Published: February 29, 2024

A short route guide to archipelago and Houtskär

Journeying to Houtskär by bike or car is not just a means to an end but a memorable part of the adventure. The route offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the authentic and stunning beauty of the Finnish archipelago, navigating through a mix of quiet country roads and scenic ferry rides. We can also ensure you, that your blood pressure will drop the further you come on your way.

Starting from the vibrant city of Turku, your path follows the enchanting Archipelago Trail all the way to Houtskär, mirroring the popular biking route.

The entire route from Turku to Houtskär spans approximately 100 kilometers, depending on the specific trails and detours you take. Even if the distance isn’t that long, due to the ferries it takes around 2,5 to 3 hours by car or buss. And by bike? That depends on you. Our recommendation is that you travel slowly. Stay overnight in Nauvo or Korppoo before you head to Houtskär. Visit local small cafés, shops and other attractions. Take a swim or have a picnic along the way. We have our favourite stops along the way, few of them are Café Sattmark in Parainen and Oak Tree Café in Nauvo.

There are 3 ferries you’ll be taking on your way to Houtskär. The ferries are part of the experience, offering breathtaking views and a chance to rest. Each ferry ride brings you closer to Houtskär, weaving through the islands and presenting the archipelago’s serene beauty.

Ferry on its way to Houtskär

Route overview from Parainen to Houtskär

    The initial leg of the journey takes you from Turku to Parainen. This stretch is about 25 km and can be completed on well-maintained bike paths and roads, offering views of the archipelago’s lush landscapes and waterways. From Parainen you can follow the popular Archipelago Trail all the way to Houtskär. 
    From Parainen, you’ll head towards Nauvo (Nagu in Swedish). This part of the trip involves the first ferry, which, by the way are all free of charge from Parainen to Houtskär. Head towards Lillmälö, that’s where the ferry from Parainen to Nauvo leaves. 

    Once in Nauvo, it’s about 27 km to the next ferry (Pärnäs). Don’t forget to stop in Nauvo village, go to the harbour and take a cup of coffee at
    Café Restaurant Köpmans beautiful garden or at some other place in the village.
    After Nauvo, your journey continues to Korppoo (Korpo in Swedish). You need to find your way to Pärnäs ferry, and then drive onboard and enjoy. 

    While in Korppoo, drive or bicycle about 7 km, turn then right when you see a big sign saying Houtskari/Norrskata. You’ll then arrive to Galtby, where the ferries to Houtskär and Ahvenanmaa leave. There is a small café in Galtby harbour if you are thirsty or need to wait for the following ferry. 

    If you have plenty time, don’t turn to Galtby! Drive straight to Korppoo village, visit the beautiful medieval grey stone church, built on the 15th century, say hi to Minna and Tage at Hjalmar’s or take a coffee at summer Café Simppu (check the opening hours before).
    Now the final stretch to Houtskär involves the longest ferry ride (about 25 minutes), after which you’ll arrive on the island of Houtskär and in Kittuis. 

    From the ferry, it’s about 20 km to Hotel Hyppeis. Look for a sign marked “HYPPEIS” to turn left. After 6 km, a prominent white house on the left heralds your arrival. There’s a sign Hyppeis värdshus on the left by our drive way. You’ve made it! Welcome to our place! Check in and relax.
Hotel Hyppeis facade in late srping

Traveling to Houtskär, whether by bike or car, is an adventure that offers more than just a destination. It’s about the journey, the landscapes, the people, and the stories that make the Finnish archipelago a truly magical place. You’ll see the transformation from more lively places as Nauvo to authentic places like Houtskär. Every time we came out to Houtskär (in our previous life, before we moved here) we used to say that our blood pressure dropped ferry after ferry. The inner calm arrives and you can breath.

As you plan your trip, remember to embrace the unexpected, for it’s often the unplanned moments that become the most cherished memories.

Look also here for more useful information and FAQ’s

Welcome to Houtskär!

Warm wishes,
Outi and Sam

Our blog aims to guide and inspire your journey to Houtskär, highlighting the essentials for a fulfilling trip. Do you need further information on any specific aspect of traveling to Houtskär or wish to explore another topic? Just be in touch, we’re happy to help you:

Photo credit: Photo 1 & 2: Anna Gröning, photo 3: Ubuntu Productions