Island Hopping around Stockholm

Photo via Arild Vågen

Sweden

Island Hopping around Stockholm

Just off the coast of Stockholm are more than 30,000 of the most scenic islands in the world spread across almost 1,600 square miles of ocean. While they share the same basic Baltic environment, each has a unique personality. Here are a few highlights: 

Vaxholm_Castle_in_winter
Photo via Bengt Nyman

Vaxholm

Unlike the vast majority of the other Stockholm archipelago islands, this one is connected to the mainland by a bridge and easily reached by car or bus. It’s the site of the Vaxholm Fortress, which protected the city from seaborne attack. In ill condition these days, it is only for historical purposes.

 

 

Grinda
Photo via stvcr, Flickr

Grinda

This island is an unusually tasteful collection of hotels and restaurants idyllically situated just two hours by ferry from Stockholm. It exudes a rustic charm from the native flora and fauna through its glorious beaches to the immense granite cliffs that dot the coast. Definitely take advantage of the walking paths that weave their way through all of these.

 

 

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Photo via Brianna Laugher, Flickr

Svartsö

If a visitor is more inclined toward the outdoors, then this island should be their destination of choice as it boasts both cycling and bird watching as two of its major delights. It’s fairly isolated with a population of only 77 permanent residents that grows to 2,500 in the high tourist season.

 

 

Photo via Håkan Svensson
Photo via Håkan Svensson

Gotska Sandön

Uninhabited for over a century, this pristine island offers dunes along the coast and pine forests in the interior. It’s a nature-lover’s dream – and a national park – as it hosts a number of unique creatures found nowhere else in Scandinavia nor the rest of the world.

 

 

Photo via Arild Vågen
Photo via Arild Vågen

Huvudskär

The southernmost island in the archipelago, Huvudskär is a favorite destination spot for both sportsmen and historical buffs. It makes for an excellent day trip where you can fish off the coast, check out the lighthouse or stay for a few days in one of the preserved log cabins from the 19th century.

 

 

Photo via Marrian Mariusz Daraż
Photo via Marrian Mariusz Daraż

Björkö

History buffs will love to visit this small island in the extreme north of the archipelago. It contains numerous stone structures including the famous Grave of Inga that date from the Bronze Age (1800-500 BC). There are also more “recent” structures from the Germanic Iron Age (400-800 AD). All in all, a visit here is a trip through ancient times.

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