Gorgeous views, islands to yourselves, and exploration of an area over 8,000 sq.km with thousands of islands.*
Everyman’s right means you can wild camp almost anywhere, the only limitation being that much of this archipelago is a National Park. This results in certain islands having designated camping spots, and it’s advisable that you don’t camp outside of those areas. However, it should still feel like wild camping. You don’t ever pay for a campsite. You don’t get told exactly where to put your tent. And most islands don’t have facilities.
What else? You’ll be able to choose whether you want to steer away from civilisation or towards it. You’ll find quaint villages with shops as commonly as islands where the only inhabitants are sheep. Plus, it’s Finland, so you might find some islands that have saunas.
In the summer, you may be treated to the midnight sun. You can take advantage of the extra daylight with extra kayaking and not having to rush to set up camp in the evenings.
If you choose to go without a guide, you’ll have the freedom and challenge of navigating this vast archipelago, while choosing when and where to stop, and how far to go. Set your own pace and enjoy the sunsets.
- The weather can be very unpredictable. Some areas of the archipelago will leave you exposed to wind & subsequent choppy waters, but you can avoid the worst of this by navigating a path between islands that are close together.
- If you’re unprepared or don’t have the necessary skills, this could become a somewhat dangerous trip. Make sure you read our guides, assess your own skills & follow the advice of the company you are renting from.
- Finland isn’t cheap. We’ll suggest the cheapest and best options, but if you want a cheaper kayaking adventure it might be worth checking out our Swedish itinerary (links coming soon). Taxis may cost you up to 25 euros for a 15 minute journey. Trains and buses are cheaper – but the transport system is efficient.
When’s best to go?
July or August
How long for? How many people?
I’d recommend 5 days of kayaking, with an early finish on the last day. On the first day, you probably won’t set out until mid afternoon as you’ll need time to pack your kit into your kayaks.
I’ve traveled with groups of 5-6 people. I’d recommend a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 10. You need enough of a skill & personality mix to keep things moving, but not so many people that you’ll struggle to find islands large enough to host all your tents.
What skills do we need?
- At least one person needs to have a good knowledge and experience of first aid. If you have any medics who can join you, this is ideal. If not, get in touch as I may be able to help.
- At least one person, ideally two, need to be confident in their navigation skills. Ideally, everyone should be able to follow a compass bearing. It can be tricky to navigate on water, especially when many of the islands look the same!
- You should all have some general camping experience so that you are comfortable setting up camp & cooking with no outside support.
- You should all have a general level of fitness, be strong swimmers & comfortable both on and in the water. Most of the group should have some kayaking experience – but you can sign up to a few hours of instruction on your first day to get you started & build your confidence.
This depends on what company you go with. Your options include:
- Starting from Turku to explore The Finnish Archipelago Sea
- Starting from Mariehamn to explore The Aland Islands
- Starting from Helsinki to explore The Helsinki Archipelago
Our itinerary is based on kayaking from Turku with Aavameri, but they are not the only company you can choose.
Again, this depends on what company you go with, and/or where you choose to start from. Here are a few options, starting with the company I have used & would recommend. All prices are in euros or English pounds. All prices are based on 5 days of kayaking, but you can choose to change this length. All options, unless otherwise stated, do not include camping or cooking equipment.
Prices here total up the 5 days of kayaking & safety course & any additional expenses you’ll need to reach each company. For a quote on the entire trip, check out our itinerary.
Aavameri have multiple start locations to choose from, may be able to offer some discounts if you have a high number of participants, were recommended to me by another company I used in Sweden, and have high ratings from us here at Adventures, Planned. They are based in Turku, Finland. You can take international flights directly to Turku, or you can access the are easily by train or bus from Helsinki. The company will offer an initial 3 hour safety course on your first day, compulsory if anyone is new to sea kayaking.
Aavameri have a self-guided kayaking option here. Expect to pay 418 euros per person for 5 days of kayaking, if you are not offered any further discount. This includes:
- 3-4 hour safety course
- Rental of single kayaks for 5 days
- Transportation to and from the starting location
- Maps, route advice & phone support if required.
You can also choose guided tours with the same company if you’d like or require the safety of a qualified person, but expect this to set you back 840 euros for 5 days of kayaking. Prices are correct at the time of writing (08/19).
This company were also recommended to me by a kayaking company I used in Sweden. They are based in the Aland islands, an autonomous region of Finland, very close to Sweden. I have not yet booked a trip with this company, but they are cheaper than the above option. The only issue is that the Aland islands are difficult to access. Expect to be charged about 180 euros per person for 5 days of kayaking, including an initial safety course. We would recommend that you check this price with the company as prices do change & Paddelboden advertise less customisation options on their website, but do discuss these by email.
Expect to add up to another 100 euros to get to Mariehamn, where this company are based. You can fly there or take a ferry from Stockholm, Helsinki, or Turku (Finland). The ferry is the cheapest option, as cheap as £25, but you will need an extra day of travel time to take this option.
Total price: 180 + 100 = 280 euros per person
I have not booked or traveled with this company, but I have previously inquired about their trips. They offer a self-guided expedition from 2 days +, a 6 hour safety course, cooking and camping equipment (except sleeping bags) inclusive. They are based in the smaller Helsinki archipelago. This archipelago has 330 islands* with a variety of historical sites and other areas of interest. However, this also makes for a busier, less wild archipelago.
Expect to pay 260 euros per person for 5 days of kayaking + 95 euros for the safety course, including camping & cooking equipment. Expect to add 1 night of hotel or hostel accommodation in Helsinki due to the length of the safety course. For hostel accommodation, this may be an additional 40 euros per person.
Total price: 260 + 95 + 40 = 395 euros per person
I have not yet inquired or booked with this company. They offer kayaking in a different area: Lake Saimaa. The lake is on the Eastern side of Finland & offers thousands of islands to explore. Since this is lake-based kayaking it can be easy-going, but there are also rapids to go through should you wish.
Expect to pay 150-180 euros per person for 5 days, depending on the season (June is counted as ‘Green’ and July & August as ‘High’. Expect to add 20 euros for a map, and no more than 200 euros for transportation, depending on where you choose to start from. Add 10-15 euros for bus transport from Helsinki bus terminal to Mikkeli, where this company are based. The price includes some guiding, but their website is unclear on the extent of this.
Total price: 180 + 20 + 15 + 33 = 248 euros per person for 5 days
Sounds great! How do we go about it?
Easy. Simply check out our itinerary & kit list.
All you need to do is:
- Get a group together
- Choose your dates
- Choose your customisation options (highlighted on all itineraries with the word ‘SWAPS’).
- Book anything marked with a ‘B.’
- Contact us if you have any issues, and remember to share our link 🙂
- Please contact us if you have any updated pricing or other information which may be incorrect on our site.
No amount of itineraries or recommendations are a substitute for good planning, backup plans, and proper skills & training. We are not advocating to always travel without a guide. No plan is perfect, and no journey without risk. Check the weather, government travel advice for your chosen area and any other necessary information before you travel. Consider your own skills. Travel safe.
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