I had been dreaming of visiting Stockholm for a very long time and it absolutely did not disappoint. I fell in love with the amazing locals and their approach to living a happy, world-healthy, inclusive lifestyle. I adored the mix of old and new, the delicious food and the incredible history. What I didn’t expect, was to leave Stockholm and fall even more in love with its surrounds. As part of our media trip, we were taken to places I had never even thought to visit, places I had never even heard about! If you’re thinking about visiting Stockholm and really want to make the most of your time and see more than the gorgeous city, I suggest visiting one, two (or ALL) of these beautiful spots. Here are 5 absolutely stunning places you should visit near Stockholm.
But first, watch this…
You’ll find Djurönäset, a hotel/resort, in Djurhamn, 40 minutes outside Stockholm but it’ll feel like you’re an absolute world away. If you don’t have access to a car you can catch the bus direct, which will take you around 50 minutes or so. There are scheduled local buses from Slussen Station in Stockholm (434 and 433) which will take you right there, just keep an eye out for the Djurönäset bus stop sign. Once there, you’ll have officially arrived in the Stockholm Archipelago and will be treated to some absolutely stunning scenery. We visited in summer and took an afternoon stroll around the property, wandering through some of the most beautiful woodlands I’ve ever seen – it was like stepping into a Swedish fairytale. We ended up along the water, sparkling under the afternoon sun and the perfect spot to just sit and relax for a while.
We spent the night at the hotel, dining at the on-site restaurant. The hotel has an almost old-world feel to it. I’ve never been on a summer vacation (in the American sense) but that’s what I imagine it to be like. Everyone was outdoors, making the absolute most of the beautiful weather and long summer days. It felt like we had escaped to the water for the weekend, living it up and lapping it up. I loved how peaceful it felt here and loved how easy it was to get from the centre of Stockholm. It’s a beautiful destination to just relax in a naturally beautiful place and escape the city, it’s also perfect for anyone wanting to see more of Stockholm but only has one or two nights (at a stretch) to spare.
Of all the places we visited in Stockholm’s Archipelago, I have to say Sandhamn was my favourite. There was just a magical feel the to island, it was one of those really special places that stay in your heart long after you’ve left. A little further away, it’ll take you close to two hours to get to Sandhamn, requiring a bus and ferry ride (that considered, 2 hours isn’t bad and the ferry ride is pretty gorgeous) The Destination Sandhamn website has some really great insight on how to get there.
We stayed at the Sandhamn Seglarhotel & Pub Almagrundet, a fantastic and historic spot located right in the heart of town along the water. The food here is delicious and, even if you aren’t staying there, I’d recommend popping in for lunch or dinner. Other top spots to grab a bite include Café Ankaret and The Inn Sandhamns Värdshus. We got the chance to explore the island on a guided tour with a very knowledgeable local, Peder Strauss of Sandhamns Guiderna, who also runs some very fun Rib Boat tours out to surrounding areas (another must do!) I loved exploring the picture-perfect forest hidden behind the main parts of town and watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen from the top of a rocky outlook. I loved this place and would really recommend making the time to visit – it’s probably best suited to those with 2 nights to spare but could also be done with one night, provided you got out there early to make the most of it.
I didn’t know what to expect before we visited Uppsala, like the other places I’ve written about I hadn’t heard of it. Funny thing, though, Uppsala has actually had a far greater impact on the world and our lives than we realise. This ancient city, founded in the 15th Century (damn, that’s old!), is known for being a University town. What’s so incredible about it, other than the beautiful old buildings you see everywhere, is the number of historically influential figures who studied, taught and lived in Uppsala, like Carl Linnaeus, the man responsible for formalising the modern naming system for organisms.
Seriously, it sounds nerdy, but Uppsala is amazing! We took a guided walking tour with local, Hans Odöö, and learned so much about just how many important and wonderful things happened in Uppsala. There are some fantastic museums around town, including a pretty incredible anatomical theatre. I definitely recommend joining a tour, to make the most of your time, as well as visiting the Linnaeus house, museum and beautiful gardens, the beautiful Uppsala Cathedral and more. You can get to Uppsala bus, which should take around 1 1/2 hours, and Destination Uppsala has some great information on how to get there. We stayed at the Clarion Hotel Gillet, which was really lovely and perfectly located, and dined at Miss Voon (a must-do!). I’d recommend Uppsala as a great spot for anyone with even a remote interest in history (trust me, it’s not lame, it’s amazing!). You could reasonably spend one night in Uppsala.
Another historically significant destination well-worth visiting, Sigtuna is conveniently located close by to Stockholm’s Airport. This makes it a really easy spot to pop on your itinerary, with one night in Sigtuna offering you enough time to get a feel for the lovely little town. Similar to Uppsala, Sigtuna offers an incredible amount of history, but this time you’ll find yourself lost in a world of Vikings. Sigtuna dates back to around 970AD (damnnn!) and is home to some amazing Viking artefacts, museums and stories, making it the perfect place to really get your history on and experience old-world Sweden.
We stayed at the Stora Bränbo, a really comfortable little spot in a great location. I’d definitely encourage visitors to join a guided tour of the city, just because there’s so much to see and you might walk past some really beautiful things if you don’t know where to look. Be sure to check out the Sigtuna Museum and, if you have time and transport, a visit to Rosersberg Palace is worthwhile too. Funnily enough, one of my all-time favourite meals in Sweden happened in Sigtuna at the Hotell Kristina, where the focus is on organic produce so the food has incredible flavour! Another great spot to grab a bite is the Sigtuna City Hotel, which serves up really delicious meals for in-house guests and visitors.
Located in the southern part of the Stockholm Archipelago it’s a little more effort to get to Utö but it’s well worth it. The Utö website offers some great detail on how to get there. The island here has a certain old-world peace to it, where you feel you could easily spend your days riding around on bikes, pausing to picnic at perfect lookout spots, exploring cliffs and beaches or reading a good book under the shade of a lovely old tree. Aside from the beautiful nature and a very fascinating history Utö is also home to Sweden’s oldest iron mines and you can spot old, preserved dwellings on the island as well as visit the mining museum.
To be honest, though, the real drawcard for Utö is the scenery. Rent a bike and explore by yourself, paddle around the stunning water on a canoe, play tennis, minigolf, boule or mini-golf, join a guided tour or simply relax and unwind on one of the gorgeous beaches. For the very best views of the area, be sure to visit the old windmill, dating back to 1719. We stayed and dined at The Inn Utö Värdshus Hotel, a historic spot that also serves up great meals. Be sure to visit the famous local bakery to try their renowned Utö bread. A trip to Utö is probably best suited to those with a couple of days to spare or adding a visit to an itinerary to explore the Archipelago.
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