I have to admit that Stockholm is not necessarily one of the most remote places on this planet. Nevertheless, there are hidden spots which are difficult to access and thus remain insider’s tips. One of them is Stora Sand, in my eyes the finest beach in entire Stockholm’s archipelago. So it’s hard to believe it’s also one of the loneliest. And the reason for this phenomenon is even more ridiculous: Because it’s located in the middle of a military training area! This military area covers large parts of Utö, one of the bigger islands close to Stockholm.
However, it can be visited during summer and weekends, depending on the schedule of military training. Information on its accessibility is hard to gather. In fact, I discovered it by chance on Google Maps when I searched for sandy looking beaches in the surroundings of Stockholm. While there has been irregular bus transport on Utö back in 2014, this seems to be a thing of the past now. The only remaining options are renting a simple bike after arrival with the ferry in Alö or Utö, or to go on foot, as I did.
Although the walk is rather unspectacular and takes between 1.5 and 2 hours each way, it is definitely worth the effort. There are some fine spots for camping in the adjacent forest close to Stora Sand, a roughly 300 meters long, and also very wide, sandy beach. Even on a weekend in August, it’s possible that you might stay for the night entirely on your own here! Swimming, however, is rather for the toughest ones, in light of the open Baltic Sea in the South of Utö.
Sadly, the only drop of bitterness of this adventure are the obvious traces of the military training. Peacefully lying on the beach, suddenly I discovered an extensive collection of bullets right next to me… It’s hard to imagine how people could come up with the idea of wasting this beautiful place for such activities. The only positive aspect of these circumstances: In this way the southern part of Utö has remained a largely untouched landscape. Surprisingly, it was on my way back to the ferry that I encountered a cow moose (in Eurasia called elk) in its near-natural habitat.