The Baltic region has quite a lot to offer in the way of natural beauty and historic interest, and if you have a boat, you can enjoy the area from a unique perspective. One such region of the Baltic that lends itself particularly well to boating and island hopping is Stockholm. Since the Stockholm archipelago is surrounded by water, there are many places where you can moor your boat as part of your adventure. Here are some key locations where you might choose to drop anchor or moor up in this region.
Ok so this one isn’t actually in Sweden, but if you’re heading into the Baltic from the west, the Danish island of Bornholm is a great place to stop along the way as it has many beautiful sights. Being a small island, it’s quite easy to reach everything important either by foot by a short bus ride, and Antoinette Beach in particular is always amazing, regardless of the weather that you catch it in.
Bornholm has the nickname “Pearl of the Baltic Sea,” mainly due to its sandy white beaches, as well as the attractions of the old town. There are harbors with facilities in Rønne, Gudhjem, and Svaneke, but you can also find them on Frederiksø and Christiansø.
The people at the ports are well known for being welcoming, and there are numerous restaurants and stores around each port to make your visit more comfortable. You can find more information about the various harbors and how to contact them here.
Bornholm has some beautiful tropical feeling beaches in the summer, but it also has some rocky cliffs, which is why it is very steep around the coastline in places. In these areas you’ll need to take care where you reel your boat in so that you do not damage it on rocks, both visible and submerged. You’ll also need ropes to tie your boat to the mooring posts which are something of a standard feature in this region.
As you reach the middle of the Baltic, you will invariably come across the large island of Gottland, where you can stop in the town of Visby. The town was once a Viking trading port but has developed into one of the biggest commercial trade centers in the Baltic Sea.
There are several ports in Visby but bear in mind that they also manage cruise ships – which is why you need to contact them beforehand. Depending on the boat that you own, you may be assigned a different harbor than the one you intended to visit.
The ports in Visby have increased facility security compared to some of the smaller islands, so you may leave your boat there without worries as you go explore the town. Although, in all honesty Sweden is known for being pretty safe in this respect in general.
If you are cruising with your family throughout Sweden, the chances are that you will be sent to the Visby Guest Harbor. It has 300 berths, along with all the standard services you may require: water, electricity, restrooms, showers, fuel points, and even Wi-Fi. You may book a berth by using the information here.
Christinso is also very popular for mooring, and there are several ports for you to visit. The most popular is the Strandvägen Kajplats 17A, as again, there are multiple restaurants where you can grab a bite after an active day on the water.
Since mooring in Christinso means you’ll be parked up in more or less the heart of the city, there will be no opportunities to cook ashore, but you may still do so aboard your boat after you go to a local store for supplies for example.
The port is open 24 hours, but you will definitely want to contact the harbor master beforehand. You may find their information here. You’ll want to do this not least so that you can find the right place to moor up, as cruise ships also stop there.
As it is close to the heart of the city, you will also find places where you may stock up on food and drinks.
Sailing through to the heart of the Stockholm Archipelago, you will come across Sandhamn harbor on the island of Sandön, a harbor known as the Baltic’s answer to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. This port is a tree-lined arc that features 240 berths. The pontoon boardwalks are a grey timber, and while they are not very narrow, you should still watch your step as you disembark your boat.
You can stock up with water in Sandhamn harbor, at the fountains, and you’ll also get access to electricity and fuel for your boat. There are several restaurants, a bar facing the water, a bakery, as well as a general store where you may stock up on essential provisions.
You’ll notice there are several summer residences in the harbor, but the majority of the locals live on the mainland. Before you start exploring, you might want to take a visit to Sandhamn’s Värdshus (pub) for liquid refreshment. If you visit in July, when Sweden is closing for their “industrial holiday,” you should find you’re able to negotiate the area fairly easily, however things get rather crowded in May and June.
The island of Bullerö is a great stopping point to the east of the archipelago, and aside from the main harbor, you may also dock elsewhere around the shores. Bear in mind that the passage to the island has a rather narrow course, and if you get too close to the rocks, you run a very real risk of damaging your boat. Keep a close eye on your depth sounder!
