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Daytrips from Stockholm

Posted in Stockholm (E) by

There is so much to experience in and around Stockholm that you should book at least 4 to 5 days for your first city trip to the Swedish capital. Even if you have been there before, the list of ‘things to do’ is inexhaustible. I also try to make one or more day trips each time I visit Stockholm.

Day trips in Stockholm

A number of attractions in Stockholm have so much to offer that you can easily stay there for at least half a day.

Skansen

SkansenSkansen is one of Stockholm’s most popular attractions and the place to visit to learn more about how the Swedes lived, learn about Swedish history, about Swedish traditions and to get acquainted with animals from the north. Those who would like to attend a recording of Allsång på Skansen should plan their visit during the summer holidays on a Tuesday. There is also a lot to do in Skansen around midsummer, christmas,…

Millesgården

This is planned in April.

Gröna Lund

You can see the amusement park of Stockholm, Gröna Lund, from all over the city. In summer, performances by popular artists are an extra reason to come.

Viking town Birka

Birka Birka was the first city in Sweden. The city originated somewhere around 750 and is located on the current island Björkö. The island was an important trading center during the time of the Vikings. Björkö is an island in Lake Mälaren, about 30 kilometers from Stockholm. Since 1993 it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

Visit a castle or manor

Drottningholm Slott

Drottningholm SlottIn the center of Stockholm, on Gamla Stan – the old city, you can visit the Royal Palace. However, this is no longer the place where the royal couple lives. They mainly use Kungliga Slottet for official occasions. But you can also visit their home, Drottningholm Slott. This castle is located just outside the city, on the island of Lovön in Lake Mälaren, and can be reached both by land and by boat. Prince Carl-Philip and his Sofia also live here with their children.

Skoklosters Slott

 Skoklosters Slott is the largest private castle ever built in Sweden and overlooks Lake Mälaren. It is a 17th century castle with rich decorations and is exceptionally well preserved, even though it has barely been inhabited for a long time.

Julita Manor

 Julita is a bit further away from Stockholm. The largest open-air museum in Sweden can be found on the edge of the Öljaren lake, in the heart of Sörmland, close to Katrineholm and Eskilstuna. Julita gård is part of Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. In the Middle Ages it was a monastery, later it was a country house where Swedish nobility lived and now it is an open-air museum.

The Stockholm archipelago

There are about 30,000 islands off the coast of Stockholm. Some are no bigger than a rock, other islands have a few hundred inhabitants. You can visit most of these islands as a day trip. Below you will find some islands I already visited. I am aware that this list is far from complete. Reason enough to go to Stockholm again and again; -)

Landsort

LandsortThe southernmost island of that archipelago is Landsort . I stayed 2 days but it is also fine to do as a day trip. Only a handful of people live there. Most homes are summer houses. A visit to the lighthouse over here is a must. Further on, you can bathe and mainly enjoy the quietness. Good food is available at Svedtiljas.

Fjäderholmarna

FjäderholmarnaThe island group Fjäderholmarna is the closest to Stockholm. You can even see it from Djurgården. It is barely 20 minutes sailing. Fjäderholmarna is part of National City Parks. The archipelago is a popular destination for both Stockholmers and tourists. A large part of the visitors comes to the island especially for a visit to Fjäderholmarnas Krog .

Skogskyrkogården

 Skogskyrkogården can literally be translated as a ‘forest cemetery’. That is actually what it is: a graveyard in a forest. Or rather: forest and cemetery are seamlessly merged. A unique place in a suburb of Stockholm!

Hellasgården

Hellasgarden skating Hellasgården is a popular place in the Nacka nature reserve, just outside of Stockholm where all year round around a lot can be experienced. I went to Hellasgården in the winter, to go ice skating and have a sauna. After the sauna I jumped into a hole in the ice to cool down. You can also go cross-country skiing.
If there is no snow or ice, you come here to enjoy nature, take long walks and perhaps even a swim in the lake.

Blå Lagunen in Ekerö

 Blå Lagunen

A beach with the name ‘the blue lagoon’ on an island just outside Stockholm, it makes one dreamy. The place is actually called Husbygropen and is an artificial lake. It is located on the island of Ekerö, more specifically at Munsö, near Lake Mälaren. If you walk around the lagoon, you will also see Lake Mälaren. The quarry is popular with local divers. For fans of Måns Zelmerlöw, it is here that his video clip for ‘Glorious’ was recorded.

What is your favorite day trip from Stockholm?

Hellasgården in winter

Posted in Stockholm (E) by

Hellasgården is a popular spot in the Nacka Nature Reserve, just outside of Stockholm. A lot going on in Hellasgården all year round. I went there in the winter to go ice skating and have a sauna. After the sauna I jumped into a hole in the ice to cool down.

How do you reach Hellasgården?

