Warm weather or cold, this delightful island in the Stockholm archipelago is perfect for a weekend break. While water activities are a big draw here – think sailing, kayaking, and swimming – there are also spa weekends and the simple fact that you can walk the entire coast of the island in an afternoon, before settling comfortably into the Yacht Hotel, where the views are eye-watering and the food and drink superb. Even better, find a quiet spot and read the Sandhamn Murders books and wonder why your surroundings seem to oddly peaceful.
Beautiful Gotland is perfect for a weekend getaway
Sweden’s largest island, Gotland, offers not just the usual water sports and great dining and drinking, but also culture and history – in fact, Visby, the medieval fortified town, is a Unesco Heritage Site. Once you’ve had your fill of defensive towers and walls head to the beach, bike the winding paths through the island, or move on to Fårö, the small island just north of Gotland where Ingmar Bergman made his home for many years and where the beaches are sandy. Don’t miss the nearly 100 churches on Gotland – which serve just 60 thousand permanent residents.
Just one hour north of Stockholm Uppsala is an ancient city where you’ll find Sweden’s largest cathedral (13th century) as well as Sweden’s oldest institute of higher education, Uppsala University, which was founded in 1477. So you get the idea that history makes a big splash in this charming city and that certainly is true – but with an international population and plenty of students this is a city that is as fun as it is serious. Great bars and restaurants complement a fabulous music scene (particularly outdoor concerts in summer) – and the best part is that it’s completely walkable – and has fabulous Botanical Gardens. So grab a train at Stockholm’s Central Station and you’ll be transported in no time.
Kastelholm Castle in Åland
There’s a thriving year-round community on Åland that keeps this island hopping – and it’s full of curious little things: it belongs to Finland but Swedish is the language, it has its own parliament, flies its own flag and issues its own stamps – and even has its own domain suffix (.ax). Beyond that, there are great museums, pristine beaches, and a buzzing culinary scene. And Åland is allowed to sell duty-free due to a special relationship with the EU. Cycling, swimming, boating, fishing – all the activities you might be keen to try are readily available. You can hop over to Åland by ferry or plane and rent a car or bike when you arrive.
Helsinki, the capital of Finland
The overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki is known as something of a party trip but even if you’re not up to dancing and drinking the night away it’s worth taking the trip. Onboard the ferry there are shows, clubs, restaurants, and bars and 15 hours later you’re in Helsinki (around 9 am), where you can discover the city’s Old Town, the Market Square, and the wonderful Cathedral – and make a stop at the Karl Fazer Café, where you’ll indulge in some of the finest chocolate in the world. There are plenty of trams to get you around, although the city is perfectly manageable for walkers. One of the most interesting things about Helsinki is that older people claim it looks like what Stockholm looked like before many hills were leveled in the 1960s. We can’t say for sure but we do know it’s a great Stockholm weekend getaway.
View Stockholm hopes you enjoy your weekend getaway!