The Small Archipelago Trail

Bicycle Touring · Archipelago
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Status
open
Difficulty
moderate
Distance
123.4 km
Duration
10:00h
Ascent
486 m
Descent
486 m
Public transport friendly Loop Multi-stage route Scenic Refreshment stops available

The Small Archipelago Trail is an unique opportunity to discover the picturesque Turku archipelago. Cycle through wonderful Baltic Sea landscapes for an unforgettable experience!

Length: 120 km
Ferries: 3
Time: 2-3 days

The Small Archipelago Trail is a shorter option of the main Archipelago Trail. It turns off the large trail in Nagu where you take a ferry via the remarkable Seili Island directly to Hanka in Naantali. The Small Archipelago Trail is a roundtrip that is only about 120 km. The route runs through five towns, fifteen permanently inhabited islands and some smaller uninhabited islands.

By cycling around the Small Archipelago Trail by bike you get more flexibility than by motorbike or car and during the whole way you can enjoy unbelievable sceneries around you. Your surroundings are changing frequently and rapidly from rocky islets to the green countryside of the inner archipelago with its red wooden houses.

Along the trail, you can find interesting sights, local food, cultural events, shops, historical museums, rural villages and places to stay. 

 

Author’s recommendation

The archipelago is a foodie’s paradise! Make sure you visit some of the area's restaurants and farmer’s markets with fresh local produce & fish.  

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Difficulty
moderate
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
52 m
Lowest point
-7 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

Solliden Camping
Sattmark kaffe & safka

Safety information

The number one rule is: wear a helmet! 

  • Make sure you are familiar with traffic rules in Finland.  
  • Be visible. Make sure that the lamps of your bike function normally. In Finland, your bike lights must be on when biking at dusk or in the dark. Wearing a safety vest makes you more visible to others.
  • Biking alone is not recommended. When biking in a group, aid is near if you need it. 
  • Summer weather in Finland can be unpredictable. Daylight hours are plentiful in the summer, but nights can be cold. Whenever the temperature drops below freezing, roads and paths can get icy and slippery. Studs in tires are recommended in spring, fall and winter. 
  • Help us to prevent forest fires and grass fires. In Finland, a fire warning is given when the risk of quickly spreading forest fire or grass fire is high. Don’t make a fire when there’s a fire warning in effect. It is your responsibility to be aware of warnings in effect. For up-to-date warnings of storms and forest fire hazards, see the website of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi).
  • Carry a fully charged mobile phone. However, do not rely on it. Not all areas have mobile network coverage. Battery may also run out. 
  • Emergency number in Finland is 112. You can call 112 from a foreign mobile phone connection, too. Consider downloading the 112 Suomi application beforehand. It enables the automatic delivery of your coordinates to the emergency service dispatcher when dialing 112.

Especially in the Archipelago

  • Be careful when crossing Sattmark Bridge, it is narrow and there is no cycle path.
  • At the ferries, please follow the directions of the ferry loading staff. Normally cyclists are loaded and unloaded last.
  • In Nagu cars tend to come in bursts according to the ferry arrivals. It can be a good idea to wait at a bus stop for the cars to pass and then enjoy the peace of the road.
  • If you are in a large group, please keep spaces in the group to make it easier for the cars to pass.
  • On smaller winding roads, please remember that cars can appear unexpectedly from both directions, cycle with care.  

 Text from Biking in Finland

Tips, hints and links

The trail has attracted cyclists, bikers and motorists for over 20 years. Island hopping is the route’s specialty.

Cycling is great in the Archipelago May, through to the end of September but the whole trail is only open for a round trip between mid-May and the end of August. The archipelago itself is open year-round.
Out of the main season, you can make a return journey by bus, continue to The Åland Islands or use the pick-up, drop-off bike hire service.
Please check the tab “CURRENT INFORMATION” for the updated summer schedule for the Ferry between Nagu and Rymättylä via Seili. 

There are many charming small islands to visit near the trail such as the Island of Seili and its grim past. Find more tips and information on www.visitpargas.fi 

The Small Archipelago Trail is perfect if you are short on time but want to experience the most of the archipelago.  

Start

Turku (10 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
60.460169, 22.279595
UTM
34V 570376 6703344

Destination

Turku

Turn-by-turn directions

The Small Archipelago Trail can be enjoyed equally in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction. The following route description is anti-clockwise, from Turku to Naantali, Rymättylä, Seili Island, Nagu, Pargas, Kaarina, and back to Turku.

We have more detailed stage descriptions from Turku to Pargas and Pargas to Nagu as part of the big Archipelago Trail. You will find more suggestions of food and accommodation and other services in the descriptions. Both trails are the same between Turku and Nagu and from Naantail to Turku.

1. Turku – Naantali – Rymättylä

Naantali is an easy 17km cycle from Turku. For suggestions for Turku, see Visit Turku

You should definitely spend some time in Naantali! The old wooden town is charming and full of shops, cafes and things to do. There are even three beaches near the centre. Other sights: Naantali Spa, Moominworld and Kultaranta, the president’s summer residence, where guided tours are arranged. More information from Visit Naantali.

