An island exploration through the spiritual home of Nature Travels!
The Stockholm Archipelago is a magical place - just ask Sofia from the Nature Travels team, who grew up in Vaxholm and spent her childhood playing on Svartsö, one of the islands you will visit during the tour. The archipelago lies very much at the heart of Nature Travels, and much of Sofia's family still lives there. Bob and Sofia have a summer house on a small island just a few minutes by boat from Svartsö (we often go to Svartsö for ice cream), so you might even spot us from the boat as you pass by!
Take it from us - there's nowhere quite like it, and we hope you will love it as much as we do.
Well-marked trails with full route description make it easy to discover some of the best of what the archipelago has to offer. Photo: NT.
Like our other archipelago hiking itinerary, Island Hopping and Hiking in the Stockholm Archipelago, Discover the Islands of the Stockholm Archipelago aims to show you some of the very best of what this unique and very special place has to offer.
From historic capital to the wide horizon
Starting with a night in beautiful Stockholm, where you can stroll around the Old Town or visit the world's first Urban National Park, you then head by boat to the attractive coastal town of Vaxholm, with its pretty wooden houses and dramatic fortress.
From here, you journey through the "middle archipelago", a region of cool, verdant forests, with a network of islands rich in both natural and cultural heritage. Not only perfect for hiking, the islands are dotted with historic villages and with wonderful bathing and picnic spots.
As well as cool forests, beautiful beaches and flower-filled meadows, the archipelago also has a vibrant summer atmosphere, including the island of Sandhamn, very popular with the sailing community. Photo: NT.
You continue out to the fashionable island of Sandhamn, located on the outer rim of the archipelago, attracting sailors and non-sailors alike with its summer atmosphere and inspiring "edge of the world" feeling. Here the islands become smaller and farther apart, the forests give way to a more open, rocky, windswept landscape, and you can look out towards the open sea, where Finland lies on the other side of the Baltic.
So much more than hiking
Each day brings new paths to explore, often using the "båtluffarleden", the route specifically designed for island-hopping hikers. The archipelago boats take you between the main island locations during the trip, but you'll also cross between smaller islands with walking bridges or occasionally even by rowing boat (just a few metres!).
The hiking is easy going and enjoyable, with daily distances of 4-15km. There is plenty to see and experience along the way, so take your time - you're on holiday after all!
You can hike with just a light daypack during the day, leaving your main luggage at your accommodation. You will be staying in small archipelago hotels, normally just 100-200m from the jetty, making it easy to transport your main luggage on the boats between the islands.
In particular, take time to enjoy one of the pastimes central to any Swedish summer - wild swimming (the Swedes just call it "swimming"!). Sun yourself on one of the smooth rocks before taking a cooling dip in the archipelago waters. Although a sea, the Baltic has so much fresh water running into it and such a narrow opening that the water is only slightly brackish, making any swim as refreshing and cleansing as swimming in a fresh water lake. Summer temperatures in the archipelago may reach 30 degrees C or more, and the water will often be around 18-22 degrees C during the main summer period - absolutely perfect for swimming!
Your hiking tour will take you to a number of beautiful spots ideal for a dip in the waters of the archipelago. In summer the water can often be 20 degrees C or warmer. Photo: NT.
A flexible adventure with a long season and wide choice of start dates
Your itinerary begins in Stockholm, giving you the opportunity to explore Sweden's beautiful capital before travelling out to Vaxholm by boat from Stockholm harbour.
Discover the Islands of the Stockholm Archipelago is offered weekly or twice weekly from June to September, so you can choose to experience the wonders of the archipelago during the almost endless days of midsummer in June, the high summer period from July to mid-August, or the quieter, cooler but equally beautiful period from late August to September, as the leaves of the archipelago trees take on their autumn shades and you feel as if you have the whole archipelago to yourself.
NB: As for all our self-guided tours, min. 2 persons are required for safety reasons. For solo travellers, please see our range of options for guided hiking.
