Kastelholm and great views
After a couple of days in Mariehamn it was time to head outside the capital. We started the day by driving to Kastelholm castle. Originally the castle was a fortress. Construction on it began at the end of the 14th century. The precise year is unknown, but the castle is first mentioned in historical sources in 1388. The castle became the seat for the royal fief-holders and bailiffs. Kastelholm continued to be Åland’s administrative center until 1634. During this time, the castle was rebuilt and extended many times. A fire in 1745 almost destroyed the entire castle, which was then left to fall slowly to ruin. Since the end of the 19th century, the castle has undergone extensive renovations on many occasions.
We also popped into the prison museum Vita Björn that used to be the crown prison. Vita Björn served as a jail and prison form nearly 200 years and closed down in 1975. The building is the oldest of its kind in Finland. I really enjoyed the castle; the prison museum was small but worth seeing. There was a bit of a snag as when we went to the castle the guy at the ticket booth told us nothing about the prison museum and once we got to the prison I was surprised to learn they had a separate entrance fee and they only accepted cash. Luckily, I happened to have some cash with me so we could pay the entrance.
Next, we made a stop at a lookout tower “Höga C” and climb up to enjoy the views. Then we drove to a place called Havsividden. I was hoping we could have lunch there but the place was closed so we only took in the views before heading elsewhere for lunch. After lunch, we headed to our next place of accommodation called Pensionat Stalldalen. The building is from the 1930s and used to be a mental asylum. The asylum was operational from 1934 to 2011. There is also a lovely bakery and café on the first floor of the building. The bakery provides guests with fresh bread every morning for breakfast. After settling in our room, we decided to take a swim in the lake on the shore of which the hotel is located. The swim was super refreshing and a great way to relax before heading to dinner.