2. Hämmärönsalmi-ferry

The first ferry is a short passage between two islands in Rymättylä. The journey is free and takes 5 minutes – note that the ferry runs according to a timetable and departs roughly every 20minutes.

3. Rymättylä (Hanka)-Seili-Nagu

The second sea voyage is between Rymättylä and Nagu and takes one hour. The ferry MS Östern only has 3 sailings per day in each direction, check the timetables and fares in advance at www.ostern.fi. The harbour of departure in Rymättylä is Hanka.
(Please check the tab “CURRENT INFORMATION” for the updated summer schedule for the Ferry between Nagu and Rymättylä via Seili.)

Explore Seili/ Själö and/or Nagu

Discover the historical Seili island by breaking up your sea voyage midway. Please note, cars or other vehicles are not allowed on the island, only pedestrians and bikes. Remember to check MS Östern’s timetable to make sure that you will get an onward journey to Nagu later the same day. MS Östern continues its journey immediately to Nagu and does not wait for passengers at Seili Island.

In Nagu visit one of the many restaurants, small boutique shops in the marina, the fieldstone church or just wander around in this lovely village that blossoms in the summer. You will find everything within a few hundred meters in the compact centre.

4. Nagu-Pargas

The third sea crossing takes you from Nagu (Prostvik) to Pargas (Lillmälö). It is only 15 minutes by car from the village to the ferry. The ferry is free, departs up to four times an hour and take 10 minutes. It is not possible to reserve a place on any of the ferries so be sure to arrive in time.

On busy summer days many cars use this crossing and you may need to wait for a later ferry, but this is part of island life, enjoy the scenery and enjoy a coffee, ice cream or local tasty strawberries from the kiosks at either ferry pier.    

Pop into Pargas center and explore the town

Some places to visit:

  • The old wooden town called Gamla Malmen.
  • Pargas Church is a typical example of coastal fieldstone churches.
  • You can hear the stories of when Lenin visited Pargas as he fled Russia for Europe at the local history museum.
  • Be sure to make a short detour to visit the lookout point over the Limestone Quarry – the largest in northern Europe. (Signposted from Skolgatan)
  • You’ll find a good selection of shops, cafes and other services in the town.
  • Kaarina is only 15 km and Turku 25km.

Public transport

Public transport friendly

The archipelago is well served by buses, ferries and tourist boats enabling you to make round trips or shorten longer stages. The ferries are free for foot passenger and along the main trail ferries depart up to four times an hour.

The ferry between Nagu and Hanka only operates during the summer and charges for passengers, bikes and cars. There is no reservations for any of the public ferries. Timetable under "CURRENT INFORMATION" tab.

A bike hire service is available where you can pick-up and drop-off at different locations.

Getting there

The Small Archipelago Trail starts from the centre of Turku in the southwest coast of Finland and can be cycled clockwise or counter-clockwise.  

Turku is easily reached from Helsinki, Tampere and the rest of Finland by both bus and train. There are even direct busses from Helsinki airport. Turku (TKU) has an international airport 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. 

Tourist boat routes serving the archipelago are found on www.visitpargas.fi and ferries on www.lautta.net or the Finnferries app.  

There is a good bus service between Turku and Nagu, busses 810 and 901 - 904 http://tlo.fi/reitit-ja-aikataulut/saaristobussi/ 

Naantali can be reached by local bus from Turku.  

A tourist boat can take you and your bike from the center of Turku directly to Seili and Nagu and back. 

Parking

There is plenty of free parking in the villages and towns along the route with the exception of Naantali where most parking has to be paid for.   

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Book recommendation by the author

Guide book available in Finnish / Guidebok på finska:

Saariston rengastien opaskirja

Omatoimimatkailijan opaskirja Saariston Rengastielle vie sinut matkalle halki upean saariston! Kirjasta löydät vinkkejä rengastien nähtävyyksistä, matkailukohteista ja muista kiinnostavista poikkeamisen arvoisista paikoista.

https://fi.doerz.com/parainen/saariston-rengastien-opaskirja  

Equipment

The first thing you need is a bike. For paved roads, a regular road bike will do. If you plan to travel along unpaved paths, a mountain bike is recommended. The second crucial item is a helmet. Before hitting the road, check that brakes, lamps, and gear of your bike function normally. Depending on the length of your bike tour, you may also need: 

  • Bike bags, preferably waterproof
  • Multi-tool, bike tools, a patch kit and a wheel pump 
  • Drinking water, snacks, meals and cutlery
  • Up-to-date map of the area
  • First aid kit
  • A backpack with rain cover
  • Clothes and personal belongings - the archipelago can be cooler than the mainland because of the sea although there is generally less rainfall in summer. 
  • Ferry timetables or the Finferries app. 

Text from Biking in Finland

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Travel Guide: Long distance cycling routes in Archipelago


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