What to do in Kökar, Åland? This is a fantastic little island to visit, in the south-eastern part of the Åland archipelago. We had some great experiences here, and share our best tips.
Kökar in Åland
Kökar is a group of islands and a municipality in the south-eastern part of the Åland archipelago. It may not be the first place you end up when you visit Åland, which is why it was so exciting to come here.
You can take the ferry from Långnäs on mainland Åland or do as we did and hop on the ferry somewhere along the way. We had visited beautiful Föglöand therefore took the ferry from Överö, with our motorhome. If we remember correctly, the ferry took about two hours, and the trip should be booked in advance via Ålandstrafiken. Great views all the way!
Kökar is located in the south-eastern part of the Åland archipelago.
What can you do in Kökar?
So, what can you see and do in Kökar? Well, a little bit of everything. Kökar offers beautiful nature and interesting history, but also good food and all kinds of small adventures. Here are our best tips on what to see and do in Kökar.
1. Relaxing at Sandvik Guest Harbour & Camping
First of all, why not relax at Sandvik Gästhamn & Camping? This campsite is beautifully situated by the water and can accommodate motorhomes and caravans, as well as tents and cabin guests. The campsite has a guest harbour and swimming facilities, as well as the possibility of renting a kayak or bicycle.
There is also a sauna with a lovely view and a small restaurant where they grill salmon, among other things. We took the opportunity to enjoy locally produced drinks and homemade Åland pancakes. Fantastically good and nice!
2. Have dinner at Brudhäll
Another place you don't want to miss in Kökar is Brudhäll, which serves as a hotel, restaurant and guest harbour. We had dinner here, in the form of marinated prawns and then perch with potatoes. The view and the service were perhaps more impressive than the food, but we had a nice evening. If you like saunas, don't miss their new stylish two-storey sauna!
3. Try local delicacies
Kökar may be a small island with a limited number of inhabitants, but nevertheless there is no shortage of local delicacies. We found Kökar mustard and honey from Kökar at the Kökar Archipelago shop. Peders Aplagård can be visited daily during the summer months.
4. see Kökar church and monastery ruins
We like to check out churches and therefore went to Kökar church, or St Anne's church as it can also be called. This stone church from 1784 turned out to be a cute little church building, with a baptismal font from the 13th century.
Right next to the church are ruins and a museum of the Franciscan monastery that existed here in the Middle Ages. Very interesting! Don't miss the church if you like viewpoints or bird watching.
Bird watching is something you can do in Kökar if you like bird watching. You can see a lot of different species of birds here and in addition, platforms, which are accessible for people with reduced mobility, have been built in several places. At the platforms there are also information signs about the birds you can see.
We saw a platform at the church (pictures) and one at Sandvik Gästhamn & Camping.
6. Hike the Kalen hiking trail
Kalen is a 7-12 kilometre hiking trail that offers beautiful archipelago scenery along with memories of both the Bronze Age and war.
During the walk you will encounter Bronze Age settlements in Otterböte as well as the remains of a Russian coastal battery from World War I and Finnish fortifications from World War II.
7. Check out the Otterböte Bronze Age settlement.
Otterböte is home to one of the best known Bronze Age settlements in the Nordic region, in the form of the remains of a seal hunting settlement from the Late Bronze Age, around 1000 BC. Archaeological investigations have revealed nine house foundations and a well. Pottery shards and animal bones, mainly from seals, have also been found.
The site is really cool to see because it is so incredibly old, and because the site is surprisingly well preserved.
8. Join a boat trip to Källskär.
One thing you definitely don't want to miss doing in Kökar, if you have the chance, is joining a guided boat trip to Källskär. The tours, which are given regularly during the summer, start from Brudhäll pier and take about half a day. In addition to the fact that the boat trip, which goes through the dense archipelago, is wonderful in itself, there is a destination for the trip: Källskär.
Källskär is a beautiful island, but it also has some exciting stories to tell. A large part of the island was eventually bought by Baron Göran Åkerhielm, who spent a lot of time here and put his personal stamp on the island, including various construction projects that provided jobs for the locals. When he grew tired of the island in 1984, he donated it and the buildings to the Province of Åland.
