2,400 year-round Åland archipelago dwellers are ready to welcome you to share in their everyday lives and special events on some of the most beautiful islands in the world! The Åland archipelago is a safe place to live for all ages, including families. Both public and private-sector services work well and there are fast data connections, for example.
Get to know our archipelago ambassadors and read what they say about their island.
“I have always lived on Vårdö and probably won’t ever live anywhere else. When I was studying in Åbo, I stayed there some of the time, but I was based at home on Vårdö. I usually took the night ferries to Åbo but the Skärgårdsvägen (archipelago road) home. Travelling the northern line is a great way to enjoy the archipelago. I’ve never felt the urge to live anywhere else; here, I have peace of mind and I’m quite comfortable. I have travelled, and so on, but half a week is enough and then I’m keen to come home. I wouldn’t want to change the security, proximity to nature and everything I have around me. My circle of acquaintances. If you are on Vårdö, you can choose whether you want to be alone or whether you want to socialise. When you need time to yourself, there’s always a quiet rock to find where you won’t even hear a car, just birds.
Another advantage of living here is that it is so close to Mariehamn anyway, so you don’t have to opt out of professions. You can live here and still have a job in the central hubs because the commute is so straightforward. We have a shop open 6 days a week and you don’t have to plan ahead very much. So, it’s very comfortable and close, even though very much a place apart.
As a visitor I think you should come here by boat if you have one, and moor at Wargata, where you can borrow a bike and get around at a gentle pace, and you’ll be able to see everything. The church and the retreat house are worth visiting; those are two very nice buildings. You can then go on to the Flowpark and its treetop course, and if you don’t have a head for heights, you can play disc golf instead. If you want to eat well, I think you should visit Kallas SkärGård restaurant and their beautiful garden. Don’t miss Lasse’s Maritime Museum, novelist Anni Blomqvist’s homestead, and all the little cafés and homestead farms where there is a lot of history that can even amaze people who live on Vårdö. If you have enough time, I’d suggest you book a tour out to Väderskär and immerse yourself in the experience of the Stormskärs Maja books.”
“My name is Kamilla von Weissenberg Nordberg and I live on the island of Kyrkogårdsö in the Kökar archipelago, which is the most beautiful place in the world, I’d say. It’s barren, it’s strong and it’s fragile.
I have worked for many years as a teacher and went to Kökar mainland with the schoolchildren to work as a teacher for as long as our own children went to school there. Right now I’m a part-time teacher on the mainland. I work remotely quite a lot, and it works well, even though it involves a bit more travel than I would like.
Otherwise, there really is quite a lot to do here. I like to look after the garden; I used to keep animals. And then there’s something about this visual and creative streak in me that just wells up and drives me to experiment with things like watercolours and photography. I’m involved in the community life of Kökar, which is brilliant fun, to me. There are lots of clubs and associations to choose from, and there’s room for everyone.
I spend a lot of my free time travelling around, because my children are scattered around the world. But what I most like to do and try to do is just live quietly and appreciate life.
What I wouldn’t want to be without is the proximity to nature. The serenity of nature; the sky, the sea and the horizon. I have probably become dependent on them, and they are part of my everyday life. Before we moved here, we used to visit this place at every opportunity; you could really breathe, and then you could spend some time in town again, but I’m so grateful to be able to be here on a Monday evening. Of course, you have to strike a balance between time alone and socialising. But I think it works well here on Kökar; there is respect for everyone’s need to have their own space, but then you also have a lot of social life when you want it. It’s not lonely. The traffic, shop, healthcare and schooling all work well – it’s an island you can live on. And there are lovely people here, too. They’re straightforward and helpful and always have solutions for everything; sometimes there are storms and sometimes there’s a power outage, and then creative solutions are needed. We’re very resourceful!”
Kamilla Von Weissenberg-Nordberg
“I’m from Stockholm originally but lived in Jämtland for 15 years before relocating to Sottunga. I’ve lived on Sottunga since 2020, on a small farm that we rent. Our family consists of me and my husband, and three children aged 4–9. We’re self-catering here in our little home, with crops, hens, and in the future, we would like to have sheep for the farm.
