Rödhamn is an idyll about 10 nautical miles from Mariehamn.
Here you’ll find hospitality, good food and drinks, home-baked buns, saunas at sunset and not least the community of like-minded boaters – all in a fantastic archipelago environment.
For hundreds of years, the island has been a protected night harbor for seafarers. The location is still excellent, the mountains provide shelter and the anchorage is fine.
There are a long line of piers to moor at, and in the cozy café the host couple Anette and Christian give you a warm welcome and ask you if you want freshly baked bread delivered to your boat the following morning!
Mooring: buoy – jetty for 60 boats
Host couple: Anette Gustafsson & Christian Kull
Open: 1.6 – 31.8
Harbor fee: 30 €
Services: Café with home-baked bread and food (beer and wine), wood-fired sauna (for a fee), toilets, service house with showers and washing facilities, power outlet at the guest pier for charging batteries (solar energy), garbage station with sorting.
The history of Rödhamn
Rödhamn lies furthest towards the Åland Sea, and offers both beautiful nature and an exciting history. Here sailors have fought with restaurateurs and pilots, and her lighthouse keepers have lived with their families and pets. Over the centuries, countless ships have sought shelter here waiting for the storm to pass.
Rödhamn, which actually consists of the islands of Långö, Gloskär and Rödö, was the last safe port for seafarers, before setting out on the open sea on the journey between Sweden and Finland.
Sailor’s chapel on Rödö
On the islands there are various memories from times gone by. On Rödö there are remains of a so-called sailor’s chapel. Chapels were common along the waterways in the middle ages.
There are also carvings in the mountains such as years, personal names, coats of arms and a sundial. Sailors who sometimes had to wait weeks for better weather, wanted something to occupy themselves with, and carved their messages into the rock.
Food and accomodation on Gloskär
On Gloskär there are remains of buildings that housed the tavern that operated on the island from the 1750s to the 1920s. The restaurants would serve home cooking to the sailors, and also offer accommodation. Sometimes it went wild, like when the swamp August came to Rödhamn in 1814. There was a fight over the bill and a guest got bloody! The raw-barked restaurateur then lost his rights and had to leave the island.
When the number of steamships increased, and the route between Finland and Sweden took a different way, Rödhamn’s importance decreased and the pub restaurant business faded away.
Pilots on Långö
Pilots were stationed on Långö in the 1820s until 1928. The characteristic pilot’s cabin – white with green knots – stood for a long time, but by the end of the 1980s it was in such poor condition that it was burnt down. A new cottage was then built on the same grounds according to a drawing from 1903.
From the cabin you have a magnificent view of the surroundings and full control over the traffic at sea.
The pilots at Rödhamn could tell many dramatic stories about life at sea. One of the biggest disasters near Rödhamn occurred in 1916, when the passenger steamer Skiftet hit a mine during the journey from Mariehamn to Turku. 86 people lost their lives in the explosion.
The radio beacon
From 1937 to 1970, a radio beacon was operated at Rödhamn. The white-painted engine house on top of the mountain is still a familiar landmark for sailors.
The radio beacon was in its time a fantastic invention for navigators. Radio signals were used to guide the ships correctly. Each radio beacon had its own signal and this was a tremendous advance. Now people were no longer dependent on beacons and lighthouses, which were not always visible in the dark or bad weather.
The lighthouse keepers and their families were housed in a newly built residential building next to the lighthouse.
Today, the engine house is a small museum with preserved technical equipment from the 1930s. Here you can find, among other things, the diesel engines that supplied the lighthouse with electricity. The machines are in excellent condition and still work well today.