1Kustavi Handicrafts Village
Only an hour’s drive from Turku, you’ll open out onto a captivating world of red ochre cottages and log cabins. Many are surprised at what you can discover in the middle of nowhere. The Kustavi Handicrafts Village has grown around the pottery workshop run by two sisters, and is now a popular visitor location.
During summer, visitors can observe Kustavi’s artisans forging jewellery and blowing glass. Kids are sure to love the pedal cars as well as the sheep roaming the yard. With so many nice things to buy, from candles to ceramics, you’ll probably want to hoard half the village. Whatever you buy, you’re sure to come away with the same easy-going feeling.
Kustavi is an archipelago county of 900 inhabitants, which comes alive during summer as sailing enthusiasts increase the population tenfold. In August, the Salmon Market resembles the harvest festivals of an American country village, with auctions and live music. The little firefighters can try extinguishing a burning playhouse, whilst those who can sprint fast might have a chance to win the salmon run!
Both the villagers and the tourists alike join in the distinctive archipelago traditions and the raising of the midsummer poles. Check out the website for events, particularly the Volter Kilpi Literature Week!
3Lootholma Archipelago Village
At the tip of a peninsula in Kustavi’s archipelago is the eco-resort oasis of Lootholma, with its recently built, spacious, grass-roofed cabins. Indulge in the breath-taking sea views, relax in the terrace hot tub or enjoy some locally caught fish at the nearby restaurant, found to the side of the old schooner Helena. If you are interested in a more unusual type of accommodation, then rent a yurt. It’s a spacious, furnished room inside a tent, where you can sleep in a proper bed but still be close to nature.
Lootholma is luxury in the centre of a pine forest, with rocks and sandy beaches by the water’s edge. Like the German family that happened accidentally to visit, you may end up changing your plans and staying here for weeks. In Lootholma, there is also a sheltered harbour and a camping site.
In Kustavi on the southwest coast of Finland, there are almost 2000 islands, less than 1000 inhabitants but more than 900 km of shorelines. As you wander along Kustavi’s forested upland paths, live the life of an explorer: how memorable and exciting it would be to discover your own magnificent rocky cliff or sheltered cove.
Staring out onto the open sea from the silhouetted cliffs, it’s magical to share a moment alone with just the Artic Jaeger, Greylag Geese or Sea Eagle for company. With the drive from Turku under an hour, Kustavi is even suitable as a day trip.
5The Region of Taivassalo
Just over half an hour’s drive from Turku you’ll discover an area teeming with professional fishermen, the most in the archipelago, despite having only 1700 residents in total! As you cross the near half kilometre long Kaitainen Bridge, you get an appreciation for great Archipelago views Taivassalo has to offer. The significance of the sea is well presented at the Viiainen Manor Museum.
To be surrounded by medieval demons, dragons and the flames of hell, then journey to the grey stone Church of the Holy Cross. Implicit in the limestone paintings is an effort to keep people of the 1400’s on the straight and narrow.