Nagu is located in the middle of the Archipelago Sea, which has a great influence on the identity of locals, although the life in the main islands may look like in the countryside elsewhere. The fields are smaller, the shore is nearby and traditionally people have got their living in small pieces, such as from fishing, agriculture, sea fowl hunting – and seafaring.
A large part of the outer archipelago, and thus of the Archipelago National Park, belongs to Nagu. Minor inhabited islands, often with one or a few families, are connected to the mainland with mostly daily ferry services — conditions permitting. Living there means a quite solitary life in winter, but in summer there are lots of tourists, summer guests and some locals who escape the dark months to apartments in towns. This is the paradise for yacht sailors, many making the journey from Helsinki and back every year, more than a hundred nautical miles each way.
Nagu and its surroundings are traditionally Swedish-speaking and still have a strong Swedish majority, while a quarter of the population and many summer cottage dwellers and visitors are Finnish-speaking. Service is usually available in both languages, as well as in English. The language in which businesses market themselves says little about their own language.
Nagu was, together with the rest of western Swedish-speaking Åboland, merged into a new municipality, which confusingly — and to much bitterness — renamed itself "Pargas", as the town had a majority on votes. Often Pargas is referred to as "Pargas Pargas".
Skärgårdsvägen ("the Archipelago road", Finnish: Saaristotie, regional road 180) starts in Kaarina (Swedish: S:t Karins) outside Turku (Swedish: Åbo) at national road 1 from Helsinki (Swedish: Helsingfors). On its way out to Korpo (Finnish: Korppoo) it connects the main islands of Nagu: Storlandet and Lillandet (and Biskopsö and Ernholm between them). There is a ferry connection from Lillmälö in Pargas to 1 Prostvik in the east end of Nagu Lillandet, mostly twice an hour, with a stop in the night. There are considerable queues when people head for their summer cottages or return, i.e. Friday and Sunday afternoons, respectively — sometimes for hours, with three ferries driving non-stop; there is a kiosk near the ferry pier. Another ferry goes from Retais in Korpo to 2 Pärnäs at the western shore of Storlandet. These road ferries are a free public service. The distance between Prostvik and Pärnäs is some 27 km (17 mi), between Lillmälö ferry pier and Pargas centre some 17 km (11 mi).
A ferry from Långnäs[dead link] in Åland takes you to Galtby in Korpo. A road ferry arrives there from Houtskär (where you might have ended up by island hopping). In summer you can also come from Rymättylä by the Archipelago Trail ferries.
The main village, Kyrkbacken, is in the east end of Storlandet, some 14 km from Prostvik, 33 km (21 mi) from Pargas centre and 55 km (34 mi) from Turku. Like in many Finnish villages the view from the road is not too romantic: a fuel station and flat-roofed grocery stores (you can get a glimpse of the church from the road, though). Older houses are preserved, such as those on the way to the marina. The village is actually quite large, interspersed with woods.
There are coaches from Turku (about €12, children 4–11 half price) along Skärgårdsvägen, via Nagu to Korpo and Houtskär six to eight times a day, operated by TLO (but usually in a white and green livery and labelled "Skärgårdsbuss"). There may be a few direct connections also from Helsinki by Skärgårdsvägen Ab (owned by Vainion Liikenne) and by J & M Launokorpi, but usually you use coaches to Turku and transfer in Kaarina, see Pargas. The coaches have right of way to the ferries, as have e.g. local taxis. Timetables at Matkahuolto (use "Nagu" for Kyrkbacken, "Pärnäs (Pargas)" for Pärnäs; the names may get exchanged into Finnish ones). The Föli route planner[dead link] also has the timetables for coaches from Turku, but might know only the main stops. Check the map, use common sense and check with somebody in the know when you are unsure. The bus station is more or less opposite the 3 fuel station (since 2021).
There is a good bike route from Turku to Pargas (follow signage for the Archipelago Trail). Some kilometres after Pargas centre the cycleway gets narrow and starts going up and down any hill but it continues to the Lillmälö ferry pier, and is paved except the last kilometre or two. On the Nagu side you mostly have to cope with the road traffic; one strategy is to get off when the batch of cars from a ferry is approaching. An extension of the cycleway all the way to Kyrkbacken is being planned in 2022.
You could also take a boat or ship from Turku (departures from the Aura river between Föri and Martinsilta). They arrive in 4 Kyrkbacken Northern Harbour (by the marina).
