The Western Harbour an essential international harbour
With daily traffic to Sweden, Estonia and mainland Finland and as Mariehamn It is not part of the EU, duty-free goods can be sold aboard. This creates a powerful incentive for Baltic ferries to stop at Mariehamn.
This area is becoming a top-rated tourist destination, so pre-planning is essential to get the best offers.
Cruising the islands, sprinkled across the Sea, between Finland and Sweden, is about exploring the land as it is about sailing in the waters.
The islands and skerries number 6,500 in all, according to Wikipedia. Rocky outcrops with some just breaking the surface of the water, whereas others are home to villages, marinas. Forests of pine and silver birch – dot the horizon everywhere one looks. A nice feature of local tradition If a pennant flies from the home’s flagpole you know the master is in residence.
The sights of Tallinn and Helsinki
Mariehamn belongs to Finland. However, war and history have turned this into an autonomous, demilitarized region. The people speak a flat-sounding version of Swedish and eat sweet black bread.
It helps to be a sailor to explore this place, but if you haven’t got a yacht one can use the ferry service. Huge ferries criss-cross the seas, taking passengers and cars between Finland, Sweden and Estonia. Smaller ships serve the more remote islands.
Mooring your boat close to the shore is a bit of a worry at first, but one quickly gets used to this. The shoreline is usually very deep often too deep to consider dropping the hook.