Located upon 14 islands Stockholm has bays, channels, beaches and bridges to discover from the water on a boat with several excursions and day trips that offer you a new view of the capital city of Sweden. Almost all of these boat tours are available with your Stockholm Pass visitor tourist card. So let me tell you about some of the best boat sightseeing activities you can do while in Stockholm.
I have divided the routs between those boat trips taking you through the city, those that take you to the outskirts and finally, excursions and day trips to islands far away in the archipelago. If you are planning your holidays in Stockholm during spring or summer then you will be able to do most of these boat sightseeing trips. Unfortunately not all of them. However some of them are available even during low season months of the year.
Boat trips in Stockholm
1. Royal Canal Boat Tour
This is one of the boat tours that tourists love the most. You get on board and enjoy a 50 minute trip around the island of Djurgården where you will be able to see its museums, historical sites and landscapes of one of the greenest areas in Stockholm. Going back to the dock you get an spectacular glimpse of Stockholm with Gamla Stan in the front. Departures are from Strömkajen just in front of the awesome Grand Hotel Stockholm. Available dates: from the beginning of April to the middle of December.
2. Historical Boat Tour
This excursion takes you in the opposite direction of the previous one. Lasting also 50 minutes it takes you through the waters surrounding the island of Kungsholmen, located at the western part of the city center. Departure dock is located just around the corner of the beatiful Stockholm City Hall. From the boat you will also get to see the islands of Långholmen, where the prison now transformed into a hotel was, and Reimersholme. You will learn about the history of Stockholm industrial development. Available dates: from the beginning of June to the middle of August.
3. Stockholm Winter Tour
If you are visiting Stockholm during the winter this is one of the few available boat tours. While sailing through Stockholm’s channels and surrounding the amazing Fjäderholmarna islands you will get to know about the history of Stockholm while sipping the incredibly tasty Swedish mulled wine known as glögg. If you fancy it and dare you can make your way to the deck and enjoy the chilling views over Stockholm. Don’t worry about getting a cold. They provide you with blankets so you can enjoy your panoramic views in the freezing weather. Available dates: from the middle of December to the beginning of April. Departure from the dock at Strömkajen.
4. Hop-on hop-off Boat Sightseeing
If you are in to getting on and off a bus to discover a city like Stockholm here you can combine it with getting on and off boats that take you to other locations in the capital. There are 8 different boat stops where you can get off and explore the area before waiting for the next boat and continue your journey to your next destination. Available dates: from the end of April to the beginning of September.
5. Stockholm Under The Bridges
If there is a boat tour in Stockholm that you should do this is it. A boat sightseeing tour lasting 2h 15 min offering you a complete vision of the city from the water. You will sail under 15 of the 57 bridges that join the city islands and you will even make your way through one of the dams (sluss in Swedish) used to balance water levels at Lake Mälaren and the Baltic sea. You will see Gamla stan, Södermalm, the sustainable neighborhood at Hammarby Sjöstad (you may even get to see the ski slope located at a hill there), and the islands Stora and Lilla Essingen. Depature dock is at Strömkajen. Available dates: from the middle of April to the beginning of November.
Boat Tours To The Outskirts Of Stockholm
6. Boat Tour to Drottningholm Palace
A boat tour through the inner archipelago at Lake Mälaren on your way to Drottningholm Palace, current dwelling of the King and Queen of Sweden and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Entry to Drottningholm, The Chinese Pavillion, a 18th century theater and the surrounding parks and gardens is included. The boat trip lasts around an hour from the Stockholm city center to Drottningholm. The whole visit by boat lasts for 5 hours but you can stay longer and return by subway or public transport which also is an easy way to get around in Stockholm. Boats depart from the deck by the City Hall. Available dates: from the end of March to the end of October.
7. Boat Tour to Rosersberg Palace
Roserberg Palace is a hidden gem among Swedish royal palaces. In this boat trip with onboard guide you will sail through typical lake Mälaren’s landscapes and you will visit Roserberg and its perfectly untouched rooms dating from the 18th century. The whole boat trip last for about 9 hours. Departure from the deck by the City Hall. Available dates: from the beginning of July to the beginning of August.
8. Boat Trip to Skokloster Castle
One of the free museums in Stockholm and its outskirts, the Skokloster Castle is also available by boat thanks to boat trips connecting the city center. At Skokloster you will get to know this marvelous palace from the Swedish baroque epoch which acts as a symbol of the Swedish empire in the past. Skokloster is Sweden’s largest private castle. This boat trip lasts for 9 hours if you depart from Stockholm or less if you get on board in Uppsala. Available dates: from the beginning of July to the middle of August.
