There are plenty of reasons to come to Vaxholm, the most obvious being that this is the closest archipelago island to Stockholm and thus provides a charming taster to this extraordinarily diverse array of pine-clad islands and islets. Vaxholm is more than just a gateway, however. With cobbled sloping streets flanked by well-preserved wooden houses painted in candy-coloured pastels, plus a slew of excellent restaurants and idiosyncratic family-owned shops, it holds its own as a charming place to visit.
Vaxholm dates from 1647; to glean a sense of its history head to Norrhamn, just north of the town hall and home to the oldest buildings, including a 19th-century typical 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 that once guarded the waterways into the city and now holds a museum and a charming B&B.