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Mariehamn is the capital, and the only town of the Åland islands. The town's Finnish name, Maarianhamina, is rarely used, as less than 6% of the population of 12,000 (2021) speaks Finnish.

Understand[edit]

Södragatan, one of the oldest streets of Mariehamn.
  • 1 Visit Åland, Storagatan 8, +358 18 24000, . M-Sa 09:00-17:00, Su closed. Tourist information. Vast selection of maps, timetables, guide leaflets etc. Also t-shirts and other souvenirs.

History[edit]

A youthful town, Mariehamn was founded in 1861 while Åland and Finland formed part of the mighty Russian Empire. Maria, consort of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, gave the town her name. The name Mariehamn is Swedish for Maria's harbour.

Mariehamn grew up round the farming village of Övernäs, situated on a peninsula. The harbour's built-in sheltered bays came to be of great importance. The streets of Mariehamn are wide and straight. Housing sites were large from the beginning, but today they have been divided to provide space for several houses. A distinctive feature is the Esplanade, an avenue of lime (linden) trees stretching from west to east, from harbour to harbour.

The Russian heritage is mainly responsible for the layout of the town. It follows the same basic guidelines as can be found in many Russian cities, with large avenues with promenades in the middle of the street. Apart from that, the only Russian signs left from that era is the multitude of tombstones in the graveyards in Åland.

During the Russian times seafaring expanded from shipping local goods to Stockholm to global trade, continuing after the independence. Between the world wars Gustaf Erikson got famous by gradually buying most of the big sailing ships still left in the world, and successfully operating them. One of the former German P-liners acquired by him, Pommern, has become a symbol of Mariehamn. Many of the beautiful wooden houses were built by shipowners. Shipping still contributes considerably to the wealth of the town.

Get in[edit]

Mariehamn lies on a peninsula. The walk across is short, but by yacht the distance is considerable.

By plane[edit]

  • 1 Mariehamn Airport (MHQ IATA) (3 km north of the city centre, in Jomala). There is a restaurant in the building, usually open every day. There is no airport bus. There are regular flights from Helsinki, Turku and Stockholm by Air Leap, mainly used by business travellers. Mariehamn Airport (Q1031590) on Wikidata Mariehamn Airport on Wikipedia

By ferry[edit]

Pommern and the western marina, as seen from a cruise ferry

The passenger port is at the western edge of the centre, in 2 Västerhamn, the Western Port. The terminal is open when a boat is due to leave. Facilities are limited. There are several lockers, a money exchange machine (EUR-SEK), toilets and a customs office. Just outside, there is a café and a small kebab restaurant. Birka Cruises has their own terminal 300 m north from the main terminal, facing the Adlon hotel and pizza restaurant.

There are a few cruise ferry services from Stockholm specifically to Mariehamn. The cruise ferries that travel between Turku and Stockholm in the day call in Mariehamn, while ferries passing in the night (including those between Estonia and Sweden) mostly call in Långnäs, 25 km away (with bus or taxi connection), as do the ferries between Kapellskär (Norrtälje, Greater Stockholm) and Turku or adjacent Naantali. There are also ferries from Grisslehamn (Norrtälje) to Eckerö, the shortest and cheapest passage, with bus connection to Mariehamn. The cruise ferries have tax-free sales, often slightly cheaper than the equivalent on-shore products.

There are buses between Stockholm, Uppsala and Norrtälje, often specifically connecting to the ferries.

It is possible to come island hopping with smaller ferries from Finland. This is much less straight-forward and not necessarily cheaper, but can be rewarding as an experience in itself. You end up in Långnäs or Vårdö, with bus connection to Mariehamn.

For the specific services, see Åland#Get in.

By yacht[edit]

For those with a yacht, Mariehamn is conveniently between Sweden and the Finnish mainland, with only a short passage over the Sea of Åland. There are two marinas, one in the west harbour (Västerhamn) and one in the east (Österhamn). The distance between them by sea is considerable, so know your plans. Åland has border control service, check procedures if you are arriving from outside Schengen, have a pet or otherwise need customs clearance (Åland is not in the EU VAT zone).

