Örö – Military history and a fragile ecosystem

Örö

If you are interested in visiting an island, which has been a military area and nowadays is part of Archipelago National Park, and is actively preserving endangered species and ecosystems and is promoting sustainable tourism, then you have to visit Örö.

Traveling to Örö from Turku

Örö is relatively close to Turku.  Therefore, one can easily realize a day or a weekend trip to the island. In our case, we did a weekend trip, leaving Turku on Friday, July 31st at 3:29 pm.

Due to covid-19, boats to Örö are not carrying full passenger capacity and many Finns are enjoying their own country, so it is recommended to book the boat in advance. Note: if you take this trip, include in your schedule some time to walk from the parking lot to the corresponding pier. The distance is short, but the parking might be full, and therefore take some time before one leaves the car. 

Here is a view from the marina in Kasnäs:

Marina in Kasnäs

Our boat, Sissel, had different areas for sitting. We were mainly at the upper deck as the view was wonderful. I was surprised to realize  we were few travelers (approximately 11 people) in this leg of the journey.

Towards Örö, behind Kasnäs' marina

The archipelago is just STUNNING!.

Glimpse from the Finnish archipielago

In less than an hour, one arrives to Örö.

Örö's harbor

Once in Örö

Örö’s marina is petit. When we arrived, there was a line of visitors waiting for the boats to return them to Kasnäs. Apparently, many travelers visit Örö for a day trip.

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Once on the island, we needed to locate ourselves.

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Next to the harbor and before the information “building” there are some info boards.

Information bulding

After analyzing the map, we visited the information “building”. There one could rent also bikes. During our time in the island, we didn’t see motor vehicles except of one 4×4 motorbike, which  helps to transport heavy items.

Örö has an interesting history. Actually, in my opinion, there could be thematic routes in the island. One can:

  • enjoy the nature,
  • learn from the history enclosed in this island. If I understand well, over a century, it has been a military base.
  • learn from the endangered species and ecosystems, which Örö is aiming to protect.

This combination allows us to discover different topics while walking outdoors.

Walking path in Örö island, from information building towards the service area

After checking in – we camped for two nights –  and understanding the sauna organization (this is very important when one is traveling in Finland), we walked to the camping ground.

It is important to mention that the roads were well kept across the island.

Örö- raspberries season

The first road, close to the information building was full of raspberries!

Camping at Örö

Here is our final setup once we were installed.

Next, we should get our first sauna. For the time of the day, our turn was at the “Kasern – Varusmies Sauna” which is located at the “center” where most of the tourist services are located e.g. a restaurant, a small museum, and a hotel.

"Downtown" Örö
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The morning sauna is close to the marina. This sauna is smaller than the “Kasern Varusmies sauna”, however it has a pier which allows us to swim in the sea. Beautiful!

Sauna building close to the Örö's marina

Piers from Örö’s marina’s sauna:

Sauna's pier

What can you discover in Örö?

The island is full of history. As the location was a military “base” until 2015, you can find old cannons, barracks, shipyard and a rich history behind these artifacts. Additionally, these artifacts are easy to find while one is enjoying the walking routes.  All this history is besides the rich explanation of the unique ecosystem of the island and the explanation of the different  endangered species.

Walking route indicators

Öro has a total of 10.5 kilometers of marked trails. There are mainly two routes, which are easy terrains to walk and are very well indicated.

a) The blue trail, which covers the south part of the island,  is 4.8 km long. The blue trail is entitled: 6” trail.

b) The red trail is 5.6 km long and it covers the north part of the island. The red trail is entitled 120mm.  I assume the red trail is called as such as in the path one can find the 120 mm battery.

Info board

While walking Örö one can learn about threatened species and habitats, e..g. sandy beaches, treeless coastal meadows and sunny grassland areas. Therefore, one should keep walking only in the well indicated paths, to protect these ecosystems. Along the trails, one can find info board  in Swedish, Finnish and English, allowing the visitor to understand the environment and the history of the island.

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It is worth to walk both trails, enjoy the landscapes and learn from nature and history which is enclosed in Örö. However remember, always taking care of the nature.

Örö's trail in blue

There are areas, where history and environment merge nicely, an example is the old riffle range where indigenous plants are recolonizing this location. Additionally, because it is protected from cold sea winds,  the riffle range is popular among butterflies.

Old riffle range (2/2)
Old riffle range (2/2)

Another nice detail that one finds in these trails are the dry toilets. It is not uncommon to find dry toilets in trails across national parks in Finland. However these toilets were cute and seem modern inside.

Dry toilet in Örö (1/2)
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The map offered by the national park indicates clearly the different points of interest, including the picnic areas.  Remember: one cannot make fire in the island. However in a sunny day, one wishes the camping tables were under the shade.

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REMEMBER: , whenever you eat while you are enjoying this wonderful place, bring your litter back with you.

There are many interesting points, such as these:

Örö's finding: old phone booth

Old phone cabin is a rarity.  It is worth to remember that the last public phone booth was retrieved in Finland  in early 2007.

