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There are plenty of reasons to visit Vaxholm, the most obvious being that this is the closest archipelago island to Stockholm, making it a handy introduction to the region's extraordinary collection of pine-clad islands and islets.

And yet, Vaxholm is more than just a gateway, its cobbled sloping streets, candy-coloured wooden houses, excellent restaurants and idiosyncratic shops making it a charming destination on its own.

To glean a sense of Vaxholm's history, head to Norrhamn. Just north of the town hall, the area is home to Vaxholm's oldest buildings, among them a typical 19th-century fisherman’s house (now also one of the island’s top cafes). And don’t miss the island's most prominent sight: the imposing fortress. Once guarding the waterways into Stockholm, it now holds a museum and a charming B&B.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Vaxholm.