Spanning the southern coast of Finland, the Aland Islands are, surprisingly, a predominantly Swedish-speaking region; this oddity is due to the area's status as an independent Finnish province, with its own flag and governing body.
Comprised of 6500 islands, only 80 of which are inhabited, the Aland archipelago has remained sparsely populated ever since its initial discovery by the Vikings. This rural landscape is littered with picturesque port towns, looking out to the Baltic horizon and contributing to the Aland peninsula's popularity for sailing holidays.
In Mariehamns, the region's capital, many people still rely on the land and sea for their livelihood. However, nowadays tourism also plays an important role in Aland's economy and attractions such as golf resorts have begun to spring up throughout the archipelago; providing new opportunities for visitors to these tranquil island retreats.