The Archipelago Trail route description
Open May 12th - September 3th 2023
Length: 250km (of which 220km on roads)
Recommended time: 2-5 days
Get the most out of your visit to the Finnish Archipelago - Explore The Archipelago Trail!
Shiny yellow car ferries and smaller blue and white passenger ferries, fantastic views from bridges and causeways, cute red wooden buildings, marinas brimming with sailing boats, these are all memories you will take home from The Archipelago Trail. The sea is never far away in one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos.
You will visit most of the major islands in the archipelago. Each island has its own special charm. The route meanders through historic villages where you can find plenty of things to do during the summer.
There are many hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants open throughout the year so you can easily plan a visit outside of the main summer season. The ferry between Houtskär and Iniö only operates from mid-May to the end of August; the other ferries operate all year round.
Note that only the stretch Naantali-Turku-Kaarina-Pargas-Nagu ferry point has dedicated bicycle and hiking trails and safezones alongside the road, along the rest of the route, bicyclers' and hikers need to use the side of the road. The road can be busy during latter part of June to beginning of August, and especially for families hiking or bicycling, we recommend travelling before or after this period.
The Archipelago Trail starts at Turku Cathedral. From here, you cycle towards the centre of Kaarina where there are many shops, cafes and lunch restaurants and a lovely beach. This is almost half way at 10km.
After Kaarina head towards the archipelago road nr. 180 (Skärgårdsvägen), which takes you to Pargas.
There is a separate cycle path the whole way to Pargas and one kiosk serving refreshments on the way. There are charming cafes in Pargas centre for cakes or meals as well as well stocked shops and a wide service provision.
Pargas is a municipality that consists of many islands and islets, population 12 200. Pargas is built on three elements: the city centre, the countryside and the archipelago. You can experience everything from beautiful nature to historical sites and buildings, also Finlands biggest open quarry that mines limestone in Pargas centre. The mining industry has always been an important industry in Pargas and it still plays a big part as an employer.
Ferries: 1 (10min, up to 4 departures per hour)
Stock-up on locally produced products for a picnic before you leave Pargas. There is a separate cycle path the whole way to the first ferry in Lillmälö with a smooth asphalt surface except for the last 4km, which is gravel.
The charming cottages at Sattmark are half way to the ferry, enjoy a refreshment at the summer café and the possibility to buy fresh smoked fish.
After a further 8km, the ferry from Lillmälö to Prostvik takes 10 minutes and departs every 15minutes. There are kiosks in both harbours.
It is a 20km cycle to Nagu village or 15km if you stay on the main road. Both options are tarmacked.
Nagu village is very lively in the summer with many stalls, shops and restaurants. It is also one of Finland’s largest pleasure boat marinas.
You can follow the life of painter Victor Westerholm on the cultural path that starts from the southern harbour.
Ferries: 1 (5min)
From Nagu village cycle along Norrstrandsvägen, which is a winding dirt road with some self-service farm kiosks selling fresh potatoes, tomatoes and other products. Weigh your purchase, write it up in the notepad and leave the appropriate amount in the cash box.
The main Archipelago road is an alternative; it is tarmacked but narrow and busy.
There is a summer restaurant and kiosk at Pärnäs ferry pier. The ferry has regular departures and the crossing takes 5mins.
Pärnäs is also the departure point for the ferry to the outer archipelago islands of Utö, Jurmo, Aspö, Nötö.
On Korpo you immediately get more of an archipelago feeling as the road is smaller. It is a 10km cycle to Korpo village. You pass the village of Österretais on the way with a barefoot culture-path, restaurant, hotel and Bed & Breakfast.
Korpo has a supermarket, shops, tourist information, restaurant and beach. There is also a restaurant before the village in Verkan marina.
Ferries: 3 (30min + 2x5min)
o continue on The Archipelago Trail cycle back from Korpo village towards Galtby, from the crossroads it is only 1km to the ferry.
The ferry between Galtby, Korpo and Kittuis, Houtskär takes around 30mins and departs every 1-2 hours. There ia a cafe in Galtby and on board the ferry.
The road from Kittuis to Houtskär village, 10km, is picturesque; winding and undulating between small fields and forests. There are restaurants, a marina, shop, church and beach in the village as well as The Archipelago Museum which exhibits boats and boat engines.
Houtskär is known for its beautiful red boathouses and delicious new potatoes.
Backtrack from the village and then turn north towards Mossla. There are two short ferries on the way that operate according to demand so reserve some extra time if you are planning to take the ferry over to Iniö today.
Mossala Island Resort has rental cabins, a camping & caravan area, restaurant, marina, nature path and viewpoint.
Ferries: 2 (Houtskär-Iniö 1h + a short crossing from Skagen on Iniö)
Enjoy the one hour crossing from Mossala to Iniö.
On Iniö the roads are narrow but there is little traffic. Iniö consists of over 1000 islets and skerries and out of all these islets only 10 are inhabited all year round. Iniö has about 210 inhabitants but in the summer the population multiplies
You will find a shop, restaurant, café and newly renovated marina in Iniö Norrby (the main village). More services and attractions can be found here.
The nature trail in Norrby takes you to Kasberget, which is Iniös highest point with its 40 meters above the sea level. From Kasberget you will get a nice view over the islets that Iniö consists of and if the weather is clear can you see the mainland and also the island Brandö that belongs to Åland.
Stay and enjoy the peace and nature of Iniö or take the next ferry from Kannvik to the mainland with up to 8 departures a day.
Best cycled over a couple of days, leave Iniö and the archipelago on the ferry MS Aura and explore rural countryside before reaching the old wooden town of Naantali.
There are two routes, one with an extra ferry for light traffic and the northern route by roads. Check the Hakkenpää ferry timetable carefully as it only departs twice a day.
Stop at the many cultural sights near the trail such as Louhisaari Manor, the birthplace of Marshal Mannerheim. The President’s summer residence is at Kultaranta near Naantali.
Naantali has a charming wooden town and lovely harbour with good restaurants and busy cafes. But be careful if you are in Naantali on the 27th of July at it is National Sleepy Head Day and the lucky winner is thrown into Naantali harbour before breakfast. (This is actually an honour.)
At the pleasure boat marinas, you can soak up the atmosphere over a coffee or local craft beer. There are good possibilities to buy artisan souvenirs from small craft shops.
All ferries along the Archipelago Trail are free of charge, except one. M/S Antonia operates between Houtskär and Iniö and is the only chargeable ferry on this route. This ferry only has a few departures a day so you should take a look at the timetable when planning your trip. (If you're travelling the Small Archipelago Trail M/S Östern is also a chargeable ferry.)
Usually all the yellow ferries are free of charge.
Signs on the route
The Archipelago Trail has signs along the route. The signs have a brown background with the Archipelago Trail logo on top of it. The logo looks like the sun here on the right.