As soon as we planned our trip to Stockholm, I knew I wanted to spend one of the days there visiting its archipelago. Its archipelago is made up of approximately 24,000 islands, but no one really has the final count. Sweden is famous, at least to me, for its appreciation for nature, and the amount of time locals devote to spending outdoors. Come rain or shine, or snow in winter, the Swedes enjoy the fresh air and beauty their landscape has to offer them. They’re even known for educating their children outside so they learn to appreciate nature rather than flee from cold weather. Coming from California where we cower a single rain drop, I really appreciate the Swedish approach. With all that in mind, I was determined to see just a small slice of the archipelago Stockholm is famous for.
We chose to visit Vaxholm based on the proximity to Stockholm, and honestly, because the Lonely Planet recommended it. Where am I without my Lonely Planet?
Besides how cute the island is (we’ll get to that later), its only a 90 minute boat ride from Stockholm (located 35km northeast), so you can go there and back easily in one day. We chose to leave around noon and return around 4. The island is small, so you can cover the whole thing on foot within 2.5-3 hours. Just enough time to stroll around, admire the charming Scandinavian houses, grab lunch or maybe some fika and make it back to the boat in time to reach Stockholm for dinner again.
Vaxholm is inhabited by about 11,000 people, all of whom seem to live in adorable colored wooden houses that feel taken straight from a story book. When we wandered the island, I instantly felt like I could stay a weekend there. The entire vibe of the island is peaceful. Small gravel lanes, painted red picket fences, the archipelago’s water lapping the island’s granite shoreline, and the occasional splash of a brave swimmer entering the water.
Not convinced yet? Here’s why you should pay a visit to Vaxholm
Visit Vaxholm to explore lanes lined with colored houses
Visit Vaxholm for fika or a shrimp sandwich with a view
During our day trip to Vaxholm we had lunch at Vaxholms Hembygdsgårds Café, a must, in my opinion, if you visit the island. Looking out on the water, this cafe in a garden offers a delicious Swedish spread to please your tastebuds.
Visit Vaxholm to see Stockholm and the archipelago from the water
So, you want to visit Vaxholm? Great, here’s how you do it:
We booked the classic tour to Vaxholm with Stromma . If you book this trip, you’ll want to book it a day or two in advance, and make sure to get seats outside. Get there early, because most of the seating is actually inside. Most passengers book this including the lunch, but in case you don’t you’ll have to fight for a seat outside.
Trust me, you’ll want a seat outside – half the fun of going to Vaxholm is touring the archipelago by boat first. Your trip on Stromma includes a tour guide who explains some of the islands and areas of Stockholm you pass by on your tour, so bonus, you get to learn something about the area on the way.
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