- Not to be confused with the district Kulosaari/Brändö in Helsinki's eastern suburbs.
Brändö consists of the villages Lappo, Asterholma, Torsholma, Baggholma, Brändö by, Björnholma, Korsö, Fiskö, Åva and Jurmo. Åva is the administrative centre but most of the services are at or in the vicinity of Brändö by.
Lappo, Asterholma and Jurmo are separate islands, without direct road connection.
Brändö is a group of islands in north-east part of Åland, by the border to Finland Proper. Due to its remote location in Åland and closeness to mainland Finland locals prefer to go shopping to Turku or Uusikaupunki instead of Mariehamn. Also, almost 1/5 of residents have Finnish as their mother tongue, a number much higher than elsewhere in Åland.
Brändö has been a remote place and there are virtually no archaeological findings. The first permanent residents came here probably in the end of the medieval era. The name Brändö was first mentioned in a land register from 1537. According to this register, all the current villages already existed having 57 houses in total. Probably their souls were saved as Brändö was mentioned as a chapel under Kumlinge parish already in the 1540's. The Stockholm–Turku Mail Route ran through the islands from Baggholma to Åva.
On the map it's easy to see a large circular formation in the northern part of Brändö islands. This Åva intrusion is about 1800 million years old volcanic structure. The formation is well visible from aerial view but not so well from the ground level. Interestingly, there are no pine forests on Brändö islands except on the area close to the Åva harbour.
Getting around these islands has traditionally been challenging, but nowadays most of the major islands are connected with a paved road with bridges and causeways giving a good view out over the surrounding archipelago. Brändö is a delicate place for bicycling as the islands are fairly flat.
The municipality has extensive optical fibre network and there is a free Wi-Fi in all public buildings including hotels and restaurants. The local tax rate is the lowest one in Åland.
Brändö is unilingually Swedish speaking, like the rest of Åland. Knowledge of English should be good as in the rest of Finland. Knowledge of Finnish is not too good, although there are more Finnish speakers than in most of Åland.
You can reach Brändö by ferry operated by Ålandstrafiken. The islands are on Norra Linjen or the Northern Line. Ferries serve from Osnäs in Gustavs (Finnish: Vuosnainen in Kustavi) to the 1 Åva harbour (Åva färjfäste). by M/S Viggen (or occasionally smaller M/S Knipan) and from Hummelvik in Vårdö by M/S Alfågeln via Lappo to 2 Torsholma harbour (Torsholma färjfäste). . Osnäs and Hummelvik are on islands connected to the Finland and Åland mainlands, respectively, by short road ferry passages. There are cafés on the ferries and a restaurant in Vuosnainen. Åva and Torsholma harbours have just dry toilets and waiting cabins.
There are coaches from Mariehamn and Turku connecting to some of the ferry departures. For Kustavi these services are sparse, especially off season. There is a collective taxi connection from Kustavi centre to the ferry (€4, normal taxi is €30) and between Åva and Torsholma (free, see section "get around"), instead of the bus for some ferry departures. The taxi has to be ordered in advance. The connections are described in the Ålandstrafiken timetables.
There are also connections from Houtskär (main village: Näsby) and Iniö (main village: Norrby) to 3 Torsholma jetty (Torsholma brygga). by the ferries serving "Houtskärs ruttområde" (Finnish: Houtskarin reitti) and "Iniö tilläggsrutt" (Finnish: Iniön lisäreitti). These vessels, operated by Ferentes, are small (do not carry cars), often calling at many minor islands, and usually have to be booked in advance. See articles for Houtskär and Iniö for details.
Keep the ferry receipts, as the ferry onwards or back will be cheaper after a night spent in the archipelago (as defined in Åland). Also, bike tickets are valid for all the season.
The tourism is mainly concentrated to the islands Jurmo in the north and Lappo in the southwest. To reach these separate islands there are smaller ferries from Åva-Jurmo vv. and Torsholma-Lappo-Asterholma vv. See the timetables here. Note that some arrivals need to be booked in advance.
There is no public transportation in Brändö except kollektivtrafiken between Åva and Torsholma ferry harbors along the main road (incl. road to Fiskö). It is scheduled to connect specific arrivals and departures of M/S Viggen and M/S Alfågeln. These are marked to the time tables of these ferries. The kollektivtrafiken must be pre booked one day in advance and is free of charge. Kollektivtrafiken runs daily June 5th-August 10th (in 2020). Rest of the year it is not available at Saturdays.
