Q I want to explore Stockholm, its archipelago and other nearby islands, but I’m not keen on driving. Can you recommend an organised or self-guided tour?
Chris Graham, Owner, simplysweden.co.uk: Our advice to guests is to stay in the capital Stockholm and then take day trips by ferry to explore the archipelago, so there’s no need for a car. Often referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’, the inner city is made up of 14 islands connected by 57 bridges and, as the archipelago is made up of more than 30,000 islands, you’ll need to pick just a few to visit — but be sure to choose your dates carefully.
From mid-June to mid-August there’s an extensive network of boat tours and ferries shuttling between the islands and sightseers can even buy tickets from jetties or onboard with companies such as Waxholms Bolaget or Strömma.
Popular islands for day trips include Sandhamn (£15 one-way) and Grindö (£8 one-way), but it really depends on what you want to do. While some islands are bursting with restaurants, shops and idyllic villages with colourful, wooden houses and ancient churches, others are deserted with ancient forests, isolated white sandy beaches and nature reserves to explore.
There are also plenty of places — including the islands of Långholmen and Djurgården — to rent sea kayaks too, plus numerous options in the extended archipelago (from £18 for two hours to £48 per day).
One of my favourite trips is a Gotland and Stockholm package, which combines three nights in the capital — plenty of time to explore the archipelago (or add extra nights) — with a short stay on Gotland. Sweden’s largest island offers 500 miles of Baltic coastline and a huge range of activities and attractions to enjoy, not least its capital Visby, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plus, transfer is by coach and boat, so again there’s no need for a car.
The Gotland and Stockholm package costs from £995 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights from the UK, three nights’ B&B in Stockholm and three nights’ B&B in Visby, as well as transfers. Children cost from £570 per person on an extra bed in their parents’ room.
Published in the October 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)