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Sailing is a popular pastime in Sweden, which is largely surrounded by ocean and has vast archipelagos on both the east and west coasts. Both competitive and leisurely sailing takes place all around Sweden.
Photo credit: Simon Paulin/

Unique places in Sweden only accessible by boat

Embraced by vast expanses of water, Sweden is adorned with hundreds of thousands of islands, offering a haven for boat enthusiasts seeking adventure. From secluded coves to bustling archipelagos and one-of-a-kind attractions, here are the places you can only reach by boat.

Sweden is a great destination for all lovers of the sea, with lakes, canals, and oceans stretching east to west. Experience the beauty of archipelagic landscapes, find solace in tranquil natural harbours, or immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of islands buzzing with life during summer.

Beyond its multitude of islands, Sweden boasts nearly 500 guest harbours, each offering a unique charm and allure.

"Our coastal regions, with their diverse archipelagos, offer a rich tapestry of nature experiences," says Erik Martinsson, Secretary-General at RGS, the national association for Swedish guest harbours.

"The West Coast features a somewhat more rugged archipelago, whereas just a short journey south or north along the East Coast unveils lush forests, offering an entirely different experience."

Even without your own boat, you can easily access most destinations through public boat services, ferries, or boat taxis. This ensures that every corner of this maritime wonderland is within reach for eager travellers.

Join us as we navigate through Sweden's unique island paradises, accessible solely by boat.

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Kosterhavet marine nationalpark

Kosterhavet is one of Sweden's 30 national parks. Inaugurated in 2009, it's the first marine nature park in Sweden. It is part of the Skagerrak Sea and consists of the sea and shores around the Kosteröarna islands. It contains coral reefs and unique flora and fauna, making the park a great snorkelling site.

Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/

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Kosterhavet marine nationalpark

Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/

Väderöarna in West Sweden

Photo: Roger Borgelid/

Åstol, Bohuslän archipelago

Photo: Mikael Svensson/Johnér//

Vrångö island outside Gothenburg

Photo: Emil Fagander

Styrsö Pensionat, Gothenburg

Photo: Lina Börjesson

The Bohuslän archipelago:

Koster Islands
Discover the spectacular Koster Islands in Kosterhavet, Sweden’s first marine national park. These protected islands are perfect for nature enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy bustling restaurants and a lively atmosphere during the summer.
How to get there: You can reach the islands through Västtrafik's public boat service departing from Strömstad. Numerous guest harbours are situated across the islands.

Weather Islands (Väderöarna)
The Weather Islands offer rugged beauty, hiking trails, and diverse seabird colonies. Make the most of your visit by staying at the charming inn at the furthest reaches of the Bohuslän coastal strip.
How to get there: Boats are available year-round daily from Hamburgsund. During the summer months, you can also catch a boat from Fjällbacka. Guest harbour, as well as several natural harbours, can be found on the islands.

Åstol is a volcanic rock island famed for its scenic harbour and quaint white wooden houses. While the island offers modern amenities like cafes, outdoor terraces, a gallery, a grocery store, and a library, it also diligently preserves its rich fishing heritage.
How to get there: On Åstol, there is a nice guest harbour. If travelling without your own boat, then take a ferry from Rönnäng.

The Gothenburg archipelago:

With its many islands, the Gothenburg archipelago is easily accessible year-round via ferries from Saltholmen or Stenpiren. The archipelago also has plenty of natural harbours, anchorages, and guest harbours.

Experience the picturesque coastal scenery through hikes along the trails or leisurely moments on sandy beaches. Brännö boasts a rich history dating back to the Viking era. Don't miss visiting Brännö Lagård, the island's heritage museum in an old barn. Enjoy the delicious local seafood served at one of Brännö's charming restaurants.

Styrsö offers a variety of activities for visitors, including bike rides, exploring the picturesque harbour at Styrsö Bratten, relaxing on the tranquil beaches of Uttervik and Sandvik, and enjoying delicious food at charming restaurants. Don't forget to bring your hiking shoes and ascend Stora Rös, the island's highest point, for a magnificent view.

Discover Vrångö’s enchanting nature and rugged coastlines along the walking trails. Much of the island is designated as a nature reserve, boasting diverse flora and fauna. Be sure not to overlook the iconic pilot’s lookout tower, offering stunning views of the archipelago.

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Ven in Skåne

Ein Tisch der Initiativen Ein Land wird Restaurant und Ein Land wird trinkBar steht auf der Insel Ven in Skåne.

Photo: Perry Nordeng

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Ven in Skåne

Photo: Perry Nordeng

Visby, Gotland

Photo: Olof Segerberg/Destination Gotland

Bredsand at Gotska Sandöns Nationalpark

Photo: Magnus Lepschi

Kayaking in St. Anna archipelago

Photo: Crelle Ekstrand

Öresund and the south coast:

Hallands Väderö
Hallands Väderö is a captivating island renowned for its stunning dunes, pristine shores, and iconic lighthouse. The entire island is designated as a nature reserve. Don't miss the chance to visit the well-loved nature and cultural museum in Kappelhamn.
How to get there: Daily boat services operated by Väderötrafiken are available during the summer months. With a few exceptions, boats are permitted to dock along the shores of Väderön.

