One of the top destinations for summer tourists in Stockholm is the archipelago (called Skärgården in Swedish) stretching out from the city into the Baltic Sea. I have noticed, however, that tourists really don't understand just how large the archipelgo is. It is vast, about 1,700 square kilometers in size (150 kilometers north to south and 80 kilometers east to west) and made up of over 30,000 islands. I often get guests who think that they can see the whole archipelago in a couple of hours. While there are shorter tours that give you a glimpse of the islands, to really see the archipelgo you need a full day. Once again, the company Strömma gives you the most options of getting around. They offer both a shorter guided tour, which is about 3 hours long and takes you out to Vaxholm and back, and a longer guided tour, which is about 11 hours long and lets you see a large part of the archipelago. The shorter trip costs 220 SEK for adults (110 SEK for children 6-11yrs) and you can combine the tour with a meal. The tour does not stop at any of the islands. The longer tour costs 975 SEK and includes coffee, lunch and a dinner (488 SEK for children 6-11yrs). If you choose you can opt for a 2 course dinner (cost 1110 SEK and 550 for children 6-11yrs). On the longer tour you do stop at several islands and have a chance to explore a bit. Click here for a map showing some of the more popular islands. You can also explore the islands on your own, which I definitely recommend for those with a sense of adventure. The best option, in my opinion, are the Cinderella boats that travel from Stockholm to the outer archipelago and back. One boat goes to the island of Sandhamn before returning and another boat goes to Möja and back. Both boats stop at several islands along the way(there and back)... like Vaxholm, Grinda and Finnhamn. I often take a Cinderella boat and get off at one of the islands, explore and then jump back on the Cinderella boat on its return trip. Keep in mind... the farther out you go the less time you have to explore. The boats leave around 9am and get back around 5pm. There is a café and restaurant on board. It is quite inexpensive and you pay according to which island you disembark at, but no more than 300 SEK round-trip. Almost all of these islands have cafés, restaurants, trails and beaches. Lots to do and see! Strömma also offers daytrips to the island of Sandhamn (which some consider the quintessential archipelago village/island).
Cinderella boat arriving at Finnhamn
How ever you decide to see the archipelago, short or long, guided or on your own... you won't be disappointed! Truly a natural wonder of the world!