We just returned from a friend’s wedding in Finland. The wedding is too private to be discussed in public but we spent a few days in Nagu/Nauvo afterwards that seem worth mentioning. Why? Because we feel the village is a tourist trap.
Before describing our days in Nagu I should explain why we decided to stay there in the first place. Well, the wedding took place in Helsinki and we didn’t want to drive away 100s of kilometers from Helsinki. We had 5 extra days to spend and my wife is 7 months pregnant. Hence, our options were somewhat limited. We were looking for a nice and cozy place by the water (lake or ocean) to relax.
An Internet search turned up Nagu and the Hotel Strandbo – one of the only two(?) hotels in town. It seemed like the perfect combination: small village in the archipelago, cozy hotel, harbor and beach.
What we found was a hotel that didn’t live up to its promises and a lovely village turned into a tourist beehive by
- hordes “boat people” who used the harbor facilities (gasoline for their yacht) and near-looted the local supermarket
- day-tourists strolling along the few usual gift shops at the harbor
Ok, enough ranting – get in touch with me if you want to more about Nagu or its Hotels and Restaurants – let’s move on to the one really positive experience: the archipelago walk ways. We picked up a brochure at the harbor that lists a number of walk ways (aka trails) in the archipelago. Each trail is nicely described and depicted with a perfect map. Since we desperately wanted to leave the beehive they were a wonderful retreat. The brochure is not available online but I scanned a few maps.
Each trail is well marked/flagged. Along the way you’ll find signs with interesting or helpful information about the are – we thoroughly enjoyed each and every trail we took (read on).
The problem with the trail brochure is that there’s no map of the greater Nagu area which would indicate how to reach the various trail heads from Nagu. The scale of the overview map is too big and the trail maps are too specific. Hence, you have to find some other map (or GPS) yourself.
This trail is perfect to learn a bit about Nagu and its history.
Explore the “outskirts” of Nagu. Considering the size of the village the soccer field is quite impressive.
The Grännäs trail is special as you’ll be walking right through the forest – not on on roads or paths. Every few meters you’ll see a colored band that leads the way. At the beginning the route nearly crosses other people’s properties. I thought it very interesting but since it was very hot and humid (perfect mosquito conditions ;-)) my wife wanted to quit after the first quarter. So we did…there where the two black arrows on the map meet. We crossed the field (yellow on the map) and followed the road westwards back to the trail head.
Along the way you cross what appears to be the perfect alternative to the busy Nagu accomodations: http://www.grannasgard.fi/
Of all the trails we liked this the best. It’s a short but interesting hike up to Varberget (wolf hill/mountain) but the at the top there’s cool watch tower that offers a magnificent view over the archipelago. Let me know if you happen to find our comments in the guestbook on the tower…
The trail head is easy to find as it’s right next to the main road leading to Nagu (coming from Turku). There’s also a sign next to the road pointing to the parking – which is at the bottom of the local ski jump.
Kasberget is the highest peak in the archipelago. It’s some 65 meters if I remember correctly. Nice view at the top, romantic stroll through the forest, very interesting info boards along the way and at the top.