Stockholm under the snow
Made up of a constellation of 30,000 islands scattered over fifty kilometers, the Stockholm archipelago offers surprising scenery in winter. This part of the Baltic Sea is very calm, shallow and the cold is so biting that the archipelago is covered with a thin layer of ice. The boats are docked, life seems to have stopped in the small ports of Stockholm. Yet the historic 1909 ship, the M / S Angantyr of the Stromma shipping company, is about to set sail to explore the archipelago with its passengers bundled up in warm blankets. This daily winter cruise lasts between 2h30 and 3h in the company of a tourist guide determined to share with us all the peculiarities of the archipelago, its secrets and its most astonishing anecdotes. Everything is provided on board to eat in the beautiful dining room of the boat during the excursion. On the menu: a good homemade tomato or pea soup, classic Swedish dishes and delicious pastries to accompany tea or coffee. All the spirit of "cocooning" in the great outdoors!
We embark from the Strömkajen quay, in front of the Grand Hotel. The captain welcomes us on board, we take our place outside to contemplate the city before departure. The atmosphere is magical when Stockholm puts on its long white coat! From the deck of the boat, we enjoy the view of the downtown islands. On one side Djurgården, on the other side, Skeppsholmen. The dark water contrasts with the snow, the pastel colors of the buildings stand out from the landscapes, the boats seem frozen, like prisoners of ice. Our ship will have the chance to play icebreakers to navigate the archipelago, a unique experience for us!
It's the start ! The boat runs alongside the city docks. We pass the royal park of Djurgården with its many museums and beautiful old buildings. We decide to defy the cold by sitting outside, on the upper deck of the boat to enjoy the magnificent panoramas parades before our eyes. The crew offers us fur skins and fleece blankets to protect us from the cold. The boat slowly leaves the channel between Sodermalm and Djurg å rden, punctuated by the sound of ice breaking under the weight of the boat.
Passing the district of Saltsjön, at the entrance to Lake Mälaren, we see a group of colorful buildings dominated by the Saltsjöqvarn. The guide explains to us that it is a large mill, designed by the architect AW Bergström in 1890. The company Holmberg & Möller, created in 1861, was at the time in charge of transporting cereals in various windmills around Stockholm.
We then pass Nacka Strand, located on the island of Nacka about ten kilometers from Stockholm. With its restaurants, yacht club and marina, this modern district was built according to the plans of the architect Nyren and, is considered one of the best examples of the architecture of the 80s. on the shore are the Fjäderholmarna Islands. It is the closest archipelago to Stockholm. We go around it to discover the immense island of Lidingö and its banks full of charms, dotted with typical small wooden houses in bright colors, nestled in the forest and right on the water. A feeling of space and freedom invades us. The boat deck offers a privileged point of view from which to admire this exceptional environment. From inside the boat, comfortably installed in the warmth, we are captivated by the beauty of these snowy landscapes. Ice water creates an astonishing variety of patterns. By cracking, jagged lines reveal unimaginable shades of blue, green and white.
This maritime space is renowned for the richness of its biotopes. Almost 200 species of birds have been recorded over the years, including many protected seabirds. In their natural habitat, gray seals come to breathe stealthily on the surface of the water and immediately disappear under the ice. Open your eyes wide to see them!
Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, the immense frozen surface of the archipelago lends itself wonderfully to this invigorating cruise in winter. An original way to discover life-size Stockholm and its surroundings that we recommend without hesitation!
Article and photos prepared by Lesley Williamson for the City Guide Stockholm