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Brändö is a municipality in Åland and the main island of the municipality. It consists of about 1200 islands with 450 permanent residents. It is the northernmost municipality in Åland.
Brändö consists of the villages Lappo, Asterholma, Torsholma, Baggholma, Brändö by, Björnholma, Korsö, Fiskö, Åva and Jurmo. Åva is the administrative centre but most of the services are at or in the vicinity of Brändö by.
Lappo, Asterholma and Jurmo are separate islands, without direct road connection.
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.
Brändö has been a remote place and there are virtually no archaeological findings. The first permanent residents came here probably 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 1540's. The Stockholm–Turku Mail Route ran through the islands from Baggholma to Åva.
On the map its easy to see a large circular formation in the northern part of Brändö islands. This Åva intrusion is about 1800 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 on 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.
The municipality has extensive optical fibre network and there is a free Wi-Fi in all public buildings including hotels and restaurants. The local tax rate is the lowest one in Åland.
Brändö is unilingually Swedish speaking, like the rest of Åland. Knowledge of English should be good as in the rest of Finland. Knowledge of Finnish is not too good, although there are more Finnish speakers than in most of Åland.
You can reach Brändö by ferry operated by Ålandstrafiken. The islands are on Norra Linjen or the Northern Line. Ferries serve from Osnäs in Gustavs (Finnish: Vuosnainen in Kustavi) to the
Åva harbourby M/S Viggen (or occasionally smaller M/S Knipan) and from Hummelvik in Vårdö by M/S Alfågeln via Lappo to
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 section "get around"), 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) and Iniö (main village: Norrby) to
Torsholma jettyby the ferries serving "Houtskärs ruttområde" (Finnish: Houtskarin reitti) and "Iniö tilläggsrutt" (Finnish: Iniön lisäreitti). These vessels, operated by Ferentes, are small (do not carry cars), often calling at many minor islands, and usually have to be booked in advance. See articles for 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.
The tourism is mainly concentrated to the islands Jurmo in the north and Lappo in the southwest. To reach these separate islands there are smaller ferries from Åva-Jurmo vv. and Torsholma-Lappo-Asterholma vv. See the timetables here. Note that some arrivals need to be booked in advance.
There is no public transportation in Brändö except kollektivtrafiken from/to the Åva/Torsholma ferry harbour along the main road (incl. road to Fiskö). It is scheduled to connect specific arrivals and departures of M/S Viggen and M/S Alfågeln. These are marked to the time tables of these ferries. The kollektivtrafiken must be pre booked one day in advance and is free of charge. There is no kollektivtrafiken on Wednesdays or Sundays.
Taxi and kollektivtrafiken:
Taxi Åbergphone: +358 400 229 454even weeks
Brändö Taxi/Eija Laitala-Petterssonphone: +358 408 481 982odd weeks
Outside the islands Jurmo and Lappo the distances are rather long for walking. Distance between Åva harbor and Torsholma harbor is 23 km. Bicycle is useful as there is little traffic on the roads and the islands are mostly flat. Check if your accommodation has bikes for rent.
Brändö's Churchaddress: Brändö byA wooden cross church built in the 1890s. The altarpiece is from the 15th century.
Ateljée Regnbågenaddress: Brändö byAn art exhibition by Anita Hellström-Sandberg.
address: LappoOld boats and fishing and hunting tools. There's also an blacksmith's workshop.
Torsholma observing toweraddress: TorsholmaObserving 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.
phone: +358 40 506 4777See 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
phone: +358 18 56350address: Björnholma
phone: +358 18 56343address: Brändö byLunch 11-14. Café. Hamburgers, pizzas and salads.
phone: +358 40 50 64 777address: JurmoRestaurant specialized on beef and fish dishes.
phone: +358 50 598 2709address: LappoA seaside restaurant with dishes specialized in fish and lamb.
phone: +358 18 56 210address: Brändö byVery 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.
phone: +358 40 50 64 777address: JurmoGrocery store with local products. Equipments for boats, cars and bikes.
phone: +358 18 56622address: LappoGrocery store. Mail service. Alko delivery point.
phone: +358 40 8324333address: LappoClothes and jewelry.
phone: +358 18 56350address: BjörnholmaHotel, restaurant and a guest marina on its own island but next to the main road. Minigolf, fishing trips, kayaks for rent.
phone: +358 40 753 0514A small and clean camping area with cabins for rent. Sauna. Next to the main road. Café wasn't open in 2019.
phone: +358 40 500 8204address: KorsöRooms, cabins and camping (incl. toilet, shower, kitchen). Restaurant. Boats, kayaks and bikes for rent. Sauna. Fishing permits.
address: TorsholmaCabins for rent. Booking by e-mail.
phone: +358 40 50 64 777address: JurmoB&B and camping on Jurmo island. Café and restaurant. Highland cattle.
phone: +358 40 832 4333address: LappoRooms, cabins and guest marina on Lappo island.
phone: +358 457 548 3993address: AsterholmaCabins with own kitchen, bathroom and sauna on Asterholma island. Fishing permits.
- Kustavi or Archipelago Sea in mainland Finland.
- Kumlinge or Vårdö in Åland.