The Swedish wilderness is calling, and I must go! Those long summer nights under the endless skies of the Baltic Sea attract thousands of day-trippers and holidaymakers alike.
Yet, the place still feels exclusive between those wooded islands, rocky cliffs and sandy beach islets.
The Baltic Sea of Sweden
The endless skies of the Baltic Sea keep watch over the Stockholm archipelago, which consists of 24,000 islands within a radius of eighty kilometres of the Swedish capital, with Öregrund in the north and Landsort in the south. The climate is surprisingly pleasant in summer, with sunny days and temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius.
The archipelago is ideal for a week of water fun in summer when the sun is high. Ice skating from the Swedish capital to different islands is the thing to do in winter.
Sandhamn and Utö Blidö are larger islands to find hotels, restaurants, and shops. Ideal for stocking up on supplies and or partying the night away if that is your thing.
Pure nature Baltic Sea Sweden
However, I recommend minimizing human contact, as the illusion of remoteness makes these islands so unique. Starting from Stockholm with a kayak, sailboat or yacht, you can reach the Swedish wilderness in no time.
The islands are close to shore and yet feel secluded. Most are small and uninhabited. Sometimes they consist of no more than a few bare rocks. So nobody bats an eye if you decide to skinny dip, although men, be aware that the water temperature might affect the visual grandeur of your manliness. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting wet, as the only ones that might be watching tend to be those of the furry or feathered kind.
Wildlife on the Swedish islands
Martens, eagles, cormorants, lizards, seals and as many as three species of snakes are free to roam the archipelago. Occasionally the peace and quiet in the animal kingdom are shattered by humans.
Swedish freedom to roam
Both the Swedes and foreign tourists can freely enjoy all the beauty that nature offers, including what is privately owned. That means that no licence is required for most outdoor activities, nor that money may be charged for:
- Gathering and picking berries, mushrooms and flowers, as long as these are not protected species;
- The temporary set-up of a tent. As long as it is set at a reasonable distance from homes and cropland;
- Fishing (with a rod);
- Walking, skiing, cycling, skating or boating on Swedish territory.
So you can set up your tent almost anywhere and light a fire to barbecue your fish. Ideal in a country that otherwise seems relatively unaffordable.
Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.
Practical info sailing trip Stockholm archipelago
Unfortunately, nature has a dark side as well. Dangers and annoyances in the Swedish archipelago are ticks, snakes and lots of mosquitoes:
- Insects can be annoying, and their bites can cause significant swelling but are otherwise harmless.
- Tick bites may cause Lyme disease and other infections, such as tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). This is a brain (fleece) inflammation. Therefore, check your skin every night (and that of your children) for ticks.
- It is unlikely that a snake will bite you. A bite from a Swedish viper is poisonous but usually not fatal.
Sun and water
- Because of the sun’s reflection on the water, you will burn faster than usual. Protect your skin by using sunscreen and wearing a hat or a cap.
- Wear dark sunglasses on the water against an intense glare.
- Take lip balm because the combination of sun, wind and water dries your lips.
- Everything in Sweden is expensive. Food costs much more than in the rest of Europe, except for other Scandinavian countries.
- Alcoholic drinks are costly. A beer will set you back at least six euros (source).
- Even though imported fruits and vegetables carry a high price tag, they are tasteless. Local seasonal fruits, especially berries, are delicious.
- Sweden is almost a cashless society. Cards are frequently used, even for small purchases, such as a cup of coffee. In some places, it is not even possible to pay with cash.
- In the short Swedish summer, the weather is often beautiful. However, it does rain regularly. In addition, the winds can be fierce on the islands.
- The archipelago usually has a slightly better climate than the Swedish mainland.
Transport to and in Sweden
- Tickets and timetables for public transport can be found here (in English).
- Take the ferry to Sweden from Denmark or Norway or to the islands in Sweden. Click here to find out sailing schedules, prices and availability.
The internet in the Stockholm region is excellent. Even on the archipelago, you are in the 4G range.
You can sleep in the wild, on your boat, in a tent or if you prefer to sleep in a hotel, hostel, flat, or B & B. Click here for the different lodging in the archipelago options.
Flights to Stockholm
Three airports serve Stockholm. Arlanda is the largest airport. Most flights go there (SAS, KLM, Norwegian Airlines). The other two airports are Skavsta and Bromma.
Thanks to Helena and Tobias for their kind hospitality. Without you, we would never have known the beauty of this part of the world.
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