A SCENIC SEASIDE GATEWAY TO 6,500 ISLANDS
Formerly part of the Russian Empire (and named by Alexander II after the Empress Maria), Mariehamn, the capital of Aland, sits on an archipelago of over 6,500 islands at the entrance to the beautiful Gulf of Bothnia.
Mariehamn’s scenic harbors, marinas, greenery, charming wooden houses, and wide, straight streets make it the perfect place to explore on foot. Be sure to stroll the Esplanade, an avenue accented with the aroma of lime trees stretching from east to west—harbor to harbor—across the peninsula.
For a faster pace, cruise the many paths and parks on a bike, then stop to savor the local speciality, Aland fish soup, at one of many cozy cafes. Local game and lamb dishes are also popular, and the surrounding countryside means most cuisine is made with fresh ingredients. (Restaurants and cafes proudly import little more than coffee, tea, and pepper.)
Unlike any of the other capitals on the Baltic Sea, Mariehamn is much smaller, cozier, and home to a hospitable islander lifestyle and a proud maritime cultural history. Its southern location also makes it the warmest place in Finland, so in the summer, wearing your sunglasses at night (while soaking up the midnight sun) is a must.