Stockholm's archipelago is a favourite place for city-dwellers to head out to on sunny weekends. The bigger islands and those closest to land are best visited out of the main summer season before or after the crowds descend, but Landsort, a town on the island of Öja home to only around 20-30 permanent residents, shines in the summer. And it's surprisingly simple to reach: just a bus and a ferry from Nynashamn, a charming town you can get to on Stockholm's commuter train.
As the archipelago's most southerly island, it's home to flora and fauna you won't find elsewhere, as well as the lighthouse that gives the island its name and a labyrinth and plague churchyard with eerie pasts. The bakery in the harbour offers cinnamon buns that will upgrade any picnic lunch.
Gotland, an island off Sweden's east coast, is one of the country's most popular holiday destinations, but those in the know skip busy Visby and keep going until they reach Fårö in the northeast. Take the free car ferry to get there.
Home to one of Sweden's best beaches (Sundersand), the stunning Gotska Sandön National Park, and natural limestone pillars, it offers opportunities for hiking, photography, or simply relaxing in nature. It's even possible to ride a horse along the beach. Movie buffs meanwhile can visit Ingmar Bergman's grave and spot locations from his best known films.
Known for its warm bathing water (by Swedish standards, at least) and long summer days, Pite Havsbad attracts plenty of visitors each year for its sandy beaches, wide range of family-friendly activities and the nearby nightlife scene. This is also the place where Sweden's first official nudist beach was set up in the 1970s.
Boat trips around the archipelago's hundreds of islands are a popular summer pastime, as are fishing and hiking.
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The Swedish royal family holiday here each summer, ever since a doctor suggested it to the queen in 1906 as he thought the sunshine and fresh air would be good for her health. There are plenty of possibilities for you to do the same, staying in a campsite, rented cottage, or at a hotel — the royal residence Solliden is also open to visitors.
Ölands Animal and Amusement Park will keep children entertained with the water park, rides, and animals, or you can head to the stunning Borgholms Slott in the north, or the fairytale-esque Trollskogen (literally 'trolls' forest') on the very northern tip. On the south of the island, the nature takes centre stage; this region is recognized as a Unesco World Heritage site and has opportunities for cycling, walking or bird-watching.
For Gothenburgers, summer travel is all about day trips to Bohuslän and the west coast, and it's highly recommended to spend longer there if you can. Start your visit at Marstrand, a seaside resort perfect for sailing, swimming, and sunbathing, with the dramatic Carlsten fortress overlooking the town.
If you can, fit in some island-hopping along the coast, perhaps with a trip to Tjorn, where modern sculptures dot the landscape along with Iron Age stone circles, and you could travel on to the tiny car-free island of Åstol, where you should pause to try the fresh fish. The travel opportunities in this area could keep you occupied for the whole summer.
This is the location of one of Stockholm's budget airline airports, but it's worth spending a few days here before setting off on holiday further afield. You can join the beautiful hiking trail Sörmlandsleden almost directly from the airport, or take your bike on a section of the Näckrosleden cycle route. There are plenty of nature reserves a stone's throw from the city plus the chance to kayak along the water.
As one of Sweden's oldest cities, there's plenty of history to discover too, and Nynäs Slott and the surrounding nature reserve make a great destination for a day trip or stop on the way to the charming town of Trosa. There's a hostel very close to the castle for overnight stays.
Trollsjön and Kärkevagge
With their names literally translating as Troll Lake and Stone Valley, these destinations in Swedish Lapland both look and sound like something from a story book. Stay in nearby Abisko and spend the day hiking and enjoying spectacular views.
The lake is one of the cleanest and clearest not only in Sweden but in all of Europe; because it's frozen for so much of the year, no fish live here, but in summer you can take a dip if you're ready to brave the cold.