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Last updated : Nov 2009
Finnish Archipelago and Åland Islands
Finnish Archipelago and Aland Islands - TravelPuppy.com
Finland is surrounded in the south, southwest and west by the Baltic Sea, the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia. The coastline is highly indented and its total length is 4600km (2760 miles) and around the coast is a vast archipelago of thousands of islands.

The coast and archipelago are largely composed of granite rocks, either grey or red and these are generally low-lying. In many places there are long unspoiled beautiful sandy beaches. There are no tides to speak of, so the appearance of the seashore does not alter much from the lakeshores. In addition, the seawater is not very salty as very little water of high salt content passes through the Danish straits, and the many rivers, as well as the rainfall, contribute more water to the Baltic than is lost by evaporation.

A special feature of the Baltic is that the land is constantly rising from the sea, by as much as 9mm a year in the narrow part of the Gulf of Bothnia - a long-term result of the end of the Ice Age. The archipelago can be explored by cruises from many of the local coastal towns.

Southwest Finland and the Åland Islands are the warmest part of the country and more deciduous trees grow here than anywhere else in the Finland. Fruit and vegetables are cultivated extensively and twenty per cent of the country’s fields are located here.

For historical reasons, a large proportion of the Swedish-speaking population of Finland lives throughout this region and is concentrated in the Åland Islands, the Turku Archipelago and on the south coast. The region is often spoken of as the cradle of Finnish civilisation and the area has a larger concentration of granite churches and manors than in the country.

Main towns and Resorts

Hämeenlinna, Hanko, Hamina, Hyvinkää, Kouvola, Kotka, Kuusankoski, Lohja, Mariehamn and Åland Islands, Naantali, Parainen, Pori, Porvoo, Rauma, Riihimäki, Tammisaari, Turku and Uusikaupunki.