An information pack giving full practical information for your will be waiting for you at your accommodation in Stockholm.
Day 1: Arrival and hiking in Stockholm
Arrival and check in to your hotel accommodation and take the day to explore this historic city, which is compact enough to be very walkable. Depending on your travel plans and how much time and energy you have this day, we strongly recommend you follow the information provided for a self-guided walking tour of some of the highlights of the city.
You'll be conveniently located to discover "Gamla Stan", Stockholm's beautiful and historic Old Town area dating from the 13th century, and the city's southern island of Södermalm with its wooden houses and imposing church architecture.
Don't worry if you feel more like a rest today, though - you'll be back in Stockholm for another night at the end of your tour, so you can catch up on the places you don't see today before you leave!
Stockholm itself is built on 14 islands of the archipelago, and even here in the Sweden's beautiful capital, you're never far from the water. From atmospheric Gamla Stan to the world's first Urban National Park, a 27 sq.km oasis of tranquility with old-growth forest and wonderful bathing areas right here in the city. Stockholm has so much to see!
Accommodation: Hotel in Stockholm; Meals: None; Hiking distance: 4-10km (optional).
Day 2: Stockholm > Vaxholm
After breakfast at your hotel, you take the boat to the archipelago town of Vaxholm, passing through some lovely island landscapes on the way.
Known for its historic fortress, which is definitely worth a visit during the day, Vaxholm is the perfect gateway to the Stockholm Archipelago (and, incidentally, is where Sofia from the Nature Travels team was born)! For those keen to explore the natural surroundings, the peninsular of Bogesund offers lovely beaches and trails for an afternoon hike in the nature reserve.
With a bustling harbour, imposing stone fort, attractive wooden houses and a number of interesting craft shops, it's worth taking some time to soak up the atmosphere.
If you're already in the mood for walking, Bogesund Nature Reserve is a beautiful peninsula connected to Vaxholm by bridge. The reserve has walking trails, beaches, and some lovely picnic spots.
Accommodation: Hotel in Vaxholm; Meals: Breakfast; Boat: Stockholm-Vaxholm (1 hour); Hiking distance: 9.5km (optional).
Day 3: Vaxholm > Svartsö
Today you will take a lovely 10km hiking loop around the island of Vaxön, on which Vaxholm stands. The hike takes you along coastal paths, through winding village streets, and to a number of good bathing spots for a cooling dip in the archipelago waters. The Baltic is only slightly salty, making it almost like bathing in an enormous lake!
In the afternoon, you bid farewell to Vaxholm as you board the boat for the heart of the archipelago. Your next stop on your island hopping adventure lies approx. 75 mins away by boat - Svartsö ("Black Island"), which typifies the landscapes of the central archpipelago - cool forests of pine and oak, open meadows and attractive villages. There are also two "inland lakes" on the island, where beavers sometimes set up residence.
The permanent, year-round population of the archipelago is lower now than it was in the past, but Svartsö still has a small school for 20 pupils from the nearby islands, who make their way to school by boat in the summertime and hovercraft over the ice in winter!
Accommodation: Hotel on Svartsö Meals: Breakfast; Boat: Vaxholm-Svartsö (75 mins); Hiking distance: 10km
Day 4: Svartsö > Ingmarsö > Finnhamn > Svartsö
A real island hopping day today, using a combination of archipelago boat services and rowing boats (rowing distances are very short, crossing the few metres of water that separates some of the islands).
You begin with a walk to the eastern side of Svartsö to meet the boat. A few minutes later, you get off at Brottö, from where it is a couple of kilometres to Ingmarsö with its lively archipelago atmosphere.
There is a special "båtluffaleden", or island hopping path, that takes you across the island, passing a very nice bakery and a lovely swimming area on the way. From there, a bridge brings to you Kålgårdsön for a short walk across the island and the crossing to Finnhamn using the rowing boat that will be at the crossing point. Tip: The rowing boats operate on a 3-boat system, as there must of course always be a boat on each side of the crossing. If there are two boats on your side when you arrive, you're in luck! You can just row across and leave your boat on the other side. If there's only one boat, you've got some extra work to do! Row the boat across, collect another boat from the other side, row back with both boats (one person in each), leave one boat, and row across again as two persons!