Taxi and kollektivtrafiken:
- Brändö Taxi/Eija Laitala-Pettersson, ☏ .
Outside the islands Jurmo and Lappo the distances are rather long for walking. Distance between Åva harbor and Torsholma harbor is 23 km. Bicycle is useful as there is little traffic on the roads and the islands are mostly flat. Check if your accommodation has bikes for rent.
- 1 Brändö's Church, Brändö by (about 1 km off the main road). weekdays mid June to mid August. A wooden cross church built in the 1890s. The altarpiece is from the 15th century.
- 2 Ateljée Regnbågen, Brändö by. An art exhibition by Anita Hellström-Sandberg.
- 3 Archipelago Museum, Lappo. Old boats and fishing and hunting tools. There's also an blacksmith's workshop.
- 4 Torsholma observing tower, Torsholma. Observing tower by a nature trail in the village Torsholma.
There are several scenic views from the main road, especially between Torsholma and Brandö by. For safety reasons it is forbidden to stop on some of the bridges including the long and high Åva bridge.
- 1 The island Jurmo (ferry from Åva), ☏ . See the highland cattle, take a stroll in the woods at a walking path, climb the watch tower to see the islands surrounding Jurmo. Visit their small museum with fishing tools in an old fishing hut. Eat at their restaurant and café open in the summer months and sleep at their hostel. From the small grocery shop open in summer time you can buy food to prepare in the hostel. There's also possible to go on boat excursions to see e.g. seals, an old fishing camp, and rent kayaks and bikes.
Eat and drink
- 1 Gullvivan, Björnholma (3 km north from the Brändö by), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. lunch Mon-Fri 11-14.
- 2 Trixies shop & café, Brändö by (some 400 meters from the main road), ☏ . 11-18. Lunch 11-14. Café. Hamburgers, pizzas and salads.
- 3 Café & restaurant Kvarnen, Jurmo, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. mid-June to mid-August 9-22, kitchen 12-20. Restaurant specialized on beef and fish dishes.
- 4 Restaurant Galeasen, Lappo, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. See the webpage. A seaside restaurant with dishes specialized in fish and lamb.
- 1 Brändö Andelshandeln, Brändö by (300 meters off the main road), ☏ . See öppetider from webpage. Very well equipped grocery store. Free Wi-Fi. Some basic drugs. Tools and hardware. Free drinking water. Fuel. Bank and mail service in the same building.
- 2 Butik Kvarnen, Jurmo, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. mid-June to mid-August 9-22. Grocery store with local products. Equipments for boats, cars and bikes.
- 3 Lappo Handeslag, Lappo, ☏ . Summertime: 9-19. Grocery store. Mail service. Alko delivery point.
- 4 Sjöboden, Lappo (in the main village), ☏ . Summertime: 14-19. Clothes and jewelry.
- 1 Archipelago Hotel Gullvivan, Björnholma (3 km north from the Brändö by), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Hotel, restaurant and a guest marina on its own island but next to the main road. Minigolf, fishing trips, kayaks for rent. single room €75-80, double room €108-116, extra bed €40-43.
- 2 Brändö Stugby & Camping (2 km north from the Brändö by), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A small and clean camping area with cabins for rent. Sauna. Next to the main road. Café wasn't open in 2019. tent €8 (incl. toilet, shower, kitchen).
- 3 Fisketorpet, Korsö, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Rooms, cabins and camping (incl. toilet, shower, kitchen). Restaurant. Boats, kayaks and bikes for rent. Sauna. Fishing permits. Rooms €70. Cottages €55, linen €8. Tent €8+€7/person, caravan €10+€7/person, electricity €4.
- 4 Långören, Torsholma, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cabins for rent. Booking by e-mail.
- 5 Jurmo Vandrarhem, Jurmo, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Check-in: 14.00, check-out: 12.00. B&B and camping on Jurmo island. Café and restaurant. Highland cattle. €30 (linen not incl.), children under 12yo €15, linens €7. Tent €10, caravans €15.
- 6 Guesthouse Pellas, Lappo, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms, cabins and guest marina on Lappo island.
- 7 Asterholma Stugby, Asterholma, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Cabins with own kitchen, bathroom and sauna on Asterholma island. Fishing permits. cabins €139 (incl. linen and a rowing boat).