In it heyday the King's Road was as important to Northern Europe as the Silk Road was to Asia. Linking Bergen in the west to St Petersburg in the east, it provided a strategic link, greatly aiding the flow of people, goods and ideas. The Western King's Road that runs from Helsinki to Pohj, takes you on a 100 km (62.5 mi) journey through an area of great natural beauty as well as offering up a superb blend of old and new architecture.
There are many ways to make this journey and you can use a combination of car, train and even boat. However, cycling fits best with the tempo of the region and there is a well-maintained cycle route with good signage. The traveller is taken through forests of silver birch and fir trees, alongside the shinunering Baltic Sea, through picturesque towns and on towards the Russian border. The King's Road offers a wonderful insight into traditional Finnish life and the route is filled with history and culture.
Finland has always been a buffer between east and west and the influences on people, food and places are displayed fully on this trek. This area has long been a summer playground for Scandinavians and nowhere is this better shown than in Loviisa - with its delightful beaches, framed by subtly coloured wooden buildings, it is a seaside resort with few peers.
This is a journey that serves up great contrasts and gives the traveller a new perspective on Finnish life. It may not be too much of an exaggeration to say that without the King's Road Finland would not be the country it is today.
WHEN TO GO
The weather is best from May to September
TIME IT TAKES
It makes for a good week's cycling or hiking holiday.
Rauma - a superb mixed woodland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Aland Islands - great to look at and full of maritime history.
Hvittrask Villa - a fine example of modern architecture.
The Gallen-Kallela Museum - a beautiful building housing a good museum.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
This journey should present little difficulty to even the novice hiker or cyclist. In fact the wide range of things to see and do makes the King's Road Trail perfect for a family vacation.