Move away from Stockholm, and it’s easy to appreciate its unique geographical location. Water surrounds the city and – although you can travel by train and bus – it’s worth making the effort to ply the serene waters of Lake Mälaren or the Stockholm archipelago by boat. The archipelago is made up of a staggering 24,000 islands, islets and rocks, as the Swedish mainland slowly splinters into the Baltic Sea; it’s a summer paradise for holidaying city dwellers.

A boat trip inland along Lake Mälaren is also a must, either to the Viking island of Birka, where you can see the remains of Sweden’s most important medieval trading centre and a dizzying array of ancient finds, or to Drottningholm, the seventeenth-century royal residence situated right on the lakeside. Another easy excursion on Lake Mälaren leads to the impressive castle of Gripsholm at Mariefred.

Also within easy day-trip reach are the ancient Swedish capital and medieval university town of Uppsala and one of the country’s oldest settlements, Sigtuna, complete with its rune stones and ruined churches.

If you’ve flown in with Ryanair, consider spending a day in lakeside Västerås, with its fascinating mix of the new and old – including a sixth-century royal burial mound, or handsome Nyköping on the Baltic coast which rewards visitors with its laid-back seaside atmosphere and impressive castle.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the E…

16 Mar 2018 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break

Why Gothenburg should be your next European city break

So gloomy they named it goth? Not in the slightest. This town can certainly do black-eyeliner bleak with the best of them – anywhere with docklands can, and G…

12 Oct 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

Scandinavia for first-timers: 7 ideas for short breaks

On the face of it, Scandinavia isn’t a very sensible place for a holiday. For one thing, it’s almost always going to be colder than the place you’re leavi…

31 Mar 2017 • Steve Vickers insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right