5 SUMMER ADVENTURES IN SWEDEN - Stockholm archipelago | Undutchables

5 SUMMER ADVENTURES IN SWEDEN - Stockholm archipelago

Categorie: Travel

Due to the pandemic, we do advise you to read the recommendations on travel within Sweden on the web site of the Public health agency of Sweden.

Summer is but brief in Sweden and must be relished. And, as so often, the Swedes have particular rituals which make their celebration of summer particularly distinct and special. Stockholm’s archipelago plays a pivotal role in the summer idyll, embodying as it does the desire and ability of Swedes to come closer to nature than many of us can remember being. It all has to do with proximity to water, seemingly endless summer nights, glorious light and life’s simple pleasures.

Picture yourself on a generous expanse of warm granite rock, the water glimmering enticingly before you, the wind gently whistling in the breeze through the pine trees behind you. Everything is utterly calm, simple, untouched. Or on a stand-up paddle board, gliding through a mirror of water, progressing gently from one tiny island to another. On a boat, the only decision being where to moor up for the next swim or a spot of lunch on an enticing rock. On a delightfully old-fashioned ferry, humming unobtrusively towards one of the islands for a day of exploring, walking, picnicking, paddling. You’ve escaped!

The beauty of the archipelago is that you can take it at your own pace. It is a haven for sailors, those with motor-boats, those with a fishing rod, a good book or wanting nothing more than to lie low in one of the most peaceful places anywhere. Its magic exists between gentle forest, ancient meadows, glistening water. You can be remarkably lazy or more energetic. But you can’t fail to be touched by it.

Archipelago by eric3

Many escape on ferries from Stockholm which whisk them away to some of the better known islands, also reachable from Vaxholm, the gateway to the archipelago and a charming small town in itself with many a small boutique and cake shop to tempt. The more intrepid rent motor-boats which give you unparalleled freedom and independence to probe the archipelago’s secret corners. Some dip into it for the day, visiting the closest island to Stockholm, Fjäderholmarna, which is a mere 20 minutes or so and affords a first feel of the islands mixed with art galleries, glassblowers’ workshops and restaurants. You could be tempted by a visit to perhaps Stockholm’s most ravishing modern art gallery, Artipelag, on Värmdö, with inspiring exhibitions, delicious food and ample proof that location is everything. Or you can take the plunge and stay for a night, a week, or as many Swedes do, a month. Go native and rent a stuga, for a first-hand taste of life in one of the archipelago’s myriad wooden houses where life returns to simplicity. You will quickly succumb to complete relaxation, mooching between walks, swims, the thrill of catching a perch, hours spent contemplating the water or wondering why Swedish light is quite so astonishingly pure and clear.

Archipelago by eric4

Sandhamn is perhaps the best known island, revered for its long sandy beaches and enjoying no small measure of prestige. Grinda is an excellent first port of call with many stugas available, Finnhamn has a wealth of warm granite on which to sunbathe, Gällnö really allows you to stretch your legs on longer trails than many of the archipelago’s islands allow and is truly wonderful for its wealth of flowers and the sense of being even more undiscovered than its island counterparts. The optimal moment for Ängsö has passed for this year if you are a flower enthusiast, but don’t miss it next May for an unrivalled display of Adam and Eve orchids and anemones.

Once you’ve tried one island, you will simply want to go back for more. Savour the pastel palette of wooden houses, punctuated by the signature Swedish terracotta red, each asserting its modest individuality whilst also, in true Swedish style, complying with a distinct look and desire to be part of the greater whole. Revel in the fabulously refreshing and only slightly salty water. Wonder at how calm life can be. This is truly a summer paradise and, even better, just on your doorstep.

“…the focus for me was the juxtaposition of pine woodland, with incipient bilberries poking up their heads and the omnipresent glimmer of the water just beyond, through every vista, a tantalising presence bidding swimming, fishing, experimenting. All so unspoiled, untouched, utterly itself, far away from the modern world and seemingly unchanged since forever”.

(Excerpt from So Sweden – Living Differently)

Useful websites for visitors to the archipelago:

Click here for information on renting a stuga (house renting).

For boat information you can find usefull information via Vaxholmsbolaget or Strömma. On the website of Stockholm Archipelago you can also find useful information!

Read more on the beautiful islands: Grinda, Finnhamn, Gällnö.

Alison Allfrey is a British writer, linguist and communications consultant who lived in Stockholm from 2012 to 2015. She published So Sweden – Living Differently, a memoir of her time in Sweden and inspiration for ex-pats living there in October 2019, available on Amazon as below. She has also had articles published about Sweden in The Local (thelocal.se), Nordic Style Magazine, Sverige Magasinet and fika-online.com. Alison lives with her family near Winchester in the UK. She is an avid traveller and loves exploring other cultures.

Her book So Sweden is to be purchased here.

Photos by Eric Roxfelt.

So Sweden photo Alison for midsummer
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