Day 1: In Stockholm
Today you arrive at Stockholm and you free time to explore the picturesque city of Stockholm. Often referred to as the 'Venice of the North', Stockholm is unquestionably a unique and beautiful city all year round, not only due to its location on 14 islands with its infinite presence of water, but also because of its combination of nature, colourful architecture and ancient history. And you need never walk far to appreciate the impressive views stretching across the Baltic water as it winds past the city walls. Furthermore, stroll through 13th century Gamla Stan, Stockholm's charming old town, where you cannot help but feel its medieval atmosphere as you wander through the cobblestone streets past narrow, colourful houses of yesteryear. There is so much to see in Stockholm, appealing to so many different interests, that you are sure to find something special within walking distance of your hotel.
Day 2: Stockholm → Stendörren → Trosa
This morning you are transfered from Stockholm to a Stendörren Nature Reserve, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful archipelagos in Sweden because of its distinct feeling of peace and tranquillity in an unspoilt nature. Here you have the rest of the morning to hike across the many islands using their intriguing system of suspension bridges, or swim in the clean, refreshing Baltic waters. After your picnic lunch in the Reserve, you take your bikes and cycle along country lanes through the varied countryside; evergreen forests, meadows and lakes. You pass the impressive 17th century Nynäs Manor House where you can rest your legs and enjoy a guided tour or hike the trails in the manor house grounds. En route, you can also stop at Sandvik beach for a quick swim in the sea before you continue your journey on to the seaside town of Trosa. Trosa is visited by many Stockholmers in the summer months because of its unique location surrounded by both open landscape and another marvellous archipelago.
Cycling Distance: 43 km/Estimated cycling time: 3 hrs
Day 3: Trosa → Tullgarn Palace → Gnesta
The next morning you can choose to take a short break in Trosa before continuing your journey onwards. Trosa is a charming 17th century town called 'the World's End' because it of its location on the banks of the Baltic Sea with endless views of the ocean all around. The little square, surrounded by old wooden houses, marks the centre of town and the walkway along the canal as it winds its way to the ocean is not to be missed.
When you are ready, you continue your cycle journey stopping first at the royal Tullgarn Palace, an 18th century palace located on the seashore with magnificent views of the Baltic waters. Relax and enjoy your lunch in the beautiful palace gardens. After lunch continue your journey by bike, enjoying the Swedish countryside at its very best; pine forests, sparkling lakes and open green fields. Soon you arrive at the outskirts of Gnesta where you cycle direct to your overnight accommodation.
Accommodation: Gnesta, Bed & Breakfast
Meals: Breakfast & dinner
Cycling Distance: 46km/Estimated cycling time: 3¾ hrs
Day 4: Gnesta → Lake Klämmingen → Marviken lakes → Mariefred
This morning, you cycle from Gnesta to Laxne along the shores of the beautiful Lake Klämmingen where you have plenty of opportunity to stop and swim in the clear waters. At Laxne, you are met with your canoe and given your canoe introduction. Your picnics are also provided so that you can continue your journey up Lake Marviken to Åkers Styckebruk, pausing to enjoy your lunch and the remarkable scenery. The area has its own unique character because of its geological history - the mountain split in two and as a result Lake Marviken is today bordered by 50 metre high cliffs.
At Åkers Styckebruk, you collect your bicycles and cycle to the charming town of Mariefred, founded in 1605 and famed for its narrow, winding streets and colourful, wooden houses as well as being home to one of the most important and magnificent castles in the region, Gripsholm.
Accommodation: Mariefred, B&B
Meals: Breakfast & lunch
Cycling Distance: 26.5km/Estimated cycling time: 2½ hrs
Canoeing Distance: 9km/Estimated canoeing time: 3½ hrs
Day 5: Mariefred → Taxinge Manor→ Stockholm
Today you have half a day to enjoy the area around Mariefred. Choose either to cycle through green fields, forests and along the shores of Lake Mälaren to the isolated Taxinge Manor House. Taxinge is not only a delightful manor house set in lovely surroundings but it is famous for its cakes. Plenty of time is allowed to marvel at the display. After your tea break, you can take a break from cycling and board the charming steam train from Taxinge, reminiscent of times gone by, and make your way back to the village of Mariefred. Instead, you may choose to put your bikes down and visit the impressive Gripsholm’s Castle and learn about Swedish royal history.
This afternoon you will leave Mariefred and board the steamboat which takes you back to Stockholm.
Cycling Distance: 32km /Estimated cycling time: 2½ hrs
Steamboat trip: Mariefred → Stockholm 3½ hrs
Day 6: In Stockholm
Today you can choose to take an optional self-guided bicycle tour through Stockholm's unique Ecopark - the world's first National Park to be located within a bustling city. The Ekopark is 27 km2 and is a green oasis combining cultural heritage and natural features. Here you can cycle through ancient forests, visit palaces and bathe from waterside rocks. Animals such as foxes, badgers, marten, mink and deer roam freely and the greatest number of large oak trees in northern Europe are located right here, in the city centre!
Your self guided tour takes you through this peaceful city hideaway and includes the Royal island of Djurgården where many of Stockholm's best museums are located, the royal residence of Rosendal and its delightful gardens and café plus the picturesque canal running through the island. Not to be missed along the way is the Kaknäs Tower with its 30 floor high observation deck offering fantastic views across Stockholm city. Head north and you come to Haga Park and Palace - home to the recently wedded crown princess which lies alongside the beautiful Brunnsviken inlet. Further north and you can reach as far as Ulriksdal's Palace with its well respected restaurant plus relaxing gardens and delightful views.See day one for details of self-guided cycle trip through the Stockholm Ecopark.
Optional activities: Cycling