Turku Archipelago Trail

Turku Archipelago Trail

In 2016 I was cycling from Turku along the 250 km Turku Archipelago Trail. The whole trip took me 27 hours to complete, and I have spent 1 night in my tent near the ferry harbour leaving from Kustavi.

My first stop was the church in Raisio. Then the trail continued over the Särkänsalmen bridge, which offered a nice view over the sea. There were so many bridges on this trail that you don’t have to rush to get a good picture from any of those bridges. Then I came across a bird tower just after Raisio, and I decided to explore it a bit.

Turku Archipelago Trail
Turku Archipelago Trail

The neoclassical Askaisten Church was the next highlight on The Turku Archipelago Trail, which dated back from the 17th century and was the chapel of the Louhisaari Manor where the Mannerheim family used to live. The church is also part of the oldest tourist route in Finland – the Seven Churches Tour.

Next to the Askaisten Church is the ‘Askaisten Ritaripuisto’ – or The Knights’ Park, founded in 2007 to honour the Finnish war veterans. The stone shows the Mannerheim Cross.

My trip continued to Kustavi along with fields and bridges. Fortunately, the full moon lightened up the night, so it was not too dark to cycle. However, the road felt dangerous to cycle at night as quite a few cars were passing by at very high speed. Once I arrived nearby the Hepponiemi ferry at 12 pm, I decided to pitch a tent nearby the street as the first ferry was about to leave at around 8 am.

Turku Archipelago Trail
Turku Archipelago Trail

The next morning I woke up at 7 am. I packed my tent and my other gear into my bicycle bags and cycled to the harbour.

When I arrived in Hepponimi harbour, there were already quite a few cars queuing to get onto the ferry to Iniö. There were only 2 other people with their bicycles. Once I went on board, I discovered that there was also a cafe. Unfortunately, it was closed for the whole trip. Transportation, however, was free of charge.

From Hepponimi to Kannvik, it felt a bit cold and windy, but I always like to be on the sea and really enjoyed it. At Kannvik harbour were only a few cars queuing for the ferry. Once I arrived in Kannvik, I cycled straight to the next ferry point. There were no significant sights or attractions on the way. At some ferry bridges, there was a box with a button to call the ferry.

In Iniö, there was an old farmhouse and the Iniö church built in the 18th century. A sailing ship hanging from the church ceiling – a quite common feature across the churches in this region (also in Sweden). Maypoles were also a common feature on The Turku Archipelago Trail. At Iniö Landhandel, I had my breakfast. A group of motorcycle riders from the previous ferry were also there. I ordered tea and had a pastry – also called Wiener in Finland.

Ferries were leaving from two different locations – I took the one to Houtskari and paid 15 EUR to get on my bicycle onto the ferry. There was also a cafe on board. Then I arrived in Mossala.

Again there was a nice maypole and an old windmill. I have seen the same kind of windmill already in different places in Western Finland. The next ferry went from Mossala to Björkö. Again free of charge.

Turku Archipelago Trail
Turku Archipelago Trail

At 1 pm I felt a bit hungry and decided to have lunch in the Pub Pelago in Houtskari. I ordered a Halloumi salad and paid 9.80 EUR. There was also a bigger portion available for 15 EUR, and it was really delicious. They are also selling burgers.

After lunch, I continued cycling in Björkö. One ferry employee told me that the population is 80% Swedish and 20% Finnish speaking on these islands. From Kivimio, I took the next ferry to Roslax. And then the ferry from Houtskär to Korpo, which was one of the longer ferry trips. After those ferry trips, I finally arrived in Nagu (or Nauvo), visiting the local church. Again, a sailing ship attached to the church’s ceiling is a common feature in churches in this area. The Nagu church was built in the 1400-century.

Nagu is the biggest town on the islands and has a nice harbour with plenty of restaurants. There was also a Tourist Information at the harbour in Nouvo.

Turku Archipelago Trail
Turku Archipelago Trail

After having bought some snacks in the local grocery store, I decided to continue my bicycle trip. Only 60 km left to Turku. Initially, I have planned another night in a tent but decided to cycle back home on the same day. I took another ferry from Parainen to Nauvo and passed the Kirjalansalmen bridge, probably the most impressive bridge on this trail.

I really enjoyed this bicycle trip, but I would only recommend the part from Kustavi to Turku. The part between Turku and Kustavi is not that exciting except the city of Naantali (one of the highlights on this trip) and maybe the Askainen Knights Park and Louhisaari Manor (which I did not visit).

Moreover, I was cycling quite fast, so you should probably add another day to your itinerary if you plan to cycle The Turku Archipelago Trail. It might also be a good idea to spend a few days on the islands to explore them or relax, especially if the scenery is new for you.