How do I get there? Pictures Description

The Holmöarna islands constitute much of western Kvarken. The only permanent archipelago population on the Swedish side can be found here, along with an extremely large nature reserve. Byviken, where the ferryboat docks, is the obvious starting point for visitors who wish to enjoy the diverse natural environment of these islands. The Holmöarna islands offer outer islands and sheltered bays; islands and points that seldom have visitors, expansive forests and marshes and an old settlement surrounded by farmland.

 

The Holmöarna islands

The Holmöarna are a large group of islands in western Kvarken. Four main islands, each with its own personality, stretch out across the 26 kilometres from Trappudden in the north to the lighthouse on Holmögadd to the south. The cluster of islands is made up of the geological formations drumlins and end moraines (de Geer moraines). There are few higher points.

The Holmöarna have long been inhabited. Back in the Iron Age and the early Middle Ages the islands were an important site for hunting and fishing. The first recorded information about permanent farmers on Holmön island is from 1543; today, about 90 people are permanent residents of Holmön.

Visitors usually arrive on the Holmöarna at the ferry dock in Byviken on the main island of the group, Holmön, which is the northern most island. Byviken has some service buildings; the village sprawls almost 3 kilometres to the south along the small village road toward the next island, Ängesön. Places worth seeing on the main island Holmön include Trappudden with cliffs and rock rubble fields at the north end and the shingled lighthouse on Bergudden to the west. North of Bergudden is the Kammen area, Holmön's biggest rock rubble field. Bergudden is also usually a good place to observe birds migrating through western Kvarken.

Like the entire Holmö archipelago, most of Holmön is dominated by spruce forests on level ground affected by the uplift, but Holmö village is the big exception. Small-scale old farming continues in some areas. As you stroll down the road past the old hayfields around the farms you will see some species typical of old agricultural areas, like matgrass (Nardus stricta) and common bent (Agrostis capillaris). You will also find more unusual species, such as alpine cinquefoil (Potentilla) and downy alpine oatgrass (Avenula pubescens). Holmö village, with its patchwork countryside of tilled fields, small strips of forest, rock walls, piles of rock cleared from the fields and shrubbery, is an excellent environment for birds where eastern species such as the greenish warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides), Blyth's reed warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum) and red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva) appear regulary.

Ängesön, south of Holmön, is the other large island in the group. Other than a couple of isolated vacation homes, you will not find any built-up area, but it is easy to get here on the little road that crosses the entire island and ends at Ängesön's southern tip. Ängesön and Holmön are separated by the narrow Gebäckssundet, a passage which despite the land uplift and diminishing water level is kept open for navigation by small craft. The east side of Ängesön and Holmön features an extremely diversified topography with points, inlets and small islets. Inside the coast are hundreds of small remote former bays that have been cut off from the sea, ponds, marshes and old peatlands no longer in use, which together form a confusing landscape. For an easier hike, just follow the trail along the west side of Ängesön. You can combine your hike with an overnight stay at the fishing sauna at Sikskärsgrundet (the key is available at the boat museum on Holmön, (090) 552 20). There are also links from the road at Ängesön to two excellent picnic areas with wind shelters at Klintviken and Kontviken. Klintviken is also a nice bay where pleasure craft often drop anchor.

The southern and south-eastern parts of Ängesön feature coastal deciduous forests of birch, which contribute to Ängesön's unique personality. The interior of Ängesön also has quite a few flat rock forests in the otherwise predominantly spruce forests.

Grossgrundet is the next island on the journey to the south in the large Holmö archipelago. This island is almost 5 kilometres long, and is broken up by bays and a few large lakes. In addition to a few spruce forests on the oldest portions of the island, Grossgrundet has open heaths with crowberry and juniper bushes. People rarely visit Grossgrundet since there is no way to get there, nor are there any facilities for visitors.

Holmögadd, the most southern island in the Holmö archipelago, is the least known to the public. Holmögadd has an old stone lighthouse which is mentioned on the Swedish marine weather forecast daily. The island is a military area and is completely closed to civilian visitors. The unique nature on Holmögadd features open heaths and birch forests. The sound between Grossgrundet and Holmögadd is called Gaddströmmen and provides excellent fishing, including large grayling in late winter and early spring.

