Mindfulness Trip: Cycling the Archipelago Trail

It’s no secret that the Western part of Finland is my favourite area of the country. The countless islands and skerries that form one of the most beautiful regions I’ve ever visited, draw me back every summer. The archipelago roughly stretches from the most Southern tip of Finland, Hanko, through towards the Turku archipelago, all the way through the West, where the Archipelago somewhere merges with the Åland Islands. Check the bottom of the post for my full plan including linked map!


The Archipelago Trail is a loop from and to Turku, leading through the most stunning parts of the Western archipelago. I’ve visited during winter and once during summer many years ago. This year, I had a rather spontaneous need for a nature escape and an actual holiday, and I suddenly had a rough week of time on hand. So, I decided to cycle the Archipelago trail – in search for peace of mind and blueberries. Just my little bike and me.

My plan: this was supposed to be a holiday. I’m not a very fast cyclist, and also my point wasn’t to break any records and to get across the place ASAP, but to slow down, take a break and enjoy the place I was at, go paddle and pick blueberries. I broke down the trail into maximum distances I wanted to do per day and used that as a guideline to find my accommodation. The recommendation from my friends in the area was to cycle the trail counterclockwise, as ferry lines in the other directions can be sparse and put you under more time pressure, also the other way there are fewer people travelling.

I downloaded a bunch of audio books to listen to (in the end I went through THREE whole ones!).


I didn’t prepare much. I literally booked most of the accommodations a couple of days before (which I don’t recommend, especially in the summer season – many places are full already in April). Here’s a couple of things I’d suggest to prep:

  • Do book accommodations beforehand. The website of the Archipelago Trail has a super handy map which shows you cabins, hotels and B&B’s on a map, including direct links. There you can also check restaurants, sights and all the things.
  • Get your bike checked. I dropped into Pyöräkeskus in Helsinki and got my tires checked, some screws tightened, fresh oil and I was good to go. The professionals there help you for free with small things or supervise you while you fix stuff yourself.
  • Check all the ferry times! When prepping your route, Googlemaps will tell you which ferries you’ll take. Those that cover bigger distances work on a schedule, so it’s good to have an idea when to take those, and if there are any costs involved. Shorter routes are basically just an extension of the road and go back and forth, and are free.
  • Prep your rough route and save it in Google maps. Super handy for navigation and having all your destinations at hand, including distances and info.
  • Check out my packing list (coming soon)!

The Route

The whole trail is about 250km long. For me, this was a purely leisurely trip where I wanted to have some time to paddle, hike, swim and do nothing, and not cycle all day every day. Also, I decided to skip the last part from Nauvo back to Turku, as I wanted to avoid more plain boring roadside cycling and opted for the ferry ride via Seili Island. Here’s a rough breakdown and the full map (including my accommodations):

DAY 1: Turku – Naantali – Merimasku – Askainen (40km)

DAY 2: Askainen – Taivassalo – (Kustavi – ) Iniö (66km)

DAY 3: Iniö – Mossala (20km)

DAY 4: Mossala Rest day

DAY 5: Mossala – Nauvo (54km)

DAY 6: Nauvo – Seili – Turku (the map shows the last part of the trail, not the ferry) (would have been about 64km) 

Where to stay & What to do

The region offers all kinds of different options, from luxurious villas to the most simple cottages, camping and caravan areas, B&B’s and hotels, or entire resorts (especially those around the locals harbours) – you name it. It entirely depends on your budget and wishes.

I personally like to stay in cottage “resorts”, getting the simplest cabin there is (often from 30€) and use the facilities on site. Since I was travelling by myself, I looked out for places that offered breakfast and ideally some kind of meals because I wasn’t really in the mood for schlepping all supplies around.

As there are water and islands, it’s a paradise for kayaking. Most slightly larger places have those for rent, you can also rent bikes there (if you travel by car), get a SUP board, or just go for a forest hike, pick berries and mushrooms and feast on those. I recommend the Mossala Island resort for a stopover, there’s a restaurant, kayaking, a hiking trail and a wonderful little beach. Grännäs Homestead near Nauvo has the most scenic swimming spots and sauna. While in Nauvo, make sure to check out Köpman’s for food, also a cute little B&B.

Check out these: Peterzens Boat HarbourMossala Island ResortGrännäs Homestead 

Grännas Homestead


  • anitha

    Hi Kathrin
    I am anitha. I am from India. I liked your description of the archipelago trail and your route. Your photos of the trip are amazing and I cannot wait to do this trail. I hope to do something similar soon. I am travelling to Europe in April on a scholarship. My husband and I would like to take this opportunity to extend our travel to Finland in the end of April. We cycle for a few days during our trips and plan to rent cycles and do the Archipelago Trail this time. I would like to know if it is a good idea to cycle this route in April. I could only find info(lots) on cycling in June-August. And also the information gathered so far tells not all ferries ply in the non summer months. I will be very grateful if you could tell where I could find the info on ferry schedules.
    Your inputs will be much appreciated. Thank you

    • kathrin

      Hi Anita,
      thanks so much for your lovely comment! I’m glad you enjoyed it and you’re thinking of going as well. I think cycling the archipelago trail in April might be too soon. It can still be quite cold with a bit of snow even then, and most of the trails officially open in May, until then they will probably not be maintained adequately. Here are the ferry schedules I used: http://lautta.net/?lang=en
      I hope this information helps you further! Wishing you a lovely trip already!

  • Paul

    Hi Kathrin,
    Thank you for sharing your insight on the Turku archipelago trail, it helped clear a lot of things for me. My only reservation regarding the trip at the moment is the cost of accommodation, having checked the online booking options, I cannot seem to find accommodation below 80€ a night which is a little upsetting as I planned on doing the 5 day trip of the trail.
    “I personally like to stay in cottage “resorts”, getting the simplest cabin there is (often from 30€) and use the facilities on site.”

    Since, I will be on a very tight budget the best I could afford would be around 55€ a night, any suggestions.
    Lots of Regards

    • kathrin

      Hi Paul, thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad you found things helpful already. As for the accommodation, it could well be that places have raised their prices over the last couple of years. I recommend checking the places here: https://visitparainen.fi/en/stay/ and don’t hesitate to drop the guys from Visit Parainen a message, they are all super kind – and they know all the places in the area – I’m sure they are more than happy to help you figure it out! Best of luck and have a great trip! It’s so beautiful over there. Kathrin

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