Stockholm from the water

Situated on dozens of small islands, Stockholm is a city of water. The Local gives you tips on how to make the most of the Swedish capital’s greatest resource.

Hire a canoe:

There can’t be many cities of 1.5 million people where you can make your way round the major sights in a rented kayak. The 9 km trip round the island of Kungsholmen and the 6 km route around the former prison island of Långholmen are among the best routes. Both offer spectacular views of the old town. Renting a single kayak costs 250 kronor for a half day, a two-person kayak costs 350 kronor. Kayaks must be booked in advance.

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Dine on the water:

Stockholm’s traditional archipelago steamers are an intrinsic part of the city’s image. Board the S/S Drottningholm for a dinner cruise out to the royal palace of Drottningholm, main home of the current royal family. Once on board the historic ship, built in 1909, passengers are served a three-course set meal as they steam through Lake Mälaren on their way to the palace. Upon arrival, a guided tour of the palace park is given, before re-boarding for the return trip to Stockholm. The entire cruise takes three hours and costs 530 kronor, including dinner and guided tour.

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The white-knuckle option:

If canoeing sounds too sedate for you, a tour on a RIBshould please all but the most demanding thrill-seeker. The RIB sightseeing tour starts outside the National Museum in the city centre and heads out past the nearby archipelago islands of Vaxholm and Fjäderholmarna. The 1.5 hour tour costs 395 kronor per person.

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Take a private yacht tour:

Not the cheap option, but if you are a large party this is the five-star way to see Stockholm’s stunning archipelago. Stockholm Yacht Charter offers one day trips from Saltsjöbaden, a half-hour train ride from central Stockholm. The crew serves coffee and cakes on the way out, later anchoring for lunch in a sheltered bay. The crew will sail you round the island of Nämndö, offering great views of the Baltic, before returning to port by about 5:30pm. For a party of ten, the one day tour costs 20,500 kronor.

Head to the beach

If you prefer to be by the water rather than on it, why not join the locals at one of Stockholm’s beaches? While the capital’s shoreline isn’t naturally sandy, sand beaches have been created at various places around the city, such as Smeduddsbadet on Kungsholmen or Solviksbadet in Bromma. Långholmen is also a popular bathing spot, with large grassy areas providing space for sunbathers to soak up the rays. The City of Stockholm has provided a map of approved bathing areas. Swimming outside these areas is frowned upon – remember, Stockholm is a working port.

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Greenpeace sounds alarm over Spain’s ‘poisonous mega farms’

The “uncontrolled” growth of industrial farming of livestock and poultry in Spain is causing water pollution from nitrates to soar, Greenpeace warned in a new report on Thursday.

Greenpeace sounds alarm over Spain's 'poisonous mega farms'
Pollution from hundreds of intensive pig farms played a major role in the collapse of Murcia Mar Menor saltwater lagoon. Photo: JOSEP LAGO / AFP

The number of farm animals raised in Spain has jumped by more than a third since 2015 to around 560 million in 2020, it said in the report entitled “Mega farms, poison for rural Spain”.

This “excessive and uncontrolled expansion of industrial animal farming” has had a “serious impact on water pollution from nitrates”, it said.

Three-quarters of Spain’s water tables have seen pollution from nitrates increase between 2016 and 2019, the report said citing Spanish government figures.

Nearly 29 percent of the country’s water tables had more than the amount of nitrate considered safe for drinking, according to a survey carried out by Greenpeace across Spain between April and September.

The environmental group said the government was not doing enough.

It pointed out that the amount of land deemed an “area vulnerable to nitrates” has risen to 12 million hectares in 2021, or 24 percent of Spain’s land mass, from around eight million hectares a decade ago, yet industrial farming has continued to grow.

“It is paradoxical to declare more and more areas vulnerable to nitrates”, but at the same time allow a “disproportionate rise” in the number of livestock on farms, Greenpeace said.

Pollution from hundreds of intensive pig farms played a major role in the collapse of one of Europe’s largest saltwater lagoons, the Mar Menor in Spain’s southeast, according to a media investigation published earlier this week.

Scientists blamed decades of nitrate-laden runoffs for triggering vast blooms of algae that had depleted the water of the lagoon of oxygen, leaving fish suffocating underwater.

Two environmental groups submitted a formal complaint in early October to the European Union over Spain’s failure to protect the lagoon.