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Sweden's Beautiful Archipelagos: 8 Islands You Should Visit

A gorgeous aerial shot of Sandhamn
A gorgeous aerial shot of Sandhamn | © Arild / Flickr
Picture of Whitney Wasko
Stockholm Hub Writer
Updated: 8 October 2018
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Sweden is known for many things, one being the many archipelagos that can be found around the country. Stockholm alone has over 30,000 beautiful islands, which makes it even harder to choose where to go, especially if you are on a short trip. Here are the eight best islands you should visit while you’re in Sweden.

Brännö

Located off the western coast of Sweden from Gothenburg lies the island of Brännö. With a small population of 800 inhabitants, all of the basic necessities are available on the island. Brännö is an incredible place if you’re wanting to sunbathe, do a bit of cliff-jumping or visit one of the many kid-friendly areas of the beach. If you are in the mood for exploring, there is a neighbouring island called Galterö, which is accessible by a small bridge that connects the two together. Known to be quite a lively island, Brännö is a perfect place to spend festive evenings.

Fjäderholmarna

Fjäderholmarna is the closest archipelago island to the City of Stockholm and only a 25-minute boat ride from Slussen. There are many things you can do while visiting Fjäderholmarna, like rent a boat, visit the Allmogebåten Exhibit with a focus on a traditional Nordic vessel or play pétanque. With multiple restaurants and a brewery to visit, there is no shortage of places to eat and drink. If you want to take a little piece of the island back with you, be sure to stop at Hantverkslängan and Verkstadslängan to pick up some fun souvenirs.

Gotland

Notable for being the largest island in Sweden, Gotland is its own province and is located in the middle of the Baltic Sea. Getting there is quite easy by either a 30-minute flight or a three-hour ferry ride. If you enjoy hiking during the summer months, then there is no better place to hike than in Gotland, which has 133 hours worth of hiking on picturesque trails and beautiful scenery. Fascinated with history? Gotland has a plethora of Viking ruins all over the island, as well as Visby Ringmur, which is the most well-preserved medieval wall in all of Scandinavia. There are tons of activities to do in Gotland, so no matter what you choose, you’ll be sure to have a wonderful time.

Grinda

Only an hour away from Vaxholm, Grinda is one of the cutest archipelago islands you can visit during the warm summer months. With picturesque countryside and plenty of areas to go swimming, you’ll feel as though you’re in an Astrid Lindgren novel. There are many places to stay while visiting the island, like hotels, cabins, a youth hostel and a campground. Want to participate in some water activities? Kayaking is one of many activities, as well as boating, utilizing the volleyball court for a quick game and taking a relaxing sauna.

Sandön

A small island off the eastern coast of Stockholm is Sandön. Sandön is the very same island that hosts Sandhamn, one of the most popular places to take a day trip to in Stockholm, and what most locals call Sandön in its entirety. The settlement of Sandhamn has the Sandhamn Seglarhotell, which is a focal point of the Sandhamn experience. Many individuals enjoy coming to Sandhamn to spend the day and grab lunch, but there is also an opportunity to stay at the resort and have a romantic weekend getaway! If you’re looking for a more ‘posh’ getaway on one of the islands, Sandön is the place for you.

A gorgeous aerial shot of Sandhamn

Svartsö

Catch a ride on a boat and take a trip to Svartsö! With the history of the island going back to the 1700s, Svartsö is one of the largest and most historic islands you can visit. On the island, you can rent bikes from a local shop or make a stop at Svartsö Krog, a restaurant with an incredible menu. Every year in July, the inhabitants of Svartsö host a cultural festival for a week, which takes place in the village yard, to celebrate the artwork and many different things that their residents have created. If you are interested in spending the night at Svartsö, there are several places you can stay, like the Skärgårdshotell & Vandrarhem, camping near the water in tents, or there’s even a houseboat you can rent.

Vaxholm

One of the most popular islands in all of Sweden, and often referred to as the Capital of the Archipelagos, Vaxholm is a quintessential island for Swedes and tourists to visit during the summer months. Vaxholm is host to Stockholm’s Archipelago Boat Day, which is a day that celebrates the activity of taking boats to the many different islands around the Stockholm area. While visiting, you can take a guided tour on a kayak around the island, visit an old fisherman’s quarter to have a traditional herring lunch and explore an old but well-preserved fortress. If you fancy a different kind of accommodation, try staying at one of the several bed-and-breakfasts that are available.

Vaxholm hosting Archipelago Boat Day

Öland

The second-largest island in Sweden is none other than Öland. Located towards the south of the country, Öland is a fantastic place to check out during the summer months. Home to the royal family’s summer home, Öland is a little piece of paradise full of beaches, beautiful scenery and with tons of hiking trails, you can start your adventures on. If great cuisine is your thing, make a stop at Hotell Borgholm, whose restaurant features a star in the Michelin Nordic Guide. Like hiking? Check out Gösslundaleden in the south of Öland for a 7-kilometre (4.35-mile) hike that takes you to the village nearby.

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