Otava is an island situated in the Archipelago Sea, on the West side of the city of Naantali, Finland. Otava, now part of Naantali, is one of the numerous islands that used to be part of the former municipality of Rymättylä. And still today, many people refer to this area as Rymättylä. Just to let you know, it’s a little complicated, the name game.
Archipelago Trail can be accessed here
The 250 km Archipelago Trail, or the Ring Road, can be taken clockwise or counter clockwise (usually starting from the City of Turku). Otava is part of the Trail. The whole round can be taken between late May 27 and late August. Bike it or drive it.
It includes 12 bridges and 9 ferry trips from an island to an island, some take only minutes, one almost an hour. Parts of the route transportation is closed during outside summer season, but you can explore around the year by going as far as possible and then backtracking.
The scenery, the historical parishes and the archipelago heritage are worth exploring.
There are 80 Medieval stone churches remaining in Finland, Rymättylä church of St. James (St. Jacob the Elder) in the heart of the village is one of them. The Apostle, patron saint has played an important role in the life or the islanders until the 19th Century.
The stone used to build this church dating back to late 1300’s or early 1400’s is grey granite, the church is also surrounded by a stone fence. The oldest parts of the interior are believed to date back to 14 th Century, the church was originally wooden one.
The church is well-preserved and inside you can see paintings from the Medieval times and wooden statues, the oldest made in 1350’s. In the summer months the church is open as a road church many days a week and open to public.
Rymättylä Church is a National Built Heritage site.
The earliest Early Potatoes in Finland come from the area that used to be called Rymättylä. Finnish, especially the archipelago climate, affect the size, taste and all over special quality of the Early Potato. The sweet, tiny potatoes are washed, boiled quickly eaten with skin on (it’s almost non-existent). Super delicious with butter, dill and (depending on whom you ask) fishes like pickled herring or smoked salmon. Read more about the preparation here.
Fishing used to be the back bone of the communities living on Otava and other islands. Although it no longer plays such an important role, it is still one of those things you can’t miss here. Summer months you will spot fish sellers by the road, at the market place and signs guiding you to people selling fish. Fresh and cooked.
This is part of our #24IslandsOfChristmas Instagram Challenge