Vaxholm – exploring the Swedish archipelago

Boat at Erikso, Vaxholm

Red hut Erikso, Vaxholm

Boat to Vaxholm

Stockholm is quite a spacious, green city (in my experience, anyway), but if you hop on boat for 45 minutes, you’ll find yourself on the beautiful island of Vaxholm.

The Swedish archipelago is made up of almost 30,000 islands, and Vaxholm is often called the capital of the archipelago. 

We did a bit of research before we went into which island to go to, and there was so much choice, but we decided to go with Vaxholm as it seemed to have the most things to do, and it was about an hour away on the boat. 

Since it’s called the capital, I was expecting it to be quite big and busy, but it isn’t. We walked the length of it in under an hour. Though the harbour area is touristy (but not to a tacky level), the rest of the island isn’t and it’s mostly forest / beach / green space, or residential.

My Mum and I followed a coastal path from the harbour towards Erikso. There were a couple of points where we had leave the path and walk through residential areas, and it was so quiet that it was almost a little eerie. 

Coastal trail on Vaxholm


Out of curiosity, does anyone know what kind of butterfly this is? 

The coastal path was dotted with a couple of little beaches, and I mean little. The photo below was a beach. Seriously. To me, it was a little novel because my experience of beaches is hundreds of metres, even miles, of sand. 

Small beach on Vaxholm

For lunch, we found a small shop near the beach in Erikso and sat on a picnic bench drinking coffee and eating ice cream. Lunch also gave me chance to plow through some more Magonia, which I was absolutely hooked on. 

Magonia Maria Dahvana Headley

The beach where we had lunch was a little busier, but it wasn’t overcrowded at all. It must be nice to be able to vacation to somewhere with a beach that’s beautiful and peaceful, it’s a rare combination. 

I didn’t just enjoy the little island of Vaxholm, the trip and to from it was fascinating. As the boats are a means of transport for the locals as much as tourists, the boats stop off at the islands to pick people up drop them off. 

Edlunda, Stockholm archipelago

They use something called a semaphore, which is a circular foldable sign and people on the island use that to let boats know that they want them to stop. 

Red house on an island on Stockholm archipelago

It was really interesting to see all the islands. Some of them are small and have a little house on it, while some of them are bigger and have a handful of beautiful, big houses on them. 

I’m completely sold on the Stockholm archipelago. I could happily go and live in a pretty coloured house on an island in the middle of the archipelago. My burning question is though – what do you do if you really fancy a takeaway? Does anyone deliver? 



As everyone I speak to about Sweden has been asking about the costs, I’m going to be including any costs in my blog posts about Stockholm. 

The boat trip cost 75SEK each way for an adult, which works out at £5.54. (Currency conversion right as of 10/08/2015)

That is a bit pricey in comparison to British public transport, for example it costs £6 for a return trip to Birmingham on the train which takes around 40 minutes each way. However, it’s hard for me to truly compare since I’ve never taken a boat trip in the UK as a mean of transport. It wasn’t a huge expense to us while we were there, so I didn’t think it was that expensive. 



Useful links / information

  • If you’re planning a trip to Sweden and want to visit the Archipelago, was really helpful for us as you can find out about the islands, what’s on each one, which one might be the best for you to visit, how to get around and more. 
  • Just off the island, right by the harbour, is Vaxholm Fortress, which looks pretty impressive. Unfortunately, we didn’t have chance to visit it, which just means we’ll have to go back!  
  • There is canoe / kayak rental at Erikso which we used, and had a fantastic time. I recommend booking in advance as they told us they get booked up often. 

We’re going to return to Vaxholm later on to talk about our canoeing in the archipelago. 

Would you like to live on a little island in the middle of the sea?