When thinking of holiday destinations in Finland, the Åland islands are often overlooked from a tourist's perspective. You've got the northern lights, and snowy wilderness north of the Arctic Circle. You've got the urban nature and contrasting historical architecture in Helsinki, and then you've got the thousands of peaceful lake getaways in between the two. Go a little further east on the map however, and you'll find an archipelago slap bang in between Finland and Sweden. Those are the Åland Islands.
The nature resembles that of the rest of Finland, with rugged coastlines, serene lakes dotted with saunas, and quiet forests in between the two. The architecture reveals a more Swedish influence. Think, brightly coloured, wooden summer cottages overlooking the ocean with jetty's mooring fisherman's boats.
The Åland islands have a secluded feel, like a hidden gem, with a fresh sea air that seemingly follows wherever you go. Although the tourism industry is central to the Åland economy, it's a place not yet overcrowded with tourists, yet has so much to offer for a cottage getaway. Take a weekend away in May as we did, and you'll experience the peaceful Nordic spring, and struggle to find another soul in rural Åland.