There are a few places on the Åland Islands that we have passed by a few times. And each time, we comment that “this looks nice, maybe we should stop sometime”. As is usually the case, we keep on driving. One place we actually took our time to see recently is the Lemström Canal not far from Mariehamn. The canal has a beautiful location, with green lawns and walking paths on both sides. It is a perfect place to enjoy the view of the sailboats passing by each time the bridge across the canal is opened. In the summertime, there’s an ice-cream kiosk as well. In other words, this is a great opportunity to taste some delicious Finnish ice-cream.
The canal was built in the 1880’s to make make it easier for boats to travel from Mariehamn to the other parts of the main island. It is 350 meters long and in connects the Baltic Sea with Lumparn, a large bay. Today it is possible to cross the canal by car over a swing bridge. During summertime, the bridge is opened several times per day for ten minutes each time.
Lemström Canal: a Bit of History
The town of Mariehamn was founded in 1861 and it has two harbors. One of them is facing west and, quite logically, the other one faces east. For a long time, it was mainly the westward facing harbor that received traffic. It was not until the 1880’s when a canal was built at Lemström that the traffic increased also at the eastward facing harbor.
Boats had since the middle ages been traveling across at Lemström, but due to the uplift of the land, the passage was eventually made impossible for boats. After years of local requests, the Russian tsar finally agreed to build the canal in 1880. The investment was 200.000 Finnish mark and 112 workers began the work. The canal finally opened in 1882.
Lemström Canal: Getting There?
Lemström Canal is an eight-kilometer drive east of Mariehamn. Go along road 3 eastwards you will eventually reach the bridge. It is possible to park on the north side of the canal (before crossing the bridge). That is also where you will find the ice-cream kiosk.
Hey, Did You Know?
Are you planning to go on holiday to the Åland? Look no further – in our Guide to the Åland Islands you will find everything you need for your vacation!