On calm days, an excursion out to one of Åland’s lighthouses is idyllic, almost magical. The lighthouse island rises from the sea, surrounded by endless horizon. The lonesome islands offer marvellous nature experiences and interesting history.
It’s quite fascinating to imagine how the lighthouse master and keepers lived out here on these islands, especially during the winter. At Lågskär lighthouse, the lighthouse keepers lived together with their families. At most, some 30 people lived on the island, an extremely exposed place to live, where the residents supported themselves with animal husbandry, hunting and fishing. For long periods of time during the winter months, these people would be completely cut off from the rest of the world.
The current red granite lighthouse is the third on Lågskär. The lamp was lit for the first time in 1920. When the lighthouse was automated in 1961, the lighthouse keepers moved off of the island, which is now one of the leading bird stations in Finland.
After last year’s renovation, the tall and elegant lighthouse on Sälskär is even whiter and more stately. The view from the 30.8 metre tall lighthouse is magnificent. The lighthouse was manned from 1868 to 1949, when it was made the first automated lighthouse in Finland. Lighthouse keepers and their families also lived on Sälskär.
The Märket lighthouse is neither tall nor stately, but it is captivating how it clings to its remote, rocky island. When the winds pick up, waves crash over the entire island. The lighthouse was inaugurated in 1885 and automated in 1976. This means that Märket was Åland’s last manned lighthouse. An international border passes right through the island. Here, you can literally stand with one foot in Finland and the other in Sweden.