Thursday, November 12, 2015

By the Baltic—an Insider's Tour of Åkersberga, Sweden

Upon first glance, Åkersberga (pronounced like "oakers-bear-ya") is a rather unremarkable—some may even say ugly (wasn't me!)—suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. But if you spend some time here, like an onion, Åkersberga reveals its beautiful layers to you over time. We have lived in Åkersberga for 2+ years and continue to discover new hidden treasures.

Åkersberga is a 48-minute tram ride away from central Stockholm. The tram ride is scenic with wooded forests flanking the tram line, a few scenic lakes, and quick stops every two minutes at various quaint suburbs. There is even a prison along the tram line (the tram doesn't stop there, though), which would normally be considered an eyesore, but instead, it has a beautiful view of a lake. How rehabilitating it must be to have nature at your doorstep even though you are serving time in jail.

The Beach

Osterakers havsbad in summer—go windsurfing!

The tram will take you all the way to the Baltic Sea if you don't hop off at the specific Åkersberga stop. Our favorite beach, Österskärs havsbad, is located at the terminal station. There is a nude beach a few minutes down the road, but we were greatly disappointed to learn that only old wrinkly seniors sunbathe nude—even in Sweden—the land of everyone-is-so-beautiful-it-has-forever-warped-my-standards-for-beauty. Our beach—not the nude one—has a very nice restaurant, Solbrannan, overlooking the water sporting amazing views and delicious food. For Jon's birthday last year, I bought him a 2-hour windsurfing lesson. He absolutely loved it! The beach is enjoyed year-round with families eating their weight in ice cream in the summer and cozying up around their warm cups of coffee in the winter—soaking in a view of the Baltic frozen under a blanket of snow.
Osterskars havsbad in winter

Forests and Lakes

If the beach isn't your thing, Åkersberga has plenty of nature reserves and wooded areas for exploration—we have stumbled upon many new lakes this way. Due to Sweden's Right of Public Access, you can pick all of the blueberries or mushrooms you want in any of the nearby woods. During our summers, we usually alternate beach days with forest/blueberry picking days, and it is perfect. Nobody gets too sun-bleached, and we get to have wild-blueberry pancakes and pies all summer long.

Ahh, the lake
One of nature's best playgrounds, Domarudden, is a hiker, biker, walker, skier, runner, and swimmer's paradise. There are trails that criss-cross through the beautiful forests and a sparkling blue lake that warms up as a perfect swimming spot in the summer. There are cute red cabins for rent to plan a family getaway, business retreat, or mini vacation. The playground will challenge your child's balance, climbing ability, and imagination. It is a great place to feel like you are "away" from it all.

Another beautiful natural playground (I don't even know its name) is very difficult to find for the uninitiated. Neither Apple Maps nor Google Maps could accurately locate the GPS pin from my friend. She pinned her exact location while she was standing in the playground and yet we were still off the map! Eventually, we stumbled across it after blindly biking in the opposite direction and keeping our fingers crossed. It was worth the trouble because this playground is amazing! Our four-year-old loved navigating across the wooden balance beams, climbing on the ropes, and hiding in the teepees. I enjoyed relaxing in the recycled rubber hammock under the yellow and orange falling leaves. My two-year-old kissed every woodland creature—or rather, carved wooden statues of bears, rabbits, foxes, and cats.

Much balancing happening here

So many carved cow kisses

Gotta hold the princess dress high so you can see your feet!
While Åkersberga may not have the immediate "wow!" impact of Stockholm, it does have numerous redeeming factors. Children can safely ride their bikes or walk to school on the numerous pedestrian paths that run alongside the road, and the neighborhoods are friendly. Just drive 10 minutes from the Baltic and you're in beautiful green pastures with horses chewing on grass, manicured golf clubs, and picturesque farms. Yeah, life is pretty good in Åkersberga.

Horses, green grass, and blue sky
Ersatz Expat


  1. Thank you so much for sharing the secret of this hidden gem. The beach looks so restful and those playgrounds are amazing. Can't wait to find out more about your corner of Sweden.

    1. Thank you! It is definitely a very nice place to live if you enjoy the coast, forests, and nature.


Leave your thoughts here