What’s not to love about Stockholm? The streets look like they’ve been plucked straight out of a fairytale, there’s water everywhere you look, and the cinnamon rolls are as big as your head. But if you can tear yourself away from the city (and the Kanelbullar) for a day, there are plenty of beautiful spots worth exploring nearby.
We visited Stockholm for the second time in June and were lucky enough to have our very own local guide, in the form of my lovely brother-in-law, who lives on the outskirts of the city. This meant that we got to experience some of the best off-the-beaten-track day trips that only the locals know about.
Within less than an hour, we found ourselves wild swimming in picturesque lakes, hiking to idyllic islands, and kicking back with a beer on the beach. So without further ado, here’s three of the best alternative day trips from Stockholm in Sweden.
Österskär by the sea
Österskär is a charming little seaside town, located less than an hour from the city centre. Whether you come to ogle at the summer houses, try your hand at one of the many water-sports on offer, or simply soak up the views (and local brews) at Solbrännan Restaurant & Cafe, this little hidden resort is the perfect day trip from Stockholm.
Hike to Vaxholm
Did you know the Stockholm archipelago is made up of more than 24,000 islands and islets? So it would be rude to visit Sweden’s capital city and not make your way to at least one, right?!
Most tourists head straight to Djurgården, where amusement parks, perfectly sculpted gardens and the ABBA Museum awaits. But a little further out is an idyllic archipelago island, brimming with Swedish culture, called Vaxholm.
The easiest way to get to Vaxholm is by taking the Waxholmsbolaget ferry from Strömkajen, which takes about an hour, or by catching the 670 bus. But if you really want to get off the beaten path, you can do what we did and take a hike to the island, enjoying some of the best traditional Swedish countryside as you go.
We hiked the Blå leden (blue) trail from Rydbo station to Vaxholm – a distance of 22km through remote woodland and fields, dotted with traditional wooden Swedish houses and grazing horses.
The tranquility and sheer beauty of this route makes it worth the long hike but if you want something a bit easier on the legs, try picking up the trail at Bogesund. From here, it’s only a 6km trek to Vaxholm but the journey promises some serious bang for your buck, passing alongside pretty nature reserves, deep blue lakes and even a historic castle (Bogesunds Slott).
As you near Vaxholm, you’ll spot glimpses of the Baltic Sea glistening through the trees. Soon enough, the bridge connecting the island will come into view and your legs can breathe a big sigh of relief.
The streets of Vaxholm itself are lined with dreamy holiday homes, boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. Grab yourself an ice cream and a bench and rest your legs, whilst enjoying some of the best views in Stockholm.
If you want to experience Stockholm like a true local, Domarudden is the place to go. Nestled within the forest, this picturesque nature reserve with a lake at its centre, is the perfect getaway from the city.
Go wild swimming off one of the docks, relax at the wood-fired lake sauna, or indulge in a spot of Fika at the cafe – a traditional “coffee and cake break” that’s part and parcel of life in Sweden (see, what’s not to love about this country?!)
Domarudden is also the start of the Roslagsleden – a 190km long hiking trail through Swedish countryside. Or if you want to hang your hat for a few days, why not hire out one of their lakeside cabins?