The Stockholm archipelago is famous for its beauty, but many visitors to Sweden’s capital never stray beyond the city centre. As enchanting as the Gamla Stan is, it’s well worth taking the time to venture further afield and discover these top ten sites.
Rising above the trees that line the shores of Lake Mälaren, the domed towers of this red-walled castle wouldn’t look out of place in a fairytale illustration. Built in the 16th century, Gripsholm Castle welcomes visitors to tour the manicured grounds, view the portrait collection, and befriend the deer grazing in Hjorthagen nature reserve.
Just 40 minutes on the Intercity train will take you to Uppsala, a city celebrated for its ancient university, imposing castle and enormous cathedral. Picnic in the Botanical Gardens, named in honour of celebrated botanist Carl Linnaeus, before touring the historic sites.
Take a boat across to the island of Lovö, where you’ll find this magnificent royal residence. It’s open to the public all year, except the southern wing, which still serves as home to the Swedish monarchy. Don’t miss the exquisite collection of sculptures from Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries in the grounds.
This exclusive municipality is home to the Sörmland trail; over 900km of winding paths made for hiking and biking. Trosa also boasts two stately homes; the 17th-century Nynäs Manor, celebrated for its extensive nature reserve, and Tullgarn Palace, a Baroque masterpiece built around a century later.
Once an important Viking trading post, the island settlement of Birka is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a guided tour to acquaint yourself with the impressive 8th-century remains, discovered through painstaking archaeological research, followed by a boat trip around the idyllic surrounding scenery.
This small collection of islands is located just a 20-minute ferry ride from central Stockholm. It’s known for its thriving traditional handicrafts industry, making this the perfect place to track down printed textiles and blown glass souvenirs.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is known in English as the Woodland Cemetery. An unusually modern addition to UNESCO’s list, it was built in the early 20th century and added in 1994 in recognition of its exceptional landscape design, seamlessly blending nature with architecture. It’s also the final resting place of legendary actress Greta Garbo.
The charming wooden houses and jetties of Vaxholm aren’t this archipelago town’s only attraction. Spend some time exploring the island fortress museum, before feasting on a traditional smörgåsbord at the Waxholms Hotell.
Just 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre, this expansive English garden contains an eclectic collection of buildings inspired by international architectural styles. Look out for the Turkish Pavilion, Chinese Pagoda and Copper Tent.
Sweden’s first town is famed for its rune stones, which date as far back as the 12th century and originally served as memorials for the dead. Skokloster Castle, one of Europe’s great Baroque castles, is just a 30-minute drive away and contains an impressive armoury, library and art collection.
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