  • ÅSS' marina (Västerhamn), +358 18 13610. Early May to late September: 14:00–21:00, peak season 08:00–21:00, off season shop open by request. Marina of Åländska segelsällskapet. Guest harbour (book mooring before arrival); showers, toilets, laundry, Wi-Fi, septic tank emptying, garbage disposal, electricity and water. Shop (fuel, basic groceries, charts, newspapers, postcards, sailing clothes). Sauna 08:00–11:00 and 18:00–21:00, off season by request. Restaurant Pub Albin: see Eat. Bikes for rent. €31–39, alongside €41–96.
  • MSK's marina (Österhamn), +358 40-867-7760. Marina of Mariehamns Seglarklubb. One of the largest guest harbours of the Nordic countries (320 guest moorings; alongside mooring needs to be booked). Showers, toilets, laundry, Wi-Fi, septic tank emptying, garbage disposal, electricity and water. Shop (basic supplies, sailing clothes). Restaurant: Club Marin. Playground. €30–34, length > 35" in peak season €38–39, alongside €58–60.

Get around[edit]

Mariehamn is called the town of a thousand lindens; walk in central Mariehamn

As of early 2020 there are two bus lines operated by the ferry company Viking Line. Single ticket cost €2 (€1 for children 7-11 years old).

Your other options to get around is by taxi, car, bike or foot. The town is quite compact, a car is mostly useful to get to the surroundings.

Long distance buses leave from 3 Bus station, next to the library.

See[edit]

  • 1 Pommern, Västerhamn. Accessible daily May–September. Pommern (earlier name Mneme) is a windjammer turned into a museum ship, kept in original shape. She is a four masted barque built at J. Reid & Co shipyard in Glasgow in 1903. She soon became one of the Flying P-Liners, the famous sailing ships of the German shipping company F. Laeisz. Later she belonged to Gustaf Erikson of Åland, who used her (and the rest of his windjammers) to carry grain from the Spencer Gulf area in Australia to harbours in England or Ireland until the outbreak of World War II. She was thus one of the last cargo-carrying large sailing ships. In 2018-19, Pommern was placed into a dock, to lessen stress on her hull. Tickets to go aboard her are sold at the Åland Maritime Museum right next to the ship. Pommern (Q1775746) on Wikidata Pommern (ship) on Wikipedia
  • 2 The Åland Maritime Museum (Ålands sjöfartsmuseum), Hamngatan 2 (above Västerhamn marina), +358 18 19 930, . Jun-Aug: daily 10:00-17:00; Sep-May: daily 11:00-16:00. This impressive museum preserves memories of the sailing ships. One of its exhibits being the red-brown captain’s saloon from the famous four-masted barque Herzogin Cecilie. She ran aground off the coast of England in 1936 and before she sank her saloon was salvaged and brought to Åland. In the exhibition you will see all sorts of ship paraphernalia from sextants to sails, souvenirs sailors brought home from their travels, and learn about e.g. shipbuilding and the 19th century seaman's hotel in Mariehamn, and try out being a captain in the museum's ship simulator. One of the treasures is an original 18th century Jolly Roger from the Mediterranean Sea! Also English literature for sale. €14/8, Finnish Museum Card valid. Åland Maritime Museum (Q4357413) on Wikidata Åland Maritime Museum on Wikipedia
    Exhibits at the Åland Maritime Museum
  • 3 Maritime Quarter (Sjökvarteret), Österleden 110, . Jun to mid-Aug 10:00-16:00. Boat building traditions are kept alive at the Maritime Quarter in the Eastern Harbour. Among the red sheds there is a boatyard and a smithy as well as a free-entrance boat and shipbuilding museum. Several small ships have been built here, including the galeas Albanus and the schooner Linden. Restaurant and a handicrafts shop. There is a small chapel by the sea open to visitors. Free. Sjökvarteret (Q10669458) on Wikidata
  • 4 Åland Museum and Åland Art Museum (Ålands kulturhistoriska museum), Storagatan 1, +358 18 254-26, . Sep–Apr: Tu–Su 11:00–17:00, Th 11:00–20:00; May–Aug: daily 10:00–17:00. The Åland Museum exhibits the history of Åland from prehistoric times up to the present day. The Åland Art Museum displays pictures by both old and young Åland artists. €8/5/5 (children: 7–17); free first Th monthly, 18 May and 9 Jun; Finnish Museum Card valid.. Åland Museum (Q2356485) on Wikidata Åland Museum on Wikipedia
  • 5 Mariehamn Museum (Mariehamnsmuseet), Ålandsgatan 42 (in the cellar of K-Supermarket, entrance from Ålandsgatan). from mid-June to mid-Aug: daily 12:00-16:00; otherwise by request for groups only. A vast gallery model of Mariehamn in the 1920s with its wooden houses. Information about the design and history of the town. Also an art exhibition. Free.
  • 6 St. George's Church in Mariehamn (S:t Görans kyrka i Mariehamn), Östra Esplanadgatan 6. The main church was built in 1927 and is dedicated to St. George. Designed by renowned architect Lars Sonck. Altarpiece by painter Bruno Tuukkanen. Guide leaflets on Swedish, Finnish, and English available. Service every Sunday at 11:00.
  • 7 Tullarns Äng Park. Deciduous forest and a small meadow included to Natura 2000 network and protected by law. Walking/biking route goes through the area. Old cannon from Bomarsund fortress and a copy of Emskär jungfrudans. At spring you may spot snake's head fritillary or ramsons here.

