On one particularly nice day of our June visit to Stockholm, we decided to set out into the Archipelago. Stockholm itself consists of many islands, but from there, some 30,000 islands extend about 80 miles out into the Baltic Sea. There are two main boat lines which will get you out to the islands of the archipelago: the Waxholmsbolaget and the Cinderella boats. They both run ships from near the Grand hotel, and you can find schedules, prices and exact locations for departures on their company websites: http://www.waxholmsbolaget.se/visitor/ and http://www.stromma.se/en/stockholm/cinderella-boats/
The scenery on your boat ride through the archipelago is very pretty. Very rocky islands, some having beautiful and colorful houses perched here and there. As you get further and further out into the archipelago, the islands get less and less rocky. Sandhamn, is the furthest out of the 150 of these islands which are inhabited. It took about 2.5 hours for us to reach it.
We chose Sandhamn because from my research it seemed to have the most going on. It has the Royal Swedish Sailing Society Yacht club house, and is apparently the yachting center of the Baltic. Rick Steves calls it “Sweden’s answer to Nantucket” . I am not sure I would go that far, but it is lovely and a fun place to spend the day if you have some extra time in Stockholm… As long as it is summer, because it was easily 10-15 degrees colder out on Sandhamn than in Stockholm. There are a few nice restaurants where you can have lunch. Sandhamn’s Vardshus is supposed to be very good, and it looked very quaint. and there is also a really cute looking café, the Dykarbaren Café, although the menu was pretty limited. These two restaurants plus a few small shops line the one main “street”(more of a dirt path) that lines the harbor.
At the other end of that “street” is the Sandhamn Yacht Club, and we chose to eat there on the pretty patio overlooking the sailboats/yachts. It was lovely. We had more of our ever-favorite Skagen for lunch (kind of shrimp salad, but better) and a Swedish beer. It was great! After lunch we took off on a walk to explore the island.
Fun fact about Sandhamn – there are no cars and there are no streets. Just dirt pathways. There is a little town by the yacht club which you enter as soon as you arrive on your boat. Beyond that are pathways past lots of charming cottages painted in bright colors. These seem to be all built near the shore. The center of the island is a patch of woods, easily crossed by foot along a little path. There are a couple of small beaches, and that pretty much is the whole island. Very charming, and I think desolate except for June, July and part of August. It was a photographer’s paradise. We could not stop taking photos of all these cute homes.