- m/s Norrskär, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Timetable. From Läntinen Rantakatu 37 in Turku, via the postal jetty on Själö, to the guest harbour in Kyrkbacken. Once daily in summer (2022: 7 May–18 September), travel time 2 hr 15 min, allowing a day trip with a stay of a few hours in Nagu. In peak season there is an additional return trip from Kyrkbacken to Själö. WC and kiosk on board. Some areas accessible by wheelchair. Turku–Nagu €25/15, return €38.50/23; Nagu–Själö €9/5, return €15/7.50; bike €6, return €10.
Coming by yacht you have thousands of options. Most inhabited islands have at least a jetty for visiting yachts, although for more advanced service, such as washing machines, the marina at Kyrkbacken is where to head (fuel arrangements there are changing 2021–2022, check if relevant). There are lots of summer cottages, often not seen from a distance; do not land at private jetties or close to houses. See Archipelago Sea, Hanko to Uusikaupunki by boat and Boating in Finland for some destinations, yacht rental, charts etc.
The coaches drive along Skärgårdsvägen and will get you quite near most places on the main islands, with Kirjais the main exception. If you have a bike (or are willing to walk a few kilometres) this may be sufficient to get you to most destinations, but is surely impractical for getting around.
The roads are quite quiet and suitable for biking. Except for Skärgårdsvägen they may be gravel roads. On Skärgårdsvägen, look out for cars racing from one ferry to the next (and driving a car yourself: if you get off first, just park until the worst speeders have past). Renting a bike is possible at many accommodation businesses.
Some of the nearby islands, such as Högsar, are connected by road ferries, allowing you to drive there with car or bike, except in the middle of the night.
For islands at a distance, such as Nötö, you have to use the ship-like ferries, departing mostly once or twice daily, with timetables and routes differing depending on day of week. The complete route takes several hours. Most are there foremost to serve the local population and probably free (earlier free only to locals, but this made for too much bureaucracy), some are heavily subsidized and cheap, some are totally commercial.
There are ship-like ferries part from the Kyrkbacken, 5 Pärnäs (some 14 km farther), both on Skärgårdsvägen or 6 Kirjais Österby, which is reachable by bike, car, ferry, or a special subsidized taxi that has to be ordered well in advance. Kirjais harbour is located 12 km from Skärgårdsvägen, 16 km from Kyrkbacken.
Important! Check whether you have to order the connection in advance (usually before 14:00 or 16:00 the preceding day) to have the ferry call at your pier, and make sure you are seen when you are to be fetched.
Nearly all ferries take bikes and some take a few cars, but there may be no parking lot nor road to drive at the destination. M/S Baldur (ex Eivor) does not carry private cars, M/S Östern does not carry cars to Själö. Check separately for out of season; in winter there may even be hydrocopters or ice roads instead. Timetable information (Pargas tourist information) ☏ email@example.com. The relevant ship-like ferries:,
- The little ring road connection (in season only): m/s Östern sails between Kyrkbacken and Hanka in Rymättylä via Själö three or four times daily, €8, children (4–11) €4; m/s Norrskär on the Turku–Själö–Kyrkbacken and Nagu–Själö routes (early May to mid-September); and m/s Vidskär from Kyrkbacken via Själö to Röölä on Rymättylä (mid-June to mid-August). See Själö, Rymättylä and Archipelago Trail.
- Nagu northern route, ☏ . Timetable summer 2021: Su 18:30 from Nagu. M/S Kokkomaa operates the route in northern Nagu and Korpo archipelago year round. It serves Maskinnamo, Järvsor, Houtsala and Åvensor, and off season also Själö. Free.
- The Utö route (m/s Baldur) ☏ : from Pärnäs to Berghamn, Nötö, Aspö, Jurmo and Utö.
- The Nagu transversal route (m/s Myrskylintu or m/s Cheri, ☏ or ☏ ): from Pärnäs to Kirjais Österby via many islands in the south, including Berghamn, Brännskär, Stenskär and Gullkrona, also calling at Krook and Mattnäs on Storlandet.
- The Nagu southern route (m/s Falkö ☏ ; map) from Pensar to Borstö and other islands far in the south, via Kirjais Österby and some of the islands on the transversal route, including Gullkrona and Stenskär.
With a yacht all small islands are in reach. Be careful about islets with nesting birds: any disturbance may give crows and gulls a chance to eat eggs and chicks. For the main islands your best bet is to leave the yacht in a marina and rent bikes. The Kyrkbacken marina offers this service explicitly: bikes for rent, the yacht can be left Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon for €40, except in peak season.
