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Photo: Erika Gerdemark
Photo: Erika Gerdemark

Places

Stockholm waterworld - an archipelago escape

Stockholm is built on 14 islands between a huge lake and an enormous archipelago. It is overflowing with water-bound activities and sights. But some things should not be missed. Here are some great ways to enjoy the Swedish capital’s watery paradise.

The Stockholm archipelago has over 24,000 islands, islets and skerries. To get a good feel for the area, one of the best islands you can visit is Gällnö, an unspoiled island in the central archipelago.

The island has classic red-and-white houses surrounded by lilac arbors, cow pens and meadows. It’s a 15-minute walk to Gällnö village from the harbor along a car-free gravel path, past a well-preserved human-sculpted landscape with livestock grazing freely in lush meadows.

The natural place to meet in Gällnö is at the Gällnö Bar, which nestles under gnarled apple trees by the little marina. This summer restaurant has a barbecue in the gardens and tables on the jetty. The adjacent general store and delightful café enhance the feeling of having landed in a Swedish summer idyll. In the bar, you’ll see old wooden wine chests, beer from the Nynäshamn steam brewery, homemade elderflower cordial and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” cocktail, with gin, Gällnö lilac and sweet wine.

A little farther away is the youth hostel, which has been voted the best in Sweden. The main part of the hostel is in the island’s old school and it is styled with vintage school memorabilia and wildflowers. In the old teachers’ quarters one floor up, you’ll find the smallest hotel in the archipelago, the single room Frans August, named after Herr Frans August Hermansson who donated the land to the island school in 1902.

The youth hostel cabins nearby are the epitome of rural Sweden, painted in traditional red-and-white and backing onto pine tree copses and meadows.

On the 4km Gällnöstigen trail you can learn more about the history of the island and its flora and fauna, while at Torsviken there’s a well-preserved giant hole in the rock, formed during the last ice age 10,000 years ago. If you fancy a swim, you’ll find a sandy beach here and several rocky points. There’s also a very hot sauna and a football pitch on the island.

Photo: Erika Gerdemark

Go to Gällnö

Cinderella and Wax­holms­bolaget boats both go to Gällnö. The journey from Stockholm takes about 90 minutes.

Gällnö

130 33 Gällnöby, Sweden

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Photo: Erika Gerdemark

Walk or cycle

Gällnö is perfect for walking and cycling. Along the 4km-long Gällnöstigen path you can learn about the history of the island and its flora and ­fauna. The hostel has bikes for hire.

Walk or cycle

130 33 Gällnöby, Sweden

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Historical sights

At Torsviken, there are well-preserved landscape ­formations dating back some 10,000 years, while on the eastern side there is an 18th century oven that the Russians used for baking.

Torsviken

Island hopping

Gällnö is an excellent starting point for further excursions in the archipelago. Nearby are beautiful islands such as Svartsö and Möja, and in the strait between Karklö and Brännholmen there are rowing boats available.

Island hopping

Photo: Erika Gerdemark

Bathe

For swimmers, there are both sandy beaches and cliffs on the island. At Torsviken you can find one of the island’s most popular seaside spots. There is also a wood-­burning sauna on the island, but you need to book it in advance.

Torsviken

Eat and drink

The cozy archipelago restaurant is worth a trip in itself. There is also a charming café and a summer bar here, along with a small store for those who want to cater for themselves.

Gällnö

130 33 Gällnöby

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