Kapellskär, Uppland, Exploring Sweden

Kapellskär, Uppland – Exploring Sweden

Kapellskär is a harbor and small settlement on the peninsula of Rådmansö in Norrtälje Municipality. It lies within an area that historically has been known as Roslagen (or Roden), a coastal area within the historical province of Uppland. Today this part of Roslagen is a part of Stockholm County. It is home to a few vacation homes as well as one of the harbors for Stockholm with goods and passenger traffic, especially to Finland and Estonia. Major shipping lines operating from here as of 2023 include Finnlines, Tallink Silja, and DFDS Seaways.


A Short History of Kapellskär

Traffic across the sea to the Åland Islands and Finland has been carried out from here since at least the Middle Ages. The first known mention of Kapellskär dates back to 1555 and relates to a skerry in the area. It is still debated whether or not a chapel had been located here during the Middle Ages.

The large-scale harbor here began to take its form in 1960. Viking Line had opened a route between Finland and Sweden the year before and had initially stopped in nearby Gräddö. The traffic was moved to Kapellskär and the harbor has since developed with Silja Line and Talling beginning operations from here in 1997 and FinnLink (Finnlines) in 1998.

For many, it was for decades the main connection point between Sweden and the Åland Islands. Viking Line had the ferry M/S Rosella on the route between Kapellskär and Mariehamn since 2008. The ferry was, however, sold to a company in Greece. The route was canceled in January 2023.


Things to Do and See

Even though Kapellskär is rather small, there are some things to see.

Kapellskär Ferry Terminal

The ferry terminal is probably the one and only place here that many traveling to Kapellskär will see. There is the passenger terminal and the large car and lorry terminal with a lot of concrete and asphalt. It might not be the most beautiful sight, but the ships that arrive here can be quite impressive.

Ångbåtsbryggan

Ångbåtsbryggan, the old pier for steam-powered boats, has today two purposes for visitors. First, it is a pick-up point for a few small local ferries and secondly, it is a tranquil and peaceful spot for anyone wanting to enjoy the view of the Baltic Sea.

Memorial of MS Estonia

A memorial for MS Estonia was raised close to Ångbåtsbryggan in 1994. M/S Estonia was a ship that belonged to Estline. The ship sank on 28 September 1994 en route from Tallinn to Stockholm. Out of the 989 people onboard only 137 survived. With 852 dead, this is one of the worst maritime disasters of the 20th century.

Sladdstycket

Sladdstycket is the local heritage museum. It is housed in an old fishing cottage located on the outskirts of Ridderholm Nature Reserve. In the nearby boathouse, there are also two historical boats named Emvika and Noak. The cottage is today home to the local heritage society of Rådmansö.

Kapellskär Beach

Not far from the harbor is the local beach. This is a sandy beach along the coast of the Baltic Sea. There is a nearby parking and down to the beach there is a long grass field.

Riddersholm Nature Reserve

A large part of the area south and west of the harbor is part of Riddersholm Nature Reserve. The reserve was founded in 1998 and it covers an area of 655 hectares. Out of these 370 hectares are land and the rest is the surrounding sea.


How to Get to Kapellskär

  • Flights: Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN) is 72 kilometers to the west.
  • Car: Kapellskär is located at the end of Road E18, to the east of Norrtälje.
  • Bus: Buses from SL connect Kapellskär with the surrounding region.
  • Ferry: There are plenty of ferries from Kapellskär, both cargo and passenger ferries. Viking Line had earlier M/S Rosella to Mariehamn, Åland, which was discontinued in 2023. Finnlines has a route to Långnäs on the Åland Islands and Naantali in Finland, DFDS has a route to Paldiski in Estonia and Tallink has a line to Turku in Finland.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Stockholm – 91 kilometers (1 h 6 min)
  • Gothenburg – 549 kilometers (6 h 28 min)
  • Malmö – 699 kilometers (7 h 52 min)
  • Linköping – 291 kilometers (3 h 17 min)
  • Kiruna – 1258 kilometers (14 h 51 min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Hello. we’re going on a tour of southern sweden soon. do you have any tips for us, what we absolutely have to see? Thank you in advance!

    1. Jesper

      How far north have you planed to go? I’m actually on a southern road trip myself at the moment. Really south there is “Ales Stenar”, a place I visted today and that is a must if you pass my. Towns like Ystad, Simrishamn and Åhus is also popular if you only visit the southern region of Skåne. A bit to the east is Blekinge and the city of Karlskrona (we have a post about it). If you head west instead you will end up in Halland and there you have both Halmstad and Varberg as nice towns to explore. When it comes to nature I prefer the landscape a bit further north, but you have stunning beaches and smaller hills to explore in the south. If you have time, head over to Öland and explore the southernmost point. It will most likely be windy, but the landscape is quite unique.

      1. thank you for the message. we start in copenhagen, malmö, gothenburg, småland, stockholm, öland and back. I hope we can do everything and see a lot of nature. i’m really looking forward to sweden. I would like to go further north at some point.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.