland islands. The operators are Vikingline and TallinkSilja. Turku has an international airport.
There is a good bus service near most of the main part of the trail, busses 810 and 901 - 904 http://tlo.fi/reitit-ja-aikataulut/saaristobussi/
From Mariehamn on the Åland Islands there are good onward ferry and flight connections to Turku and Helsinki in Finland as well as Stockholm in Sweden www.visitaland.com.
There is plenty of free parking in the villages and towns along the route.