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If you have been biking across Europe or traveling through Finland, it can be easy to forget about the archipelago off the country’s south-west coast as it is incredibly remote and only accessible by boat. Yet the archipelago trail should be an essential route on any holiday in Finland, even if you don’t regularly cycle. These are a few reasons why.
If you’re the type who needs to take home the best holiday snaps or post them on Instagram, you’ll find more then enough photogenic spots on the archipelago. You can discover everything from the crystal-clear waters to the captivating old farmsteads. Traveling by bike makes it easier to find all of the best spots to take photos, plus you can share your cycling journey on social media as well.
You don’t need to waste your holiday getting stuck in traffic or worrying about a collision on the archipelago trail. The remoteness of the islands means that even the biggest islands have very few cars, and those present are used for looking out for cyclists and will give them a wide berth. The smaller islands of only a few dozen people typically don’t have any cars at all and are traversed only by boat or bike.
Psychology Today has found that cycling has a positive effect on mental health by building better connections in the brain, creating more neurons to prevent neurological disorders, and boosting endorphins that reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Psychologists have also found that spending extended time outdoors is good for mental health.
There is also a lot of local cultures to explore the archipelago, much of it very different than what’s found on mainland Finland. There is the seafaring heritage at the Maritime Museum, local delicacies such as perch soup and Åland pancakes, and the classic Finnish sauna, which is finished off with a dive into the sea. By taking your bike and meeting the locals, you can experience all of the fascinating cultures of the archipelago.
In the Finnish archipelago, you can experience the best of both worlds by traveling both by bike and by boat. In between bike rides, you can hop along the different islands on regular ferry connections. It is common to see rows of bikes lined up on passenger ferries while their owners gaze over the sides at the passing scenery. Ferry connections can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours so you’ll have plenty of time to take in the ocean views before jumping on your bike again and ride off to discover even more.