It was the end of the TBEX travel bloggers conference and I was on a Viking Line ferry heading to the Åland Islands . I had just spent a few days with some of my favorite people in the world learning, networking, and laughing, and I was feeling exhausted from all those
class sessions parties. I was embarking on a 6-day, very outdoorsy trip in the Finnish Archipelago, and I was hoping the activities wouldn’t be too hardcore. I definitely couldn’t imagine I was about to spend some relaxation-filled days in one of the most beautiful ecotourism destinations I’ve ever been.
But first, just some basic information. The Åland Islands are an archipelago of 6500 islands, of which only 60 are inhabited, located halfway between Sweden and Finland in the Baltic Sea. Due to its location and past, Åland is an autonomous province with its own government, and interestingly enough Swedish is the only official language. These are just a few of some cool facts about the Aland Islands.
After disembarkation in Mariehamn, we were immediately escorted to Klobben with a speedboat. The sun was shining, and I could feel my skin lightly burning. Who would imagine that summer in Finland would feel like that…
Klobben is a small island just out of a (Nordic) fairy tale. When we docked, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was my first real glimpse of Finland, and it was love at first sight. A handful of timber wood sheds is perched directly on the rocks, and the waves crash just meters from them. There’s a magical atmosphere on Klobben, and it’s difficult to describe it, but there’s something about it that instantly calms you down.
Klobben would be a great location for a meditation, yoga, or pilates retreat, and in fact a local yoga teacher, Carina, gave us a yoga lesson right at the edge of the sea. You all know I’m a
yoga enthusiast potato couch, but the yoga lesson is still today one of my most cherished memories of the trip. The class left me with a sense of zen which is so unusual for a hyperactive like me.
The sheds on Klobben provide cozy and comfortable accommodations (note that the restrooms are in an outer building), an experience you would cherish for life. We didn’t spend the night at Klobben, but just those few hours left me so relaxed and reconnected with nature! After a delicious snack of salmon sandwiches and cake with juicy red berries, we left once again to Silverskar, where we were greeted with a welcome happy hour snack. Did I tell you that the food was always amazing? I must have gained a few kilos in Finland!
The Åland Islands are filled with Instagram photo opportunities. Seriously, around every single corner there’s something that catches the eye. I can’t get tired of the red traditional wooden houses or the white, Nordic design. Silverskar was no exception with its carefully designed rooms and exteriors.
Relaxation doesn’t taste the same if you don’t mix it with outdoor activities. The next morning, we enjoyed the fresh air with a bike tour in the town of Mariehamn, the main center in the Åland Islands, followed by a kayaking trip around the archipelago. The sea was wavy and rough, and although my friend Alex will say she did all the work on the kayak 😉 , it was quite exhausting.
By the end of the day, being out of shape as I am, I was completely knackered. My legs hurt, my arms hurt, and my back was so incredibly tense… but lucky me, HavsVidden, the hotel we were staying next, provides massages on request, and I had the pleasure of getting a soothing one.
The massage room located by the pool house is nothing fancy, but the only thing I cared about was being able to relax my muscles, and the expert hands of the masseur did just that. It was my first time getting a massage by a man, and it felt a little uncomfortable for the first few minutes. After that, though, I was so relaxed that I couldn’t care less if it was a woman, a man, or an alien giving me the massage!
HavsVidden is exactly my kind of hotel… although you could argue, how could it not be anyone’s kind of hotel?!
Alex and I shared a Suite Cliff House, which would be perfect for couples who want to get away from it all. The houses are built on red granite rocks, which turn all shades of pink at sunset time, melt with its surroundings and offer breathtaking Baltic Sea views. In the morning you wake up with the gentle sound of the sea and the singing seagulls. I could have spent hours just sipping coffee in my bathrobe on the wooden pine terrace.
Havsvidden is the perfect example of Nordic design meeting nature. From the heated parquet to the cozy fireplace area to the glass walls that let in lots of natural light, no detail here is left unturned. Each Suite Cliff house has its own spa tub and sauna room, and it couldn’t be any different in the birthplace of the Finnish sauna.
The hearty, locally grown food completes the picture, but unfortunately, the service at the restaurant could definitely be improved.
Watch this video for even more WOW factor, then tell me if you didn’t just insert HavsVidden and the Åland Islands in your bucket list.
Video via YouTube by Sebastian Jern
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]– The Info Box –
The Aland Islands can easily be reached from Stockholm via a 6-hour ferry ride on board of the Viking Grace. The ferry leaves daily at 7.45. The ride costs as little as 11 euros.
The entire island of Silverskar can be booked by groups of at least 8 people at a starting price of €3950.00, which includes all meals and services. The island can accommodate up to 48 people for weddings and receptions.
Rates for a Suite Cliff House at HavsVidden start at 360 euros per night, which includes breakfast for two. [/dropshadowbox]
I was a guest of Visit Finland for the #FinnishIslands campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.