Infos about the region Åland
Åland, in Finnish Ahvenanmaa, does actually not belong to Sweden but to Finland. The only official language spoken on this archipelago consisting of more than 6700 islands and islets is in fact Swedish, and Åland is in large extent goverend autonomously. In Finland and Sweden, Åland is very popular because of the fact that special tax laws allow tax free shopping of alcohol, tobacco etc. on the way there. But Åland has much more to offer than the possibility of tax free shopping on the way there. The archipelago, which is located ca. 40 km away from the Swedish and ca. 15 km away from the Finnish coast is home of approx. 28 000 and possesses an own state parliament as an autonomous province. A large part of Åland is covered by forest, but you will also find some rare orchids on Åland. Being an archipelago, Åland is also a sailors' paradise. The first traces of human beings can be traced back to the stone age, when the first fishermen and seal hunters settled down in the archipelago. Åland already belonged to Sweden, Finland and Russia. Since 1921 it is a demilitarized autonomous province of Finland. But since the archipelago experienced an early influence from the Swedish realm, you will find buildings which you won't find in the rest of Finland. Especially the medieval castle of Kastelhom from the 14th century as well as the church of Jomala, built between 1275 and 1285, shall be mentioned. The latter one is apparently the oldest still existing building in Finland. As you can see, Åland is not only worth a visit because of the tax free shopping. Come and discover Åland and its nature, its buildings and its uniqueness as a Swedish outpost of Finland!