Do[edit]

Badhusparken
  • 1 Lilla Holmen. Park island with peacocks, rabbits etc. Small sand beach. Activities for children. Free.
  • 2 Gröna udden beach, Östernäsvägen 1. Large sand beach near the town center. Free.
  • 3 Mariebad, Österleden 68, +358 18 531650. M 12:00–22:00, Tu–F 10:00–22:00, Sa Su 10:00–18:00. Swimming hall. Also outdoor swimming, water slide, spa facilities, café etc. €9/5.

Festivals[edit]

  • RockOff Festival: . A varied festival in the last week of July on the Mariehamn town square. (date needs fixing)

Buy[edit]

Sittkoff Gallerian, a shopping centre
  • The northern part of 1 Torggatan is the main shopping street. Shops usually close at 17:00 or 17:30 on weekdays and at 14:00 on Saturdays. Some close at 20:00 on Thursdays. Most shops accept Visa and MasterCard, but some of them do not accept Visa Electron. ATM's ("OTTO") are scarce. There are some in the city centre, outside the four bank offices along Torggatan. One is situated in Strandnäs, at the Ålandsbanken bank office.
  • 2 Sittkoff Gallerian, Torggatan 13. M-W F 10:00-18:00, Th 10:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-16:00, Su closed. Downtown shopping mall. Includes Alko store.
  • 3 S-Varuboden City, Torggatan 6, +358 10 76 27100. M-F 07:00-22:00, Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 10:00-22:00. S-group grocery store.
  • 4 K-Supermarket Matthis-Hallen, Ålandsvägen 42, +358 18 28149, . M-Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 11:00-22:00. K-group grocery store.
  • 5 Maxinge, Sparvägen 1 (in Jomala, 4 km north of the centre). The largest shopping mall on the islands.

Notice that most prices are somewhat higher than on the Finnish and Swedish mainland. There are local products widely available but groceries are mostly the same as in Finland mainland.

Eat[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Draken Kebab. Popular restaurant serving pizza and kebab.
    • 1 Stan, Nygatan 1, +358 18 19770. M–F 10:30–20:00, Sa Su 11:00–20:00.
    • 2 Hamn, Hamngatan 11 (next to the ferry terminal). M–F 11:00–19:00, Sa Su 12:00–19:00.
  • 3 Hesburger Mariehamn, Torggatan 13A. M-Sa 10:30-20:00, Su 11:00-20:00. Finnish fast food chain.

Mid range[edit]

  • 4 Pub Albin, Sjöpromenaden (at the ÅSS marina, right next to the sailing ship Pommern), +358 18 19141. June-early August: M-F 15:00-22:00, Sa Su 12:00-21:00; otherwise closed. Pizzeria and bar.
  • 5 Pizza Diablo, Nygatan 3, +358 18 17100, . Daily 11:00-22:00; takeaway F Sa 22:00-04:00. Excellent pizzas, also super hot ones.
  • 6 Marie Bar, Köpmansgatan 1 (next to the bus station). M-Sa 07:00-16:00. Cosy corner café with a cool retro-looking neon sign. Fresh sandwiches, bakeries, coffee and tea.
  • 7 Pub Niska, Sjökvarteret (at the Maritime Quarter), +358 18 19151, . M-Sa 11:00-21:00, Su 12:00-20:00. One of the Mariehamn classics established by chef Michael Björklund. They serve Åland style pizzas called plåtbröd. So popular they have opened restaurants in mainland Finland as well but this is the original one. Definitely worth of trying.
  • 8 Restaurant Pommern (a fair walk from the ship Pommern; at Hotel Pommern). Arranged with ship's fittings. The menu is delicious and some items are quite cheap.
  • 9 Restaurang Sittkoffska Gården, Torggatan 13 (Sittkoffska Gallerian), +358 18 17612. M–F 10:00–20:00, food from 11:00, Su closed. Food largely from local ingredients, at least some dishes with an unorthodox touch.

