Visit Vaxholm as a day trip from Stockholm
As soon as we planned our trip to Stockholm, I knew I wanted to spend one of the days there visiting its archipelago. The Stockholm archipelago is made up of approximately 24,000 islands, but no one really has the final count. Sweden is famous, at least to me, for its appreciation for nature, and the amount of time locals devote to spending outdoors. Come rain or shine, or snow in winter, the Swedes enjoy the fresh air and beauty their landscape has to offer them. They’re even known for educating their children outside so they learn to appreciate nature rather than flee from cold weather. Coming from California where we cower a single rain drop, I really appreciate the Swedish approach. With all that in mind, I was determined to see just a small slice of the archipelago Stockholm is famous for.
We chose to visit Vaxholm based on the proximity to Stockholm, and honestly, because the Lonely Planet recommended it. Where am I without my Lonely Planet?
Besides how cute the island is (we’ll get to that later), its only a 90 minute boat ride from Stockholm (located 35km northeast), so you can go there and back easily in one day. We chose to leave around noon and return around 4. The island is small, so you can cover the whole thing on foot within 2.5-3 hours. Just enough time to stroll around, admire the charming Scandinavian houses, grab lunch or maybe some fika and make it back to the boat in time to reach Stockholm for dinner again. In my opinion this is one of the best day trips from Stockholm.
Vaxholm is inhabited by about 11,000 people, all of whom seem to live in adorable colored wooden houses that feel taken straight from a story book. When we wandered the island, I instantly felt like I could stay a weekend there. The entire vibe of the island is peaceful. Small gravel lanes, painted red picket fences, the archipelago’s water lapping the island’s granite shoreline, and the occasional splash of a brave swimmer entering the water.
Not convinced yet? Here’s why you should pay a visit to Vaxholm
Visit Vaxholm to explore lanes lined with colored houses
Go to Vaxholm for fika or a shrimp sandwich with a view
During our day trip to Vaxholm we had lunch at Vaxholms Hembygdsgårds Café, a must, in my opinion, if you visit the island. Looking out on the water, this cafe in a garden offers a delicious Swedish spread to please your tastebuds.
Visit Vaxholm to see Stockholm and the archipelago from the water
On your way to and from the city, you’ll get a Stockholm archipelago tour, which I think makes Vaxholm one of the best day trips from Stockholm.
So, you want to go to Vaxholm? Great, here’s how to get from Stockholm to Vaxholm:
We booked the classic tour to Vaxholm with Stromma . If you book this trip, you’ll want to book it a day or two in advance, and make sure to get seats outside. Get there early, because most of the seating is actually inside. Most passengers book this including the lunch, but in case you don’t you’ll have to fight for a seat outside.
Trust me, you’ll want a seat outside – half the fun of going to Vaxholm is touring the archipelago by boat first. Your trip on Stromma includes a tour guide who explains some of the islands and areas of Stockholm you pass by on your tour, so bonus, you get to learn something about the area on the way. I’d argue this is one of the best boat tours in Stockholm.
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Gabby is a native (Northern) Californian who spent the majority of her 20’s living the expat life in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, exploring Europe and beyond. 27 countries later, she’s relocated back to her home base in California where she explores her passions for the travel and the outdoors.
Vaxholm looks absolutely idyllic! I’ve been to Stockholm before but just for a few days, so I didn’t get to explore the archipelago much. Looks like I need to go back!
yeah if you go back make sure to visit 🙂 !
Such a great read! Love how colorful this little town is and it sounds like a great day trip!
thanks! it is a great way to see more than Stockholm 🙂
I’ve never heard of Vaxholm before but I’d love to go there when I visit Stockholm. I always enjoy visiting colourful places that look like they come out of storybooks.
I really wanted to visit Vaxholm this summer, and I’m sad that I didn’t get the chance to (I’ve been living in Sweden for 3 years). Hopefully, I will go next year! It’s beautiful! And Swedes really do appreciate the nature around them – they have a saying here that there’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing.
I love that saying and attitude toward nature! Hope you visit next summer 🙂
This looks lovely! I’m originally from Sweden but have seen so little of the country, some of these pics really makes me think of home though. Especially the mountain of cakes lol. Glad you had a good time!
Hi Gaby! I’m now living in Norway so it’s just a matter of time until I visit the neighbor Sweden. The island looks sooo peaceful! Will consider to visit the islands if I go there 🙂
awesome, hope you will get to visit!
Looks lovely. Thanks so much for sharing!
I’ve not visited the islands off Stockholm yet, but I just returned from hiking in northern Sweden and absolutely agree – the Swedes have the best way to spend their time in nature! Love their “friluftsliv” lifestyle 🙂 Looks like such a fab tour – such a pretty island!
ah now I know the word, friluftsliv… I knew there must be a Swedish word for it! I would love to hike in northern Sweden as well!
I love Sweden! We haven’t been to Vaxholm – I’d love to explore the archipelago up there! We have fallen in love with southern Sweden and the west coast as it is easier to get to from Copenhagen! That Swedish fika set up looks soooo delish! Pinning for later – thanks for sharing! Cheers from Denmark, Erin
oh yes, the fika is delicious! hope you get to visit again soon!
Those small homes look amazing! And that castle!! Wow. Thanks for sharing!
Cannot wait to visit Stockholm! Beautiful
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I’ve always wanted to visit Stockholm. Amazing architecture and so colorful. The Fika sounds like my kind of treat. The open faced sandwiches yum.. Great review and I’m looking forward to visiting soon.
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