• Vastavalo
    Vastavalo Photo: Markku Pajulahti, Visit Finland
  • Noormarkun-Ruukki
    Noormarkun-Ruukki Photo: Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland
  • Kayaking
    Kayaking Photo: Visit Finland
  • The Archipelago Trail Photo: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland
  • Archipelago evening Photo: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland
  • Archipelago Raid Photo: Visit Finland
  • Porvoo old town Photo: Visit Porvoo
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Finnish Coast and Archipelago – the Land of the Thousand Islands

Finland is the land of endless expanses, of a thousand lakes, and also of a thousand islands. The largest archipelago in the world stretches off the coast of the Nordic country. More than 40,000 inhabited islands, islets, and rocks rise out of the sea and create a very special attitude to life. The archipelago landscape is characterized by old wooden towns, ironworks villages and, of course, numerous lighthouses – nature and culture are particularly impressive on the south and west coast of Finland.

The land of a thousand islands stretches along Finland's more than 1,000 km long coast from Oulu, the secret capital of the north, from the solitude of Lapland to the border to Russia in the east. The west coast is also known as the "Riviera of the North". Archipelagos and sandy beaches, wooden towns worth seeing, historic manor houses, stone churches, and lighthouses characterize the landscape. The highest lighthouse in the Nordic countries, Bengtskär, is Finland's southernmost destination on a small, treeless island. Söderskär in the Porvoo archipelago near Helsinki is over 150 years old. Three of Finland's seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites are located on the coast: the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress near Helsinki, the Kvarken Archipelago near Vaasa and the famous wooden town of Rauma. Close by are also the Bronze Age graves of Sammallahdenmäki.

Söderskär lighthouse
Photo: Visit Finland

Exploring the Archipelago

In the Finnish Archipelago around Turku, the former capital and oldest city of the country, you will find the two cities Naantali and Parainen. The life of the islanders can also be experienced by island hopping. As you walk through the labyrinth of the archipelago, you will discover wooden houses, churches and national parks with pastures, forests and barren rocks. Naantali is one of the oldest towns in Finland, and tourists are particularly attracted to the picturesque old town with its colorful wooden houses. Parainen covers an area of the inner and outer archipelago, which includes the island of Utö with the oldest lighthouse in the country and part of the St Olav Waterway pilgrimage route.

Geographic region · Finland

Finnish Archipelago

The Finnish archipelago on the west coast of the country is populated by more islands than any other archipelago in the ...
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Pietasaari / Jakobstad region is far away from the noisy big cities. Here in the wilderness you can get in harmony with nature. Lonely paths lead through forests and along rivers to remote bays and cultural cities. The best way to get there is by water. The harmonious community in the region is characterized by a special sense of belonging. Here families and friends make music and sing together, visitors can explore craft markets and the Arctic Museum, which takes us back in time, and garden lovers also feel at home here.

Geographic region · Finland

Pietarsaari Region

The concentrated power of Scandinavian flair can be found in the coastal Pietarsaari region, known as the Jakobstad ...
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Kokkola is located on the northwest coast of Finland, in the Central Ostrobothnia region. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, you will find the picturesque wooden old town of Neristan, which casts a spell on visitors. There are numerous islands off the coast – like everywhere in the Finnish Archipelago. Tankar is well worth a visit, with a lighthouse, a seal-hunting museum and a beautiful nature trail across the island rich in birdlife.

Commune · Central Ostrobothnia, Western and Inland Finland, Finland


The coastal town of Kokkola is located in the northern archipelago on the West Coast of Finland. The most extensive ...
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The Vaasa region around the historic town of the same name on Finland's west coast comprises eight unique municipalities. Vaasa is best known for the Kvarken Archipelago, which extends in the Bothnian Sea just outside the city. Traces of the last ice age can be discovered here. The archipelago is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, home to numerous species of birds and attracts people with its smooth and rugged rocks, picturesque villages, towering lighthouses and nature trails through lush forests. The Kvarken Archipelago is beautiful to explore by boat, kayak or canoe in particular – these ways you can reach remote islands and enjoy the peace and solitude of the archipelago.

Geographic region · Finland


The Vaasa region surrounds the Finnish city of the same name on the Gulf of Bothnia on the west coast of Finnland. It ...
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Nature in the Archipelago

The nature of the Finnish Archipelago is something very special. With countless dense forests and wide pastures on the islands, the landscape is varied. The fresh sea air and the calls of the sea birds create a feeling of peace and quiet. Life on the islands is relaxed, without stress, and in harmony with the sea. The islanders live in a distinct maritime culture and are not disturbed by almost anything. In the national parks, you can explore the nature of the archipelago in all its beauty and silence.

In front of the old city of Vaasa on the west coast, the Kvarken Archipelago with its lakes and lagoons stretches over 80 km between Finland and Sweden. The process of land uplift is still going on here and has already drained many harbors. From Vaasa, you can reach the islands via the Replot Bridge, and the Swedish coast is only 50 km away.

The thousands of islands can be explored especially well by island hopping. Whether on foot or by bike – you can discover the nature and culture of the archipelago in a relaxed way. The Archipelago Trail, which stretches from Turku over 250 km across the islands of the archipelago, is especially popular.

Travelog · June 17, 2019
Finland is often referred to as the "land of a thousand lakes". However, the Nordic country could just as well bear the name "land of a thousand ...
by Wiebke Hillen,   Outdooractive Editors

The Åland Islands

The Åland Islands are a very special place in the middle of the Baltic Sea between Finland and Sweden. The autonomous region is mainly Swedish-speaking and comprises over 6700 islands, of which only 60 are inhabited. Most people live in the capital Mariehamn, which is the only city in this almost untouched archipelago. The Åland Islands are the intersection of trade routes across the Baltic Sea and are known for their rich flora and fauna. Lonely bays, flat beaches, and typical polished rocks make the area a popular holiday destination.

The Archipelago Trail break
Photo: Juho Kuva, Visit Finland

Wooden towns in the Archipelago

The Finnish Archipelago is not only known for its numerous islands and stunning nature but also its wooden towns. Until the last century, houses in Finland were built almost exclusively of wood because the country is so rich in forests. Everywhere in the country, we, therefore, come across districts or entire towns made of wood that look just as they did a few decades or even centuries ago. Along the coast, you can travel from Pikasaari in Oulu in the far north, through Pietasaari, to Rauma, perhaps the most famous wooden town and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The journey continues via Naantali near Turku and Turku itself to Hanko in the very south of the archipelago. On the south coast up to the Russian border, we find Tammisaari, Loviisa and finally Hamina near Kotka.

Tove Jansson in the Archipelago

Probably the most famous Finnish illustrator, artist, and writer of all time – Tove Jansson, creator of the Mumins – felt in particular at home in the archipelago. She loved the sea and the Pellinge Islands especially. When you visit the archipelago off Porvoo, you get very close to the artist, who spent most summers here since she was a child, and perhaps you understand her view of the world a little better. Her house still stands on the remote island of Klovharun, which you can visit in the summer, weather permitting. This retreat clearly shows that Tove Jansson did not need much to live and was inspired by her surroundings, the beautiful nature of the Finnish Archipelago.

Photo: Julia Kivelä, Visit Finland
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