Hellasgården is only 20 minutes away from the center of Stockholm. Take bus 401, direction Älta, to Slussen. (They are still working on Slussen. when I was there, bus 401 stopped on platform ‘X’) Get off at the stop ‘Hellasgården’. This bus runs very regularly. Check the SJ app for the correct timetable. You can also buy your bus ticket via this app. No tickets are available on the bus. From the bus stop you just follow the crowd. You will see the building of the local sports club immediately.

Hellasgarden winter - view from the bus stop

You can also walk to the nature reserve. I returned on foot and Google Maps showed me a pleasant route via a walking path along the water. From Hellasgården to Södermalm it is about 5 km. It is a hilly walk but just being in nature, gives a lot of energy too. There are many nice cafes on Södermalm where you can replenish your energy level. I myself stopped at Älskade Traditioner for a milkshake or a freak shake like they call it!

What can you do in Hellasgården in winter?

As mentioned, you can relax all year round in Hellasgården. There are activities that go on throughout the year, others are mainly for the summer and while I was there on a cold January day, I’d like to tell you a bit more about Hellasgården in the winter.

Hellasgarden Storstugan

Tip: Especially on weekends it can get very busy. It’s best to arrive pretty early. In the winter months, dusk starts at 2:30 pm. Something to take into account if you plan to skate, walk, … for a long distance. 

Ice skating
Hellasgarden skating

Almost everyone on the bus got off at the stop of the nature reserve. Most of them came to skate on the lake, Källtorpsjön. There was a long queue at the house where they rent ice skates. It was quite busy on the frozen lake. Whole family’s tied up the skates. Others had more adventurous plans and planned a real skating tour along the different parts of the lake.

Hellasgarden in winter: skating on natural ice

Ice skating on natural ice is not without danger. Inform yourself and check with locals who have experience with skating on natural ice where to go and how to do it safely. Don’t forget your safety equipment. A demonstration of how to use that safety material is available in this video.

Cross-country skiing and sledding

When it snows, Hellasgården also offers cross-country skiing. They have a beautiful and varied track. Children love the place for sledding. In the absence of snow, they just go on the ice with their sled.

Hellasgarden winter slee on the ice

Bastu

You can also come here for an authentic Swedish sauna experience. For only 65 SEK you can enjoy the sauna (in Swedish they call this ‘bastu‘). After the sauna, you can dive into Lake Källtorpsjön for some refreshment. Yes, even if it is freezing cold. When the lake is frozen, they make a hole in the ice. I can testify: it is a wonderful feeling to immerse yourself in the ice-cold water after the bastu. A unique sensation that you simply have to experience when you are in Sweden!

Bastu in Hellasgarden

Please note that bathing clothes are prohibited in this sauna. That’s also the reason why there are no pictures of me ice-dipping.

Other popular activities in Hellasgården in the winter are the utegyms (outdoor gyms), mountain biking, jogging or powerwalking , … You can warm up again around the barbecue where the Swedes grilled their sausages or (prince) korv or in Storstugan where they have sandwiches and fika bread to serve.

BBQ Hellasgarden

Do you dare to jump into the ice-cold water after the sauna? Or do you prefer to use ice skates?

Järnpojken, the smallest statue of Stockholm

Posted in Stockholm (E) by

It is a public secret that can only be found in few travel guides: Järnpojken. I searched for the boy during several visits until I took the search more seriously and looked for the precise location of the statue. Only then I found it. Since then I have always given it as a tip to all friends who visited Stockholm. They all enthusiastically sent me photos of the little guy. It was about time to write something more about Järnpojken or the Iron Man here as well!

Järnpojken, het Stockholm's smallest guy

Where can you find Järnpojken?

Järnpojken is located in Gamla Stan, near the Royal Palace. Yet the smallest statue of Sweden (the statue is only 15 cm in size) is well hidden and only well-informed tourists find their way to this attraction. The Iron Man stands in the garden of the Finnish Church at Slottsbacken. It is one of Sweden’s most visited public works of art.

Pojken som tittar på månen

The name of the image is officially ‘The boy who looks at the moon’ or ‘Pojken som tittar på månen’ in Swedish. Sometimes the image is also referred to as ‘Olle’. It is a work of art by the Swede Liss Eriksson. He designed the statue in 1954. It then got a first place in Kobjer just outside Lund. It was not until 1967 that the statue got its place at the Finnish Church in Stockholm.

The artist himself created the work, one night when he could not sleep and sat on the windowsill of his mother’s kitchen.

Järnpojken Stockholm

A scarf, a hat

Just like Manneken Pis in Brussels Järnpojken regularly gets different outfits. Every time I visited the little boy, he was wearing another suit. A hat and a scarf to protect him from the cold, something to protect him from the rain, flowers, … It is not known who takes care of those costume changes. It only makes the statue more mysterious to me.

Lucky charm

The story goes that anyone who rubs Järnpojken’s head will certainly return to Stockholm. Others believe that rubbing his head and leaving a penny or other gift, will bring happiness and prosperity. Whoever removes the presents at night is a big secret too.