The very first lighthouse in western Kvarken was built in 1760 on Holmögadd, a location which has probably always been known for its dangerous waters. The lighthouse was a coal-burning "vippfyr" with a rocker arm. At first the lighthouse was only staffed during the fall.

The Holmöarna nature reserve encompasses an extremely large area, including all of Holmögadd and Grossgrundet, most of Ängesön and the eastern side of Holmön. The forests and beaches develop naturally because of the protection provided to them as part of a nature reserve.

The nature reserve also includes the island Stora Fjäderägg, which is also part of in the Holmö archipelago. Stora Fjäderägg has its own page in the Kvarken Nature Guide.

Photo: Ann Salomonsson
Photo: Ann Salomonsson
Photo: Ann Salomonsson
Moraines in the shoreline
Sikskärsgrundet fishing sauna
Butterfly orchid (Platanthera bifolia) on the heaths
     
Photo: Jörgen Wiklund/N
Photo: Jörgen Wiklund/N
Photo: Jörgen Wiklund/N
Bergudden lighthouse
Floral splendour in Holmö village
The small-scale agricultural countryside lives on at Holmö village
     
Photo: Anders Enetjärn
Photo: Anders Enetjärn
Photo: Lise-Lotte Molander
Deciduous marshes are common on Holmön
Forest lake on Holmön
Vegetation by a stream on Ängesön
     
Photo: Roger Westman
Photo: Anders Enetjärn
Proud grayling fisher with catch
The Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) lives on Ängesön's flat rock forests

How do I get there

The National Road Administration runs the ferryboat Helena Elisabeth between Norrfjärden on the mainland and Byviken on Holmön a few times a day. The schedule can be found at http://farjerederiet.se/files/tidtabeller.aspx (in Swedish) or at http://www.holmon.com/Holmon/Holmon_e.htm.
More information about the ferry is available on the National Road Administration website.

You can travel from Umeå to Norrfjärden by bus. The schedule is available at http://www.tabussen.nu (In Swedish)

Marina

  • The harbour at Byviken on Holmön has a guest marina with good depth and many slips for visiting yachts
  • Sörsundet on Holmön, at the southern entry to Gebäckssundet, has a small simple harbour at the old saltery
  • A natural harbour is located in Klintviken on Ängesön

Services

  • Shops, post office, bank, Systembolag representative (wine and spirits), and pharmacy are all located in the "Stora Lanthandeln" (country store), about 300 metres south of the fork in the road towards "Bergudden Fyr" (lighthouse), tel (090) 551 70. You can order food, wine, spirits and other goods by fax (090) 551 20 or by e-mail: [email protected]
  • Tourist information is available in Holmön Boat Museum; open in summer, (090) 552 20

Links

Umeå municipality, www.umea.se
Holmön's own website, www.holmon.com (some in English)

Pointers

  • Byviken on Holmön has a terrific boat museum which is open in summer, (090) 552 20.
  • Outstanding photos of the boat museum can be seen at http://www.algonet.se/~okie/holmnsb.htm (in Swedish).
  • The Holmöarna hold two large annual events which attract visitors from near and far - Postrodden (boat race in classic wooden boats) and Visfestivalen (music festival), http://www.visfestivalen.nu/ (in Swedish).
  • You can rent bicycles on Holmen at Hamnkrogen, (090) 551 11.
  • There is a hiking trail along the west and east sides of Ängesön with a cabin where you can spend the night at Siksskärsgrundet; the key is available at Holmön's boat museum (090) 552 20.
  • The county administrative board is planning a new hiking trail along the east side of Ängesön and Holmön.

Texts: Anders Enetjärn, Lise-Lotte Molander.
Translation: Accent Språkservice AB.
Layout & illustrations: Päivi Anttila.
Webbdesign: Fredrik Smeds, Freddi Com Oy Ab.
for maintenance & updates contact: [email protected]