Kvarken Archipelago, Ostrobothnia, Finland
If you’re a Porsche 911 fan and you hear the word ‘Finland’, I’m sure that thoughts of the Toivonen family spring to mind, quickly followed by images of the gravel roads on which these rally heroes learned their sideways skills. However, the country’s Tarmac roads can prove just as thrilling.
Starting at Alskat (13 kilometres north of Vaasa) on regional route 724, it’s not long before you’re out on the water crossing – the Replot Bridge, Finland’s longest such structure at 1,045 metres long – and heading onto the first of two major islands. Take a moment to savour the view over the start of the Kvarken Archipelago.
The road number quickly changes to 7240 once onto the island of Replot and, after ambling through the rural villages at the island’s southerly tip, the road pulls almost arrow straight for a blast through one of Finland’s pine forests. The evergreen landscape is majestic while the wide road gives you a chance to nip past any traffic.
Approaching the north coast of Replot, a fast, well-cambered left-right ‘S’ bend provides action at the wheel, testing the high-speed stability of your 911, before you begin island hopping over two of the smaller landmasses that typify the Kvarken Archipelago.
It’s an intriguing feeling, driving at sea level, but the experience doesn’t last for long as a sweeping right-hander pitches you onto the second major island: Björkö.
Like Replot, the road is bordered by pine and spruce trees, although the landscape feels more open, giving way at times to idiosyncratic red wood buildings.
Coordinates: 63°12’17.2″N 21°31’16.4″E
Length of drive: 25 kilometres
Points of interest:
Saltkaret Tower – providing views over the Kvarken Archipelago (www.merenkurkku.fi)
Vaasa – visit the city of get the ferry over to Umeá on the Swedish mainland (www.visitvaasa.fi)
Food and accommodation:
Berny’s Café & Restaurant, Replotvägen 2, Replot
Café Salteriet, Svedjehamn, Björköby 65870
The Tarmac twists this way and that on Björkö’s southern half too. The road’s width means that each curve is never tight, instead providing the perfect route for a classic 911.
That’s not to say there aren’t challenging bends. There’s a tricky banked right just before your destination in Svedjehamn that could catch out the unwary, which would be a huge shame as your end point is truly spectacular.
The fishing village is home to the Saltkaret tower, a 20-metre tall belvedere that provides incredible vistas over Kvarken Archipelago. With a UNESCO World Heritage stamp to its name, it’s worth a visit. A great road with an even greater destination.