For me, the Stockholm Archipelago is a little bit of paradise, but I grew up there. My family lived in one of the archipelago towns during winter and school terms and then moved out to live in our summer house on an island in the middle of the archipelago over 10 weeks during the summer each year.
The archipelago begins just a few minutes away from the city of Stockholm. It stretches roughly 60 km (37 miles) in a north–south direction, and mainly follows the coastline of the Södermanland and Uppland counties.
The exact number of islands depends on who you talk to, but something in between 24,000-30,000 seems to be the agreed consensus.
There are uninhabited islets as well as islands with just a few summer houses and bigger islands with new communities and historic villages, where large houses and small cottages stand side by side. Islands with stores, pubs, restaurants, youth hostels and bed and breakfasts. However, keep in mind that most of the island villages are very remote, with limited options for dining and groceries.
My family belongs to one of the large archipelago families and many on the surrounding islands are some kind of distant relative – maybe my Mum’s cousin’s cousin! In 1719, the archipelago had an estimated population of 2,900, consisting mostly of fishermen. Today the archipelago is a popular holiday destination with some 50,000 holiday homes. The Stockholm Archipelago Foundation, dedicated to the preservation of the nature and culture of the archipelago, owns some 15% of its total area.
Like most inhabitants of the archipelago between the mid-1400s and the Second World War, my great grandma and grandpa were farmers and fishermen. Spring and autumn fishing was quite intensive in the outer archipelago from 1450 until the mid-1800s, and many fishermen lived for long periods on the outer islands because of the long distances back to their permanent homes in the inner archipelago. The combined farming and fishing culture lasted until around 1950–1955 when the younger generation, born during and directly after the war, started to leave the archipelago and look for jobs in the cities on the mainland. Today ,most of the small farms on the islands are closed and the fishing industry has almost disappeared.
The Stockholm Archipelago is really unique. Not so many people live in the archipelago permanently nowadays, but very many people from Stockholm and other areas have their summer houses out on the islands and spend their weekends and summer holidays there.
You can visit the inner, middle or outer archipelagos. The natural beauty of the archipelago is outstanding and on a nice summer day, absolutely incredible. It’s a mesmerising wonderland of rocky isles carpeted with deep forests and fields of wildflowers, dotted with boats and little red wooden cottages.
The best time to visit is during the spring and summer months from May to September. If you have the time and possibility, please visit one or several of the islands and not only enjoy the scenery from a boat deck,
We offer many different options to explore the Archipelago – by kayak, under sail, and by bicycle, so why not make it a goal for this summer to explore one of the worlds hidden beauty spots – The Stockholm Archipelago, so close to the city, yet a world away!
Sofia – part of the Nature Travels Team
Kayak through the archipelago:
We offer both guided and self-guided options for sea kayaking, camping wild along the way, quite probably on your own private island!
Go sailing in the archipelago:
A wonderful adventure for couples or families with your very own local skipper!
Hiking and Biking:
A multi-activity adventure with luggage transfers and accommodation in local guests houses and hostels along the way
Explore some of the jewels of the archipelago on foot and by boat: