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The capital of the Ã…lands, Mariehamn is the only real town in the archipelago, with a population of 10,700. Founded in 1861, Mariehamn was named after the empress of Russia, Marie Alexandrovna, wife of Alexander II. It is on an isthmus with harbor facilities, and thousands of linden trees line its streets. The people here have always looked to the sea for their livelihood -- that is, before the days of tourism.

The town is small, so buses are not required to follow a specific route. However, there is a bus that runs from the harbor to the center of town, a distance of 3.2km (2 miles).

Getting There

Finnair (tel. 600/14-01-40; www.finnair.com) offers four daily flights from Helsinki (trip time: 1 hr.) and four from Turku (trip time: 30 min.). The Mariehamn airport is 3.2km (2 miles) north of the center of town. There is year-round bus service (tel. 018/634-411) from both Helsinki and Turku, traveling via the interisland ferries.

The Viking Line runs seagoing ferries from Stockholm to Turku, with a stop en route at Mariehamn, and the Silja Line also makes the 6 1/2-hour trip from Stockholm to Mariehamn. There is usually one ship per day on each line. For prices, tickets, and information, contact the Viking Line (tel. 018/262-11; www.vikingline.fi in Mariehamn) or the Silja Line (tel. 018/167-11; www.silja.com in Mariehamn).

Visitor Information

The Mariehamn Tourist Information Office, Storagatan 8, FIN-22100 Mariehamn (tel. 018/240-00; www.visitaland.com), is open June to August daily 9am to 6pm; September to May Monday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.