Much of what Baron Åkerhielm built remains, including the house, the garden and a gazebo. Here you can feel the intentions of creating something that was reminiscent of both the North and the Mediterranean. Above the fireplace hangs a painting from the Moomin world. On the coast, a Greek statue looks out over the sea.
Peter took up his drone, and from there we could see a rocky and barren island, surrounded by the intense blue sea.
Incidentally, the rock formations on Källskär are very special, and the island is worth visiting also for these different views.
9. Visit Kökar local history museum
The Kökar local history museum, housed in the old school of Österbygge-Hellsö from 1913, shows how the people of Kökar used to live. There are also old buildings preserved, as well as old boats and various tools. The museum is open a few hours a day during high season, and otherwise by appointment.
One way to experience the fantastic archipelago around Kökar is by canoeing. You can for example rent at Sandvik Gästhamn & Camping.
Another way to discover the beautiful nature is to cycle. If you do not have your own bike, you can rent one at Sandvik Gästhamn & Camping.
12. Continue by ferry to mainland Finland
Last but not least, we recommend travelling as we did, i.e. continuing by ferry to mainland Finland. If you came from mainland Åland, you can of course travel back there, but another option is to continue to Finland to discover the Finnish archipelago.
The ferry goes from Kökar to Galtby and takes about 2.5 hours. At Galtby you can continue by car, to discover beautiful Åboland.
More to do in Kökar
There is of course even more to do in Kökar, in addition to our suggestions. Here you will find some more suggestions.
- Sauna on Brudhäll is for those who like a nice sauna with a great view (pictures below).
- Frisbee golfor Discgolf as it is also called, can be found in Kökar.
- Sailing on a wooden boat can be experienced via Anton and the big boat Tjutt-tjutt in Kökar.
Where can you stay or park your motorhome?
If you want to stay in a hotel you can stay at Brudhäll and if you want to stay in a cabin you can stay at Sandvik Gästhamn & Camping. If you are travelling with a motorhome, you will find a parking space with electricity right at Kökar Skärgårdsbutik, not far from Brudhäll. Or you can stay at the campsite.
More to see and do in the neighbourhood of Kökar
There is of course more to see and do in the neighbourhood of Kökar. It is not so far to the fantastic island Föglöwhere we can recommend visits to Seagram and Carlsro Badhotell. When you're in Åland, you don't want to miss out on the following visits Mariehamn and Bomarsund Fortress. Please also read all our tips on things to What to see and do in Åland. Below you will find even more tips for Åland and Finland.
More suggestions on what to see and do in Kökar?
We had really nice days in Kökar and can highly recommend a visit here. Have you been here? How was your experience? Do you have any more good tips on what to see and do in Kökar?
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Facts about Kökar in Åland
- Country: Finland
- Landscape: Åland
- Location: Kökar is located in the south-eastern archipelago of Åland.
- Centre: Karlby
- Population: More than 200 (2021)
Getting to Kökar
- Ferry from Åland: You can take the ferry from Långnäs on Åland, or from the intermediate harbours on Överö, Sottunga, Husö or Kyrkogårdsö. Passengers travel for free and you pay for vehicles. Check the timetable for the Southern Line at Ålandstrafiken website.
- Ferry from mainland Finland: You can also take a ferry from Galtby in Finland. The journey takes 2.5 hours.
- Own boat: You can get to Kökar with your own boat. Guest harbours are available.
History in Kökar
- 1000 BC: There is evidence of settlement, for seal owners, from this time.
- The Middle Ages: A sailing route (King Valdemar's Sailing Route) ran from Denmark, along the Swedish east coast, via Åland and on to present-day Finland and Estonia.
- 15th century: A Franciscan convent (Kökar convent) existed on Hamnö until the Reformation. Fishing was important. There may also have been military activities.
- 1530s: The Franciscan monastery was withdrawn by Gustav Vasa during the Reformation and the buildings fell into disrepair.
- 20th century: Until the middle of this century, fishing continued to be the basis of the industry in Kökar.