Stockholm's Island Getaways
Sandhamn: Sweden's answer to Nantucket
With its swanky yacht club, Sandhamn is often regarded as Sweden's answer to Nantucket
For years I've flown over
The local name for this area is "Skargarden" -- literally "garden of skerries," unforested rocks sticking up from the sea. That stone is granite, carved out and deposited by glaciers. The archipelago closer to
One of the joys of an archipelago trip is to grab a perch on the breezy sundeck with the Swedes as they enjoy their island wonderland. Even if your island isn't an official stop, ferries will dock on request ... or to plop down the day's mail.
Two major companies run public ferries from downtown
Your archipelago options are endless in this idyllic land-and-seascape. For a quick look, consider one of the many half- or full-day package boat trips from downtown
With thousands of islands to choose from, every Swede seems to have his or her favorite. Here are four possible island destinations, listed in order starting from
-- The self-proclaimed "gateway to the archipelago," Vaxholm is more developed and less charming than the other islands. Connected by bridge to
-- The rustic, traffic-free isle of Grinda -- half retreat, half resort -- combines back-to-nature archipelago remoteness with easy proximity to
-- The remote and lesser-known isle of Svartso ("Black Island"), a short hop beyond Grinda, is the "Back Door" option of the bunch. Unlike Grinda, Svartso is home to a real community; islanders have their own school and library -- but only 80 year-round residents. While the island is less trampled than others (just one B&B and a great restaurant), it is reasonably well-served by ferries. It's perfect for those who want to slow down and immerse themselves in the great outdoors.
-- Out on the distant fringe of the archipelago -- the last stop before
No matter which island you plan to explore, the best way to experience the magic of the archipelago is simply stretching out comfortably on the rooftop deck of your ferry. Enjoy the charm of the lovingly painted cabins as you glide by, your lounge chair positioned to catch just the right view and sun, the steady rhythm of the ferries lacing this world together, and people savoring quality time with each other and nature. The journey truly is the destination.
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