Rent one of the iconic yellow bikes and enjoy cycling through winding trails, panoramic views, and a unique blend of Scandinavian charm and bohemian atmosphere. There's plenty to do on Ven. From alpaca trekking to visiting historic museums and indulging in heavenly ice cream.
How to get there: Ven has several guest harbours and year-round ferries operate daily from Landskrona.

Utklippan, Sweden's southeasternmost group of islands, embodies the rugged charm of the southern coast. The area is home to a large grey seal colony, which you can view from the former lighthouse keeper’s station.
How to get there: By taxi boat from Karlskrona, or in your own boat. The guest harbour is located at Norraskär.

East coast:

Gotland is known for its UNESCO-listed medieval town of Visby, offering a rich cultural heritage. The island's blend of history and natural beauty includes medieval ruins, rauk formations, and beautiful beaches. Don't miss Fårö, home to filmmaker Ingmar Bergman, and Visby's lively nightlife.
How to get there: Ferries operate year-round from Nynäshamn and Oskarshamn. Gotland also has several guest harbours around the island.

Gotska Sandön
Gotska Sandön is a stunning and untainted island known for its sandy dunes and dense pine forests. Being remote and protected, visitors to Gotska Sandön can witness nature in its purest form.
How to get there: Gotska Sandön is accessible by passenger boat from either Fårösund or Nynäshamn. Since the island lacks a harbour, anchoring is necessary. It's advisable to schedule your visit during favourable weather conditions.

St Annas archipelago
Explore the hidden treasures of the St. Anna archipelago, comprising thousands of small islands and islets. Its diverse ecosystems draw outdoor enthusiasts keen on kayaking and birdwatching.
How to get there: Reach the island of Harstena with Skärgårdslinjen from Arkösund, Tyrislöt or Fyrudden. The archipelago has 45 natural harbours, anchorages, and guest harbours.

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Grinda is a nature reserve renowned for its endless beaches and sun-drenched rocks.

Photo: Björn Tesch/

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Photo: Björn Tesch/

Steamboat in the archipelago of Stockholm

Photo: Agence les Conteurs

Malören, Swedish Lapland

Photo: Peter Rosén/Lappland Media AB

Sailing the archipelago

Photo: Simon Paulin/

The Stockholm archipelago:

The well-developed public transportation system allows you to easily navigate Stockholm's extensive archipelago. Your SL ticket is valid on Waxholmsbolaget's boats. Or hop on one of the Cinderella boats operated by Strömma. Exploring the archipelago with your own boat is easy and convenient with several guest harbours, natural harbours, and anchorages.

Nåttarö beckons with its unspoiled beaches and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal destination for camping and outdoor activities. Explore the southern tip, Nåttarö Hals, where remnants of its military past, such as old shooting ranges, barracks, and secret lookout posts, offer glimpses into history. Afterwards, recharge at Nåttarö Krog.
How to get there: Take the ferry from Nynäshamn.

Situated in the southern reaches of the Stockholm archipelago, Utö is a versatile island destination that caters to families and partygoers. With its sandy beaches and top-notch restaurants such as Båtshaket, there's something for everyone here. To fully experience the island's charm, consider renting a bike and explore at your leisure.

Nestled near Stockholm, Grinda is a nature reserve renowned for its endless beaches and sun-drenched rocks, offering a perfect retreat from urban life. Recharge at the heart of the island, the historic inn Grinda Wärdshus.

The Bothnian Bay archipelago

Brändöskär provides an authentic atmosphere, being particularly exposed to wind and weather. The island features a charming guest harbour with sauna amenities and a beach. Visitors can enjoy several attractions, including a chapel built in 1774 with an exceptional altarpiece and a Christ statue established in 1957.
How to get there: Take the archipelago ferry from Luleå or access the lovely little guest harbour.

Malören is a nature reserve at the outermost edge of the Bothnian Bay archipelago. It boasts a lighthouse, old fishing villages, sailors' graves, and a small church. Although the island was previously inaccessible to visitors, for the past couple of years, the pilot's cabin and the lighthouse have been transformed into a unique hotel.
How to get there: On the island, there are two harbours. Malören Lodge offers boat tours from Norrkust Marina during the summer.

Haparanda Sandskär
Sandskär is the largest and furthest island in the Haparanda archipelago, renowned for its extensive beaches. Many bird species migrate to Sandskär in spring and autumn, attracted by its location. In addition, the island is home to numerous moose.
How to get there: Daily boat tours depart from Haparanda Harbour to Sandskär during the summer. The guest harbour is situated in the fishing village of Kumpula.