municipality of Åland, Finland

Not to be confused with the district Kulosaari/Brändö in Helsinki's eastern suburbs.

Brändö is the northernmost municipality in Åland. It consists of about 1,200 islands with 450 permanent residents (2021). "Brändö" is also the name of one of its main islands.

Northern Brändö archipelago. The Åva ring structure, clearly visible on maps, was caused by a magma chamber that did not become a volcano.

Understand edit

Brändö is a group of islands in north-east part of Åland, by the border to Finland Proper. Due to its remote location in Åland and closeness to mainland Finland locals prefer to go shopping to Turku or Uusikaupunki instead of Mariehamn. Also, almost 1/5 of residents have Finnish as their mother tongue, a number much higher than elsewhere in Åland, as a result of efforts to counter population decline with immigration. Half of the population has roots elsewhere.

Brändö has been a remote place and there are virtually no archaeological findings. The first permanent residents probably came here in the end of the medieval era. The name Brändö was first mentioned in a land register from 1537. According to this register, all the current villages already existed having 57 houses in total. Probably their souls were saved as Brändö was mentioned as a chapel under Kumlinge parish already in the 1540s. The Stockholm–Turku Mail Route ran through the islands from Baggholma to Åva.

On the map it's easy to see a large circular formation in the northern part of Brändö islands. This Åva intrusion is about 1,800 million years old volcanic structure. The formation is well visible from aerial view but not so well from the ground level. Interestingly, there are no pine forests on Brändö islands except in the area close to the Åva harbour.

Getting around these islands has traditionally been challenging, but nowadays most of the major islands are connected with a paved road with bridges and causeways giving a good view out over the surrounding archipelago. Brändö is a delicate place for bicycling as the islands are fairly flat.

In spite of the big Finnish-speaking minority, the municipality is officially unilingually Swedish. Knowledge of English should be good as in the rest of Finland.

Regions edit

Brändö consists of the villages Lappo, Asterholma, Torsholma, Baggholma, Brändö by, Björnholma, Korsö, Fiskö, Åva and Jurmo. Most names of villages are also the name of their main island. Åva is the administrative centre but most of the services are in or close to the village Brändö.

Lappo, Asterholma and Jurmo are separate islands, without direct road connection.

Get in edit

Lappo harbour, Alfågeln arriving in the background

You can reach Brändö from the rest of Åland by the ferry operated by Ålandstrafiken. The islands are on Norra Linjen, the Northern Line. Ferries serve also from Osnäs in Gustavs (Finnish: Vuosnainen in Kustavi) to the 1 Åva harbour by M/S Viggen (or occasionally the smaller M/S Knipan) and from Hummelvik in Vårdö by M/S Alfågeln via Lappo to 2 Torsholma harbour. Osnäs and Hummelvik are on islands connected to the Finland and Åland mainlands, respectively, by short road ferry passages. There are cafés on the ferries and a restaurant in Vuosnainen. Åva and Torsholma harbours have just dry toilets and waiting cabins.

There are coaches from Mariehamn and Turku connecting to some of the ferry departures. For Kustavi these services are sparse, especially off season. There is a collective taxi connection from Kustavi centre to the ferry (€4, normal taxi is €30) and between Åva and Torsholma (free, see Get around below), instead of the bus for some ferry departures. The taxi has to be ordered in advance. The connections are described in the Ålandstrafiken timetables.

There are also connections from Houtskär (main village: Näsby, some services from Roslax a few kilometres away) and Iniö (main village: Norrby, another ferry quay in Dalen) to 3 Torsholma jetty by the ferries serving "Houtskärs ruttområde" (Finnish: Houtskarin reitti) and "Iniö tilläggsrutt" (Finnish: Iniön lisäreitti). These vessels are small (they do not carry cars), often calling at many minor islands, and usually have to be booked in advance. See articles on Houtskär and Iniö for details.

Keep the ferry receipts, as the ferry onwards or back will be cheaper after a night spent in the archipelago (as defined in Åland). Also, bike tickets are valid for all the season. If you have booked accommodation, check how to get the cheaper price already on your way out.

Get around edit

The tourism is mainly concentrated to the islands Jurmo in the north and Lappo in the south-west. To reach these separate islands there are smaller ferries from Åva-Jurmo vv. and Torsholma-Lappo-Asterholma vv. See the Ålandstrafiken timetables[dead link]. Some arrivals must be booked in advance.

There is no public transportation in Brändö except kollektivtrafiken[dead link] between Åva and Torsholma ferry harbours along the main road (including the road to Fiskö). It is scheduled to connect specific arrivals and departures of M/S Viggen and M/S Alfågeln. They are marked in the time tables of these ferries. The kollektivtrafiken must be pre-booked one day in advance and is free of charge. Kollektivtrafiken runs daily 5 June 5–10 August (in 2020). The rest of the year it is not available on Saturdays.

Taxi and kollektivtrafiken:

Outside the islands Jurmo and Lappo the distances are rather long for walking. Distance between Åva harbour and Torsholma harbour is 23 km. Bicycle is useful as there is little traffic on the roads and the islands are mostly flat. Check whether your accommodation has bikes for rent.

See edit

Brändö church
  • 1 Brändö Church, Brändö by (about 1 km off the main road). Mid-June to mid-August: M-F. A wooden cross church built in the 1890s. The altarpiece is from the 15th century.
  • 2 Ateljée Regnbågen, Brändö by. An art exhibition by Anita Hellström-Sandberg.
  • 3 Archipelago Museum, Lappo. Old boats and fishing and hunting tools. There's also an blacksmith's workshop.
  • 4 Torsholma observing tower, Torsholma. Observing tower by a nature trail in the village Torsholma.

There are several scenic views from the main road, especially between Torsholma and Brandö by. For safety reasons it is forbidden to stop on some of the bridges including the long and high Åva bridge.

Do edit

  • 1 The island Jurmo (ferry from Åva), +358 40-506-4777. See the highland cattle, take a stroll in the woods at a walking path, climb the watch tower to see the islands surrounding Jurmo. Visit their small museum with fishing tools in an old fishing hut. Eat at their restaurant and café open in the summer months and sleep at their hostel. From the small grocery shop open in summer time you can buy food to prepare in the hostel. There's also possible to go on boat excursions to see e.g. seals, an old fishing camp, and rent kayaks and bikes.

Eat and drink edit

Buy edit

  • 1 Brändö Andelshandeln, Brändö by (300 m off the main road), +358 18 56-210. See öppetider from webpage. Very well equipped grocery store. Free Wi-Fi. Some basic drugs. Tools and hardware. Free drinking water. Fuel. Bank and mail service in the same building.
  • 2 Butik Kvarnen, Jurmo, +358 40-506-4777, . Mid-June to mid-August: 09:00–22:00. Grocery store with local products. Equipments for boats, cars and bikes.
  • 3 Lappo Handelslag, Lappo, +358 18 56-622. Summertime: 09:00–19:00. Grocery store. Mail service. Alko delivery point.
  • 4 Sjöboden, Lappo (in Lappo main village), +358 40-832-4333. Summertime: 14:00–19:00. Clothes and jewellery.

Sleep edit

Stay safe edit

Mind the ticks and be careful by the sea.

Connect edit

There is an extensive optical fibre network and there is free Wi-Fi in all public buildings including hotels and restaurants.

Go next edit

  • Houtskär and Iniö are island groups and communities across the border to mainland Finland, accessible by ferries visiting many islands; Kustavi is the gateway to the mainland proper.
  • Kumlinge or Vårdö, by the ferry route towards the Åland mainland.
This rural area travel guide to Brändö is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.