A rowing boat or similar is nice for getting a feel for the sea and to explore nearby islands. You get to rent or use one for free at some lodgings. If you cross larger bodies of water, you might get stuck though, would the weather change.
There are kayaks for rent at some lodging businesses, and from dedicated businesses (see Archipelago Sea). The latter are probably to be preferred at least for longer journeys if you need advice.
You are probably here to see the archipelago; get out of the coach at the ferries to feel the fresh air and enjoy the views.
- 1 Nagu church (Nagu kyrka), Kyrkvallen, ☏ . Medieval stone church built probably between 1430 and 1450. The pipe organ from 1791 was built by famous Swedish organ builder Olof Schwan.
- 2 Maritime House (Sjöfartshuset), Kyrkostigen 3 (behind the church), ☏ . 4 Jun—12 Aug: Tu–Su 11:00–18:00; 13 Aug—31 Aug: Tu–Su 11:00–16:00. Exhibitions telling about the seafaring traditions of Nagu from early 19th century to these days. Many ship models and paintings. €3, children under 12 free.
- 3 Stone labyrinth in Finby (Finby jungfrudans) (near Kyrkbacken). Take a short hike along a nature trail that leads to an old man-made stone formation or labyrinth, also called jungfrudansen, the maiden's dance. There are many this kind of labyrinths around the coasts of the Baltic Sea, but nobody knows why they were made. The map of the trail can be downloaded from  (with description in Swedish and Finnish only). Free.
- 4 Bronze age burial cairn. Fairly impressive bronze age burial cairn on top of the hill Jättekastet. In those days these islands were yet uninhabited, so nobody knows who the deceased was or what they were doing here. The best way to visit the site is to follow Westerholm Cultural Path from Kyrkbacken; there is more to see on the trail than just this grave. In the forest there is a rope to facilitate the climb to the hill (the trail has an alternative route around the hill, but then you miss the site). Both climb and descend are steep. Be careful. Free.
- 5 M/S Estonia Memorial (at Pärnäs). When approaching the ferry terminal in Pärnäs, take a small path from across the road, just opposite the bistro. After a few hundred metres you will reach a rocky shore with a memorial to the victims of the cruise ferry Estonia sinking on 28 September 1994, where most of those on board perished. It was the deadliest peacetime shipwreck to ever have occurred in European waters. There are monuments also in Stockholm and Tallinn (by the old town: Katkenud liin) and at a few other places in Estonia. Free.
- 6Själö (Finnish: Seili). Lush island near Nagu Kyrkbacken, with a former leper colony, later mental hospital, now the Archipelago Research Institute of University of Turku. Famous for its history. A wooden church remains. Reached by boat or by ferry. Guided tours (in English by request), restaurant and accommodation in rooms for 1–4 persons with shared bathrooms and kitchens (since 2017). Take precautions against the ticks. Östern and Fanny €6/3 single; Falkö free.
- 7Nötö. An island 25 km 9f the Korpo main village. The wooden chapel is from the 19th century. Grocery store with Alko delivery point. Summer café. Nature trail with a fascinating singing stone, Klockarsten. Accessible by M/S Baldur from Pärnäs. In season the ferry schedules allow a day trip some days, but accommodation may also be available.
- 8Berghamn. A small island with six year-round inhabitants, on the route of M/S Baldur and M/S Cheri. The northern part of the island belongs to the Archipelago Sea National Park and the buildings of the old Västerby fisherman's farm today act as a national park information hut (free entry). The exhibition is concentrated on fishing. In season there are guides who can answer your questions. Camping in the yard is allowed, but beware, there are vast amounts of ticks around. Two marked nature trails. Campfire site (no fires during wildfire warnings) and dry toilet. The village on the island is on the list of nationally significant built culture environments.
- 9Gullkrona. This small island south from Nagu main islands is on the route of M/S Cheri. The guest marina was made famous and popular by the local family, who let it over to other entrepreneurs in 2019. In summer there is a guest marina with saunas, café, nature trail, and a small museum about the island's maritime pilot history.
Fishing, boating, swimming.
- 1 The Westerholm Trail. This 3-km nature and culture trail follows the footprints of the Nagu-born painter Victor Westerholm (1860–1919). He spent his childhood here on the Ernholm island and later became a renowned landscape painter. The circular trail starts from the market square and is well marked, but the forest part is poorly suited for disabled. free.
