We are lucky enough to live in southern Sweden. Blekinge, our part of Sweden, has an archipelago made up of 1650 islands, skerries, and islets. With the great transport system of archipelago boats, and county buses (we moved from the UK where buses were a little hit and miss!!), exploring the archipelago is very easy. We started exploring our archipelago a little last spring and summer, but this year, with a little more research, we are going to go on a journey of discovery. We will explore the archipelago looking at the background, how to get there, what to see and do, where to eat, and where to stay for each place we visit. We would like to take you with us on this adventure via the blog, and you never know you may well find yourself booking a trip to discover this small part of the world 🙂 Enjoy the adventure with us….ninth up are the two islands of Stenshamn and Utlängan.
Background Information About Stenshamn And Utlängan
These 2 islands are truly a place to immerse yourself in a lazy summer Swedish adventure. Grab your tent for a wild camp, and be at one with nature, enjoying the great outdoors on these beautiful islands. Stenshamn and Utlängan have a big history of fishing. Fishing was the profession of the inhabitants that lived here is years past, and more specifically eel fishing. The islands had their largest population around the 1880’s at 280. The reason they have a road bridge between them, was that in 1957 the military wanted to make use of Stenshamn having such a good harbour which could serve to bring in military defence supplies if required, so they built the capabilities to see that plan through if needed. The highest point on the islands is only 2m, so when the high tides are at their highest of just over 1m, half the islands disappear under water!
Our Adventure To Stenshamn and Utlängan
Our adventure started late afternoon on a Friday. May had been a heatwave for us here in southern Sweden, so we took advantage of the fine weather, the Swedish concept of allemansrätten, and headed out for a wild camping adventure. The idea being we’d catch the 16:00 boat, and spend the evening setting up camp and chilling out, leaving Saturday to explore the islands before heading back on a 1710 ferry. So, off we set, on a boat trip that took just over an hour, calling in at other islands on the way. The children had a picnic supper aboard the boat, and there was lots to see.
Once we set foot back on land, we wanted to walk through Stenshamn and onto Utlängan over the causeway to set up camp. That is the larger of the 2 islands, and we wanted to try and find somewhere as soon as possible so we could get sorted out before the children started flagging as it was the end of the day.
Dadda managed to locate the perfect place, complete with soft squishy grass and sunset views. Very soon we had our home set up for the next 24 hours and we were relaxing, enjoying fredagsmys complete with crisps and cider (cartons of juice for the little people!!). The children enjoyed playing in nature for a few hours, and picking some unusual blooms. We all watched a lovely sunset together before clambering into our sleeping bags tired, but relaxed.
The next morning was early wake ups for all of us….bear in mind when you are camping in Sweden during the summer months, there is a lot of daylight during the night and not a lot of darkness, so our three little people were ready and awake to start the day a little too early for a Saturday morning!! We got up and enjoyed some breakfast with a view before sorting ourselves out for a day of exploring.
We had planned to hike the trail around the island, taking in the viewing point and some information boards. Once we were over onto the eastern side we wanted to leave the trail, head to the coast, and see if we could see any grey seals basking in the sunshine on the rocks. After that we would head to visit the island’s lighthouse, before picking up the main track back round in a loop to our tent, which we would leave up so we didn’t need to make the children lug unnecessary items in what was a scorching hot day. Then, off we set….
We had plenty of time to take it all at a leisurely pace and enjoy the day in slow time. Once we’d got over to the east coast of the island we desparetaly scanned the rocks, but we were not to be lucky and see the seals today 🙁 Instead, everyone stripped off, had a snack, and enjoyed playing in nature’s playground for an hour. After which we headed off in the direction of the lighthouse. Again, there were no seals in sight, we had another break for lunch, and some more play. We completed our route with enough time to relax at the tent for a while before we needed to take it down and head for our return boat. The afternoon’s main activity seemed to end up being sitting on a little jetty while allowing the fish to come and nibble your toes; a free natural pedicure! The children were transfixed with all the fish swimming around their tooties!!
After which it was time to pack up and head back to our boat…..just enough time for icecreams at the harbour, before 5 tired people boarded for the trip back. Once home the children were tucked straight into bed (filthy and tired, but happy), and we weren’t far behind!! It had been a very lovely 24 hours, but camping with little people is never going to be classed as restful! The islands were stunning and gorgeous, and allowed us to see another beautiful part of Sweden.
How To Get To Stenshamn and Utlängan
There is access by boat all year round. In the autumn, winter, and spring m/f Ungskär heads to the islands, which you can catch from Karlskrona or Yttre Park. In the summer m/f Wittus runs as well, adding Torhamn onto the locations of where you can get on it, as well as Karlskrona or Yttre Park.
What To See And Do On Stenshamn And Utlängan
- There is an exhibition in the boathouse on Stenshamn about the history of the islands during the 20th century.
- In the summer there has been a yearly summer harbour party since 1988, so check for the date.
- There are other musical events throughout the summer season.
- Hiking: There is a 3.5km hiking trail to give you an insight to the islands. Along the route you will find information boards, a viewing tower, and a good spot to swim. The hiking route is well marked with wooden posts with white tips, so it is very easy to find your way around.
- Swim in Stenshamn harbour where there are steps into this 2m rather fresh outdoor swimming area!
- Visit the lighthouse on the southern tip of Utlängan.
- Foraging! The elder flowers are very good and abundant in June, and in August the blackberries draw people back to the island. Living on one of the other archipelago islands, I have found it hard to locate blackberries that get a chance to ripen in the short summer and early autumn months, so it is well worth a trip to pick them if you live here!
- Seals: Along the eastern side of Utlängan there is a colony of grey seals, and they can often be seen sunbathing on the warm rocks heated up by the sunshine.
- You can take a tractor ride around the islands.
Where to Eat On Stenshamn And Utlängan
Where To Stay On Stenshamn And Utlängan
You can rent some cottages or else bring your tents and indulge in a spot of wild camping. There are less mosquitoes here on these outlying islands, which is a bonus if you are aware of the mosquito population here in Sweden! You just need to check whether or not a fire ban is in operation before you light a campfire, as sometimes in the summer months this can be the case. In the guest harbour you can find a shower, a sauna, and a drinking water supply.
I would really recommend exploring this island (complete with bathing suit), and letting life slow down whilst you do. It really is a stunning place of natural beauty and a gorgeous corner of Sweden.