Georges Rouzeau - 2012-05-10
In just two hours by boat from Stockholm, the island of Grinda welcomes nature lovers with open arms. This is one of the most popular destinations on this archipelago that has approximately 30 000 islands.
The island’s name of Grinda has been known since the 16th century. It was one of thousands of typical "farm islands" that existed during this period. From 1777 onwards, the island has been the home of a reputable restaurant. It has changed hands numerous times over the passing centuries and then, in 1905, it came under the ownership of Henrik Santesson, the chairman of the Nobel Foundation.
At the same time he commissioned the architect Ernst Stenhammar (the creator of the famous Winter Garden of Stockholm’s Royal Grand Hotel) to construct a magnificent Art Nouveau villa there. The house then became the Santesson family’s summer residence and was surrounded by a vegetable garden and an orchard that have now disappeared. In winter, the family came here to hunt foxes and rabbits.
In 1944, Henrik’s widowed wife, Alfhild, sold the property to the city of Stockholm. Depressed and profoundly shocked by the fate of Jews in Europe, she threw herself into the water, with her body never appearing again. It is said that her ghost continues to haunt the living room of the Grinda-Wärdshus inn, the island’s only hotel-restaurant. But then again the place is so delightful place that you can understand why it’s hard to leave...
The city of Stockholm then decided to open a summer camp here for girls from underprivileged backgrounds, and as soon as the summer season had passed, it welcomed drug rehabilitation patients. However the island gradually took a more touristic turn when Santesson’s family house was transformed into a guest house.
Today, the island has a marina, a hotel-restaurant with 28 rooms two of which are en-suite, cottages, two camping sites, a grocery store and a lounge-bar restaurant by the water (Framfickan) – all of which are under the management of our host, Jan Pfister, who started developing the island in the mid 1990s.
Grinda has a particularly unique atmosphere, with birches, pines, red rocks, bays and small coves and a fauna that includes toads, bats and incredibly tame deer. We toured the island on foot in two hours walking along its footpaths, picking blueberries, kayaking and attempting to swim. Whilst waiting for a sunset that never seems to arrive you can dine on the terrace of Framfickan by the waterfront or in the restaurant where a young team expertly takes care of everything. You can even dance in the middle of a field here whilst a DJ mixes his sounds. In a nutshell, it’s an island with no shortage of pleasures!
Where to stay in Grinda
The Grinda-Wärdshus Hotel Restaurant has large double rooms with simple and meticulous furnishings which consist of several traditional wooden cottages.
Two shipping companies that take you to the island:
Tel: + 46 8 679 58 30
Tel: +46 8 587 140 50
Swedish Tourist Office