- Nagu kammarmusikdagar (Nagu Chamber Music Festival), firstname.lastname@example.org. early July. Classical music, mostly in the church, some concerts on minor islands. Mostly €20/15, children under 18 free; some concerts free.
- Harvest happening (Skärgårdens skördefest), ☏ , email@example.com. 2023: 16 Sep, open farms 17 Sep. Market with local produce (Sa 10:00–15:00), fish smoking competition (Sa 14:00), open doors on some farms (at least the sheep farms Västeräng on Ytterholm and Korsnäs Östergård; Su 10:00–16:00), and "restaurant days" (Strandkrogen, Biffi and Pensar Syd in Nagu, also restaurants elsewhere, special menus and lotteries F–Su)
- Möviken runt, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Yearly, first Saturday in July; Julmöviken in December. Cross-country running event. In summer some 200 participants (including the shorter Minimöviken). €20–30; spectators free.
There is an Otto ATM at Andelsbanken, about opposite to the SEO station in Kyrkbacken.
- Grocery stores by Skärgårdsvägen in Kyrkbacken, perhaps also in Kirjais (owner change, check what they did with the shop) and Nötö. One of the stores in Kyrkbacken is open 24 hr daily mid-June to early August (as of 2014).
- Design by Svanhild Åbonde, see Kaptensgården below.
- Villa Vintage, ☏ , email@example.com. Antiques and vintage, in the former school of Käldinge, Lillandet, and in season in the Kyrkbacken harbour.
Out of season many of the restaurants are open only either at lunch on workdays, in weekends or at request.
Smoked fish can be bought at the Kyrkbacken marina, with some luck. Try your luck also at other guest harbours.
Restaurants also at most accommodations.
- 1 Restaurant L'Escale, Nagu Strandvägen (at the marina), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Nice restaurant representing mainly French cuisine. €20–30, pizzas €10–12, lunch €9.50.
- 2 Najaden Bar & Pizzeria. Pizzeria in a ship by the marina.
- 3 Restaurant Strandkrogen, ☏ . Good restaurant and summer terrace at the guest marina.
- 4 Pub Niska, Parkvägen 5, ☏ , email@example.com. Pub and restaurant serving salads and Åland style pizzas called plåtbröd. Open from May to August. €12-15.
- 5 Restaurant Köpmans, Strandstigen 3, ☏ .
- 6 [dead link] Restaurant Naffu, Sommartorget 2 (by Skärgårdsvägen), ☏ . €15–30.
- 7 SEO Nagu (by Skärgårdsvägen). Petrol station in the heart of the town. Enjoy the local atmosphere.
- 8 Westerlundi. 09:00–23:00. Grill kiosk. Minigolf.
- Restaurang Bystrand, Kirjaisvägen 579 (by the shore in the Kirjais village), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Restaurant. €17–24, hamburgers €10–16, children's menu €8–10.
- 9 Café Skolan (Nötö), ☏ . A summer café. Lunch.
- Tackork gård och marina, Tackorkvägen 31, ☏ , email@example.com. Brunch daily in summer 10:00–12:00. Restaurant, cottages and marina. Programme services. Events in summer Saturdays, Midsummer and some additional days in July. Game meat.
For nightlife, check in the marina of Kyrkbacken and nearby restaurants. Certain weekends, such as Midsummer, there may be events also at other places.
There are B&Bs and cottages for rent at many locations.
- Villa Banken, Kyrkvallen 1, ☏ (Harry), (Annikki). Check-in: M 15:00, check-out: F 18:00. Three small holiday appartments (20–30 m²) in the former bank building, later polis station. Available year round.
- 1 Hotell Strandbo, Nagu strand 3 (by the marina), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Open late May to mid-Sep. Belongs to Strandbo Group, which is a big organizer of activities for tourists and others. Charter tours etc. available. Closed in winter. single €95, double €125.
- 2 Lanterna, Parkvägen 5 (by the marina), ☏ , email@example.com. Old house. Ceramics) for sale. Linen and breakfast included. Bikes and canoes for rent. single €70, double €100–130; dog €20.
- 3 Köpmans B&B, Strandstigen 3 (by the church), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. B&B open year round. double €125-135.