We wanted to home-school our children and got some tips about Sottunga from another family who had been to Sottunga to see what the island was like, and it was so nice they fell in love with it and all the lovely people there. The municipality has a deal which means you get half the rent paid for the first year, which made it possible to have one foot in both places while we figured out if this was something for us. We had never been to Åland before, so it was a try-out, really, but we very much enjoyed it. We really feel at home here.
What I’m struck by is this sense of community; everyone helps one another. There is a completely natural village centre, even though it’s tiny, where everyone comes. You meet in the shop and chat for a while. You meet up with people very naturally!
We have everything we need here, the shop and, above all, the people. When I go anywhere else, it’s to the cinema and the theatre, or the sea or out into the forest. That’s what you need and who you are! I’m also studying by distance learning, and I’m totally dependent on the availability of an Internet connection. That makes living here possible. I hope to find a remote-working job in the future so I can continue to live here without having to travel.”
“I grew up in Stockholm’s inner city and have moved around quite a lot since then. When we relocated to Brändö, we loaded up the vehicle in Örebro. We didn’t have any family connection with Brändö, and in fact when we started talking about Åland and looking at the maps, I was amazed. I thought Åland was just the main island with Mariehamn, but it turned out to be a whole island world, with a group of islands near Finland called Brändö. When I read more about Brändö and they had a scheme where you could go there for a tour by the mayor, well, why not?
We felt incredibly well received once we’d made the decision to move. A lorry driver came over to us in Örebro from here and loaded our possessions, and then came along with the mayor himself to help us unpack the vehicle. I was amazed at the warm welcome, and I am so grateful to the islanders who came and knocked on our door to greet us.
I’m a great nature lover, and it’s impossible to experience that in the city; there are lots of beautiful parks and breathing spaces, but you can’t ask an entire city to turn the lights off to see the starry sky. This contact with nature is unbeatable; for anyone who appreciates it, the archipelago has everything to give! The challenge is that it takes a little more planning; you can’t just go anywhere whenever you want to, but on the other hand that can be an advantage, too, because there’s less impulse buying. You plan ahead more and think things through. The children are very happy here and can definitely imagine a future in Åland. So, when our eldest son had to choose a language to learn at school, he chose Finnish instead of French or German in order to be able to work here in the environment we have with Finnish tourists and lots of connections to the mainland here on Brändö.
The service here on Brändö is good; we have a great sports hall, a fantastic library, a shop, and the best country postman in the world. You just phone and he’s at the door to pick up the package, bringing the postage; it’s great! Encountering a person like that is so nice and really great.”
“I was born and raised in Föglö and have now moved back with my own family after a few years on mainland Åland for studies and work. Moving back was something I had always wanted.
When we moved here, I initially commuted to work in Jomala, something I thought was nice. They had time to adjust to work and leave during the car journey and experienced it as less stressful than when we lived in Mariehamn five minutes from work. When I then went on maternity leave, I started thinking about what I wanted to work with that would make me not have to commute as long as the children were small. My husband continues to commute and it feels like our everyday life on a farm requires that at least one adult in the family is on the same side of the sea as the children and animals. After 10 years as a caregiver in childcare, I refreshed my old studies in the media and got a suitable position as a business coordinator and communicator at the municipality. In that position, I work mainly with tourism and the entrepreneurs at Föglö.
The pandemic brought with it many good things too, just like with anything tough. And for us who live in the archipelago, the development of online meetings and work has been absolutely fantastic. Suddenly we can attend meetings and lectures that we would otherwise have had to skip alternatives and had to spend a whole day traveling to be able to attend.
The online development has also made it possible for me to develop my yoga company to such an extent that today I have a subscription service with online yoga. My niche is not only the broad Ålandic but I try to fill my video library with films recorded in our beautiful Åland nature.”