Pargas

Pargas centre seen from the market square.

Pargas (Finnish: Parainen) is a town and municipality in Finland Proper, the centre of which is the only real (although small) town in the Archipelago Sea, which to a large part belongs to the municipality.

Understand

The town has a tradition of regarding itself the capital of (the south-west part of) the archipelago. There is a wooden old town, a giant limestone quarry by the centre (origin of Nordkalk Corporation and its siblings), industry and rural country-side. Much of the central and most of the outer archipelago and thus most of the Archipelago Sea National Park belongs to Pargas. Pargas consists of the former municipalities Pargas, Nagu, Korpo, Houtskär and Iniö.

Pargas is in a traditionally Swedish speaking area. Because of the industry (later: proximity to Turku) there are nearly as many Finnish speaking in the town, though. The municipality is officially bilingual and you get service in both languages nearly everywhere.

As in the rest of Finland you get along in English with most people.

Get in

Pargas centre seen from the turnabout on Skärgårdsvägen.

Pargas centre is some 25 kilometres from Turku by road.

The only road to Pargas is Skärgårdsvägen ("the Archipelago road", Finnish: Saaristotie, regional road 180) from Kaarina through Pargas to Korpo (Finnish: Korppoo), starting at national road 1 (E18) and crossing regional road 110, both leading from Helsinki to Turku. There is a bike route all the way from Turku, mostly following the road.

There is a ferry connection from Långnäs on Åland to Galtby in Korpo. You can continue by the road, with two shorter ferry passages.

There are connections also from the north, at least in summer, via Kustavi and Iniö to Houtskär and via Rymättylä to Nagu, and from there to Pargas along Skärgårdsvägen. The main connections are part of Skärgårdens ringväg ("the Archipelago circle road") marketed to tourists, with some capacity for cars. There may be connections via Iniö and Houtskär also in the winter, calling at several small islands, sometimes using hovercraft or hydrocopters. The most convenient route is via Turku/Kaarina any part of the year, unless you are visiting some of the islands en route.

By bus

Buses of Vainion Liikenne and Skärgårdsvägen at Pargas bus station.

Vainion Liikenne operates the coach connections. The coaches via Pargas centre onwards to Nagu, Korpo and Houtskär are usually in the green colours of Skärgårdsvägen Ab, while those that terminate in the centre are in the yellow colour of Vainio proper. The latter are often city buses without proper luggage holds. The fare Turku–Pargas is 6€ for adults, 3€ for children (less than 12 years), 3€(?) for a bike (transported if there is room).

From Turku, there are connections at least

There are also some direct services from Helsinki, and services from Helsinki with transfer in Kaarina, usually at Piispanristi. For Vainio coaches from Helsinki the transfers are "official": direct tickets can be bought from the driver and the transfer is announced. With other companies you might be able to avoid paying for separate tickets by buying the tickets from Matkahuolto (make sure the ticket seller knows about the transfer).

The   bus station is by the roundabout on Skärgårdsvägen, by the north end of the centre. The buses terminating here drive through the centre. Café Bustis, Matkahuolto office, fuel station.

By boat

Pargas is a good destination also by yacht, but note the bridges. Getting to Turku via the centre of Pargas is somewhat awkward with sailing vessels (a long passage in narrow sounds).

Marinas e.g.

Get around

The town itself is not too big. Most services are by the Strandvägen road or nearby, especially in the pedestrian street Köpmansgatan. Strandvägen goes along the Kyrksundet sound from the roundabout on Skärgårdsvägen (the one with masts) to the marina in the south. The old town is across the sound.

There is a zone with residential areas around the centre. Some services such as sport venues, beaches and the health care centre are here, in a radius of about one kilometre.

For the area outside town the options are more or less bike, car or taxi (boat for some destinations). There are also school buses and other arrangements, which you might be able to use with some detective work – and of course the coaches from Turku.

The   taxi station is in the southern end of the centre, by Kyrksundet.

See

The church.

Do

Most accommodation businesses also arrange activities.

Buy

Most shops can be found in Köpmansgatan, a few near the church, some by Strandgatan or farther away.

For souvenirs, consider e.g.

Eat

Most restaurants are in the centre, in the pedestrian street Köpmansgatan or nearby. Consider also cafés and restaurants in the See, Buy and Sleep sections.

Drink

Sleep

Connect

Area code 2. Good GSM coverage in the town. In the outer archipelago and some rural areas there may be local lack of signal.

Postal code 21600 Pargas for the town with surroundings (the area of the formal municipality).

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, January 04, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.