The best way to enjoy this little idyllic place is to bring a picnic basket filled with some delicious food and a nice bottle of wine. There are no restaurants here, so it is best to arrive well prepared with a basket full of delicious items. My basket was filled with some wine, french bread, delicious ham, gravlax (thin sliced salmon) and several other snack foods.
Follow the hiking trail, which will lead you through the meadows, and somewhere along the trail take a left turn, which will bring you to the shoreline. Sit down on the rocky shores overlooking the Stockholm archipelago, with its blue water and scattered around islands, and simply enjoy the food, the view, the sun and the flowers! If you are courageous you can even take a dip in the (probably cold) but crystal clear water of the Archipelago. You won't be the only one, as lots of guests of the island enjoy a dip in the water on a warm summer day. After your lazy lunch I would suggest to continue the tour around the island. As the island isn't so big, it makes for a lovely relaxing walk. Keep in mind to be back on time to catch the ferry back home!
Of course Ängsö is known for its spring flowers, which mainly grow in the meadows in the centre of the islands. But it is not only there that you can see the flowers. There are so many different species in so many shapes, colour and sizes spread out over the entire island. In the first photo for example you can see a member of the Geranium family, probably in this case a Ängsnäva / Meadow Crane's-bill, which proudly showed off its bright colours close to our picnic spot. In the next photo you can see a Rhinanthus Serotinus or the Greater Yellow-rattle, which dominated the waterside, waving happily from side to side in the slight sea breeze.
The photo below on the left is a flower that is famous on this island: the Cowslip or Gullviva in Swedish. There weren't that many Cowslips flowering in the middle of June, as they were at the end of their flowering season. But in the beginning of June they fill the meadows with their bright yellow colour and cheerful looking flower. The plant that was blooming a lot in the meadows mid June was a slightly different type of plant. It is a member of the Cottongrass family (photo below on the right). This grassy plant, which looks so cute because of it little fluffy wool-like top, enjoyed the more moist conditions of the "Stormaren" meadow.
Another flower that seems to thrive in the more moist conditions of the "Stormaren" Meadow is the Dactylorhiza incarnata (L.) Soó / Ängsnycklar or Early Marsh-orchid in English. I didn't see only one or two of these lovely orchids, but dozens and dozens of them, spread out over the whole meadow. It isn't every day you see orchids in the wild, so I found this rather special.
But this isn't the only orchid variety that thrives on Ängsö. A bit earlier in the season you can see the Dactylorhiza latifolia also called the Adam and Eve orchid. The fun thing about this orchid is that they come mixed in red and a white flower variety. So you can see both colours mixed in one field, equally devided over the two. This orchid grows a bit more to the north of the island at at Norrudden. Other orchids that grow on Ängsö are the frog orchid, the greater and lesser butterfly orchids, common twayblade and bird's nest orchid.
At the edge of the meadow, stepping into the forest, the plant life suddenly changes. The air gets a bit more damp and the shade is dominating, which seem perfect conditions for a totally different type of flower. Here is where you can see the "Ramslök" or with its scientific name "Allium ursinum L." or in English "Ramsons". Although native to parts of Sweden, I had never seen this pretty white flower before. Needless to say that I fell in love with it right away; the flower looks so delicate and yet so strong. The plants decorated much of the hiking trail in thick bushes on either side cheering up the whole area. A week after my visit to Ängsö I discovered that you can buy this flower as a seed and cultivate it yourself. And well, needless to say that I did exactly that! I hope this might be a nice addition to the wildflower area in my garden next year :-)