Sweden family vacations map & highlights

Visitors to Sweden are often surprised by just how quickly and easily you can discover idyllic wilderness within a very short journey from Stockholm.
Stockholm is a lovely city to visit in its own right, but the best thing about it is that you’ve got several vast natural wildernesses right on your doorstep. To the east, the wider Stockholm archipelago has thousands of uninhabited islands. Just to the south, Sörmland teems with royal palaces and pretty villages, and two hours to the west, an isolated ecolodge sits in a forest where wolves and moose can be tracked with expert guides. And if you’re not already convinced that Sweden ought to be your next family vacation destination, remember that exploring this magnificent countryside on foot, bike or water could hardly be any easier – especially when organised by locals that know it like the backs of their hands.

1. Ecopark

Stockholm’s Ecopark, measuring almost 30 square kilometres, is a green oasis in the city center ideal for exploring on foot or by bike. Combining natural beauty with cultural heritage, the park is home to deer and foxes that roam freely among the many trees. There are royal palaces here, museums such as the open air Skansen where traditional festivals are often held, art galleries and even an amusement park.

2. Kolarbyn

Proud to be known as Sweden’s most basic hotel, Kolarbyn is a rustic tented lodge on Skärsjön Lake surrounded by birch, spruce and pine. The lake is perfect for relaxed canoeing or wild swimming, while in the forest you can track wildlife such as moose, beavers and wolves, and forage for mushrooms. Just two hours from Stockholm, Kolarbyn feels amazingly remote. Be prepared to rough it, though.

3. Mariefred

This lovely Sörmland town, an hour’s drive from Stockholm, is built around the 14th-century Gripsholm Castle, where the national portrait collection can be viewed. A (coal-powered, unfortunately) steamboat gets you there from the capital in summer. Nearby is Taxinge Castle, reputed to hold the largest cake buffet in Europe – but if you’re on an energetic multi activity vacation you can dig in with no qualms.

4. Sörmland

South of Stockholm, the Sörmland province is renowned for its many castles and manor houses; Swedish nobility traditionally kept summer homes here. There is also a vast archipelago of around 3,000 islands that can be explored on foot, bike or canoe. Families will love roaming nature reserves, lakes, historic palaces, forests and pretty villages across swathes of beautiful countryside.

5. Stockholm

The Swedish capital is sometimes referred to as the ‘Venice of the north’, built across a Baltic archipelago of 14 islands that are connected by over 50 bridges. You’ll generally start and finish your vacation here, perhaps exploring the picturesque old town with its cobbled streets, the stylish Södermalm district, or the Ecopark. Get around on foot, by bike or ferry, or even by kayak.
Stockholm archipelago

6. Stockholm archipelago

The vast Stockholm archipelago, composed of 24,000 or so islands and islets that are mostly deserted, begins just outside the capital. You can explore islands such as Ornö (the largest at 14km by 6km) by a ferry network, and well-marked cycling and walking routes. Other popular islands include Uto, where you can sea kayak or relax on white sand beaches, and remote Fjärdlång, which offers woodland hiking.

7. Trosa

As wealthy as it is charming, this seaside enclave in Sörmland has a long history of welcoming Swedish royalty – unofficial royalty too, such as Benny and Björn from ABBA. The population swells in summer, but wandering around by bike you can easily escape the crowds. There are beaches to swim from, boat tours of the archipelago available, palaces to explore and sublime sea views all around.
Tyresta National Park

8. Tyresta National Park

Just outside central Stockholm, Tyresta is dominated by primeval forest with some pine trees over 400 years old. There are 55km of marked trails leading you around the park and surrounding nature reserve, past clear lakes and untouched groves of trees, so it’s perfect for a day’s hiking. Don’t miss the section that was destroyed by fire in 1999, and is now undergoing a fascinating process of regrowth.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Sweden family or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: Patrik Svedberg/mediabank.visitstockholm.com] [Topbox: Sacha T'Sas] [Ecopark: Johan Fredriksson] [Kolarbyn: Nicolas Raynaud] [Mariefred: Stockholm Country Break] [Sormland: Stockholm Country Break] [Stockholm: Naval S] [Stockholm archipelago: Ad Meskens] [Trosa: Epiq] [Tyresta National Park: 2benny]