James Bedford

Turku Archipelago

An awesome 20,000 islands and skerries (rocky islets) make up the Turku Archipelago, one of Finland's most spectacular natural attractions. This is a majestic summertime playground – just a hop, a skip and a few ferry rides away from Turku. There are no big-ticket sights, just quiet settlements, abundant bird life and ever-changing views of sea and land. It's a magnificent environment for cycling, kayaking and island hopping.

Like much of Finland's south coast, the archipelago is primarily Swedish-speaking. The five largest inhabited islands – from east to west, Pargas, Nagu, Korpo, Houtskär and Iniö – are clustered in a tight crescent. Collectively they make up the municipality of Pargas (Finnish: Parainen).

The islands are home to a wide variety of music festivals; find a complete listing at Skärgårdens Musikfestivaler (www.festivalnet.info).