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Luxury Yacht Charter Destination - The Stockholm Archipelago

Sep 3, 2008
The Baltic might not be the first place that comes to mind when considering a luxury yacht charter vacation, but during the short Scandinavian summer, it's a magical place with warm breezes and almost 24 hours of daylight. Even as far south as Stockholm, summer nights never get completely dark, the sky just takes on a deep blue tint for a few hours before the sun comes back up again. The best time to visit is June to September, and like everywhere else in Europe, July and August are the most crowded. For a totally Swedish experience, visit during Midsummer (usually around June 20), the longest day of the year and one of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden. To avoid the crowds, visit in September (or even at the end of August) when the warmth of the summer still lingers and you will have more space to yourself.

Begin your trip by spending a few days exploring Stockholm, the beautiful capital of Sweden, before heading out on your yacht. The Stockholm Archipelago is about 150 miles long by 50 miles wide and contains around 30,000 islands and islets, some verdant with luxury hotels, shops and restaurants, others just a bare rock. You don't have to go far to get to Fjaderholmarna (the Feather Islands). These 4 islands lie 25 minutes from Stockholm, and you might be tempted to keep cruising since you only just started, but they are well worth a stop. Fjaderholmarna is home to several restaurants, cafes, a seafood smokehouse (with a restaurant and take-out shop), shops, local artisans, an outdoor theatre, and Mackmyra whiskey distillery, where you can tour the facilities and try their products.

Vaxholm, about an hour by boat from Stockholm, was founded in 1647 and has been an archipelago hub since the late 1800s when it was discovered by wealthy Stockholmers who built vacation homes on the island and started spending their summers here. Today, Vaxholm has about 10,000 year-round inhabitants and many visitors, especially during the summer. The harbor is right in the center of this very walkable town, so you can easily stroll around and take in the sights. There are several shops, restaurants, cafes, a few grocery stores, a liquor store and a pharmacy. Notable sights include Bogesund Castle (built in the 1640s) and the Vaxholm Citadel (built 1833-1863) which is no longer used for military purposes but instead houses a museum, shop, bistro and B&B.

Grinda lies about 2 hours from Stockholm and its several sandy beaches and rocky outcrops make it a popular swimming destination for Stockholmers. The island is small, only a 15-minute walk across, and has a pub, grocery store, and a well-known hotel and restaurant, Grinda Wardshus, housed in an Art Noveau building from 1908. There are kayaks available for rent from the hotel, and they can also arrange activities such as rock climbing or archery.

Sandhamn (Sand Harbor) on the island Sandon (Sand Island) is the "yachting capital" of Stockholm's archipelago. The Royal Swedish Yacht Club (KSSS) built their club house here in 1897 (still in use) and their many annual races attract sailors from around the world. The most well known is perhaps the 2-day race "Gotland Runt" (Round Gotland). This particular event is also famous for the many parties taking place in Sandhamn both before and after the race. The town has many restaurants, bars and shops, as well as a few hotels and museums. There are also several sandy beaches on the island, and the largest, Trouville, is only a 20-minute walk from downtown.

With more than 60 guest harbors in Stockholm's archipelago, there are many more places to visit and sights to see, but these are a few places to get you started in your planning.
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