Aland Islands may not be a common destination. Very few people have heard of this location, but in reality, it is a beautiful Nordic location that is worth it. Aland Islands is an autonomous region of Finland, so do not expect the weather to be warm. Even so, since there are 6,700 islands, you have plenty of locations to explore. Most of the islands are not occupied because most of the 28 thousand people live in Aland’s capital, but that makes the sights even more appealing for people who want to explore inhabited regions.
Do I need a visa to go to Aland Islands?
Since tourism generally revolves around visas, the need for one is a common concern. In this particular situation, the necessity of a visa depends on your nationality. There are visa-exempt nationalities. For example, if you are a Swedish national or Norwegian, you need only an ID card to go to the Aland Islands. The same rule applies to people who come from the Schengen Area. An ID card grants access without the need for a passport or a visa.
The situation is a bit different for all the rest of the nationalities. Since there are accords in place, not all non-EU nationalities need a visa to go to the Aland Islands, but some of them do, which is why you need to check under what category you fall to. You can take it from there.
Useful tips when visiting Aland Islands
As an experienced traveler, you must know a few things before you travel to a new destination. That is why this article should be of great help. For one thing, people in Aland Islands speak Swedish, both on the street and in their offices. It comes as a surprise since the Aland Islands are part of Finland, but Swedish is their official language. You do not have to worry, though. Many of the people there speak English. Of course, it would not hurt to learn a few Swedish expressions, just in case you walk in a boutique somewhere and an old person is working there.
As for money, you can pay as in Finland. You can use Euros. Payment by credit card is not always available but only in remote locations. Prices can seem a bit high or low, depending on where you are from. On average, the prices for food and accommodation can seem a bit high, but it is cheaper than Norway, for example. You should check the fees for hotels before departure so that you know what to expect.
What you need to prepare yourself for is the weather. Aland Islands is not as cold as the rest of Finland because it is located in the South. The winters are cold, and the summers are hot. In January, for example, the usual temperature is somewhere around -2 degrees Celsius. However, what you can expect are sudden temperature drops. All of a sudden, the temperature can go as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Pack warm clothes and base layers. Do not forget about warm and waterproof shoes. They will keep your feet warm and dry.
As to how you can get to the Aland Islands, three places in Scandinavia have flights to Mariehamn, which is the capital of the Aland Islands. You have flights from Helsinki, Stockholm, and Turku. However, the plane tickets are pretty expensive, and if you are on a budget, you can take boat rides. If you take the night ferry, you gave transportation and accommodation all in one fee. It costs about 100 Euros, but the plane ride and the hotel are way more.
When it comes to things to do in the Aland Islands, you will not get bored. The location does not get crowded, not in the winter anyway. But there are plenty of activities you can enjoy, especially if you are adventurous. You can go cross-country skiing, which requires some stamina. You can experience Nordic walking, hiking, and let’s not forget about the swimming and sauna.
The bottom line is that a trip to the Aland Islands requires some research, but overall, you will have a lovely time. Just do not forget to bring the right equipment if you decide to take your trip during the winter.