On this tiny archipelago island, there are berries, boys, and bikes a plenty - and a few goats too!
As an authorized archipelago guide, riding school owner, wedding officiant (and don't forget, veterinary nurse), there's not much that happens on Utö that escapes Charlotte's eye and in my opinion, the tours are the better for it. Charlotte provides the perfect introduction to the island, one of the southernmost in Stockholm's archipelago chain and, as one of the hundreds of thousands who visit Utö each year, I was one of the lucky ones to have Charlotte as my guide.
The mines influenced the demographics of Utö in more ways than one. Utö is famous for a birth rate dominated by boys. For centuries, an expectant mother could well expect to give birth to sons and a generally accepted theory was that the drinking water from the wines contained iron, silver, zinc, and arsenic and these contaminants somehow contributed to the curious gender gap. Today, the islanders drink desalinated sea water and the birth patterns are now more typical.
Over the course of the 1800s and 1900s the island slowly rebuilt with charming cottages thanks to wealthy (and likely opportunistic) investors who encouraged artists and writers to spend the summers, as well as the military ("Worse than the goats") who occupy the southern part of the island for a training facility.
But while modern day visitors will be mostly out of luck if it's iron ore they seek, Utö still has many other treasures to share.
While I appreciated the beautiful presentation, I have to admit that pickled herring is not for me. But judging from the feedback of the rest of my group, it was incredible. I'd encourage anyone to give it a try - if any place can tempt you with proper pickled herring, it's this.
The main course of fresh fried sea trout with potatoes, gherkins, capers, and a caviar cream sauce was more to my taste. The fish was exceptionally done and it was the perfect balance between being hearty and light.
You can learn more about visiting Utö and the rest of the archipelago here.
Learn how Charlotte can be your guide and get other Utö resources here.
If you enjoyed this article, you'll also like:
Stealthy Stockholm Savings
Loving London for Less
Tales from the Anti-Adventurist: Vanessa Goes Kayaking
My visit to Uto was part of the TBEX conference. All research, writing, and opinions are my own.