If you arrived in Stockholm by plane, you’ll already have had a tantalizing glimpse of the Stockholm archipelago. In Swedish the word for archipelago is skärgård – literally “garden of skerries” and a pretty accurate description: the array of hundreds upon hundreds of pine-clad islands and islets is the only one of its kind in the world. Most of the little-known islands are flat and are wonderful places for walking or cycling (ferries to the islands accept bikes onboard); we’ve picked out the most rewarding islands for strolls and hikes, and have suggested a few trails which are a good way to take in the sweeping sea vistas and unspoilt nature here. The archipelago, though, holds another secret, little known even to most Swedes – many of ABBA’s most famous hits were written out here, on the island of Viggsö where the famous foursome owned a couple of summer cottages.

The easiest and fastest section of the archipelago to reach, and consequently the most popular with day-tripping Stockholmers, the central archipelago is the islands at their most stunning: hundreds of rocks, skerries, islets and islands jostle for space in the pristine waters of the Baltic, giving the impression of giant stepping-stones leading back to the mainland.

The islands in the northern stretches of the skärgård are far fewer in number. As a result, the appearance of the northern archipelago is very different: characterized by open vistas and sea swells rather than narrow sounds and passageways, the islands here are very much at the mercy of the sea and weather. Although sharing more in appearance with the denser central archipelago than its more barren northern counterpart, the southern archipelago is generally much quieter in terms of visitor numbers, because it’s harder to reach from central Stockholm.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Sweden features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

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
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook