Tucked away on the north west coast of Södermalm, in Lake Mälaren, is the oasis of Långholmen. This island is accessed by small bridges and is a paradise for sunbathers and swimmers. The island has a bloody history – it was originally a prison island, housing criminals up until 1975 when it was closed. Today the old prison houses schools, apartments, a hotel, a conference centre, an inn and a very interesting hostel where you can spend the night in the former prison cells. Outside the prison is a popular beach which attracts hundreds of bathers on sunny days. In fact the whole island attracts its fair share of sun-worshippers. If the crowded beach is not your scene, it’s possible to jump of the rocks or low-hanging branches all around the island. In the winter, the lake freezes and you can walk around the island in the very same place you bathed just six months earlier.
On Långholmen you will also find cafés and restaurants, ice cream stands, a spinnery, a museum, a caravan site and cutely colourful allotments.
Långholmen is easily accessible by bike and connects to the other side of lake Mälaren via the imposing bridge Västerbron. From this high vantage point, you can look down over the city hall, the old town, the city, into the harbour and out into the Baltic Sea.
Close to the island of Långholmen is the residential island of Reimersholme. This smaller island was once the place for a wool factory where the prisoners of Långholmen were put to work. The factory is long gone but the island is worth the walk around to take in the beautiful panoramas over the lake.
Just close to Långholmen and to Reimersholme is a favourite historical Stockholm cafe. Set in a pleasant garden, the cafe Lasse i Parken was, in the 1700’s, a worker’s cottage. Nowadays the only people working there are the catering staff, as Stockholmers enjoy their coffee and cakes listening to live music or stand-up comedy.