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Vaxholm | Bengt Nyman/Flickr
Vaxholm | Bengt Nyman/Flickr
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7 Things To Do & See In Stockholm’s Archipelago

Picture of Johanna Stapelberg
Updated: 9 February 2017
If you ever decide to visit one of the 24,000 islands and islets in the Stockholm archipelago, Vaxholm is a must! Known for its herring fish, defense of Stockholm for over 400 years and its historic fortress, Vaxholm is a special place to enjoy local sights and Swedish culture. Check out our guide to exploring the best things to see and do when visiting this traditional Swedish city!

Explore the harbor

Every year, people come together with their sailing boats to visit the harbor of Vaxholm. The guest harbor is situated a small walk from the center, where there is mini-golf, fishing and camping places. At the harbor, individuals can find several taxi boat companies and sight-seeing tours to see the small islands outside Vaxholm. Beyond a sightseeing extravaganza, the harbor also hosts Vaxholm’s most popular burger restaurant Winberg’s – a worthwhile place to stop and grab a bite to eat while enjoying a view of the harbor!

Visit Vaxholm’s historic citadel

Dating back to the 1500s, the Vaxholm Citadel, located between Vaxholm and Rindö, was used to defend Stockholm. During the 1800s, the Citadel was refurbished and served as a place for military soldiers, as well as prisoners. Today the Vaxholm Citadel is a historic landmark and can be visited through its adjacent Fortress Museum, where everyone can imagine the fortress back during its heydey in the 1800s and understand its historic significance in defending Sweden. Visitors can also enjoy the museum’s courtyard for dining and drinks, as well as other concerts and activities hosted on the premises.

Vaxholm Västning | Martin Wolf/Flickr
Vaxholm Västning | Martin Wolf/Flickr

Dine at Vaxholm’s Hotel Restaurant

Believe it or not, the Vaxholm Hotel Restaurant is a local favorite when it comes to dining in style. Known for its hospitality, the Vaxholm Hotel contains a unique atmosphere that combines a dining experience paired with a beautiful view overlooking the nearby harbor. With a menu that focuses on typical Swedish fish dishes, including the Baltic herring and salmon, the hotel’s restaurant is a great introduction to Swedish gastronomy.

Escape to a Swedish oasis

When looking to find that off-the-beaten-track spot in Vaxholm, head to Norrhammen. Norrhammen is a traditional fishing harbor within Vaxholm. The place itself is well hidden, so newcomers to the city may need the guidance of a local to find its location. The houses around the area are former fishermen cottages and a local history museum is located in the Hembygdsgården building. During the summer time, this place is one of the locals’ favorite café spots, known for its homemade cakes and pastries. Another hidden memory in Norrhamnen is the canon battery from the 1700s to early 1900s. Today everyone can still see the rails on the ground and the closed cavities. Behind the hills is one of the protected oases to enjoy a picnic or bath with a view of the northern bay.

Vaxholm Summer | Bengt Nyman/Flickr
Vaxholm Summer | Bengt Nyman/Flickr

Check out Badholmen

With a simple boat ride, individuals can reach Badholmen which is an small island outside Vaxholm. Providing some of the most popular events during the summer months, individuals can plan a quick day trip to the island to enjoy some outdoor activities or enjoy views of the water.

The island of Badholmen in Oskarshamn, Sweden, Europe | Harvey Barrison/Flickr
The island of Badholmen in Oskarshamn, Sweden, Europe | Harvey Barrison/Flickr

Get moving at Vaxholm’s West Side Water

Some of the most popular actives individuals will find in Vaxholm are not only attractive for tourists, but also done by the locals! On the West side of the island, you will find different associations hosting numerous water sport activities including canoeing, rowing, and water-skiing. The latter is run by Vaxholm’s Water Ski Club, which is located on Eriksö, and is known for its camping and as a central bathing place. Consider renting kayaks or canoes to explore the coast of Vaxholm and witness another perspective of the island.

Enjoy a variety of activities at Bogesund

When looking to discover Vaxholm’s nature scene – Bogesund is the place to be! Connecting Vaxholm to the mainland is a bridge, and this bridge brings visitors to an assortment of hiking paths and winding trails through some of Sweden’s hardwood forests. Tenöbadet is not far from the bridge and offers places for swimming, but also mini-golf and a few spots to eat and drink. The area also hosts two large golf courses with a sea view, and during the winter months, the area becomes a cross-country ski area.

Another interesting destination in Bogesund is the Bogesund Castle, which is about five kilometers from Vaxholm’s center. It was build by Per Brahe, finished in the 1650s and the towers were built by Nils con Höpken in the 1860s. Since the early 1900s, the castle has been abandoned and today it has been transformed to host historical guided tours and other events. It is a spooky castle however; next to the castle is an old prison which has now been refurbished and hosts a youth hostel.

Bogesund Castle | Arild/Flickr
Bogesund Castle | Arild/Flickr