When you think of Sweden there are probably two things that immediately spring to mind, either it’s rugged rural beauty or it’s trend-setting capital Stockholm. For my first visit I based myself in the city and wonderful though it was, I was itching to get out and explore the surrounding archipelago and catch sight of the natural splendour that Sweden had to offer.
Undoubtedly the easiest and perhaps most pleasurable way to explore the archipelago, made up of hundreds of tiny islands, is to take to the high seas in a sailing vessel of your comfort. Not a natural born sailor, I jumped aboard an old steam boat next to the city hall and set off through the spreading waterways towards Sigtuna.
Cruising through the calm waters Lake Mälaren, we journeyed towards the heart of the Swedish Empire to the region known as Sigtuna; significantly thought to be Sweden’s first town, it was originally founded in 980, it is favoured for its traditional town architecture and strong historical roots, with ancient rune stones, churches and ruins still visibly scattered as evidence of the transition between the Viking and Medieval times.
I was keen to soak up the easy-going and relaxed atmosphere surrounding this small pedestrian friendly stronghold, littered with charming wooden buildings, a museum, art gallery and a range of boutique stores, which I fear are likely for the benefit of day-trippers such as me. Nevertheless it was warm by the edge of the lake, my skin baking beneath a pure blue skies as I enjoyed an ice cold beverage and contemplated life.
Sigtuna is reasonably easy to reach, approximately an hour away from Stockholm. This secluded region offers visitors a temporary escape from the bustling noise and commotion of the city and a cruise through the archipelago is a pleasant way to wile away a day. Although, in truth a little less would be enough. Had I more to spare I would have been keen to explore other areas, such as Skokloster Castle or Rosenberg Palace. If you’ve ever visited this part of Sweden I would be keen to hear your highlights!