Sandhamn is actually the main island on Sandön (Sand Island), and that name tells you that this isn’t your average rocky Swedish island. Sure, it has some of the rocky shores typical of islands in the outer archipelago, but it also has long sandy white beaches, the largest is called Trouville. If it’s activities you’re looking for, Sandhamn pretty much has it all: swimming, biking, kayaking, and scuba diving, along with an excellent network of walking paths that take you along the coast, as well as deep into the forests in the heart of the island.
This year-round island also has excellent shops in the charming main town, along with cafés, restaurants, and hotels, along with glamorous nightclubs where you can dance the night away under the midnight sun. The Royal Swedish Yachting Club has its own port here, so be prepared to rub shoulders with plenty of sailors – or maybe take up sailing yourself.
One of Sweden’s finest fish restaurants, Wikström’s Fisk, is on Möja, and you can book a time at the public sauna in Ostholmen – although remember that clothing is always optional in a Swedish sauna. Berry picking and fishing are also popular activities, and there are plenty of places to stay if you plan on visiting for more than just a day.
Technically a group of islands, Finnhamn is a well-developed destination for the tourist who wants to chill out and enjoy the great outdoors as a Swede would.
Swim the rocky coast or relax on the sandy beaches. Maybe rent a boat and fish for your dinner (you can rent a cottage and self-cater). Walk, hike, and bike the day away before you relax for a meal at Finnhamn’s Café and Krog. This restaurant may be the only food game in town, but oh, is it worth a visit! Top-notch service complements a kitchen that turns ordinary seafood into dishes that will have you raving for years to come.
It’s under three hours by ferry to get to Finnhamn, so perfect for a day trip. The hostel and various cabin rentals mean you can stay for a few days of true relaxation, Swedish-style.
These days residents are more friendly and while there isn’t much in the way of so-called tourism, you’ll love this place if remote and rustic is your thing. There is one (excellent) restaurant/bar on the island, which features a terrace overlooking the sea, and while there are few places to overnight you are welcome to pitch your tent in accordance with Sweden’s Right of Public Access laws.
Grinda is one of the most unique islands in the archipelago, featuring lush forests, beautiful coves and bays, and a healthy supply of toads, bats, and very tame deer. There is an excellent hotel, a restaurant that has been named Best in the Archipelago numerous times, and of course, there are plenty of walking, hiking, swimming, and kayaking activities, along with excellent berry picking.
What isn’t expected is the DJ who mixes sounds in the middle of a field or the discovery that this island has its own clothing line. Sandy beaches and two stunning lookout points will bring peace to your soul, and the floating sauna is not to be missed.
The Vaxholm Fortress Museum, located on a small island just across from Vaxholm (it’s a couple of minutes by water taxi) is perfect for both exploring and for learning more about the history of the area. Vaxholm is very popular so there is plenty to do, whether it’s culture, sports, or shopping. Wander the streets, enjoy the views, and you’ll be back in the city in time for dinner or an after work.
Here’s another great island perfect for leisurely bike rides and time spent relaxing on the beach. In addition to biking (you can rent on the island or bring one on the ferry), you can canoe, sea kayak, or try your hand at tennis, mini-golf, beach volleyball, or boule. Nature is wild here, and the history is long. The windmill was built in 1791, and a climb to the top will give you the best views of the island. The beaches are often nearly deserted, and if you are biking, it will take you about an hour to go from one end of the island to the other.
We here at View Stockholm suggest biking, paddling, relaxing on the beach, and then treating yourself to some lingonberry ice cream. And don’t forget to grab one of the island’s famous ‘Utö loafs’ from the local bakery before hopping on the ferry and heading back to Stockholm. You won’t regret it.
The wooden houses – mostly red of course – that make up the little village, though, will charm you, and the vision of red granite cliffs will have you gasping at their beauty. There are no longer any permanent residents on the island (the last one died in the 70s) but the boaters who love this island still give a sense of life.
This is a long, narrow island, with gorgeous paths for walking and biking. Bird watching is popular here, and that lighthouse we mentioned has been shining its light since the 1660s, guiding boats and ships safely towards Dalarö and beyond. The history of the island dates back even further, but the military and seafaring past have given way to around 20 year-round residents who welcome tourists with a smile and plenty of options for fun during your visit.
Have fun in the Stockholm archipelago
There you have our guide to the best islands of the Stockholm archipelago. We hope you’ll find the perfect island for you, whether you want to go on a cozy day trip with the family, go boating with your partner, or are looking for a lovely archipelago hangout with friends. Enjoy your trip; we promise that you’ll be amazed.
Find the islands on the map