At the bottom of the Stockholm Archipelago is Landsort, a picturesque village on the 3-mile-long Öja Island 65 km south of Stockholm. Complete with two harbors on each side of the island, a seven-story hotel tower in the old boat tower and a lighthouse, it’s no wonder this is where many Swedes spend their summer (and winter) holidays. It’s not particularly cheap to visit, but it will forever be one of my favorite places to visit in my travels.
Getting to Landsort from Stockholm
To get to Landsort, take commuter train line 35 to Nynäshamn (the town at the end of the train line south of Stockholm). The train is 66 minutes and costs 50 SEK ($5.15). Then take any of several boat tours down to Landsort. If you’re on more of a budget (hard to consider in Sweden but still possible), take the 852 bus to Ankarudden for 64 SEK ($6.60). Finally, jump on ferry line 29 to Landsort for 78 SEK ($8.05). I’d recommend getting the SL travel card (choose the 3-day pass) which will include all your buses and trains (but not the ferry).
Öja is only accessible by foot or bike. There are no cars there, except for a couple small tractors. There’s not a lot to do on the island, but still enough to warrant spending the night if you have the budget. Nothing in the Nordic countries is cheap, but you could get by for about $150 on a two-day trip to Landsort from Stockholm including all transportation, meals and accommodations. Is that worth it? Hell yes!
Lunch at Svedtiljas’ Lotstornet Restaurant
My first destination on the island was with Ökå at his Svedtiljas’ Lotstornet Restaurant. Ökå provides the best meals on the island. Okay, maybe it’s the only restaurant other than the pub, but in my opinion, the food has the quality of a five-star hotel. Hotel guests get the full Swedish breakfast – bread, meats and cheeses, cereals, soft-boiled eggs, yogurt, juices, tea, coffee and more. Otherwise, the restaurant opens at lunch. The menu depends on what’s in stock, but each meal is a work of art. For lunch, we had a fish stew made with cod, potatoes, cauliflower, sourdough bread croutons and aioli.
Dinner and Sleeping in the Old Pilot Tower Hotel
Ökå runs both the restaurant and the 6-room unique hotel in the old pilot lookout tower. That’s an experience in itself. Floors 4-6 have two rooms each with two twin beds and a shared bathroom. From anywhere in the hotel, the view is beyond compare. The seventh floor is a dining room where you can get a meal with panoramic views of the island and sea. Rooms are 995 SEK a night ($103) including breakfast. If you’re on a budget, there are two cottages on the island for $61 a night, but I’d say this is the time to splurge!
Dinner, the crème de la crème, was a three-course masterpiece. It started with a potato pancake topped with roe, chives, onions and aioli. The main course was a perfectly cooked cod fillet served with roasted cauliflower. For dessert, we got a crumble with blueberries, strawberries and raspberry sorbet. Oh, and a California vintage white wine to complement the feast. The vegetarians in our group had their own fare which was comparable. Dinner was served on the seventh floor of the tower and our view included a full, double rainbow along with the lighthouse.
Sweden has some of the best sunsets I’ve seen anywhere in the world. I don’t know how the atmosphere there makes them so impressive, but every night was a magnificent orchestra of color. The pilothouse is the tallest building on the island and gives easily the best view of the sunsets.
The Landsort Lighthouse
Originally built in 1651, the Landsort lighthouse is the icon of the island. It has gone through several renovations and upgrades over the years and currently is fully automated. Ökå is the one person on the island who has the key, and you can get a tour with him for 90 SEK ($9.30). It’s only 20 meters high so not a hard climb. The views from the top are what you would expect from a Swedish vacation island. Magnificent and spectacular! Sometimes there’s a little ice cream stand at the base of the tower. Of course we had to stop for some on our tour.
Landsort Artillery Battery
On the northern portion of the island is an old defense bunker, now a museum. To date, it was considered the most advanced artillery post in the world. The battlement, completed in 1977, housed a 120-mm gun with a range of 17 miles, capable of firing 25 times a minute. The bunker stored 800 shells and was manned by 25 crew and 2 officers. Completely underground (except for the cannon), it could resist a 1/2 megaton nuke, and the men could survive for a month without aid. Jaak runs the hands-on museum and delivers two tours a day for up to 10 people at a time. The price is 100 SEK ($10.35).
Other than that, there are all kinds of wonderful little spots to explore around the island. There’s a bird ringer (tagging birds in migration), harbors to swim in, trails to climb and art sculptures to see everywhere. There are only 27 (TWENTY SEVEN) people living on the island, but many more come for weeks or months at a time on holiday. Oh, and if you want to buy your own little house here, it’ll cost you around 150,000 SEK. Just to be clear, that’s about $15,600. Anyone wanna sponsor me?
My own visit to the island was organized with TBEX (Travel Blogger EXchange Convention) and Visit Stockholm. Our team included Ajay, Heidi, Maria, Soham, Pratik, Mandy, Inma and Ryan, all wonderful bloggers and travelers. We had a full 24 hours on the island, including all the above excursions, meals and ice cream! It just couldn’t have been better, except that it was. On the way back, instead of taking the ferry, we had a high-speed RIB tour to Nynäshamn with 59° North Adventure. Nearly half an hour at 40 knots, getting drenched in the sea spray and passing wonderful views. If you’re not a budget traveler, look them up and have the time of your life!
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If you’re visiting Sweden and looking for more adventures, here are some other activities you might enjoy.
- Stockholm is One Step from Perfect
- Swedish Food is So Much More Than Meatballs!
- I Had the Best Meal of My Life at Skeppsgossen
- 10 Activities for a 2-Day Visit in Karlskrona, Sweden
- Seals, Barbecues and Coffee in a Lighthouse: A Saltstänk Adventure
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.
- 5 Steps to Book Cheap Flights
- Hostels: To Book or Not to Book
- Is Workaway Worth it for the Traveler?
- Click here to claim your $25 credit with AirB&B