Off the western coast of Sweden lies a constellation of 365 ice-scoured granitic islands. Väderöarna (or the Weather Islands, in English) is one of those places that seeps into your soul. A remote oasis in the middle of the ocean, it’s way off the beaten path, far from the noise and stressors of everyday life and only accessible by ferry or ship.
This seascape of rugged islets, skerries, and idyllic fishing villages boasts some of the most stunning scenery in Scandinavia. And a hike or a stroll is the ideal way to begin taking it all in. You’ll quickly notice the Weather Islands are the warmest and windiest place in Sweden and their unique climate has forged a striking mix of lush greenery and stark simplicity.
On Storö, the only inhabited island, charming wooden houses painted deep red with white trim stand watch over the harbor. Red homes are ubiquitous in Scandinavia and the tradition stems far back to the days of copper mining when some resourceful people figured out you could turn the red pigment, a by-product of mining, into a durable paint. Falu red (named for the town of Falun where it was made) was born and the rest was history.
These historic homes once sheltered the sea pilots who lived here for hundreds of years (and as recently as 1966), helping lost ships find their way in the chilly waters. A highlight of a trip here is the old pilots’ lookout perched on the highest point of the island. Don’t miss it. The climb to the top rewards you with incredible views that roll out over the foam-tipped waves all the way to the horizon.
For a more intimate view of the archipelago, hop in a kayak and paddle into peaceful coves and islets searching for wildlife. The surrounding waters were inaugurated as a marine nature reserve in 2012 and they’re home to both gray and common (harbor) seals as well as a multitude of birdlife—barnacle geese, mute swans, cormorants, eiders, gulls, and more. Whether you choose to actively explore the islands or just sit in stillness listening to the wind and waves, you’ll remember your visit to this enchanting outpost for a long time to come.
Experience the natural beauty of the picturesque Weather Islands and more of coastal Scandinavia on our voyage to Denmark, Sweden & Norway.