July 31, 2018

Day Trip to Vaxholm in the Archipelago

Hembygdgårds Café on the other side of bay
Four years ago, I wrote a blog article about taking a trip out to the island of Vaxholm in the Stockholm archipelago. It has been one of my most read articles. Last week I revisted the island with my family and I thought it would be good to do a new article with updated information and new pictures so that readers don't have top search through the archives for the article. Plus, a boat trip to the archipelago is a great way to spend the day in this current heatwave.
Entrance to Café...
With over 24,000 islands, there are a lot of options on what to see & do when visiting the archipelago. Time-wise, you are looking at between 4 and 8 hours... depending on how far out you want to travel, which islands you want to visit and how much time you wish to spend ashore (if any). You could even opt for a longer visit and stay a few nights on an island or two. Vaxholm is the perfect place to visit if you don't have a full day to spend (a ferry there takes about 1 hour), want to see some of the archipelago and spend some time on an island.
...outdoor seating and...
Vaxholm is the name of both a town and the island it is on and is located in the central portion of the archipelago. In fact, its central location has made it a hub for boat travel in the archipelago and its nickname is "Capital of the Archipelago". One of the main sea routes in to Stockholm passes by Vaxholm. So besides the town, you also have Vaxholm Fortress (Fästning) which was first built in 1544 to guard the city. You can visit the fortress, which houses a museum, and there are boats from Vaxholm harbor every 20 minutes which takes you across the narrow channel.
...pastry table. 
We did our annual, traditional visit to Vaxholm this time: boat to Vaxholm, walk along the water to our favorite seaside café and then a walk through town back to the dock for an ice cream before boat back to town. The café, Hembygdgårds Café, is located on a picturesque little bay, this popular café has great outdoor seating with views over the water. It also has one of best dessert/pastry buffets I have ever seen! Great lunch options as well as beer and wine.
Vaxholm town
After lunch, we made our way back through the town (with some shopping along the way) to the harbor. The town is quite cute and made up mostly of wooden buildings. In fact, wood was the only building material allowed by law up until 1912 so that it could be easily razed and kept out of the Russians' hands if they were to invade. The harbor itself can be very busy, with people getting on and off boats, but the town gets much quieter just a few blocks from the harbor. Don't miss a visit to Glass på Hörnet, for some great gelato before taking the boat back.
Main street!
You have a few options to get to Vaxholm from Stockholm. The Cinderella boats travel to the outer archipelago every day during the summer and stop at Vaxholm. They leave the city from Strandvägen around 9:30-10:00am and the trip takes just 50 minutes. They stop by Vaxholm in the afternoon (3-4:00pm) on their way back from the archipelago, depending on the day of the week. Check the website, linked above, for the schedule.
Boarding Waxholmsbolagt in Stockholm and...
Another good option is using the Waxholmsboalget boats (the commuter boats of the archipelago). These boats have more departures through the day and the trip takes between 50 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes, depending on the boat. They depart from Strömkajen and you purchase your tickets onboard. There is a bridge connecting Vaxholm island to the mainland, so you have the additional options of bus, taxi or car. If you are staying at the Hotel Rival, contact me for help with schedules and tickets (Cinderella only). Click here for more information about visiting the archipelago.
...in Vaxholm

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