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50km (30 miles) E of City Center

Stockholm is in what the Swedes call a "garden of skerries," an archipelago with more than 24,000 islands and islets (and rocks merely jutting out of the water). The islands nearest the city have become part of the suburbs, thickly populated and connected to the mainland by car ferries or bridges. Many others are wild and largely deserted, attracting boaters for picnics and swimming. Summer homes dot still others. July is the peak vacation month, when yachts crowd the waters.

You can see the islands by taking a boat trip from Stockholm harbor. If you'd like to stop at a resort island, consider Sandhamn, where you'll find shops and restaurants. It takes about an hour to explore the entire island on foot. The beaches at the eastern tip are the best in the archipelago. Vaxholm, a bathing resort known as "the gateway to the northern archipelago," also makes a good stopover -- it's one of our favorites. Artists and writers have traditionally been drawn to Vaxholm, and some hold exhibits during the summer, when the tourist influx quadruples the population. The west harbor and the main sea route to the north are filled with pleasure craft.