A Guide to the Östergötland Archipelago in Sweden
Yahnny Adolfo San Luis
I spent a lot of time in the water when I lived and worked in Hawaiʻi as an eco-tour guide for a kayaking company. When I moved to Sweden, I really missed being on the water, so my partner and I would take these day trips to the Östergötland Archipelago on the country’s eastern seaboard. I had never paddled amongst thousands of islands like this; it is truly a beautiful experience! Even locals do not venture out to Östergötland very often because it requires good sea navigation skills – but it’s this very lack of people that makes you feel like you’re in a secret and remote Nordic location.
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Where to stay around the Östergötland Archipelago in Sweden
Located in a charming residential area, this hotel is just a two minute walk from the Baltic Sea and offers casual rooms with ocean views.
Cozy b&b with 13 rooms and leafy gardens filled with apple trees.
You’ll find a modern mix of archipelago cottages and new hotel apartments at this waterfront resort in the heart of St. Anna Skärgård.
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Things to do around the Östergötland Archipelago in Sweden
When visiting the Östergötland Archipelago, you can enjoy an array of active activities from paddling, hiking and swimming to fishing and ice skating (if the water is frozen). The archipelago's northern end adjoins the bay of Bråviken and centers on Arkösund on the Vikbolandet peninsula, forming part of the Norrköping Municipality. Of the many islands that make up this Swedish archipelago, some are inhabited while others are home only to grazing cows. Arkösund, Tyrislöt, Fyrudden, Ekön, Stegeborg, Harstena and Häradskär are some of the most popular locations to travel to and are easily reachable by boat, car, local buses or ferries.
Rent a kayak
By far the best activity is to rent a kayak and leisurely paddle your way from island to island. Whether you set up camp, dock at one of the more populated islands or simply savor the natural beauty on a day trip – this is an experience you won’t want to miss.
As you paddle, keep an eye out for the common, yet majestic, swans gliding on the water. If you’re lucky you may spot grey seals who, a few decades ago, were driven to near extinction due to overhunting and are now protected in this natural sanctuary. As you paddle, stop by the islands of Arkösund, Tyrislöt, Fyrudden and Ekön where you’ll find locally owned shops and restaurants to enjoy.
For bird lovers, Östergötland is a paradise. Look up and you’ll see magnificent white-tailed eagles soaring high above your head. About 35 coastal bird breeds inhabit the Östergötland Archipelago with ducks, geese, waders, auks and gulls. You will also see Baltic species such as velvet scooters, ruddy turnstones, razorbills and colonies of gulls and terns. Predatory birds like ospreys, great cormorants and arctic skuas can take your breath away as you suddenly look up to spot them dancing in the air.
A note from Yahnny
Did you know that Sweden has the most islands in the world? There are about 270,000 islands! The Östergötland Archipelago has more than 8,888 islands and consists of three archipelagos that span 37+ miles.
Places to eat & drink around the Östergötland Archipelago in Sweden
Restaurang Loftet: Expect classic Swedish fare and strong coffee at this casual waterside joint.
Magasinet: A cafe and restaurant with an outdoor terrace and freshly baked goods.
Båthuset: Indulge in fresh seafood stews at this oceanside restaurant.
Day trips around the Östergötland Archipelago in Sweden
Start your day trip around 9 am from Arkösund and paddle toward the island of Arkö and around the island of Lunda. This scenic route will take you through narrow passages lined with tall reeds and by islands of swirly gneiss and granite as you pass over lush underwater forests in the brackish waters of the Arkösund Archipelago. If the water is warm, don’t miss out on swimming and relaxing on the warm rocks before making your way back.
Östergötland is accessible by car, ferry, plane, train or bus. The Öresund Bridge connects the city of Copenhagen and Sweden’s third-largest city, Malmö. To get here, you can fly into Copenhagen and spend a few days exploring the Danish capital before crossing the Öresund Bridge. Another option is to fly to the Linköping City Airport or Stockholm Skavsta Airport, a location which is just an hour’s drive north of Östergötland.
As remote as Östergötland is, once you’re in the region, you’ll be able to easily explore the region using local buses, trams and trains operated by Östgötatrafiken.
When to visit
By far the best time to visit the region in Östergötland is between the months of May and September. During these months, the temperatures are ideal and the rainfall is limited.
A note from Yahnny
Before leaving, make sure to pack food, a change of clothes and anything else you might need during your day trip. During our group trips, we usually prepare savory Swedish dishes at lunchtime, such as pickled herring topped with dill and served on crispy bread.
Yahnny Adolfo San Luis
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