Stellan Skarsgard’s Sweden: A Weekend in Ljusterö

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“I don’t travel when I’m not working,” says Skarsgard. “I like being home.” When home is Ljusterö, a secluded Swedish island full of meadow, world-class fishing, and coastal hiking — you probably wouldn’t want to stray far either. That’s one of the benefits of having teamed up again with Hans Petter Moland’s for In Order Of Disappearance, filmed just over the border in the mountains of Norway. The production was able to convince the Norwegian government to allow them to open the winding winter roads for their tale of a father’s revenge against the killers of his son.

Despite finding the location “breathtaking,” Skarsgard says that he couldn’t wait to return to Ljusterö. Part of the Österåker Municipality, the secluded retreat is only accessible from the mainland by ferry, or chartered boats out of Stockholm proper. “If you go to Stockholm you must take a steam-powered boat through the archipelago,” he says. “They serve some great food on the boats, so you can enjoy a nice meal while you cruise through the grouping of thousands of islands.”

Skarsgard considers himself a homebody and spends his summer on the island hosting family, including his acting sons Alexander and Bill, to elaborate family meals. Evenings often end with a large group circled around the grill. “There is some incredible produce in Sweden,” he says. “Of course because of the location the seafood is all top notch.” Skarsgard recommends the locally caught Baltic Sea herring. “They are an amazing fish, just throw a few into a pan and fry it up,” he says. “Sprinkle a little bit of vinegar on top and serve it along with some mashed potatoes. It is fantastic.”

A Long Weekend In Ljusterö

Ljusterö is one of the largest islands of the Stockholm archipelago, and thus has quite a few more amenities than the others. The pristine natural environment overlooking the Saxaren Bay and its proximity to the capital makes it an excellent escape.

GETTING THERE

To get around the island (it’s big), you’ll want to rent a car at one of the agencies like EuropCar. Skarsgard personally stands by his nation’s most recognizable automaker and cruises around in the Volvo XC90 SUV. The drive from Stockholm is about one hour, which ends with a car ferry. The ride is free of change, frequently leaves, and takes just about five minutes.

STAY

If you have a big group, try to rent a country home on the island. This is, after all, where Stockholm summers. Right across from the ferry-landing pier at Linanäs is the Rastaborg Country House. Built in the early 1900s, the place was once a popular watering hole for Stockholm’s aristocrats and now is an idyllic bed and breakfast. The windows look out on the property’s apple park and out into the harbor. The building is also a short walk from the shoreline, making it easy to catch the sunrise. 

EAT

Just a few steps away from the Rastaborg is the seaside dining experience at Restaurang Skärgårn På Ljusterö AB, serving up, of course, seafood. Try their mustard dillpenslad herring dish that’s topped with melted butter, anchovies, capers, lingonberries, and a side of potatoes. 

PLAY

For some incredible views, take your car for a drive out to Ljusterö’s natural reserve, by the waterside meadows. Pack a lunch to take, as you can easily spend a few hours walking the beaten earth paths. Now it’s time to go fishing. Join one of the boat trips operated by Waxholmsguiderna, and see if you can catch a pike or sea trout for a dinner at home. 

INSIDER TIP

To get to Ljusterö, you must pass through Stockholm proper. Take advantage: “When you get off of the steam-boat ride Stockholm has some of the best bars and nightlife in the world,” says Skarsgard. Try Kvarnen, one of his favorites. The beer hall, one of the oldest in the city, is commonly home to a lively scene and some traditional Swedish food to sample.