Kastelholm Castle,built in 14th century, Aland islands.

© Popova Valeriya/Shutterstock

Kastelholms Slott

Top choice in Åland Archipelago

One of Åland’s premier sights is this striking 14th-century castle on a picturesque inlet (signposted off Rd 2). The keep towers are 15m high in parts, with walls of 3m-thick red granite; it’s easy to see how it would once have ruled over Åland. Exhibits showcase the castle’s evolution and archaeological finds, including a medieval silver-coin hoard. English-language tours (included in admission) depart at 2pm Saturday and Sunday from June to early August and last around 45 minutes.

Several extensions, most notably by Gustav Wasa, followed the castle's initial construction. Mad king Eric XIV, deposed by an uprising in 1569, was moved from prison to prison around the Swedish kingdom. He spent three months here, shut up (according to tradition, at least) in a tiny chamber in the Kuretorn keep. A fire in 1745 reduced the castle to ruins; only the northern wing survived.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Åland Archipelago attractions

1. Fängelsemuseet Vita Björn

0.14 MILES

This building was a jail until 1975 and demonstrates how cells and conditions evolved over the two centuries it was in use. Although it looks like a…

2. Jan Karlsgårdens Friluftsmuseum

0.16 MILES

At this sprawling open-air museum next to Kastelholms Slott, you can stroll around 20 traditional 18th- and 19th-century Ålandic buildings, including…

3. Sankt Johannes Kyrka

1.61 MILES

North of Kastelholm is Åland's biggest church, dedicated to John the Baptist. The structure dates from the 13th century, and inside are some original…

4. Höga C Observation Tower

2.35 MILES

Above the tunnel before you cross the bridge to Sund, the 30m-high observation tower at Café Uffe på Berget affords superb views of the archipelago and is…

5. Borgboda Fortress


Southeast of Kvarnbo, some stone outcroppings remain of the Iron Age fortress of Borgboda, built in the mid- to late 1st millennium. About 2km east of…

6. Sankta Maria Kyrka

3.06 MILES

Kvarnbo's red-granite Sankta Maria Kyrka dates from the 13th century and contains a fine clover-shaped baptismal font and fragmentary frescos of the…

7. Sankt Mikael Kyrka

5.58 MILES

Dating from the 1200s, Sankt Mikael Kyrka is the ancient place of worship in Pålsböle, a small village just 5km north of Godby. The church has a well…

8. Bomarsund Fästningsruin

5.59 MILES

Following the war of 1808–09, Russia began building this major military structure as its westernmost defence against the Swedes. The fortress was still…