Like all other municipalities in Åland Kumlinge is unilingually Swedish speaking. English is understood, Finnish not quite so.
First settlers arrived to Kumlinge during the Middle Age from mainland Åland. The first document mentioning Kumlinge church is was written in 1484 but the current stone church was built around 1510. Probably there has been one or two wooden chapels before it. A land register from 1537 mention all the current villages and their 107 homesteads. According to scientists this correspond to perhaps 600 or even 800 residents.
During the Finnish War between Sweden and Russia in 1808 a group of local peasants managed to surround over 400 Russian soldiers and shot at them with two small cannons from Fälberget hill until the Russians surrendered. The Russians attacked here again in 1809 but this time Swedish army decided to to stop them by burning villages into ashes. Therefore few buildings are older than from 19th century.
Today, having just 315 permanent residents Kumlinge is one of the smallest municipalities in Åland. There are four permanently inhabited islands (Kumlinge, Enklinge, Seglinge and Björkö) and about 800 uninhabited islands, some of which have summer cottages on them. The islands are fairly flat as the highest hill hardly reach 20 meters above sea level. The municipality is actively recruiting new inhabitants but small community has few jobs available. Kumlinge has e.g. school (grades 1-9), kindergarten, retirement home, mail and bank office, grocery stores, and a library. The islands are connected to outside world with optic-fiber network.
The Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) is also known as Kumlinge disease because the first epidemic in Finland occurred in Kumlinge during 1940s. TBE is a virus disease carried by blood-sucking ticks. It cause inflammation of the brains that may lead to paralysis or even death. On these islands ticks are very abundant and carry both TBE and borreliosis. For nature enthusiasts vaccination against TBE is recommended.
By connecting vessel
Kumlinge is located on Northern Line and on Cross Line in Ålandstrafiken ferry routing. The ship-like ferries are quite large and carry both cars and bikes but there is fare for any vehicles not passengers (so pedestrians travel for free). For the cars you need to make reservation. For bikers and pedestrians its enough to just step onboard. For the vehicles cheaper archipelago-fares are applied if you stay overnight in the archipelago (as defined in Åland) and by making the reservation online you'll get 20% off. Once you have paid the fare keep the ticket as the archipelago-fare ticket is valid for any continued journey! If you do not sleep in the archipelago the much more expensive transit-fare ticket is valid only for a single journey.
There are cafés on board but they may or may not be open. If closed, there is a coffee machine, snack machine and microwave oven. Keep some coins with you.
When arriving from mainland Finland you need to get to Vuosnainen harbor in Kustavi and continue by ferry to Åva in Brändö. Then travel through Brändö to Torsholma harbor (about 11 kilometres, paved road) and continue with Northern line ferry to Kumlinge. During the summer season there should be some kind of coach connection from Turku all the way to Torsholma.
When arriving from mainland Åland you may use Northern Line ferry from Hummelvik in Vårdö or Cross Line from Långnäs in Lumparland. There are good bus connections from Mariehamn to Långnäs and Hummelvik.
The Northern Line (Norra linjen) between Torsholma and Hummelvik call Kumlinge at 1 Kumlinge harbor about 4 kilometres north from the main village. They usually call at 2 Enklinge harbor as well. Ship-like ferries m/s Alfågeln and m/s Ejdern (summer) or m/s Knipan (winter) run the route several times a day around the year. A trip to Kumlinge takes 1 hour 10 minutes from Torsholma and 1 hour 20 minutes from Hummelvik.
The Cross Line (Tvärgående linjen) between Långnäs and Snäckö call at 3 Snäckö harbor some 7 km southwest from the main village. The vessel call at Överö jetty in Föglö if necessary. Few departures also in Sottunga. Ship-like vessel m/s Odin runs the route one to three times a day around the year. The trip Långnäs-Överö-Snäckö take about 1 hour 40 minutes. If Sottunga is called the trip takes 40 minutes more.
By own yacht
Remnarhamnen, the 1 Kumlinge guest marina, is in the southwest corner of the main island, about 2½ kilometres from the main village. 2 Enghamn on Enklinge and 3 Seglingehamnen on Seglinge are guest marinas on other islands.
Small 4 Kumlinge airfield (ICAO: EFKG) has paved runway and is open for small airplanes around the year. There are no commercial flights to Kumlinge. The airfield is operated by the Government of Åland.
The nearest airport is in Mariehamn.
The distance between Kumlinge harbor and Snäckö harbor is 11 kilometres. The traffic is very low and the landscape extremely flat so biking is perfect way to get around. Accommodations have bikes for rent. Walking is also easy but due to sparse housing you might find the distances frustrating. Kumlinge and Snäckö islands are connected to each other by a causeway. Road signs are in Swedish.
Shared taxi operates on Kumlinge and Seglinge islands at weekdays from/to ferry harbors following the time tables of the ferries. It must be invoked preceding day before 8pm by calling +358 40 066 5650. The shared taxi is free of charge on the main road. Departing the main road will cost €1-3.
There is also a boat taxi, useful in case you need to reach minor islands. Boat taxi Satu Numminen: phone +358 40 506 1299 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 4 Enklinge island is on the Northern Line and the ferry calls to the island on its way between Kumlinge and Hummelvik. The trip takes about 20 minutes from Kumlinge. Check the timetables from Ålandstrafiken. Notice that some departures call Enklinge only if booked in advance. Phone to the vessels: m/s Alfågeln +358 40 768 2108, m/s Ejdern +358 40 022 9260 and m/s Knipan +358 40 022 9261.
The 5 Seglinge island is connected to Snäckö harbor by a cable ferry. The trip takes less than 10 minutes. The cable ferry is free of charge and during the summer season runs about every 30 minutes except when there is scheduled break. During the winter season the ferry runs when someone needs it. Phone to the Seglinge ferry is +358 40 768 5792.
