The Archipelago Sea in Finland

Friday, 22 June 2012 - 01:16 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage

Archipelago Sea seen from the ferry between Pargas and Nagu © LPfi

Archipelago Sea seen from the ferry between Pargas and Nagu © LPfi

Archipelago Sea is a part of the Baltic Sea between the Gulf of Bothnia, the Gulf of Finland and the Sea of Åland, within Finnish territorial waters. By some definitions it contains the largest archipelago (island group) in the world by the number of islands, although many of the islands are very small and tightly clustered. The larger islands are inhabited and connected by ferries and bridges. The Åland Islands, including the largest islands of the region, form an autonomous region within Finland. The rest of the islands are part of Finland Proper. The Archipelago Sea is a significant tourist destination.

The islands generally enjoy a high standard of living comparable to that of continental Finland. Fishing and fish processing are major industries. The archipelago is well-known for its Baltic herring and rainbow trout products. Agriculture is limited by the small size and rocky nature of the islands. However, the climate is more favourable than in continental Finland and some islands, particularly Rymättylä, are famous in the nearby continental areas for producing the first new potatoes of the summer. The significance of tourism to the economy of the islands is constantly increasing.

The islands are linked by bridges and ferries, and in case of Åland, a small airport. The ferries are divided into two categories: “road ferries” are free of charge and operate mostly on short routes between adjacent (large) islands. They are raft-like in construction and usually operated by the road administration. The small ones are cable ferries, bigger ones do not use cables. The other ferries are more ship-like in construction, are operated by the maritime administration and may charge a small fee. They operate on longer routes covering several smaller or more distant islands. There are also large commersially operated cruiseferries connecting the Finnish cities of Turku and Helsinki to Åland and Sweden.

Näsby Harbour © LPfi Boat houses in the village of Hyppeis, municipality of Houtskär © BishkekRocks Archipelago Sea seen from Kasberg rock in Iniö Länsi-Turunmaa © Makele-90 Aearial view of Archipelago Sea, off the south-western shores of Finland © Radosław Botev Port of Pargas © LPfi Archipelago Sea seen from the ferry between Pargas and Nagu © LPfi
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Aearial view of Archipelago Sea, off the south-western shores of Finland © Radosław Botev
During cold winters official ice roads are established between some islands. Driving on the ice is common also to islands lacking official ice roads. This greatly eases transportation, as it makes it possible to simply drive a car from the continent to the islands. On the other hand, during spring and autumn there is a period of thaw when the ice is too thin even for walking, but too thick for boating. This can leave some islands lacking a pier for large ships isolated for days or weeks. Access is only by hydrocopter, hovercraft or helicopter.

Many important shipping lanes cross the Archipelago Sea. Navigation is made hazardous by the labyrinthine archipelago, varying depth and numerous skerries. For this reason the islands are dotted with lighthouses of varying sizes and navigational marks. Maritime pilot services are maintained by the state.

Read more on VisitFinland.com – Coast and Archipelago, Archipelago Sea Biosphere Reserve and Wikipedia Archipelago Sea. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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