Introduction

Mention the archipelago to Stockholmers and prepare for gushing, well-earned adulation. Buffering the city from the open Baltic Sea, its seemingly endless sweep of rocky isles are a wonderland of deep forests, fields of wildflowers, red wooden cottages and bobbing yachts.

Exactly how many islands there are is debatable, with the count ranging from 14,000 to 100,000 (the general consensus is 24,000). Whatever the number, it’s an unmissable area, unique in the world and much closer to the city than many visitors imagine, with regular ferry services and various tours. And while you can see most of the islands on day trips, it's worth staying overnight to soak up the ethereal tranquility.

Most islands have good boat connections, provided you check timings in advance – although there are worse places in the world to get stranded!