Are you looking for a cozy day trip in the Stockholm area? A place where you can dip your toes into the sea and enjoy delicious ice cream? There are several small towns near the Swedish capital Stockholm that are worth a visit. Vaxholm is one of these towns and it is located on an island a short drive to the north east of the capital. It is indeed a quaint small town, with several cafes and walking streets. And let’s not forget to mention the great fortification right next door.
This is also a gateway to the Stockholm archipelago. Here you can catch a ferry to the Baltic Sea, to some of the many islands that surround Stockholm. The slogan “The capital of the archipelago“, might give you a hint of why you should visit Vaxholm.
Vaxholm: A Short History
The name Vaxholm derives from old Swedish and it means “a green island”. The island has been inhabited since the 13th century and the first military fortification was built here in the middle of the 16th century. Vaxholm received its town privileges in 1647 and the importance of the fortification became more significant for the small town.
The island had a population of around 2000 inhabitants in the beginning of the 20th century. Nowadays about 5000 people live here, many commutes to Stockholm for work. The bridge Pålsundsbron became the first land connection for the town when it was built in 1926.
5 Things to Do In Vaxholm
Vaxholms Fästning (Vaxholm Fortress)
The most prominent feature in Vaxholm is most likely the fortress, Vaxholms fästning. The first fortifications date back to 1548 and they defended Stockholm from at least two attacks. First in 1612 against the Danish fleet and then again in 1719 against the Russians. The old fortifications were torn down and replaced by the current ones in 1833-1863. The importance of the fortifications declined after a test of the walls in 1872, when it was noticed that the improvement in weapons’ technology had outdated the fortification’s defenses.
Today the fort serves as a museum. It is accessible by a small boat from the center of Vaxholm.
The Capital of the Archipelago
The Swedish capital is very famous for its archipelago. Once you reach Vaxholm you have access to a large part of the Stockholm Archipelago. The town is perfect for exploring the nearby islands and islets. Will you be able to find your own small islet? Or will you take one of the several ferries to the larger islands further out in the archipelago? There are a lot of possibilities.
Relax and Enjoy the Town
There is not always a need to leave. The town itself is small and picturesque and will most likely keep you occupied for a few hours. Walk along the harbor, enjoy an ice cream or why not sit down at one of the several cafes scattered around the center? Vaxholm is a great option for a day trip from Stockholm.
Vaxholm: How to Get There?
Do you want to travel to Vaxholm? Here are a few ways you can go there:
Car: Road 274 which leads to the town connects with Road E18 a few kilometers east of Stockholm.
Bus: Local buses go to Vaxholm from Tekniska högskolan.
Ferry: There are local ferries from the center of Stockholm to Vaxholm, check Waxholmsbolaget. Travel time is about one hour.
Flights: Fly to Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) or Bromma Airport (BMA), travel to the city center and continue from there.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 36 kilometers (38 min)
Gothenburg – 507 kilometers (5 h 32 min)
Malmö – 654 kilometers (6 h 59 min)
Luleå – 911 kilometers (10 h 21 min)
Linköping – 233 kilometers (2 h 41 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden