Exploring the Stockholm Archipelago

Looking for an escape from city life? Time to set sail and venture out to the Stockholm archipelago.

A vast region with over 30,000 islands to explore, the Stockholm archipelago is a must while visiting Stockholm. With the closest island just a short boat ride away, the archipelago is a perfect place to recharge after a long week. Filled with islands featuring serene coastlines, woodlands, and quaint towns, you’ll be able to experience a completely different aspect of Swedish culture with plenty of space for peaceful fika breaks.

SL card holders (that means ALL DIS Stockholm students!) can use their SL cards to take ferries to explore anywhere in the archipelago. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to explore a part of Sweden outside of the city at no extra cost!

Now, where to start… The main question is, how much time do you have?

A good tool for planning your trip is the Waxholmsbolaget website. To further help you with your planning, we have selected our favorite spots depending on whether you are aiming for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Islands within an hour:


The unofficial capital of the archipelago, Vaxholm, is a 45 minute boat ride from Stockholm. While there, you can visit the Vaxholm Fortress which was built in the sixteenth century to defend the city of Stockholm. There are plenty other areas to discover; charming restaurants, cafés, and cute boutique shops. For those looking for more of an adrenaline kick, you can enjoy the views of the island while kayaking, fishing, or paddle boarding.


Only a 25-minute boat ride from Stockholm, Fjäderholmarna is an easy place to visit for a last minute day trip. Before heading into town, venture on paths through the forest and along the rocky coastline. After, head into town to explore the lively art scene filled with artist studios, allowing for the exploration of local arts and crafts. Another must-see on the island is Solberga Konfektyr which offers a wide array of Swedish candy, perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up before further adventuring through the island.


Gustavsberg” by Jan Augustsson is marked with CC0 1.0

If you are looking to learn more about Swedish craftsmanship, Gustavsberg is an excellent place to explore the tradition of porcelain. Located on the island of Varmdö, Gustavsberg is home to the only active porcelain factory in Sweden. It opened in 1825 and is still active to this day. Throughout the island there are other art galleries, glass factories, and cafes, perfect for immersing yourself in the local craft scene.

Islands over two hours away:


Finnhamns huvudbrygga och strandcafe” by Lindigo is marked with CC0 1.0

Located in the northern part of the archipelago, Finnhamn is a nature reserve owned by the Archipelago Foundation. At Finnhamn there is an activity for everyone. For the outdoor enthusiasts, kayaks and rowing boats are easily available for rental, hiking trail signs are placed around the island, beaches and bathing sites are easy to come by. For the cozy-minded foodies, there are organic farms, food trucks, and cafés. Plenty for everyone to explore!


© Samuli Lintula / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

Utö is an island enjoyed by locals and visitors alike all year round. Utö is one of Sweden’s oldest iron mining sites, and you can learn about the local history by visiting the mining museum. Also known for its beaches, nature, and Swedish seafood, in Utö you can fully enjoy the coastal scenery while savoring a yummy bite. Don’t forget to stop by the notable local Utö bakery for a loaf of bread before heading back to Stockholm.


Sandhamn” by Arild Vågen is marked with CC0 1.0

Located on the outer part of the archipelago, Sandhamn is the perfect spot to escape from the stress of the city all year round. In Sandhamn you can visit the island’s archipelago museum to learn more about the history of the archipelago. Take a stroll along the beach amongst the pine trees, or explore the picturesque town and all it has to offer.

Explore more of Sweden:

Essential and Accessible Places to Visit in Sweden

Neighborhood Guide: Bromma, Sweden

A Budget Friendly Guide to Museums in Stockholm

Other useful sites:

DIS Transportation Coverage for Students

Resources for Using the Public Transportation System in Stockholm

SL Journey Planner Website for Planning Public Transportation in Sweden

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