Must see attractions in Stockholm Archipelago

  • Sights in Vaxholm

    Vaxholm Fortress Museum

    While the current structure dates from 1833, the origins of Vaxholm Fortress lie in 1544, when King Gustav Vasa ordered its construction to protect the Swedish capital and mainland. It repelled an attack by the Danes in 1612 and the Russians in 1719, among others. Inside, exhibition rooms explore the history of the complex and, more interestingly, the military's defence of the archipelago. From Vaxholm harbour, ferries to the island fort depart every 15 minutes from 10am to 9.45pm (return adult/child 40kr/free).

  • Sights in Vaxholm

    Hembygdsgård

    The Hembygdsgård preserves the finest old houses in Norrhamn. The fiskarebostad is an excellent example of a late-19th-century fisherman’s house, complete with typical Swedish fireplace. Looking like a doll's house, the award-winning cafe is especially loved for its dessert table, laden with a cornucopia of freshly baked treats, from cheesecake and brownies to Swedish chocolate balls (cakes 15kr to 65kr, mains 145kr to 175kr).

  • Sights in Siaröfortet

    Siaröfortet Museum

    At this fortress-turned-museum you can check out the officers’ mess, kitchen, sleeping quarters and tunnels, plus two impressive 15.2cm cannons (they’re trained on passing Viking Line ferries!). Guided tours are available through the STF hostel at 1pm Monday to Thursday, 12.30pm Friday, noon Saturday, and noon and 3pm Sunday. There's also an audioguide (additional 95/70kr). It's free to scramble around the exterior of the fort.

  • Sights in Utö

    Iron Mine

    The most unusual of Utö's sights is the remains of Sweden’s oldest iron mine, which opened in 1150 and closed in 1879. The three pits are now flooded – the deepest is Nyköpingsgruvan (215m). They're an atmospheric and impressive sight. The tiny mining museum (in a wooden cottage opposite the Värdshus hotel) keeps variable hours (roughly 1pm to 4pm in summer); check locally.

  • Sights in Arholma

    Batteri Arholma

    Fans of military history can tour this formerly top-secret Cold War–era base, complete with cannons aimed at sea and underground living space for 340 men. Information in English may be a little sparse, but if you book ahead you can usually arrange an English tour. The views are amazing, whether you opt to delve further or not.