Yacht Charter eastern Sweden
Having the proud title of the largest archipelago in the world, the Stockholm “garden of rocky islets” is one of those things you have to see to believe. No yacht charter Sweden sailor should miss this destination which looks best when viewed from your deck on a summer evening when the sun refuses to leave the horizon even after 10 o’clock.
Sea & Coast
Taking a trip to the Stockholm Archipelago or schären, or skärgård (in a loose translation “garden of rocky islets”), is only a matter of time. Sooner or later, any self-respecting skipper will end up somewhere between the 24,000 islands that make up this unique blend of sea and land and whose beauty has inspired numerous artists.
Just like the name suggests, the archipelago is situated around the Stockholm region, on the Swedish east coast. Actually, it starts in Stockholm, the place where the Mälaren Lake meets the Baltic Sea and continues due east for 60 kilometres, hugging the coastline of the Södermanland and the Uppland provinces.
Some of the largest and well-known islands are Dalarö, Finnhamm, Grinda, Husarö, Utö and Möja. Apart from the city that gives it its name, the islands also house cities like Gustavsberg and Vaxholm.
The whole area is made up of granite-based islands covered in lush-green vegetation that tends to gradually turn into bare rocks the further out you go to sea. What makes this archipelago special is the fact that spaces between the islands are much smaller (sometimes just a couple hundred meters) than for the archipelagos in the Mediterranean for example.
Culture & History
Most of the islands are uninhabited but it is a known fact that many Stockholmers own cottages up here (some 50,000 dwellings) due to the popularity of the region as a summer retreat. Smaller islands remain uninhabited thanks to the Swedish legislation that forbids building structures closer than 300m from the shoreline.
Today, the islands might be perfect for people seeking solitude, but it wasn’t always so. A society consisting mainly of fishermen and their families thrived around here from the 15th century up until the end of World War II, when the younger generation sought a new living in big urban centers.
The archipelago is a favorite destination for boaters not just because of the solitude and the beautiful scenery but also because of a little thing called the “Swedish Right of Public Access” (something the Swedes are very proud about), anyone can go ashore on any island and pitch a tent for one night (the condition being that your tent has to be out of the visual range of any house), regardless of who owns the respective island.
Many boaters call this the perfect spot for sunbathing, because the glacial erosion has rounded the edges of granite boulders thus making them perfect for lying on your back or your belly, and there are even reports of rocks staying warm all through the night after being exposed to sunlight all day which would make them perfect for sleeping.
Seamanship & Experience
The best season to enjoy the Stockholm Archipelago is definitely the summer season, not only for the fair weather, but also because of the late sunsets that last here until 11 o’clock at night thanks to the geographic position. Sailing in winter conditions is dependant on the weather and the ice.
The sea floor varies and there are access routes for deep-draught craft, but smaller boats should have no problem with navigating. However, you should pay close attention to navigation charts if you’re not used to shallow water sailing. Winds should also pose no problem to you during the summer season, as this is generally regarded as a sheltered region.
ow that you know what to expect, why not charter a boat and head to the place known to the locals as “the garden of rocks”? Its rugged beauty and complete tranquility has managed to seduced whole generations of sailors.