English language pilot books are at one with the Rough Planet Guide in describing Mariehamn as a bit of a dump. The reasons given are that there’s a lot of tourists and it’s a planned city with a designed grid pattern. So, like Edinburgh or Paris then. How dreadful. It’s actually a pleasant, prosperous feeling town with tree lined streets and plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes. You’d get practically anything you needed in this capital of Aland. There’s a couple of chandlers, but they are a wee way out of town. A 20 minute ride on folding Bertie the Brompton Bike.
I’ve only moored in the east harbour, which is very popular with Finns. There’s a big mixture of yachts and motorboats of all sizes and, in July, a holiday atmos. Indeed it was pretty full in peak season. As a wee boat I managed to get an inner spot, but with near gales from the north, latecomers and big yachts ended up on stern buoys outside the north end of the harbour. With waves crashing over the pontoon this looked very unpleasant. Up until midsummer you’ll probably find plenty of room here however. The western harbour also gets full. It’s perhaps a quieter, more genteel spot that attracts the larger yachts and is popular with foreigners. It’s a short walk across town between the two, but about 16 miles, literally, by sea.
More information on Mariehamn can be found from: www.guestharbours.fi
Disclaimer. While Martin Edge and Sail in Finland have taken every precaution to ensure that the information in this post is correct, it is not a replacement for proper charts. Safe navigation is the responsibility of the skipper and Sail in Finland assumes no responsibility for accidents occurring while entering or leaving the harbour.