There are no berths on Bullerö, so you will have to anchor your boat to the rocks or the beach if you use this method. Several meters of good mooring rope is essential here.
You should choose an area that is not too close to the townhouses, as you might disturb the locals. Also, you should try to avoid mooring in the middle of the waters of the prettiest beaches, especially the ones that are tourist spots. People very often like to swim in those areas, and they won’t be able to do so freely with a boat moored in the middle of the water.
Utö is another small island to the east of the archipelago with a secluded natural harbor that allows you to moor in the middle of breathtaking scenery. If you are in the mood for some hiking, then this port is the place for you.
Bear in mind once again that the mooring facilities are very basic and you will need to tie off to the available mooring posts. The natural harbors in this area do not have any particular facilities, but there are various camping areas dotted around where you can set up a barbeque for example.
The guest harbor in Utö is fairly idyllic, with numerous houses lining it. You could even rent one of the guest houses for a night, or else stock up on provisions from one of the small stores on the island. There are also restrooms, showers, and even saunas where you can relax after a long day.
To the north Vaxholm is a beautiful place to moor up, and Vaxholm town itself has quite a lot to offer. You’ll find numerous B&B’s, such as Waxholm Harbor, Vaxholm Hotel, and Kastellet. The Vaxholm Fortress is less than 15 minutes away (though you’ll have to take a tour boat to access that).
You should keep in mind that Vaxholm has homes around the harbor, which is why they recommend keeping the noise down after 10 pm, out of respect for the locals.
In Vaxholm, anchoring is prohibited, so you will have to moor by using the mooring lines in the marina. You’ll find there are crew members to assist you, in case you need help. You’ll find showers and toilets in the red building at the port, but they are locked by key. You will be given the code once you check in.
Bear in mind that the harbor is quite small, so you may want to inquire about mooring times. Since it’s a very touristy location, it might be fairly crowded during the high season. If you try to moor without asking for advice first, you might be disappointed to find a place is not available.
Gustavsberg (on Värmdö Insland)
Gustavsberg Harbor is situated in the heart of the large island of Värmdö, and it’s a great mooring area if you want to be close to all the visiting locations. There are posts where you can tie the boat yourself, but you may also get assistance from the crew there.
The colorful Gustavsberg harbor has all the essential utilities that you might need, from showers to convenience stores all close at hand.
This area is famous for its porcelain and ceramics production, so it’s worth noting that the Porcelain Museum is within walking distance of the harbor, as is the porcelain factory. The port offers guided tours, but you will have to contact them one week in advance. You can find their contact information here.
Grisslehamn Yacht Harbor is also a great mooring spot if you want a quaint and quiet experience. Grisslehamn is a fishing village, so you’ll find many houses along the beach.
Out of respect for the locals, you might want to use the docks in order to moor, and not do so on the beach or near the houses.
The yacht harbor also has an adjoining campsite that you can use. During the day, you may cook a meal on the shore there, or use the facilities. Aside from showers and toilets, you can also enjoy a good sauna. You’ll have access to electricity and fuel for your boat.
The Norrtälje port is right in the heart of Norrtälje, and despite being in a more developed area of Stockholm it’s a beautiful place to visit. The guest harbor features 150 berths where you can moor your boat.
The port opens at 8 am and closes at 8 pm, but it may change depending on the season by an hour or two. Make sure that you stay informed and that you contact the harbor master in advance that you are planning on visiting with your own boat.
You can sleep in the harbor if your boat has a prepared cabin, but you may also choose the camping ground, which is close to the harbor. Barbeques are not permitted in the harbor, but you may do so at the camping grounds. Restaurant Havspiren is right in the port, so if you want to get a nicely cooked meal, you can stop there.
If you have the time to visit Norrtälje, you might want to visit the Norrtälje Luftvarnsmuseum, where you can learn about Swedish military history. The Storholmen Viking Village is also a must-go-to, as it gives you a sense of what a real Viking village would have been like.
Since these locations are relatively close to the port, you will be able to reach them on foot, should you wish.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the Stockholm Archipelago has a lot to offer in terms of mooring spots. Really the suggestions here just scratch the surface as there are literally hundreds of islands and harbors you could explore, but hopefully we’ve whetted your appetite to explore the area further.