On Finnhamn, you continue on the path, past beaches and a more open landscape until you reach the jetty. This is a lovely vantage point to enjoy the archipelago views while you wait for the boat to bring you back to Svartsö.
Accommodation: Hotel on Svartsö Meals: Breakfast and lunch; Boat: Svartsö-Ingmarsö (15 mins), Finnhamn-Svartsö (30 mins); Hiking distance: 12-15km
Day 5: Svartsö > Gällnö > Sandhamn
Today you leave Svartsö (after an optional morning walk to the lovely inland lake on the island) from the small jetty at Skällvik, where you take the archipelago boat to the island of Gällnö. The boat trip takes you through a beautiful area of small islands which are typical of the middle archipelago landscape.
Gällnö is a charming island, with well-preserved historic buildings and a picturesque village with cafe and store. From here you walk through a mixed landscape of pasture, woods and beaches.
If you have time, take the rowing boat just across the water to the neighbouring island of Karklö (there are always three boats, and at least one must always be left on each side of the crossing - so if there's only one boat on your side, you row the boat across, row two boats back, leave one, and then row across again!). On Karklö there is an attractive 2km hiking loop before going back across to Gällnö.
Once back, you can enjoy a refreshing swim at the beach before taking the boat to the island of Sandhamn, a lively and trendy island on the outer rim of the archipelago and a popular destination for the sailing community. Sandhamn feels very different from traditional Gällnö, but is just as appealing.
Accommodation: Hotel on Sandhamn; Meals: Breakast; Boat: Svartsö-Gällnö (40 mins), Gällnö-Sandhamn (45 mins); Hiking distance: 8-14km
Day 6: Sandhamn > Stockholm
With its harbour filled with expensive yachts and its summer party vibe, Sandhamn almost feels more like the south of France than Sweden. But its waterside village, narrow alleyways and 17th century houses retain all their Nordic charm, and although Sandhamn is right out on the edge of the archipelago, it has everything you need.
As the name suggests, on Sandhamn there's no shortage of sand! Today's walk takes you on a circular loop round the whole of the island, passing many beaches, including Trouville, which attracts visiting Swedes all summer long with its long stretches of white sand.
As you return to the village to catch the boat, take a moment to sample a "kannelbulle" (cinnamon bun) from Sandhamn's renowned bakery, before boarding the boat for the voyage back through the archipelgo to Stockholm. Take time to sit out on deck and enjoy the dozens of islands passing by - Swedes doing DIY at their summer houses or tinkering with their boats or families bathing from the jetties. Cast your gaze skywards and you may well see a White-Tailed Sea Eagle or Osprey circling majestically overhead.
After a couple of hours, Stockholm will begin to come into view, and you end your tour at its historic harbour.
Accommodation: Hotel in Stockholm; Meals: Breakfast; Boat: Sandhamn-Stockholm (2 hours 15 mins); Hiking distance: 8km
Day 7: Stockholm and Departure
If you can, take time today to visit some of the areas of the city you missed on Day 1. Have you been to the Urban National Park yet?
If you're leaving Stockholm today, it's time to bid farewell to the archipelago and make your way to the airport or train station for departure. Or why not stay an extra night or two and see more of what the "Venice of the North" has to offer?
Meals: Breakfast; Hiking distance: optional (flexible 4-14km).
Dates & Prices»
Possible start dates can sometimes be subject to variation depending on timetables for public boat services.
Tours are offered weekly or twice weekly from late June to mid-August.