Remote 6 Björkö island is a bit tricky. You need to get off the Northern Line ferry at Lappo island (in Brändö) and somehow get yourself to another ferry jetty 2.7 kilometres from the harbor. The cable ferry between Lappo and Björkö runs when necessary, except not during the night. Phone to the Björkö ferry is +358 45 752 42854.
The views on these islands consists of villages surrounded by fields and meadows, pine forests, and of course the sea.
- 1 Kumlinge church (Kumlinge kyrka), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Sa 11:00-13:00. A stone church built around 1510 but its altarpiece was made in France already in the 1200s. Famous for its large interior wall paintings representing biblical events but the style is totally unique and different from any church in the region. It's not known who painted them. Bell tower from 1767 and modern pipe organ from 1963. The church is dedicated to St. Anne.
- 2 Kumlinge pharmacy (Kumlinge apoteket), Kumlingevägen 440, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-15:00, Sa-Su closed. Kumlinge pharmacy is a modern pharmacy even though both the building and its interiors are from the 19th century. Well worth a visit.
- 3 Battle of Kumlinge Monument (next to the pharmacy). May 9th 1808, during the Finnish War between Kingdom of Sweden and Russian Empire, a group of local farmers and fishermen lead by pastor Henrik Johan Gummerus ambushed over 400 Russian soldiers here. Locals shoot towards the soldiers with two cannons until they surrendered. The Russians were taken to Stockholm as prisoners of war. Memorial on top of the hill at the site where the cannons were.
- 4 Kumlinge aerial lighthouse (Flygfyren). Built in 1937 this is one of quite few remaining aerial lighthouses in the world. These towers were made during 1920s and 1930s to guide airplanes in the same way as maritime lighthouses guide ships. Radio navigation aids made them soon useless.
- 5 [dead link] Hermas homestead (Hermas skärgårdshemman) (at Enklinge island), ☏ . June-early August: daily 10:00-17:00. Hermas homestead was mentioned already in a tax roll from 1537. The homestead consist of about 20 separate buildings, and is the last fully preserved traditional homestead in the Åland archipelago. The self-sufficient estate lived from farming, keeping livestock, and fishing. Lots of household utensils and tools for display. Free.
- 6 Seglinge museum (at Seglinge island). Open when the grocery store is open. Local history museum upstairs in the grocery store. free.
Accommodations have some activities available. Check their webpages or ask. Some arrange even seal safaris. As elsewhere in the archipelago, the Midsummer in late June is the main event.
- 1 Kumlinge nature trail. Circular trail northwest side of the main village, on and around Räsnäs hill. Consist of two conjoined parts, one 3 km and another 3.4 km long. Starting point next to the church (bigger circle) or guest marina (smaller circle). Variable terrain with some good viewing points. Possibility to see elks (or at least their droppings). Also poisonous vipers are abundant. Maps available at the church and guest marina.
- 2 Seglinge nature trail. A 7 kilometres long circular nature trail, partly in hazelnut forest. The trail starts next to old blacksmith's house and heads west to the sea shore. There are glacial 7 giant's kettles, jättegrytor in Swedish, by the sea.
- 1 Kumlinge Andelshandel (Kumlinge grocery store), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Well equipped grocery store in the heart of the main village. Small terrace outside. Alko pick-up point for pre-ordered items.
- 2 Enklingebutiken (Enklinge grocery store), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Village store in Enklinge.
- 3 Seglingebutiken (Seglinge grocery store), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Summer: M,W,F 09:00-18:00, Tu,Th 09:00-17:00, Sa 09:00-13:00, in July Su 10:00-12:00; other seasons opening times are more limited. Village store in Seglinge.
Eat and Drink
- 1 Restaurant Kastören, Kumlingevägen 643, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. June daily 17:00-20:00, July daily 16:00-22:00; off-season by request. The only(!) restaurant and bar on the main island creates dishes from local ingredients. Very limited menu but the food is good. Some 3 km from the main village, next to the guest marina.
- 2 Restaurant Glada Laxen, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Restaurant in a former Border Guard Station on a small Bärö island. Also accommodation in double rooms. Own guest marina and viewing tower. No public transportation(?)
There are few alternatives for accommodation. Many visitors sleep in their own yacht.
- 1 Kumlinge Stugor, Kumlingevägen 643. Cottage accommodation by the guest marina. 4 cabins with 4 beds and 8 cabins with 6 beds. Restaurant and shared kitchen. Bikes for rent.
- 2 Hotel Svala, Södra Postvägen 10, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel in a former village hospital building. Dog and cat at the premises. Staff speaks English, Swedish and Finnish. During summer season required minimum stay is 2 nights. Dinner available if booked in advance. Bikes available. €100-€169/night (breakfast included).
- 3 [dead link] Henrikssons stugor, Södra Postvägen 96 (800 meters off main road), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Six cottages with 4-6 beds each. Bikes for rent. Reservations at least 4 days before arrival date.
- 4 Norrbo Stugor (in Enklinge), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Cottages on Enklinge island. Seal safaris available, booking one week in advance. €50-70/night.
- 5 Ledholm Camping, Snäckövägen 360, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Nice camping area just few hundred meters from Snäckö harbor. Few cabins for 1-3 persons. Dry toilets, showers, and small kitchen are shared. Small kiosk with coffee and snacks available. Bikes and canoes for rent. Sauna €15/hour. Staff speak Swedish, Finnish, and English. Beware the ticks! cabin €25-45; tent €9+€4/adult,€2/child; caravan €12+€4/adult,€2/child.
Unless you have your own yacht or airplane your only options are: