Örö island

One of the islands at the Sea Archipelago. Former military area open to the public only in 2015. Pictures included.

I visited this place last summer with Eliška (yes, again Eliška. What should I say, she is fun. :) ) and we stayed overnight.
It was great weekend trip and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who wants to experience some nature but also does not feel like giving up on the basic level of comfort (such as clean bed, warm meal or a shower :) ).

our transport to Örö
Örö is a part of the Archipelago Sea National Park (find more at Wiki) and it is very special because until 2015 it has been closed to the public and served as a military area. Archipelago will, I think, always be a little closer to my heart, and if I have a chance, I will try to explore all of it... :) I still have very fond memories of our one and only proper holiday with Robert, which we had spent biking around Åland islands (I would love to go back again one day and see some more... you can check out my article, unfortunately still only in Czech - ostrovy Åland).

selfie on top of the bunker
Despite the fact, that Örö has been a military area once, it is very comfortable and I would say cozy place to stay. There is a hotel/hostel built up for guests, plus 3 of the cottages have been transformed into rentable apartments. At the reception you can buy all sorts of basic foods and junk food people usually buy while camping and there is also open a very nice restaurant (with surprisingly high prices) and a cute cafeteria with books to borrow or take home with you. As I understood, on the island are also reserved special areas for camping, so you can also grab a tent and go on your own.
Do book a place in the hostel or a cottage beforehand. I suspect that during a season it can be booked out.

bikes to borrow
The island itself is pretty small and it is laced with hiking and biking trails. It is possible to rent a bike (for a pretty fair price) and bike around, while enjoying the stunning sea view and raw nature combined with the remains of the military base. It feels like a little open air military museum, with the cannons, bunkers and other military thingies spread around.

you can discover interesting places there
You can get there by a boat or by a public transport. More info and a possibility to book your ticket at: nationalparks.fi. We were driving to the port by car, which was about 2.5hour drive from Tuusula. Then we left it on the big free parking lot (which was pretty full, but I am pretty confident that big enough for you to find a spot) and continued by a boat. Even though you can book your ticket beforehand, we bought them on the boat and it was not big of a deal. You are always buying both way ticket (which makes sense, as they do not want you to stay there, right? :) ) and you should check the schedules beforehand. The boats do not commute too often, just couple of times per day...so be careful not to get actually stuck there by missing your only way out.

We were visiting this place out of the season and so we ended there over night almost alone. Even though when we came, it was filled with people - guests from a wedding which was organized there the day before, almost all of them quite "hangoverish". After all those guests left, there were four more people left, according to the girl at the reception. We actually met them all at the restaurant later that evening. I have to admit, it did feel like a beginning of a very bad horror movie. We where even joking that according to the classical scenario, we will definitely be those girls that will die right at the beginning of the movi. :) It did not help my paranoia, that the only decent watchable movie on TV that night was "Silence of Lambs". :-/ I did not sleep so well that night, even though the bed was comfy and above it was hung a map of my favorite Åland islands :)

As to the island itself, it is sweet and very nice. I enjoyed the sea view a lot and biking around was enjoyable. Even though I was childless this time, I spotted a sandbox with toys and the living areas were suitable for families with children, so I will probably get back one day with my kids. The trip on the boat takes around 40 minutes and you can spend it either up sitting on a deck, or snuggled inside, watching out of the window the waves and possible rain. Definitely great experience for kids. :)

If you wanna know more about Örö, and plan your trip, check out:

cows were there too :)
trails were well marked

the cottage we rented
...from the inside
the port
from the boat :)

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