For this season, the most interesting new destination in the Finnish Archipelago Sea is definitely the Örö island. Being a closed military area for a hundred years, the island has now been opened for public. The island was fortified by the Russians in the 1915-1917, but since Finland’s independence in 1917, Örö was used as a fortress by the Finnish Defence Forces, which left the island in 2014.
I had visited this island once before: that was during my military service in the navy twelve years ago and also for this reason it was interesting to come back. Although, the harbour looked familiar, the two pontoons for guest boats, quays and terraces are brand new and everything looks to be made up to the high standards.
There is no official waterway to Örö in the chart, but there are old leading lines and sea marks, used by the Defence Forces, along the whole route. Their locations can be seen in an unofficial chart which can be downloaded from the harbour’s website.
On Wednesday evening, we went to the sauna which was in one of those old army buildings. Almost next to that building is a bigger red house, where there is a restaurant that has been opened only a couple of weeks ago. We tested it out, got good food and very friendly service there.
On Thursday, we rented old army bicycles from the harbour office and drove to the southern tip of the island, which offers great views to the open sea and up to Bengtskär, which is the highest lighthouse in the Nordic countries.