The Archipelago Trail

We were meaning to do the Archipelago trail for a few years now by motorbike, but we just kept postponing it for no obvious reason. As I really wanted to do it during the summer, I was once again mentally postponing the trip until the next summer just as I have been doing it for the past three years or so.

Then I thought that I’m making this more complicated than it should be. I started as always trying to map everything I wanted to see using The Archipelago Trail website, then eliminating all the stuff we probably wouldn’t have time for, and finally booking what seemed to be the last available hotel room in Korppoo. I also asked my friend to borrow her car, so this way the weather wouldn’t matter as much.

The final plan looked like this:

2_Saariston rengastie
The Archipelago Trail

We left on Friday afternoon and drove pretty much directly to the island of Korppoo where I have booked Hotel Nestor for the night. There were a couple of free ferries on the way, which run frequently and there wasn’t any issues with getting to our destination. Hotel Nestor was a lovely rustic place and they have a superb restaurant. We were lucky to have the last available table and had an amazing dinner.

3_Hotel Nestor 1
Dinner at Hotel Nestor
4_Hotel Nestor 2
Dinner at Hotel Nestor

The hotel itself was very clean and comfortable, but rather basic. We had a good night sleep, enjoyed a hotel breakfast in the morning, and then set off again. By sheer luck we arrived to the next ferry just 10 minutes before it was scheduled to leave as this one had a much longer operating intervals. After the ferry we headed to Borgberg viewing spot, which was a bit of climbing, but had a nice view of the surrounding forest.

5_Borgbergin näköalatorni
Borgberg viewing tower
6_Borgbergin näköalatorni
Borgberg viewing tower
7_Borgbergin näköalatorni
Borgberg viewing tower

All the ferries on the Archipelago trail were free of charge except for one. And this one was expensive! For one regular car the cost was 35€, but the trip was also closer to an hour. Most of the ferries are free and the trips are short, but there were a couple of ferries, which had long intervals, so it would make sense to either reserve some extra time or check the departures in advance.

8_Lautta Houtskari-Iniö
Ferry from Houtskari to Iniö
9_Lautta Houtskari-Iniö
On the ferry

10_Lautta Houtskari-Iniö

11_Lautta Houtskari-Iniö
On the ferry

After that our next sightseeing spot was Jeremia’s caves, which turned out to be not-so-greatly signposted spot with a misleading name as there wasn’t really any caves. At least we only found large rocks on top of each other with tiny hollows, which could be called caves by someone with a good imagination. 🙂 The trail required some effort, but wasn’t very difficult.

12_Jeremiaan luolat
Jeremia’s caves
13_Jeremiaan luolat
Jeremia’s caves
14_Jeremiaan luolat
Jeremia’s caves
15_Jeremiaan luolat
Jeremia’s caves

After that we headed to the next ferry, but when we arrived, it turned out that the next ferry would leave in 1 h 15 min. We parked the car in the queue for the ferry and decided to have lunch in a cafe nearby. At least that was the plan, but when we got there, we realized that they only sold small snacks. So we grabbed some pie with drinks and then got back to our car. The wait went by surprisingly well despite it being a rather hot day and the parking had no shade in sight. Not to mention that our car was quite old and didn’t have any air conditioning. 😀

17_Saariston rengastie
Ferry sign

We had a dinner reservation at a pop up restaurant Kustavin Kipinä. Kustavin Kipinä (The Spark of Kustavi) is normally a building, which hosts meetings, art exhibitions, and such, but for the past few years they have been inviting different guest chefs and having a pop up restaurant for six weeks in July and early August with a different chef and a different cuisine each week. This week there was supposed to be an Icelandic chef, but apparently something has changed and the chef was from Estonia.

So as we had a dinner reservation at seven and we reached Kustavi well before that. First we tried to walk and do some sightseeing in Kustavi, but that was pretty quickly done as the town is tiny. We decided to drive around and see a couple of other locations.

16_Muntin silta
Munti bridge
18_Saariston rengastie
The Archipelago Trail road sign
19_Askaisten kirkko
Askainen church
20_Askaisten ritaripuisto
Park of the knights of the Mannerheim Cross

We arrived at Kustavin Kipinä a bit before seven and it has to be one of the most remote restaurants I’ve ever visited. We needed to pass many fields and teeny tiny roads to get there.

21_Kustavin kipinä
Kustavin Kipinä

The place was great and it had some really nice art and great atmosphere, but it didn’t strike me as cozy. The kitchen was open, so we could see the kitchen staff working on our meals. Because we had a fixed starting time and only one set menu, everybody were served the same food at the same time.

22_Kustavin kipinä 1
Kustavin Kipinä
23_Kustavin kipinä 2
Kustavin Kipinä

I would say the food was quite good, but not very surprising. The dessert was hands down the best dish of the menu. It was a fun experience, but in hindsight not really worth the hassle of driving this far and paying for the hotel. It is possible to drive there and back from Helsinki, but it would make for a very late night.

So after dinner we have booked an Airbnb house in Turku. I was looking at hotels first, but as I was really late with my plans, all the hotels were super expensive. The Airbnb had a great location, free parking, and was less than half the price of the hotel. Hotel Nestor in Korppoo had fixed pricing, so it was the same despite my late booking, but Turku hotels practice flexible pricing and apparently they were quite busy. 😉

The next day we had plans on having brunch in Turku’s restaurant Tintå of which I have heard many good things, but I thought that it would be a cafe, but it turned out to be more of a lunch/dinner place. It is located on the bank of Aura river alongside with many other wonderful cafes.

24_Turku
Aura river
25_Tintå
Tintå
26_Tintå
Tintå

So we decided to have pizza. Not exactly brunch we were looking for, but pizzas were quite good. 🙂 The place is super busy and every table had several reservations on them, so if you want to go there for dinner, I suggest, you reserve a table.

27_Tintå
Tintå

After lunch we headed back to Helsinki. The day continued warm and maybe we didn’t see everything we wanted, but when do you have the time to do everything? At least we did the trail and had a great Finnish summer weekend.

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