Kayaking in Stockholm

Sweden is considered the paddling destination par excellence. Endless lakes, surrounded by beautiful forests on rocks and small wooden cottages, which invite you to dream in lonely seclusion. But what about paddling in and around the big Swedish cities? We have been to the Swedish capital Stockholm and went out for a kayaking tour. We can already tell you that Stockholm really offers a lot of possibilities for paddling, which we liked so much that we definitely want to return there.

Key facts about the paddling tour


2 – 3 hours


Museums, historical buildings, monuments

Public transport

City center transportation

Traffic noise

little traffic noise


urban paddling environment, islands, parks

Kayaking in the Swedish capital Stockholm

We have only done our kayak tour around the island of Djurgarden, but it’s not the only spot where can do kayaking in Stockholm. So let’s take a look where you can go paddling in and around Stockholm. Most passionate paddlers are drawn to Stockholm for a tour in the Stockholm archipelago. The archipelago consists of about 30,000 islands that stretch from the city centre into the Baltic Sea. The numerous islands protect youquite well from the open sea and thanks to the everyman’s right you can simply pitch your tent for the night on many islands.

The archipelago is therefore ideal for kayakers who like to go on multi-day trips and want to spend the night on a different island every day. Local kayak rentals not only provide you with the right paddling equipment, but also with complete camping equipment if required. If you are not a fan of wild camping, but still want to do a tour of several days, we recommend stopping at one of the many private accommodations on the islands. Rooms or entire holiday homes of private persons can be found on AirBnB, for example.  If you are planning a tour to the Stockholm archipelago, we also recommend the website of the Archipelago Foundation, which not only provides general information about the region, but also has a lot of detailed information about the individual island areas.

Stockholm Archipelago
Stockholm archipelago

So you could go on endless canoe trips in the archipelago. But the city of Stockholm is at least as interesting for a day trip. The biggest city of Scandinavia extends over 14 islands and can be explored from the water. But during a single day you will not be able to explore all parts of the city by kayak. The city is simply too big for that.

stockholm sightseeing
View on the city center of Stockholm

In addition, some parts are closed for recreational and sports paddlers and other parts are rather unsuitable for a tour due to the high ship and boat traffic. We can recommend the following tours in Stockholm, where we paddled the tour around the Djurgarden ourselves:

  • Långholmen and Reimersholme (6km/ 2h)
  • Kungsholmen (10km/ 3-4h)
  • Årstaviken (6km/ 2h)
  • Djurgarden (10km/ 2-3h)

Our kayaking tour around Djurgarden in Stockholm

Djurgarden is an island in Stockholm with the largest city park. There are also numerous historical buildings, monuments, museums, an amusement park and a large open-air museum. For the Stockholmers Djurgarden with its meadows and forests is above all a recreation area. We highly recommend a walk on the island after your kayak tour.

In the map above, you see our route around Djurgarden. It’s pretty easy to in terms of orientation because you kayak just around the island. You can download an offline map on your mobile phone and check with the GPS functionality where you are.

Stockholm Djurgarden
The island of Djurgarden is the home to the largest city park.

We wanted to do a tour that combines urban paddling with lots of green and tranquility. A round trip around Djurgarden seemed to meet exactly these requirements for us. Right at the bridge Djurgardsbron there is the Café Sjöcafeet, which runs also a nice kayak rental. Thus, here we rent our kayak and paddle in eastern direction to the canal Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen.

stockholm kayaking sweden
View from the bridge Djurgardsbron in direction of the city centre.
kayak rental stockholm
Café Sjöcafeet with rental of boats, including kayaks

The first half of the tour is characterized by calm waters and is ideal for paddling beginners or families. Furthermore, only few boats pass through this section. The further we go, the narrower the channel gets and the deeper we dive into the green and leave the big city bustle behind us. There are enough possibilities to land on with the kayak on the right or left bank. Especially on sunny days it is worth looking for a good place for a picnic.

kayaking djurgarden
The water to the east is very calm and one gets only little of the big city bustle

But we continue paddling, because the weather forecast for the early afternoon predicts some rain. Thus, before it starts to rain, we want to finish the tour. We approach the canal Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen, which we enjoy very much, because it feels like paddling through a park. At the left and the right bank, people walk on the park paths or sit on the benches. Since it’s so nice and quiet here, we often let ourselves drift and stay on the water in order to enjoy the sun.

urban kayaking in stockholm
The canal Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen offers a lot of nature and we feel far away from the big city

At the end of the canal we have the feeling that we would paddle out onto a large lake. The water becomes rougher and we notice now that we were well protected from the wind so far. Those who prefer the calm water and comfortable paddling should not go around the whole island. As from here, you cross more boats, ferrys and even big vessels. So, you should not only watch out for the traffic on the water but also for the waves that they make. You will also have a great paddling tour if you take the same way back.

Stockholm archipelago
After Djurgardenbrunnskanal we get a first impression of the archipelago

It’ss worth paddling out a little beyond the end of the canal to admire the landscape in the distance. In front of us, a picture builds up of the archipelago at the gates of the city. Small islands, with rocky shores and little houses as far as the eye can see. This is a sight where we really feel like paddling further into the archipelago to discover its infinite beauty. But for this tour the goal is to paddle the island Djurgarden.

We decide to do the whole tour around the island. But when looking back, we have to admit that we especially enjoyed the first part of the tour. It was so calm and green there. However, we enjoy to discover the other side of the island. It’s just a bit less relaxing because you have to watch out for the ferrys that are crossing.

A small highlight of this tour was an old sailing ship that comes towards us and reminds us on the Vasa warship that we visited the day before in a museum. This ship already sank shortly after the beginning of its maiden voyage in the year 1628 due to a serious constructive instability at the gates of Stockholm. Only more than 300 years later, the ship was recovered and restored at great expense and is now a museum. We can only warmly recommend a visit to the Vasa Museum, which is also located on Djurgarden.

vasa museum stockholm
The warship Vasa in the museum on Djurgarden
canoe tour stockholm
Not quite as impressive as the warship Vasa, but still impressive to meet an old sailing ship at sea

On the way we meet a few docking points for sailboats and smaller yachts and soon we see the small island of Beckholmen in front of us. In order to avoid more ferry traffic and to get into calm waters, we pass the island on the right. Here, we also paddle straight next to the amusement park Gröna Lund, which is pretty impressive to see from the water. Not later than now, we also see some of the city centre from a distance, as for example the citadel Kastellet.

stockholm activities
Amusement park Gröna Lund on the island of Djurgarden
stockholm sweden holiday
Especially near the city centre you have to watch out for ferry traffic
stockholm paddling tour
At the end the sun comes out again and we stop for lunch at Sjöcafeet.

But after Beckholmen the ferry traffic suddenly increases really strongly. There are constantly small and bigger boats going from one shore to the other. They make plenty of waves and here you need to be careful not to get in each other’s way. That’s why we wait in some places to find the right moment to pass. But this is really only the last few hundred meters of our paddle tour. There we just reach the kayak rental where we started our tour.

After a little more than 2 hours of paddling, we are happy to have lunch right there at the café. Here we enjoy the last sunrays of the day on the terrace of the café and finish the day with a very extensive walk in the park Djurgarden.

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