Our Bike Trip in the Stockholm Archipelago
This was written by me and my spouse, Yoav Luft.
This summer we didn’t want to use planes, busses, or trains, due to the Corona. So we decided to go on a bike trip in the Stockholm archipelago.
We planned 5 days of biking and one additional day to rest on our final destination. We booked everything through an agency called ResGladh, that we’ve found through Sweden By Bike. We could have rented through ResGladh the bikes, but we wanted to keep them, so we purchased two bikes with 8 gear at Decathlon.
We received a map from Sweden By Bike with official bike paths, and prepared our riding plan according to recommendations from them and different attractions (like museums) from Google Maps. In the maps below, each square is 5 km. When planning our route, we wrote down when we will have access to restaurants and supermarkets.
We took two instant rice bags with us and some sandwiches and fruits for the first day, as well as energy bars, nuts, knäckebröd and tahini for the entire trip. We also took two bottles of water, 1 litre each.
We had one backpack of 35 litres, and one bike bag of 40 litres. We switched them during the trip according to our physical condition.
Day 1: Väsbystrand, Ljusterö, to Bergshamra (27 km)
We took a ferry from Stockholm to Väsbystrand, Ljusterö with the bikes. On Summers and weekends queues start early, there is limited space for bicycles (11 on bigger ferries) and its first arrived, first served. We arrived some 45 minutes ahead of time and there was already a queue. We sailed for 2.5 hours.
Before the trip we were sure we’re going to cycle on pastoral gravel paths, so the first day was a bit shocking — although we used official maps for cycling, pretty quickly we’ve found ourselves cycling in a road for cars, without dedicated bike lane, nor shoulders. I haven’t been training recently because of the Corona, and Yoav hasn’t cycled since childhood, so cycling next to car driving 70 kmh wasn’t ideal for us. Luckily all the drivers were very careful, and waited behind us if another car was coming from the other direction.
We ate lunch after crossing from Ljusterö to the main land. We crossed on a floating road, this ferry doesn’t cost money and there’s no visible personnel on it, so it was a bit weird because we didn’t know exactly what to do, so we just went on board together with the cars, and then got off on the other side.. it arrives every 20 minutes. We ate lunch on the other side in the all ubiquitous Swedish “pizza-kebab".
We continued cycling and stopped at Wira Bruk, a 17th century forge and weapons smithy. It’s a free open museum that we enjoyed, and we also filled our water bottles there and used the toilet. There’s also a coffee place there that we haven’t tried.
We started cycling at 11:30 and arrived at our B&B at 4:30. The owners recommended go bathing at Underskug, but we were exhausted and even missed the supermarket which closed at 18:00. So we went to eat yummy middle-eastern food at Cafè Bergshamra & Pizzeria.
Day 2: Bergshamra to Södersvik (45 km)
In the morning we ate breakfast with Margaretha and Bosse from Carlberg B&B, chatted with their other guests, and started our longest day of the trip. In Bergshamara there was a bike lane, and next to Karl-Ols we took the side road and finally cycled in the woods on a gravel path. We then continued through Grovstanäs, which is really beautiful. We paused there for a short break by the water. We also got lost there a bit and it added 1–2 km to our original plan.
We paused for lunch at Spillersboda, were there is a café by the water, and we also filled water there, used the toilet, and purchased soap and some cans at the small supermarket there. At all the places we stayed there were towels, but none had soap or shampoo.
We continued then north and had a coffee break at Rådmansö Bakery Shop. The way from Nänninge to Björköören was again pretty intense with the cars of many people coming back to Stockholm on the last weekend of the last vacation week of August. We started to cycle in route (1) that’s marked in azure in the above map, but were stopped by a family arguing that it’s a private way that is blocked. So we switched to 2 and ended the day at STF (Svenska Turistföreningen) Kapellskär hostel in Riddersholm. There is a kiosk there with some microwave dishes, but we cooked some of the food we’ve had with us. At that point we were very sour. Our thighs muscles as well as butts hurt from cycling for two days and we decided to take it easy the next day — planning based on satellite images rather than only the map, and walking uphill instead of paddling.
Day 3: Södersvik to Norrtälje (20 km)
We’ve decided to go through (4), (5) and (6) in the Södersvik map above. There’s a cycling path parallel to E18 that is unfortunately not marked in the map. It wasn’t very inspirational, but it was safe and easy. Around Insjövägen we got on to the official path again, which was very beautiful. From there it was very fast and nice to get to Norrtälje, and we arrived at noon, which was nice because we had time to enjoy the town.
We stayed in Berglings B&B, which was really nice. We ate at Looi sushi and Ed’s burger, and walked to the pier. In the morning we got ourselves more comfortable bike chairs at Cykelservice i Norrtälje. We also got knee elastic band for Yoav. Yes, we still suffered from the second day’s effort. We had a discussion whether we should come back home or even get a ferry to the final destination with the bikes and then get buses between the places we were supposed to stay for the nights until then. But we decided to give it another chance — and it was worth it, because the fourth day was the most beautiful.
Day 4: Norrtälje to Mälby (35 km)
It wasn’t supposed to be Mälby. It was supposed to be Wik B&B in Soderby-Karl, but a few days before the trip something happened and they cancelled all the reservations.
ResGladh found us a place further north, and we thought it’s going to be very tiring, but the road was really nice and quick, and there were four wonderful pauses on the way.
The first break we took was at a church in Roslags-Bro, which was pretty and re-charging.
The second is marked with (1) on the map was a really nice public bathing area with grass, sand and beautiful lake. There were a few people there except for us and it was also nice to see them because we rarely saw people on the paths in this trip.
The one marked with (2) was a coffee place we really enjoyed and also a cool store where I got lovely earrings and neckless, which made me feel much better :D.
The last leg of this day, marked with (3), was a big and nice surprise, cycling along a beautiful artificial canal.
And then we got to our night destination — Livsuniversitetet. This is a special place that we appreciated, and we were almost alone here, similarly to the situation on the second night. Lena Kristina helped us to settle down and then gave us a ride to ICA. She told us a little about this place and about herself — a pioneer psychologist who’d researched and developed methodologies around breathing. They have different retreats for groups of adults and youth. The farm is very cozy with a large kitchen and yoga room, and many secret fun corners.
In the evening we went to Ortala bathing park, which was amazingly beautiful with crystal clear water which were also too cold for us to get in.
Day 5: Mälby to Arholma (28 km)
Finally we were on our last cycling day. Feeling refreshed and excited about the rest day we planned to spend on Arholma, we started our way south-east.
We stopped at Barnens Ö for a short break, and then at Simpäs. We took the ferry in the afternoon after eating a delicious Thai lunch at the pier.
In Arholma there’s a small supermarket and a couple of restaurants that require reservation. We stayed at another STF hostel that was wonderful (and with lots of fun stuff for kids).
Day 6,7: Arholma
The best decision in preparing this trip was to take a resting day in Arholma. We toured the island, booked an hour at the sauna (private, including the water next to it), and had a really nice dinner at Arholma Dansbana. There weren’t many animals on the island, except for cows and tiny frogs. We were surprised to find a cold war bunker on the island that is now a museum with tours. The day after we hiked in the forest in the north, which was full with blueberries and linden berries, and then took a ferry back in the afternoon, a 4.5 hours trip directly to Stockholm.