July 10, 2014

Day Trip to Vaxholm in the Archipelago

Vaxholm harbor
My cousin and his wife visited me for a few days this past weekend. It was their first time in Stockholm and gorgeous weather, so after the requisite visits to Gamla Stan, Vasa Museum, waterfront walk on Kungsholmen, lunch at Rosendals Wärdshus, dinner & drinks at both Kryp In and Mr French... I thought a trip out in the beautiful Stockholm Archipelago was in order!
Quaint café on the bay... location of our lunch!
With over 24,000 islands, there are a lot of options on what to see & do when visiting the archipelago. Time-wise, you are looking at between 4 and 8 hours... depending on how far out you want to travel, which islands you want to visit and how much time you wish to spend ashore (if any). We did not have a full day so I decided on a visit to the town of Vaxholm for lunch and a little wandering.
Scenery on the way out to Vaxholm.
Vaxholm is the name of both a town and the island it is on and is located in the central portion of the archipelago. In fact, its central location has made it a hub for boat travel in the archipelago and its nickname is "Capital of the Archipelago". One of the main sea routes in to Stockholm passes by Vaxholm. So besides the town, you also have Vaxholm Fortress (Fästning) which was first built in 1544 to guard the city. You can visit the fortress, which houses a museum, and there are boats from Vaxholm harbor every 20 minutes which takes you across the narrow channel.
The fortress...
We opted for a more care-free visit and took a walk along the north side of the island. A short walk through the quaint streets brought us to Hembygdgårds Café. Located on a picturesque little bay, this popular café has a great outdoor seating with views over the water. It also has one of best dessert/pastry buffets I have ever seen! Great lunch options as well as beer and wine.
Fantastic dessert buffet at the café!
After lunch, we made our way back through the town (with some shopping along the way) to the harbor. The town is quite cute and made up mostly of wooden buildings. In fact, wood was the only building material allowed by law up until 1912 so that it could be easily razed and kept out of the Russians' hands if they were to invade. The harbor itself can be very busy, with people getting on and off boats, but the town gets much quieter just a few blocks from the harbor.
Main square in the town with...

...shopping options.
You have a few options to get to Vaxholm from Stockholm. The Cinderella boats travel to the outer archipelago every day during the summer and stop at Vaxholm. They leave the city from Strandvägen around 9:30-10:00am and the trip takes just 50 minutes. They stop by Vaxholm in the afternoon (3-4:00pm) on their way back from the archipelago, depending on the day of the week. Check the website, linked above, for the schedule.
One of Waxholmsbolaget's boats.
Another option is using the Waxholmsboalget boats (the commuter boats of the archipelago). These boats have more departures through the day and the trip takes between 50 minutes and 1 hour 20 minutes, depending on the boat. They depart from Strömkajen and you purchase your tickets onboard. There is a bridge connecting Vaxholm island to the mainland, so you have the additional options of bus, taxi or car. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me for help with schedules and tickets (Cinderella only). Click here and here for more tips about visiting the archipelago.
Leaving Vaxholm by boat...





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