Overlooking the sea on the main island of Åland is the Castle of Kastelholm, in Swedish Kastelholms slott. This is a place to go to when you want to experience a place that combines both history, nature and local traditions. There really is a lot to see here.
Let’s start with the history of the castle. It was founded in the 14th century and has been extended several times since then. During the time of construction and some centuries after its completion, the Åland Islands and the rest of what is today Finland were a part of Sweden. During the 16th century the Swedish king Gustav Vasa converted the previously mostly fortified castle to a royal hunting lodge. The castle of Kastelholm was in use until the 17th century when it started to lose it significance. It was completly abandonded after a few fires in the 17th and 18th century which turned the castle into a ruin.
The castle is nowadays mostly rebuilt and it is possible to enter the castle for a small fee. It is free to take a walk in the area around the castle. Our opinion is that most castles are nicer on the outside than on the inside.
Just next to the Castle of Kastelholm one can see a group of buildings from different parts of the island. Take a walk around to learn how people lived in different periods of history. There are for example several old windmills and the island’s old prison to see. Or why not just take a walk alongside the water.
This is also a place where the villagers usually raise the midsummer pole on midsummer’s’ eve. This is a special occasion both on Åland and in Sweden, with the difference being that the decorations on the poles on the Åland Island are much more colourful.
Getting to the Castle of Kastelholm
Our recommendation is to either drive or cycle out to Kastelholm. The castle is around 20 kilometers from the island’s only town Mariehamn.
We have found most information regarding the Castle of Kastelholm on the webpages below. Here you will also be able to find opening hours and prices.