During my five days in Sweden in July 2014, I spent two of those days in the middle archipelago. What is the middle archipelago? you may ask. Well, since there are 25,000 different islands, they’ve been categorized into inner, middle, and outer. The inner archipelago is just the 14 islands that make up the city of Stockholm. The outer archipelago are the truly remote places that are a few hours away by boat. The middle archipelago is… in the middle.
The ferry ride itself made the outing worth it. We were passing dozens of islands. Some of them were the size of my apartment with just a cabin, some of them were the size of a couple city blocks with a handful of larger, expensive-looking houses. All of them were beautiful.
First we visited Grinda. It’s a former summer camp that’s now a carless getaway. A few cabins remain to be rented, and there is a tiny general store and 2 small restaurants. Other than that, there are hiking trails, trees, camping spots, and pebbly beaches. It was really sunny and gorgeous when we went.
We walked all around the island and then had a nice outdoor lunch overlooking the water. Not a bad day! The air was so clean and fresh there. I felt surrounded by the natural beauty of the place, and it was hard to leave.
On a different day, I had booked a day-long kayaking trip. First I had to take a bus out to Stavsnäs Vinterhamn, a tiny port 50km from Stockholm, then a water taxi to the island of Runmarö. Looking at a map, it might be far enough out to be considered the outer archipelago. I was thrilled to get out of the city for an entire day!
And we’re off! Our guide was friendly, funny, and knew a ton
about the ecosystem of the area. We were asking him questions out of the blue and he would be able to explain what animals we were seeing, what they ate, how they behaved, their interactions with humans, you name it. It was so fascinating and definitely made the trip even more special.
For lunch we pulled up on a random island. (Fun fact – you can camp anywhere in Sweden that’s not clearly private property. Even if there were a house on this island, if we were a reasonable distance away from it and not climbing over fences or anything, we could have legally camped here.) Lunch was potatoes boiled in sea water with dill, and 3 types of lutfisk (fermented whitefish). I thought it was okay, but it would definitely take some getting used to.
More kayaking! I was expecting to be exhausted, but it actually wasn’t tiring. My kayak was slicing through the water like a hot knife through butter. Our guide also explained that we shouldn’t be just pulling with our lower arm, we should also be pushing away
with our upper arm. I hadn’t known this before, but it definitely helped. I enjoy kayaking a lot and would really like to do it more often and get better at it.
I would say this was tied for my favorite day out of my four-week trip. The other two days sharing the honor are the island of Vis (in Croatia) and Plitvice Lakes National Park (in Croatia). If you’re interested in kayaking in Sweden, check out 2tides.com – they organize daylong trips (the one I did) or overnight trips of varying lengths.