Start every Saturday (end Friday) and Sunday (end Saturday) from 22nd June to 11th August 2024 (last start 11th August):
- June: 22.06-28.06.24, 23.06-29.06.24, 29.06-05.07.24, 30.06-06.07.24
- July: 06.07-12.07.24, 07.07-13.07.24, 13.07-19.07.24, 14.07-20.07.24, 20.07-26.07.24, 21.07-27.07.24, 27.07-02.08.24, 28.07-03.08.24
- August: 03.08-09.08.24, 04.08-10.08.24, 10.08-16.08.24, 11.08-17.08.24
Child prices given are based on 2 adults travelling with 2 children. If travelling with 1 child or 3 or more children, please contact us for details and prices.
|Per adult (based on 2 persons sharing)||GBP|
|Per child aged 10-15 (based on 2 adults + 2 children):||GBP|
|Per child aged 16-18 (based on 2 adults + 2 children):||GBP|
Accommodation arrangements for families:
Children will have separate 2-person room on all nights.
What's Included »
- Accommodation: 6 nights in hotel accommodation (2-person rooms) as per itinerary. All rooms have en-suite facilities.
- Meals: 6 x breakfast as per itinerary and 1 x picnic lunch. Additional meals are available to purchase locally.
- Boat Transfers: Stockholm-Vaxholm (Day 2), Vaxholm-Norra Svartsö (Day 3), Söderboudd-Södra Ingmarsö (Day 4), Finnhamn-Norra Svartsö (Day 4), Skälvik-Gällnö (Day 5), Gällnö-Sandhamn (Day 5), Sandhamn-Stockholm (Day 6)
- Bus: Vaxholm-Bogesund hiking area-Vaxholm (Day 2)
- Luggage Transfers and Storage: Stockholm accommodation-harbour (Day 2), baggage transfer on Svartsö (Day 5). Where accommodation is located just 100-200m from the boat jetty, luggage can easily be carried.
- Activities: 5 days' hiking as per itinerary.
Hotel accommodation on Sandhamn (top) and Svartsö (bottom). Photo: NT
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Meals apart from those specified. Additional meals are available to purchase locally - information on the various options will be given at the start of your tour.
Good To Know »
Suitable for adults and active families with older children. Recommended minimum age 10 years.
Hiking is generally easy, but you should be comfortable hiking with light daypack at own pace for distances of 4-15km.
Minimum 2 adults normally required. Solo adult travelling with child(ren) may also be possible depending on age and options chosen. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
What makes this "Easy"?
Although self-guided, the tour is supported with luggage transfers, which means it is necessary to hike only with a daypack during the day, and also features comfortable accommodation each night. Hiking distances are relatively short and the terrain can be undulating but not steep. The emphasis is on enjoying the atmosphere of the archipelago and the experience of travelling between the different islands.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
Ticks and TBE:
Note: Ticks occur mostly in grassy areas.
As in the UK and other areas, there are ticks in the Nordic forests which can carry diseases such as Borrelia. You should check for ticks at the end of a day in the outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible by pulling the tick out straight, carefully and slowly, with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Ensure that you do not leave any of the insect's mouth parts attached to your skin. Wash the bite area with soap and water. In the unlikely event that you feel unwell or notice anything unusual around the area of the bite in the coming days, consult your doctor.
As in large areas of mainland Europe, in some small, localised areas of the Nordic countries (mostly in the Stockholm Archipelago), the ticks are known to carry TBE, or Tick-borne encephalitis, and locals spending extended periods in affected areas often choose to vaccinate themselves. For more information and latest updates, please see Zecken. For current advice on TBE and inoculations for the area you are visiting, please consult your doctor or see Travel Health Pro.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
Combine This With
This experience makes a good combination with the following:
- Sailing in the Stockholm Archipelago (3 or more days, one hour from Stockholm)
This experience is also suitable for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has a detailed written environmental policy.
Getting There »
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Stockholm Arlanda, Stockholm Skavsta or Stockholm Västerås airports. Travel time into Stockholm city is around 20 mins from Arlanda and 90 minutes from Skavsta/Västerås.
Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Stockholm.