When thinking about ideal destinations for a sailing holiday, the Baltic doesn't immediately come to mind - after all, if you're looking for sunshine you wouldn't go to Finland and Estonia, right? Well, these countries may not be as warm as Greece and Italy, but you'll find almost round the clock sunshine in summer (Midnight Sun, anyone?) as well as excellent marinas and infrastructures for sailors. Sailing is a way of life in the Baltic, and you'll find that many Swedes and Finns own a small sailboat, and escape to the Baltic Islands in summer and at weekends - what are you waiting for?


Sailing the Baltic in Sweden

Despite what some might believe, sailing around Sweden isn’t necessarily that cold or expensive. During the summer, which is the ideal season to sail, the sun is out for around twenty hours in the south, and doesn't set until about 11 pm in June and July. The weather is usually warm, and there's plenty of time to sunbathe or swim... if you're game!

One of the best sailing locations in Sweden is the Stockholm Archipelago, including over 30,000 between islands and islets, ideal to escape the city for a few hours or a few days. If you can sail, you can rent your own sailboat and make your way across the archipelago, or you can contact a local operator who will plan an itinerary for you. 

In Sweden, you can also visit Ystad in its southern end, and watch concert in an eighteenth-century opera house. Ystad also has 140 miles of shore with white-sand beaches, so it’ll be a great spot to dock for the night if you want to enjoy a nice night out.

Sailing the Baltic in Finland

Sweden shares a border with Finland, so heading to Finland after visiting Sweden only makes sense. Start with the Aland Islands, an autonomous Swedish-speaking region in Finland with fishing villages set against a rugged coastal area. There are a total of 20,000 islands in this region, which gives you a lot of choices for island hopping!

While in Finland, you should also visit the Finnish Archipelago in the southwest, the largest archipelago in the world. Here, you’ll find old wooden towns and lighthouses that were built centuries ago, along with historical manors and stone churches dotted across the land. These architectural structures are a treat for history lovers!

Lastly, Finland’s capital Helsinki is also a great place to go island hopping. There are about 300 islands in Helsinki, most of which are covered with beautiful green landscapes, perfect for bird watching, fishing, and nature photography. When you visit Finland, remember you should respect the Everyman’s Rights code, meaning that anyone in Finland can use natural spaces, even privately-owned ones. You can walk, ski, and explore the islands, camp temporarily in permitted areas, pick wild berries, mushrooms and flowers, and swim without asking for permission. However, don't forget that Everyman’s Rights also mean you should always stay away from private homes or cabins, and keep away from birds’ nests, reindeer, and other wild animals, and should never cut down trees, light a fire on a private property, and fish or hunt without permits.


Sailing the Baltic in Estonia

From Finland, you can keep sailing onwards to Estonia, a country with many islands and fishing harbors ideal to explore. Tallinn, Estonia's capital, is only fifty miles south of Helsinki, just across the Gulf of Finland. Here, you should visit the well-preserved Old Town, situated on a hill and offering a beautiful view of the coast. You can also tour the Maritime Museum and the Seaplane Harbor Museum while in Tallinn, as well as hop around the islands of Aegna, Naissaar and Prangli. If you're planning to go sailing in winter, ice yachting is also popular in Estonia - ice formations in certain areas last up to 175 days each year!

Other places you can visit in Estonia include Sairemaa, a beautiful island covered in nature, the town of Virtsu on the coast from where the island of Kuivastu is just a short sail away, and Prangli, one of the most popular getaways from Tallinn.

These are just some ideas to go sailing in the Baltic - there's just so much to explore! One thing is certain - you won't find crowds anywhere. Just peace, silence and nature.


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