Splurge[edit]

Drink[edit]

Nightlife in Mariehamn is sparse and revolves around the two restaurants "Dino's" and "Indigo" – although heavily frequented by locals they don't compare well to establishments in larger cities. Between midnight and 02:00 those restaurants close, and almost everybody migrates to the nearby nightclub "Arken". Considering Åland's history (a Swedish archipelago until 1809, then Russian and later Finnish since 1918 – Ålanders speak Swedish, they use some Russian expressions and they drink like Finns) the later hours are dominated by the occasional bar-brawl, heavily intoxicated teens and vomiting. The "Arken" closes at 04:00, and then it's all over.

  • 1 Dino's bar & grill, Strandgatan 12, +358 18 13939, . M-Th 15:00-24:00, F 15:00-02:00, Sa Su 12:00-02:00. Pub-like bar with a nice terrace during summer. Live music and rock DJ's at weekends.
  • 2 Indigo restaurant & bar, Nygatan 1 (entrance from Nygatan), +358 18 16550, . M-Th -02:00, F Sa -04:00, Su closed. Nice and popular bar. Also a food restaurant until 22:00. Large garden terrace during summertime.
  • 3 Night Club Arken, Strandgatan 35 (entrance from Nygatan), +358 18 24020. F Sa 22:00-04:00.
  • 4 Pub Ettan, Torggatan 1. M-Th 19:00-24:00, F Sa 17:00-02:00, Su "flexibly". Small pub. Cheap beer. Locals.

Sleep[edit]

Hotel Arkipelag

Budget[edit]

Camping[edit]

  • 1 Gröna Uddens Camping, Östernäsvägen 1A, +358 18 528700, . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: cottages 11:00, camping 14:00. The only camping area in Mariehamn is located by a beach and a nice park about 1.2 kilometres easy walk from the town center, and has plenty of room. Reception building has a café with food items and toiletries available. Playground for children. Basic kitchen in the cottages and in a separate kitchen building. Service building with toilets and showers. €10 per person + €10 per tent/caravan/whatever; electricity €5; cottages €95–180; bike €15/day; sauna €30/4 pers/1 hr; linen à €8.50, breakfast basket à €8.50.

Cottages[edit]

  • Gröna Uddens Camping. See above.
  • 2 Strandbergs Stugor, Varvsvägen L 183.

Guesthouses[edit]

  • 3 Guesthouse Kronan, Neptunigatan 52. Inexpensive, especially for singles. Very close to the main ferry port. Open all year.
  • 4 Guesthouse Neptun, Neptunigatan 41.
  • 5 Pensionat Solhem, Lökskärsvägen.
  • 6 Övernäsgården, Östra Ytternäsvägen. 2 and 4 person chalets also available

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

Stay Safe[edit]

Crime is extremely low in Åland. The only prison (having 3 cells) was closed in 1975 and is nowadays a museum (see Sund). In statistics, the situation seems very different as drunken fights and assaults on cruise ships are recorded as occurring in Mariehamn!

  • 2 Åland Central Hospital, Doktorsvägen 1, +358 18 5355. Åland Central Hospital offers medical care to both the local population and visitors. This is the only 24/7 general emergency clinic on these islands. Basic procedures are successful on site, but patients in need of more serious care will be sent by helicopter to university hospitals either to Turku in Finland or Uppsala in Sweden.

Go next[edit]

Mariehamn is the natural starting point for all the other destinations on Åland such as Kastelholm Castle and Bomarsund Fortress ruins in Sund or the Post and Customs museum in Eckerö.


This city travel guide to Mariehamn is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.