- 4 Majatalo Martta, Kyrkvallen 6 (by the church), ☏ , email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00–18:00, check-out: 12:00. 19th century house. Good food, but possibly only by agreement. Also programme: fishing, bird watching, berry picking, kayaking, hunting, cycling and mushroom picking trips. single €47/55, double €74–84/97–110, family €95–110/130–160 (off season, breakfast €7/in season, breakfast included).
Elsewhere on main islands
- Gammelgård Pizza & Padel Resort, Norrstrandsvägen 217, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Pizza restaurant F–Su 16:00–20:00. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. Former nursery home. Singles, twins and appartements. The former have shared facilities. Pizzeria. Padel court. Beach and sauna on the property, check availability. Claims cheap rooms, but price hidden; pizzas €15–18.
- 5 Grännäs Homestead, Uttisvägen 27 (3.5 km westwards from Kyrkbacken, 750 m towards Högsar, 250 m to the left), ☏ , email@example.com. Also cottages. Bikes for rent. €10/tent+€5/person, caravans (1–4 persons) €30.
- 6 Kaptensgården B&B (Svanhild Åbonde), Jaggasvägen 21 (Risis; 1.5 km from Skärgårdsvägen, 4 km from Pärnäs), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. by agreement June–Aug. B&B and design shop of Svanhild Åbonde, who lives part of the year in Benin, where she cooperates with locals. Clothes from linen, silk and cotton made in Benin, and from finnsheep wool, made in Finland. Two cottages for B&B guests. Sauna. Child-friendly beach 200 m (Risisviken). €30–35/person, breakfast €8, linen €10.
- 7 Kirjais kursgård, owners: Sarviksvägen 31 (Kirjais, south of Lillandet, with road connection), ☏ , email@example.com. Main building and cottages. Guest harbour and restaurant in the village half a kilometre away. Small motorboats for rent, e.g. for fishing (€60/day). B&B €40/pers, including linen, children 3–12 half price; cottage with four bedrooms (10 people) €350 one night, €900 one week, linen €10/person (cited prices in season except Midsummer, open year round).
- 8 Norrgård, Biskopsövägen 133 (on Biskopsö between Storlandet and Lillandet, 5 km east from Kyrkbacken, 1.5 km from coach stop), ☏ . Not in winter. Check-in: 16:00–20:00, check-out: 12:00. Cottages since the 1970s. Original ones 4+1 persons, kitchenette, cold potable water, electricity; smaller "overnight" cabins for 4/2 persons with bunk beds, communal facilities. Showers in separate building. Outhouse toilet. Beach with sauna 100 m, child-friendly beach 1 km. Terrain hilly, not suitable for the mobility impaired. Small scale organic farming. Rowing boats and bikes for hire. Luggage transport for pilgrims for a fee. Also separate summer house with own facilities (2+2+1 persons, water at the well). Original cottages €70, from third day €40, small cabins €50/30, additional days €30/€20; sheets €10/person; pilgrim B&B €30 including sheets and rowing boat use; summer house €200/2 days, €520/week.
- 9 Hotel Stallbacken, Grännäsvägen 14 (3.5 km westwards from Kyrkbacken, 800 m towards Högsar, turn left after the oak alley), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Countryside hotel with its own restaurant.
- 10 B&B Västergard, Gyttjavägen 29 (in Gyttja on Lillandet), ☏ , email@example.com. Small and intimate accommodation in the countryside that also offers outdoor activities like cycling and kayaking.
- See also: Nötö
- 11 Backarö, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A small hotel in Nötö. Breakfast included, other meals available by request. Still open? single room €60, twin room €80, couple room €80 (children €20).
- 12 Nötö Camping Site. The camping site on Nötö is in the southern part of the island. Still open?
- 13 Hotel-restaurant Sandvik (Pensar island), ☏ , email@example.com. Hotel and restaurant with their own guest marina on remote island Pensar. The island has ferry connection to Granvik harbor in Pargas.
Postal code: 21660 Nagu (main island), 21650 Lillandet, 21680 Nötö, ...
- Pargas to the east and Korpo to the west, obviously. You could also complete the Archipelago Trail.
- A tour to one of the more distant islands of the Archipelago Sea, such as Gullkrona, Nötö, Jurmo or Utö, is a nice adventure. There is accommodation available in winter as well as summer on at least the three latter islands.
- The Åland islands, reachable from Galtby in Korpo.
- Kimitoön, which is the other municipality in the southern Archipelago Sea, to the south-east. There is a ferry connection to Örö and Kasnäs in summer.
- The Archipelago Trail, which continues to Pargas and to Korpo