9. Boat Trip to Sigtuna
Sigtuna is an idyllic town that tourists visiting Stockholm for some days decide to visit after being all around the capital and having enjoyed most of its sights. Getting on board will take you to the very heart of the place that gave birth to Sweden. This 9-hour boat excursion sailing through the calm waters of lake Mälaren will let you take a deep look at what once was Sweden’s capital, founded in 980 CE, its ruins, runes and churches. Departure dock is located in Stockholm by the City Hall. Available dates: from the beginning of July to the middle of August.
10. Boat Trip To Fjäderholmarna Islands
Stockholm’s archipelago is said to start by these islands just 30 minutes away from Gamla Stan. This is an excursion that I have done many times and that I always like to repeat to feel Stockholm’s close-to-the-sea life as an Stockholmer would. I can therefore recommend it to you as I did to Spanish public broadcaster, RTVE, during 2016 Eurovision Song Contest celebrated in Stockholm when, as these picture show, they took Barei, the spanish contestant, to Fjäderholmarna. Departure dock is located in the vicinity of Slussen metro station on the Gamla Stan seaside. Available dates: from the end of April to the beginning of September.
Boat Tours To Stockholm’s Archipelago
11. Boat Trip to Gustavsberg
With this 5 and half hour boat excursion you will enjoy a trip to the islands of Värmdö and Gustavsberg area and visit the Museum Of Porcelain located there. You will also sail close to the archipelago’s art museum Artipelag. Departure dock is located at Nybrokajen by Berzelii park abd tge Royal Theater in Stockholm. Available dates: from the end of June to the end of August.
12. Boat Trip to Artipelag Museum
This is also a 5.5 hour excursion through the straits and islands in Stockholm’s beautiful archipelago taking you directly to the art museum Artipelag on the island of Värmdö. Artipelag is one of the five museums I personally recommend visiting in Stockholm. Available dates: from the end of June to the end of August.
13. Three Hout Boat Trip Through Stockholm’s Archipelago
Get to know the best of Stockholm’s archipelago with this 3 hour boat tour where the guide will explain you all the details about life in this part of the Baltic Sea. You will get to sail on a 1906 or a 1931 boat. This is one of the boat tours available all year round which offers you the possibility to enjoy the varying landscape of the archipelago through the different seasons. Available dates: from January 1 to December 31.
14. Boat Trip to Vaxholm
Get on board and get to know the picturesque town of Vaxholm in the northeastern part of the archipelago. This is an idyllic place filled with narrow streets, shops, art gallerys and a citadel. Departure dock is located at Nybrokajen in Stockholm. Available dates: from the beginning of April to the end of December.
15. All Day Boat Trip to Viking Island Birka
If you are searching for viking places and experiences in Stockholm and surrounding area then Birka on the island of Björkö is one you should not miss. Founded in 750 CE and known today as Sweden’s first city Birka is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and deserves a visit. Guided visits are included in the price of the daytrip. Departures are from the dock by the city hall in Stockholm. Available dates: from the end of April to the end of September.
16. The 1000 Island Cruise
A nearly 12 hour long boat tour taking you to and through the archipelago with its thousand of islands highlighting specially Kymmendö, Bullerö and the famous island of Sandhamn, sailship’s paradise. Morning and afternoon coffee, lunch and dinner (one or two dishes) are included in the cruise price. Available dates: from the beginning of July to the middle of August. Price: 1235 or 1450 SEK (around $145 to $170 per person at current SEK-USD exchange rates) depending on the chosen menu.
Other Routes And Tours
Some other boat tours available include dinner onboard – typical Swedish smörgåsbord or during Christmas julbord – or let you discover by yourself other famous islands in the archipelago like Grinda, Möja, Svartsö, Sandhamn, Vaxholm, Finnhamn just to name a few.
As stated before most of these boat trips and tours are included in your Stockholm Pass visitor card so you need not pay any extra fee to do them. Even with a Stockholm Pass you will need to go to the Strömma ticket offices to get the corresponding ticket for getting on board. By the way, beware of pickpocketers in Stockholm when going to board your boat or by the ticket offices. They love it when it is crowded. If you do not want to use the Stockholm Pass boat trips can also be booked through Strömma’s website.
As a side option remember that you can also take some public transport boats if you have your public transportation card SL-Access ready. Sure, these are not intended for sightseeing but some of them have interesting routes to have a glimpse of Stockholm from the water.
I hope this article will help more tourists to visit Stockholm in different ways other than the standard city walk. If you need more information information for planning your trip to Stockholm take a look at my guide with all you need to know (right now just available in Spanish or with Google Translate)
If you have any other doubt, suggestion or comment feel free to drop my a line at the comment section below.