Skogskyrkogården can literally be translated as forest graveyard. That is actually what it is: a graveyard in a forest. Or rather: forest and cemetery merge seamlessly. A unique place in a suburb of Stockholm!
Skogskyrkogården in Enskede is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Swedish actress Greta Garbo, among others, found her final resting place there. Rumors say that the Swedish DJ Avicii is also buried there, but unlike Greta Garbo’s grave that you even see marked on Google Maps, Avicii’s final resting place is a well-kept secret.
Architecture & landscape
The cemetery was created between 1917 and 1920. There are several chapels and prayer rooms. There are few paths, which gives the whole a very naturalistic look.
The architects Gunnar Asplund (himself also buried here) and Sigurd Lewerentz designed the cemetery on an old pine-covered quarry. Nature and the graves are intertwined.
The cemetery is quite expansive. I was surprised that there were cars in the graveyard. Only around All Saints’ Day there is no car traffic allowed in the cemetery. To make it even crazier: there are even buses running around and there is a bus stop.
Skogskyrkogården – practical information
Before your visit, download the dedicated app (android/iOs). This audio guide will give you more information about the various sights in Skogskyrkogården. There is free wifi in the visitor center. There are also free visitor toilets spread throughout the domain.
How to reach Skogskyrkogården?
Take the metro to the Skogskyrkogården stop. From here, the cemetery is indicated by arrows. The metro stop is about 5 kilometers from Slussen, so you can also go on foot. I went by metro but returned on foot.
Skogskyrkogården is open 24/24, every day of the year. Special celebrations are planned for alla helgons dag.
Remember you are on a cemetery. Even though you are there as a tourist and you may consider the cemetery as a tourist attraction, respect the privacy of the locals who come to commemorate their loved ones.
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A beach called ‘the blue lagoon’ on an island just outside Stockholm, it triggers my imagination. When I stayed in Stockholm for a few weeks during the summer, I wanted to discover this spot. A bus ride and a short walk later I reached the domain. It took some searching (tip, go to the right if you want to go to the beach) but a little later I could settle in and enjoy the aqua blue water.
The place is actually called Husbygropen and is an artificial lake. It is located on the island of Ekerö, more precisely at Munsö, near Lake Mälaren. If you walk around the lagoon, you can even see Lake Mälaren. Husbygropen would also be popular among local divers (maximum depth 21 meters). There are both fish and freshwater crayfish in the lake.
Quarry with aqua blue water
Blå Lagunen is actually an old quarry that is completely flooded with water. The white lime base and the clear water provide the azure blue color. There is a small beach. Those traveling by car can park fairly close by. People also parked their car and beach chair around the rest of the lagoon. There it was generally more difficult to get into the water.
It is advisable to come to Den Blå Lagunen early because it can get very busy. By noon it was already packed on the small beach. In the early afternoon, when a group of young people arrived and started playing loud music, I decided it was time to go. On calm days, Blå Lagunen on Ekerö is highly recommended, thanks to the view of the blue water.
The lagoon starts shallow near the beach but quickly gets a lot deeper. So watch out! Do not go swimming alone here and keep in mind that the water at depth can be very cold. Also to take into account: it is not a fine sandy beach. So it’s best to bring a thick towel or picnic blanket to sit / lie on.
There were no eateries in the area so make sure you are prepared and bring your picnic + drinks. When I was there, there were no toilets either, but according to information I found online, those (genre Dixi-shacks) normally are in place.
How to reach Blå Lagunen?
From the center, first take the metro to Brommaplan. Here you can take bus 311 or bus 312 to the Vibohär stop. Look to find arrows to Husbygropen. It then takes about 10-15 minutes to walk.
Admittedly, without a car it is a challenge to get here. By car, take Ekerövägen until you see signs to the old quarry. Parking is about 5 euros. You can only pay in cash or via swish.
Off the coast of Stockholm lies an archipelago with thousands of islands. The most southern island of that archipelago is Landsort. When I spent a few days on the island in July 2016, Landsort quickly captured my heart. Anyone who takes a look at my Facebook page and wonders where the cover photo was taken… Landsort, from the pilot tower!
The island of Öja
Landsort is a town in the south of the 4 km long and barely 560 meters wide island of Öja and is located about 65 km south of Stockholm. Barely a handful of people live there (there used to be 190 people, now only 27). There are mainly summer houses. When we were there, a completely to be renovated house was for sale for a very affordable price (150,000 SEK or about 15,000 euros). The renovation costs would probably soar as everything had to be transported to the island by boat. Yes, I have considered the purchase (and now I’m sorry I didn’t)!
From Nynäshamn we took the ferry to Landsort. Due to the difficult conditions for mooring with the vessel, there are two inlets on both the eastern and western sides of the island that are used as ports. Depending on the weather, one or the other “port” is chosen.
Landsort comes from Landzoort which stands for “the end of the country” in Old Dutch. It was the Dutch businessman Johan van der Hagen who in 1669 was given the right to provide a lighthouse at this location.
The lighthouse on the island is the oldest Swedish lighthouse still in use. The current tower was built in 1689. First the signaling was done with a real fire. Only later they worked with lenses to amplify the signal. In 1870, another extension was added to the lighthouse, reaching a height of 25 meters. The light from the tower can be seen for over 40 km. Nowadays a lighthouse is no longer useful because of the modern equipment, but no one dares to turn it off. Lighthouses have great cultural value.
You can also visit the iconic lighthouse on request. When we were there, the owner of Lotstornet had a key. To get to the top of the lighthouse you have to climb 87 stairs. From the top of the tower you have a fantastic view of the island. For a good view of the lighthouse and the island, you have to be in Lotstornet, the pilot tower.
There have been “pilots” on the island since 1535. Because of the difficulties to navigate the environment with a lot of shallow parts, those pilots were not an exaggerated luxury. The Swedes left by sea to “go to war” but were often stranded on their return at Landsort.
The secret side of the island
Landsort is also home to one of the most advanced military bunkers, Batteri Landsort. It was mainly placed there during the Cold War as a deterrent. The anti-aircraft guns could shoot up to 25 km. The guide Jaak told us about the strategic location of Landsort. During the Second World War, between 400 and 1700 soldiers were stationed here. During the war, only Swedish civilians were allowed to enter the island. Batteri Landsort is built to survive for a longer period of time. Drinking water is collected at a depth of 100 meters. A fellow traveler wrote this about it.
Spend the night at Landsort
We spent the night in Lotstornet of Åke Svedtilja. A few years ago, this former Swedish top chef chose to stop his popular restaurant in Stockholm, to renovate the pilot tower and to run an accommodation on Landsort. In the meantime he also has a restaurant on the island. You can read more about our wonderful stay at Svedtiljas in a separate article.
After a refreshing night’s sleep, we took an even more refreshing dip in the cold waters of the Baltic Sea. It is here that my love for open water swimming rekindled. Whatever the season, if I have the opportunity to dive in a lake or in the sea, I will certainly not let it go.
How do you reach Landsort?
To travel to Landsort, from Stockholm, you first take the train to Nynäshamn. This will take just over an hour. From here you can take a (taxi) boat to Landsort or you can travel further by bus 852 to Ankarudden where you can take ferry 29 to Landsort for 75 SEK (about 8 euros – prices from 2018). In summer, the ferry sails 5 times a day. In winter you can travel to Landsort 3 times a day. Then sometimes an icebreaker is needed to reach your destination. Total travel time Stockholm-Landsort is approximately 2.5 hours.
And to conclude, a few more pictures to dream away:
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