We spent most of the day in Djurgarden, an island with various attractions ranging from a theme park to a liquor museum. We opted to visit the famous Vasa museum (which holds a famously huge ship that lasted only a few minutes in the Stockholm Harbor before sinking) and Skansen (open-air museum). We had dinner with locally brewed beer at Akkurat and ended our night at a student bar (Carmen) in the Södermalm district.
See & Do
- Djurgarden: Djurgarden is an island that’s just directly east of Gamla Stan (old town) in Stockholm, easily accessible by a quick ferry ride. There are plenty of attractions on this island that make it a worthwhile day trip. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re an amusement park fan (Grona Lund), a history buff (Skansen, the Vasa Museum, and the Nordiska Museum), a huge Abba fan (Abba Museum), or even if you just want to get away from the big city for a while and relax in nature. Since it was a bit chilly and wet, there wasn’t a huge crowd on the island which, for us, was a huge plus–nice enough to just enjoy the scenery and relax.
- Vasa Museum 130 SEK – This museum is dedicated to a gigantic warship that was built in 1628. This ship has kind of a pathetic story, it was painstakingly and meticulously built, but it sank on its initial voyage right in Stockholm harbor. The technology didn’t quite exist to recover the sunken ship back then, but by 1961 someone managed to figure out how to do it. Due to the unique nature of the Stockholm harbor’s water, the ship was almost perfectly preserved even though it’s been underwater for over 300 years. Even though admission is a bit pricey, we enjoyed being able to see an old ship and reading about how it was recovered from the harbor. I’d recommend coming in if you’re into historical artifacts.
- Skansen Open-Air Museum: A large open-air museum that has historical buildings from all over Sweden (not just Stockholm), built in that period’s time. It was raining when we got in (and a bit late!) so there wasn’t really much going on at the museum but we were still able to just leisurely walk around. Although it seemed a bit geared towards kids, I would still say that you shouldn’t miss the animal section in the rear of the museum as we were able to see all kinds of animals native to the Nordic area.
Eat & Drink
- Drop Coffee: Nice little coffee shop right by the Mariatorget T-bana stop. This was right by the apartment we stayed at, so we popped in every morning for a coffee and a pastry. Don’t miss the famous Swedish cardamom bread, it’s absolutely delicious here.
- Lunch at Vasa: We were in the Vasa Museum around lunchtime so we decided to get lunch at the museum cafe here–it’s in the general cafeteria style where you grab your food up at the counter. We grabbed a sandwich as well as a smorrebrod (Danish open faced sandwich) and washed it down with a nice locally brewed beer. This place has huge windows and sits right on the river making for a great view to accompany your lunch.
- Akkurat: We kind of stumbled into this place while looking for a place to eat and drink–this has got to be one of the most popular places in Stockholm as it was completely packed when we got in. We had the option of waiting for around an hour to get a table, or trying our luck in grabbing a seat in the bar area–just as we were deciding what to do we noticed a couple leaving, so we lucked out and managed to snag that table. We tried out the mussels and a steak dish, both top notch–I’d definitely recommend checking this place out, but make sure you come early or you’ll end up waiting a long time for a table (although that’s not a total loss, as it gives you an opportunity to sample plenty of the local brews available at the bar while waiting).
- Carmen: This bar has less expensive drinks (cheap for Stockholm, at least) and has the lively vibe of a younger crowd. We met two Tunisians who immigrated from Lyon, France to Stockholm, a Latvian hip-hop musician, and a Swedish programmer/musician. We had a nice time exchanging stories over several pints of beer.
- Airbnb near Mariatorget: Once again a great experience with AirBnb, we stayed just 2 minutes away from Mariatorget and just a few minutes walk from the Stockholm nightlife scene. Only minor problem was the tiny bathroom, but I think that’s fairly standard anywhere in Europe. I thought Swedish people were big! Rating: 4/5
- Djurgarden Ferry: This is the easiest way to get to Djurgarden from Gamla Stan–ferries run about every 20 minutes and make a brief stop in Slussen before heading over to Djurgarden. If the weather is good, you can stand outside.