We've all heard about cosmopolitan Stockholm, arguably Sweden’s top destination. But if you choose to visit, don’t forget that there are a whopping 30,000 islands surrounding the city -- some thriving, inhabited communities, and others that are little more than a skiff of rock and grass -- spread along an archipelago that stretches nearly 50 miles into the Baltic Sea.
While some spots in the archipelago are difficult to reach, there are others that are more than suitable for a day trip. We especially recommend Fjäderholmarna, which can be reached in 25 minutes via ferry from Stockholm’s city center, and there's spectacular scenery along the way. Here’s your guide to this day-long detour.
How to Get a Breath of Fresh Air
A significant part of the peaceful Fjäderholmarna experience lies in simply strolling the seaside paths and forest trails of Big Spring Park -- or just lounging on the rocks and watching the boats sail by. There’s also a small outdoor amphitheater, Fjäderholmsscenen, which hosts concerts and other performances during the summer months.
Where to Get Your Art On
Though the island of Fjäderholmarna is small -- it has just one main road that loops around most of the island -- there’s an impressive collection of artists with galleries and studios here. You’ll find painters, glassblowers, and potters, in addition to silversmiths and jewelry designers. A great place to start a DIY art tour is the Allmogebåtar boat museum, where traditional Swedish fishing boats have been restored and displayed on the grounds. There, you might bump into Ulf Johan Tempelman -- a sailboat rebuilder, artist, and musician who sells his watercolors onsite.
Åtta Glas is a glassblowing cooperative where visitors can watch artists create their masterpieces -- and of course purchase handmade designs in the gallery shop. At Kniv Art, the centuries-old craft of smithing is both practiced and taught. Here, shop for original jewelry or try your hand at creating your own. Seeking new décor? Check out everything from vases to figurines to kitchenware at Krukmakeri pottery studio, or head to textile artisan Anneli Ohlsson’s shop for lamps, mobile sculptures, embroidered items, and more.
Where to Eat
Fjäderholmarnas Krog offers both stunning waterfront views and satisfying dishes that heavily feature seafood and local ingredients. Dark Swedish bread, served warm with butter and a dusting of pink sea salt, is a highlight. The restaurant is open in summer with limited autumn and spring hours. Christmas dinner is also served. There’s also the convenient Rökeriet, the first restaurant you’ll find when stepping off the ferry. It has its own smoker and offers both deli-style and full-service dining.
After a meal, sweet tooths can head to the Solberga Confectionery Factory for old-fashioned Swedish confections or to Systrarna Degens Glass-stuga for ice cream. The ice cream parlor also has a beer garden, while brewpub Fjäderholmarnas Bryggeri lets visitors sample the beer straight from the barrels. And don’t skip Mackmyra Swedish Whisky, which has created its own single malt whisky -- a bit of an anomaly in Sweden.
Take the ferry from Nybroplan dock, berth 13. One-way tickets are 105 Swedish krona (just under $13) and can be purchased at the waterfront kiosk, onboard before departure, or by telephone at +46 8 1200 40 00. If you have a My Stockholm Pass, the ride will be covered. Also good to know: Fjäderholmarna’s travel season is from May 1 to November 6. That said, many shops close in early September -- while the restaurants offer special Christmastime service.