Skärgården (the archipelago) is Stockholm's greatest natural asset: more than 28,000 islands and skerries (tiny, rocky islands), many uninhabited, spread across an almost tideless sea of clean, clear water. The islands closer to Stockholm are larger and more lush, with pine tree–covered rock faces and forests. There are also more year-round residents on these islands. As you move away from the mainland, the islands become smaller and more remote, turning into rugged, rocky islets. To sail lazily among these islands aboard an old steamboat on a summer's night is a timeless delight, and throughout the warmer months Swedes flee the chaos of the city for quiet weekends on the waters.
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