Privilege Blog

Vacation Far Away From The Modern World, Or, The Stockholm Archipelago

Have you ever wanted to take a vacation from 2010? To step into an Ingmar Bergman landscape, especially a happy one? How do you feel about granite beaches, wide skies, wild berries? Consider the Stockholm Archipelago.

On Sunday I’m off to spend a week in Sweden. This time, unlike the visit to Belgium, I’m surprising no one. Hence this preview. My stepfather, my mother, my sisters and their families, my daughter, and my stepfather’s children and grandchildren, are all converging on my stepfather’s summer house. Or, as I think they call it in Sweden, the sommarstuga. On an island called Ingmarso. This trip, we will shop only for milk at the general store, or airport trinkets. Little black dresses are unlikely to make an appearance. We will match our flip flops to our life preservers, at best.

This is a part of the world not often seen unless you’re Nordic. Most of the lodgings on the multitude of Archipelago islands are private houses. And residents are reluctant to rent out their summer homes. Summer is short, up North, and sweet. To be celebrated.

The islands, which depending on what you call an island and not a large wet rock, number in the tens of thousands. Some are for sailing to, and sitting on, surrounded by the Baltic. Others are for houses, a few roads, no cars. In these places, all businesses are located in harbors and reached by boats. A few islands have more developed infrastructures. But they are by far the minority.

If you want to visit the Stockholm Archipelago, here’s how. Fly to Arlanda. One of the nicest airports I’ve ever seen. Stay overnight in the airport hotel. Cute. Done up in the Scandinavian school of decorating. Then take the ferry to your island.

Smadalaro Gard

A few hotels are available. Some bucolic and traditional, as above. Some maritime, and traditional, as below.

Grinda Gasthamn and Hostel

Some modern, bleak, apocalyptic, and probably soul-searingly peaceful. Especially when the apocalypse allows for furry rugs.

Hotel Furillen, via Luxury Insider.

I found these on the web. If my family has better suggestions, I will update when I return.

It’s unclear whether I will be in touch at all, from the island. It’s remote. Not set up for a wired life despite the ubiquitous cellphone coverage. But I will be taking the usual pictures, and thinking the usual thoughts, and making the usual effort, eventually, to convey to you what I have experienced. And I’ll be here Saturday morning, saying the usual things. Sometimes we have adventures, and sometimes we do the usual. If we’re lucky. Too much of one or the other is not to be wished upon anyone.

28 Responses

  1. Take me with you!! Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease!!

    Have a fabulous time, although I doubt anything else is possible. Safe travels!

  2. Lucky you! What a beautiful and peaceful place to spend your holiday week. The Stockholm archipelago is idyllic. Here in Finland, we keep a lower profile, also the archipelago has modest houses. I hope that the weather will be fine!

  3. I've never wanted to visit Sweden before.

    I do now.

    Have a wonderful time with your family, Lisa! I can't wait to hear all about it.

  4. I love Stockholm, it's wonderful at this time of year, being Nordid, it's one of my favourite places to go to at Christmas time, nothing beats wondering around Gamla Stan with a hot cup of glogg. I had a summer holiday there two years ago, out in the middle of nowhere, it was one of my best trips.

    What a wonderful holiday you have ahead and you are so lucky to have a family home to visit there.

    Have a great time!

  5. Hi LPC, I have been following your blog for about a year now and I really like it. Since you write above about my home town I want to wich you a pleasent stay here in Stockholm. This time of the year is absolutelly the best to visit Sweden and I hope we will keep having luck with the weather so that you may enjoy it. "Luck with the weather" is a vary typical swedish expression since the weather can very here alot from day to day. However, I hope you will not find our country and capital too much "out of the modern world", we surteinly doesn't. Love from Stockholm.

  6. Have a wonderful time, Lisa! I've been browsing through your blog and this really caught my eye. I've been to Sweden a few times, including Stockholm though only the city. But I've been to Gotland out in the Baltic, and Faro, and Goteberg and a couple of other places–lovely. Wonderful in the summer with the long daylight! Enjoy :)

  7. Have a great time. Sounds sublime. I have a good friend here in DC who still has family and a holiday home in Sweden. I see the photos in your post and I see Anders Zorn etchings. And then I think of Strindberg.

  8. OOOOH, fun!!!! I lived in Norway for three years and have traveled in Swedena couple times. I love Scandinavia…. ENJOY your time and the oh so long days! :)

  9. This is breathtaking! One summer, a few years ago, I once passed similar small, tiny islands in a bay in Brittany/Bretagne on a tourist vessel which took a tour across the bay. You could see all the private houses and grandpas with grandchildren on their small motor-boats, celebrating summer.
    Breathtaking. And very touching, imagining you being there. Now I have to smile at the sheer thought …
    It will be an experience, having the usual thoughts without the usual wire but people with unusual thoughts around you.
    Test them: tell them what you would tell us. :)
    What will they comment?
    Have a save trip w/o vulcanos and flights on time.

  10. Patsy – I'd love to. Thank you.

    Metscan – I bet the Finnish houses are gorgeous.

    Jan – Aw. There are going to be a lot of us:).

    Tabitha – You are Nordic? I did not know that. Gamla Stan, the Old Town, is beautiful.

    Annika – Thank you so much for leaving this comment. And of course for reading. I certainly don't think of Stockholm as outside the modern world. In some ways it's one of the most modern cities I've ever been to. Also far more beautiful than is generally known in the US. Far from modern life is how I think of the summer houses on the Archipelago. Ingmarso didn't have any cars, last time I was there, and it felt so historic and authentic.

  11. Leah – I bet the places you list are wonderful. This visit I plan to actually try and understand where I am in relation to other islands, etc.

    Academic, Hopeful – What a wonderful wish.

    ADG – Oh, maybe he will invite you and LFG to visit some day. If so, go:). I don't know Anders Zorn, I will look him up.

    Duchesse – Thank you.

    Adventures – Yes, jet lag is so weird when there is never any night:).

    Paula – Thank you. Can you believe I had actually forgotten about the volcano!!! I love your memory about the Brittany islands. I wonder if they have a name?

  12. Sometimes we have adventures, and sometimes we do the usual….I really love this!
    Hope you are doing both to satisfaction, sounds like an ideal vacation.

  13. What a great trip! Yes, those Scandinavians do take advantage of summer. People here (in Wisconsin) spend as much time as possible outdoors this time of year. We have to. It's too miserable to leave the house Nov-March (and sometimes April).

    Have a great time!

  14. For some reason it looks like Rhode Island to me.

    All the pictures need is Lisbeth on her motor scooter and a few crazed industrialists.

  15. My SIL is from Stockholm and has shared wonderful photos. Have a lovely stay.

  16. Seems like I'm not the only Finnish reader of your blog. :cD Welcome to Scandinavia. If the weather's anything like what we have here (mid-80s Fahrenheit), you'll have perfect holiday weather requiring frequent dips in the sea!

  17. Have a great time on Ingmarsö. Make me want to visit "skärgården" as well. Actually I will with my parents and their puppy Bamse in a weekend or so. Looking forward to it.

  18. Yes, yes! My aunt has a stuga in southern Sweden. Loved it there as a child. Now we have our own replica along Lake Michigan. Looks the same, but has modern amenities. (Although I do enjoy the memory of keeping our dairy products submerged in a nearby cool stream….)

    Enjoy every moment!

  19. I started a business five years ago that should make it easier for international customer to rent archipelago houses in Stockholm, Sweden. This summer we had guests from 24 countries that enjoyed our beautiful country. We have a place on Små Dalarö as well. You are more than welcome to visit us at

Comments are closed.