<!--A more in-depth overview of the route – its history, political and ethnic areas it passes through, cultures you're likely to meet. The deeper context that makes the trip worth making. --> The Archipelago Sea on the south-western coast of Finland is one of the biggest archipelagos in the world, by count of islands and islets. It is a popular area for summer cottages and yacht cruising; the Archipelago Trail allows you to experience some of it without a boat – and without backtracking.
The trail is some 250 km in length (about half with the Rymättylä shortcut), linking many of the main islands of the archipelago via bridges and inter-island ferries. Along the way you will find local food, local history museums and village churches from the Middle Ages as well as comfortable accommodation. You might want to stay a day somewhere by the sea, with a beach and a boat in reach.
The route is usually begun and ended in Turku, although other starting points are possible. The complete route goes from Turku via (clockwise) Kaarina, Pargas, Nagu, Korpo and Iniö to Kustavi in the north and continues back via Taivassalo. The shortcut goes from Nagu to Rymättylä and then via Naantali to Turku.
Most of the archipelago through which the itinerary goes is a Unesco biosphere reserve. The Archipelago National Park lies in the outer archipelago south of this itinerary. The sidetrips by the Utö route from Pernäs, Nagu south route from Kirjais and possibly the transversal route between Kirjais and Pernäs go through the national park and its "interest area". Services such as nature trails, tent sites and campfire places on minor islands on those routes are provided by the national park, while lodging, taxi boats and activities mostly are provided by inhabitants living on private ground in or near the interest area.