One can see real bunkers:

Örö's finding: militar bunker

One can see Heavy Obukhovskii 305 mm guns (a rarity even in international terms). Each one of the shells of this cannon weights almost 500kg, with a range of 45 km. Today they are not in use any longer and they are part of the exhibition. From this point, one can see Bengtskär, which is located 13 km from here.

Örö's finding: Obukhovskii 305 mm gun

Can you see Bengtsär?  If not, we aim to use the zoom from the phone camera, so the photo is not so sharp.

Bengtskär: view from Örö

There is more to share,  however this post focuses on Örö’s general aspects as a location to enjoy outdoors.  Below you might find some other surprises.

To finalize, we returned to Turku on Sunday at 20:27 hrs. It is amazing how much we learn while enjoying outdoors!

Directions to Örö

To reach Örö from Turku, one first drives departure port in Kasnäs, parks the car and takes a boat to Örö. The boat schedule and prices are specified in their website

Address to departure port:
Kemiönsaari / Kimitoön
Kasnäsvägen 1296
25930 Kasnäs

More infomation

Visit Örö
Visit Kimitoön
Kasnäs
Visit Turku

Comments

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow! This is neat – looks like a cool place to explore and hike around. I like that you could camp here too! I’d be all over the bunkers. Looks like a great little getaway!

    1. Carolina says:

      Hi Sarah,
      I am glad you like the post and overall that you got eager to visit. It is really worth it! 🙂
      Hope you can visit Finland soon and explore the archipelago area, including the gateaway to Örö.

  2. What a unique place to visit! I’d love to camp out here, it’s beautiful! 🙂

    1. Carolina says:

      Yes it is beautiful.
      Hope you can come and visit it! 🙂

  3. Melinda says:

    I love the sauna!! Sounds like a dream weekend: camping on a remote island with breaks for soaking in saunas. Gorgeous!

    1. Carolina says:

      Totally agree, and in the morning sauna you can add to swim at the sea! 🙂

  4. Anywhere on the water immediately gets my attention! This looks like such a cool place to visit 🙂

    1. Carolina says:

      It is, and the journey to the island is WONDERFUL!
      Welcome, or at the Finns say: Tervetuloa!

  5. Denise says:

    Finland is on my list of places to visit! Hopefully I’ll get there and be able to use this wonderful info!

    1. Carolina says:

      As the Finns say: Tervetuloa!
      Which means, welcome! 😉
      We hope when you come and visit, the information of this blog is really useful. You will let us know.

  6. Blair says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to Finland, and now Örö is on my bucket list! I would love to go next summer (if possible by then).

    1. Carolina says:

      Let us know when you visit, maybe we meet in the archipelago area!

  7. Patti says:

    I was so curious about where this place is! Good thing it said Finland at the end! hehehe
    I’ve never actually seen Finland not covered in snow. So lovely!!!

    1. Carolina says:

      You will have to visit Finland in the 4 seasons. It is amazing the country in each season and each one is so different!

  8. I would love to hike around national parks 😍those toilets are amazing, our parks don’t have very many unless you’re in a campground.

    1. Carolina says:

      Hi Chelsea,
      I hope you can hike around here. I agree with you, the toilets are wonderful. They are clean perfect and environmental friendly 😉 The toilet in this post was far away from the camping area, so it was ideal to find it in case you needed.

      Have a good weekend,

      — Carolina

  9. kmf says:

    This is such a beautiful and intriguing place. I’ve been to Finland many times for work…will need to check this out the next time I visit.

    1. Carolina says:

      Hi kmf,
      Yes, you should visit.
      The good news about Örö is that one can visit the island all year round. Just pay attention to the schedule of the boats as it might different by the different seasons.
      Have a nice weekend!
      — Carolina

  10. Shelbs says:

    Love all the information abou the saunas!

    1. Carolina says:

      Glad to read this Shelbs 🙂

  11. Kelly says:

    What a beautiful spot! It looks so peaceful there and a great way to spend a day out in nature. I would love to check this out whenever I visit Finland 🙂

    1. Carolina says:

      Welcome Kelly!
      I hope you can come to Finland and visit Örö as well as so many other Finnish natural gems 😉

  12. Marcos Gama says:

    Increíble, si antes en un recorrido de unos días me pareció hermoso este país, ahora con este hermoso recorrido añoro estar en estos lugares en donde la naturaleza y el hombre están hermanados. Gracias Carolina estuvo fabuloso.

    1. Carolina says:

      Estimado Marcos,
      Gracias por tu comentario y por leer el artículo.
      Estaremos buscando como traerle a Finlandia ahora que superemos al covid-19. Tengo presente su deseo de pintar un mural, así que hay que manterner los ojos y los oidos abiertos para una oportunidad. Mientras tanto a conectarse con el medio ambiente. Espero se encuetre muy bien y muchos saludos para usted y toda su familia 🙂

      – Carolina

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