If you aren't on a Cruise ship like we were, then I would suggest doing a cruise of the Archipelago.
The Cruise passes by many small Islands and is spectacular! There are more than 30,000 Island's located in the area.
We saw small Villages, isolated huts, fishing boats, birdlife, industries and so much more!
It is a beautiful area and one I think shouldn't be missed!
This tip is very broad, but it is just to urge you to visit the archipelago, never mind WHERE you go. There will then be separate tips amongst the "off the beaten path" tips. Thousands and thousands of islands lie waiting for you. From the rockiest of skerry to large, leafy islands they offer various sights but are all picturesque. Boats leave from two quays in the city centre. You can pick up timetables there or in Sweden House at Kungsträdgården, or find them on the sites below. There you can also buy packages including 'island hopping passes'. For the best atmosphere you should try the old steamships which run summertime, but if you're visiting at other times, there are plenty of other boats as lots of people live in the archipelago all year round. Just taking a tour to the small town and citadel of Vaxholm is nice but if you want to venture further out, Sandhamn (second picture) and Möja are lovely too, and amongst my "off the beaten path" tips you can find Utö.
You already know that you get to see part of the archipelago on the way to Finland, but there are also boat tours that navigate through these islands. In my case, my workplace arranged our summer party as a boat tour to Vaxholm and back. Not only were we blessed with good weather (not sunny but not rainy either) but the water was calm too! On our way there and back we saw people riding water scooters, some sail boats, a bird family swimming (don't know which bird), several very fine houses and lots of boats.
Boat companies have a few different tours to choose from: Fjäderholmarna, Drottningholm, Birka, etc. Strömma was the company we used and I can highly recommend it. Some of my coworkers were late and they decided to wait a little bit for them (they didn't show up so we left more or less 15 minutes after we were supposed to), the food is really good and they even managed to get me a different main course than the one the company had selected on our menu because, silly me, I forgot to tell the coordinators that I'm allergic to fish and guess what they served?
Here are some pictures of what we encountered on the way. They might not look so good because at the moment I have a widescreen monitor and no matter how I set the settings, I don't get a non widescreen view.
We were fairly limited with time in Stockholm, and after reading everyone's recommendation that the Stockholm Archipelago is a must-see, we booked a half-day trip. To be honest, we were fairly disappointed, as we only got to see the inner Archipelago, there wasn't much to see at all. I'm sure if we had more time, and were able to go further, and possibly even stopping off at one of the islands, it would've been more enjoyable.
An absolute must-see during a visit to Stockholm is its archipelago, that is called Skärgarden (Reefs Garden). This enormous group of islands is unique in the world and it very easy to reach from the centre of the capital.
Stockholm itself is built on 14 of the islands of this archipelago, that it the border between the Malaren Lake and the Eastsea. Only 1000 of the in total 24.000 islands are cultivated, yet most of them only from April until October. In the winterperiod the life on these islands is rough, with a lot of snow, ice and a freezing cold. They are almost impossible to reach, because boats are the only way of transport in Skargarden. But during the summermonths this area is very popular under the rich inhabitants of Stockholm that have summerhouses here, or sailors and other watersporters, are simply for the Swedish and foreign tourists that want to enjoy the beauty and peace of the archipelago.
The Skargarden is reaching almost 80 kilometres to the east from Stockholm and is almost 100 kilometres from north to south. This enormous surface is to be separated into three parts:
- The inner part: This part is the closest to Stockholm. It has much more land than it has water. Like in the city of Stockholm there are a lot of islands that are only separated by a narrow strip of water. The islands are covered by beautiful green forests and still have quite a lot of housing.
- The middle part: In this part the amount of water and land is almost equal. This area start at about 40 kilometres from the centre of Stockholm. Here there are more islands that have nothing but rocks, the rest still have the nice forests.
- The outer part: This part is completely surrounded by the sea. The islands mostly are rough rocky areas and the other islands are nothing but little dots at the horizon. The outer part of the archipelago starts at about 55 kilometres from Stockholm.
Stockholms Skärgård [the Archipelago] is definitely one of the highlights of the Stockholm surroundings! It's a group of numerous islands right on the way to Finland, some of which bigger, some smaller, but you really can't see the end of it! I think it's every Swede's dream to have a little house there! Very very pretty & amazing! Crazy as the matter of fact! ;) No, really, if you get a chance, go there!
The trip can be pretty expensive if you take 'poshy' boats or if you sleep over. But when I was going to check the tickets to go there, I found a special offer, so I got a return ticket for 15 SEK, which is less than 2 EUR! :o) The price is usually around 100 SEK (10 EUR), but I was so d*mn lucky! ;) I think it's a great thing to see it on the way to Finland because if you go on a tour of Skärgård alone, it can get quite expensive.
We took the boat from the far north-east end of Södermalm - Vikingterminalen. I think (and I've heard) that Viking Line is the best option if you want to go to Finland or the Baltic. They have an office at Centralen, so you can ask around for some good deals. The boat leaves at 07.30 in the morning & comes back at the same spot at 19.00. A very cool day trip!
There's always a lot of Swedes on those boats, mainly because there's a Duty Free Shop on the boat, so most of them go & get some boose for the upcoming weekend or just to spend the day sitting on the deck sipping a beer...
For the life of me I can't remember what the name of the island this was on, but I do remember the laidback, quiet qualities of the streets and the brightly painted homes.
If my research and memory are correct, I believe this is Vaxholm. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.
By installing a boiler and a steam engine in a sailing yacht, the English engineer Samuel Owen introduced steamships in Sweden.
The year was 1816 and trips were made on the RIDDARJFäRDEN bay in the centre of Stockholm/
During 112 years, hundreds of steamships were built and put in service to towns, communities, islands and villages on the lake MäLAREN and in the archipelago of Stockholm, only a handful survived until present time.
The steamships of Stockholm is a unique part of Swedis cultural history and a tourist symbol of Stockholm.
There are 11 steamships for passengers, no ships that TRY to look like the old archipelago steamers, BUT JUST THE REAL STEAM POWERD SHIPS.
Who wants to know more: see address or email me...
Take one of those small boats from Stockholm out to the eastcoast's (that is Stockholm's!!) archipelago and visit one, or several, of the 24,000 islands, islets and skerries. You can choose between several differnet boats and companies and destinations! Take a trip that last a couple of hours or a couple of days! You can have a great dinner aboard many of the boats, otherwise there is many nice restaurants at the islands!
The closest islands are the 'Fjäderholmarna' with a 20 minutes trip. Others, a bit more far out are Waxholm, Grinda, Sandhamn, Finnhamn and Utö among others.
Boats from Grand Hotel, City Hall, Strand Hotel and several other places.
Explore one of the world's most wonderful archipelagos!
The Vaxholms Kastell is very old and beautiful. There is alot of ferries you can go between the islands. You can take your bicyles with, nice sightseeing.
In summertime pleasure boat owners and strollers invade the town. There's brunch cruises during weekends (Feb-Nov)
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