Kastelholm Castle | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Kastelholm Castle

Sund, Aland Islands, Finland

Luke Tomes

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Kastelholm Castle

Kastelholm Castle, also known as Kastelholms Slott or Kastelholman Linna, is a medieval castle located on the Åland Islands.

History of Kastelholm Castle

First constructed in the 1380s, Kastelholm Castle was a military and administrative centre for the region, which then formed part of the Swedish Empire. Successive Swedish and Danish governors continued to maintain and expand Kastelholm Castle over the next two hundred years and the castle was briefly home to Swedish King Gustav I, before he became the monarch.

Originally on a small island surrounded by moats filled with water and planted with several rows of poles, the castle has been of strategic importance in consolidating Swedish authority over the Baltic over the last several centuries

However, by the late 16th and early 17th centuries, Kastelholm Castle’s influence began to wane. Damaged in 1599 by the forces of Charles IX (aka Karl IX), Kastelholm Castle later lost its position as the administrative centre of the region and in 1745 a fire devastated the structure.

In the early 20th century the site was transformed into a museum and there was a restoration programme in the 1980s.

Kastelholm Castle today

Today the ruins of Kastelholm Castle can be viewed and the site is also the home of the Jan Karlsgården Open-Air Museum, which recreates 19th century life in the region. Kastelholm also features as one of our top tourist attractions in Finland.

Kastelholm is one of only five surviving Finnish medieval fortresses that are also considered to be architecturally substantial.

Getting to Kastelholm Castle

Kastelholm is approximately a 30 minute journey by car from Mariehamn. From Mariehamn, simply Drive north along route 2 towards Sund and Vardö.

If travelling by bus, take Bus 4 to and from Mariehamn – Vardö. During peak season in July, the bus goes all the way up to the Kastelholm Castle bus stop. At other times during the year, the bus will stop at the Kastelholm or Tosarby vsk bus stop along route 2, which is a 10-minute walk from the castle.

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