Category: Stockholm

Hagaparken

 

The Park

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This is a massive and beautiful sprawling park across the lake from the Stockholm University campus. Not only is it a gorgeous display of nature, but it also has the Haga Palace, King Gustav III’s Pavillion, botanical gardens, a Chinese pavilion and gardens, a Turkish Kiosk, and it is also the site of the Swedish Royal Burial Grounds.

What’s more, we didn’t even know all those things were there; we came to see the butterfly house and aquarium, which are also on the grounds! All in all an amazing park that you could easily spend an entire day exploring.

I will review the attractions we visited, over and above just walking around the beautiful lake and park, and I will make updates when we make future trips to see the other things. So if you’re a follower of the site, you’ll get an email when I add more content to this article.

The Butterfly House

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Ok, I know what you’re thinking. This just seems wrong on so many levels. What exactly is a butterfly house anyway? And even if there is such a thing, can a manly-man like the Travelin’ Man even be seen attending such a place? And given the long, dark, cold winters of Stockholm, how could you even sustain an environment for a, er um, butterfly house?

Well, it really is quite amazing. When you walk into this place, you literally almost choke to death. The humidity goes from crisp and clear to a thick 100%, and the temperature is suddenly near 100 degrees f (38 Celsius).

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But then you recover, and you look around and see a tropical forest, with jungle plants, ponds, and yes, butterflies!

 

There is also a koi tank and even some giant spiders, scorpions, and other tropical insects and fish.

 

Now it is a small area, but you will definitely see many different species of butterflies. We used our prepaid Stockholm pass to get in at no cost, so I don’t know what the admission is to get in. Note, too, that the aquarium is included with the admission.

The Aquarium

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This is actually part of the butterfly house. Don’t go in expecting some great aquarium like in Chicago or Atlanta. This is a very small side show. I will say that some of the advertising I have seen for this place tries to make it much more than it is. Yes, there are fake animals. For example, we never saw an alligator or crocodile as depicted in the adds, or a live hippo. So that is a little misleading and works against them in terms of online reviews.

But to kill a little time, especially if you have some smaller kids, this is a good place. Just set your expectations accordingly.

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The thing that I, personally, enjoyed the most was the sea horses. They have a good display here with several live specimens.

 

There re is also a pretty decent shark tank, with some small sharks in it, and a well developed coral reef with more tropical fish.

So as a standalone attraction, it’s not so impressive, but imbedded inside the magnificent Hagaparken and attached to the butterfly house, you can’t really go wrong.

 

Cruise to Rosersberg Palace

Cruise to Rosersberg Palace

 

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: amount of original content in the castle
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: more time slots for English tours

Logistics

We got our tickets at the Stadshuset and Riddarholmen Boat Tours, Stadshusbron, Klara Mälarstrand 2, 111 52 Stockholm. They were 445 kr each.

The Boat trip is two hours each way, and the return time is fixed, meaning the boat leaves and then returns to pick you up at the specific time. We left the dock from Stadshuset at 10am sharp. It is a guided tour, meaning they will call out points of interest along the way over the speaker system.

The Boat

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The name of our boat was s/s Evert Taube. She is what I’ve come to expect from Stromma for cruises like this.

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There’s a fairly large internal cabin, a large upper deck (exposed) and a smaller back deck that is outside but covered.

It has a snack bar in the main cabin that serves sandwiches, chips, and soft drinks. You can also get wine and beer at the bar.

There is also free wifi. Just don’t count on it always working. 😉

 

The Cruise

The cruise was excellent. Going out, we sat up on the outside deck and enjoyed an abundance of sunshine, fresh air, and good company. We even got some coffee and pastries from the bar and brought them up.

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As I have mentioned on all Lake Mälaren cruises, the scenery here is just amazing. It’s great watching the landscape transform from city to country.

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This is especially evident on the above shot, which is Hasselby Strand, the end of the green line. After that, no more big buildings. The guides will sometimes call that out, but other times they don’t. And this brings up my biggest gripe about the cruise; there is no speaker down in the main cabin. So if you want to hear the tour guide, you have to be on the top deck.

The Palace

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This is now one of my favorite Swedish palaces. It is just bristling with Sweden’s history, and so much of the castle contents is still original, including many rugs, tapestries, paintings, and furniture.

This was the palace of King Karl XIII before he was king. He was the younger brother of the famous Gustav III, who of course was assasinated at the opera and whose son was exiled.

 

Unfortunately, the only way to see the palace interior is by guided tour. But, the tour was very well done. She pointed out some of the more intimate details, like the hidden passage into the queen’s bedroom and the cool stairway from the king’s bedroom that led to his upstairs library. Fascinating stuff.

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The tour was 100 kr, but certainly well worth it. As I mentioned earlier, this palace has a lot of original content and is very well preserved. Some of the rooms define majestic beauty and look exactly like you envisioned from novels you may have read.

If I have a complaint here, it is that the English tour only ran at 3pm, and we arrived at 12pm. On the other hand, that gave us plenty time to have lunch and tour the grounds on our own.

Food

There were snacks and sandwiches on the boat. In the morning, we had coffee and pastries. On the afternoon cruise, there is a cooked meal available. I believe our offering was salmon, but we didn’t get it. If you want the afternoon meal, you should inform the staff prior to disembarking at the palace.

There is a cafe in the palace. It is very small and offers some salads and sandwiches, plus a selection of desserts. And of course wine and beer.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 14
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Bridges Boat Tour

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: OK*
(quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)

  • What did I like the most: Audio guide provided useful info about history and architecture
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: Boat was small, insufficient outdoor seating

The boat did not afford good views of the bridges. The content from the audio is good, but you’d be better served to use the Drottningholm Palace cruise. The boat is much better, and the scenery is fantastic. It’s about the same amount of cruising time, but costs less.

Logistics

We bought our tickets from and departed from the Strandvägen terminal. The tour also departs from Strömkajen, but on a slightly earlier schedule. We paid 260 kr each, and the tour was around 2.5 hrs. The boat leaves leaves on the hour from 10am to 6pm during prime season. Check online for departure times from Strömkajen.

It’s an audio guided tour. If you don’t bring your own earphones, they will provide you a pair at no cost.

The Boat

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This is the aspect that brought their rating down. Considering it was advertised as “Under the Bridges of Stockholm” I would have expected to be able to get some great pictures of the bridges, like in the advertisements.

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But we were seated in the interior, with limited window seats, and facing out to the sides. It’s bench seating on each side of a table. If you don’t get there early, you may not get a window seat. Furthermore, there are two pickup spots, so if you are boarding at Strandvägen, there may not even be any good seats left since it leaves from Strömkajen first. There was a very small outdoor area in the back, but it only seated about 10 passengers and was full when we boarded.

There is a snack bar with sandwiches and treats, and they also serve wine and beer.

The Tour

The boat goes all the way around the southern island (Södermalm), turns around at the City Hall, then comes back using the same route. It swings a little bit wide on either side to pick up a couple of extra bridges.

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I would have thought the audio guide would be mostly focused on the architecture and history of the bridges, but it was just general Stockholm information. This included a full spoiler for The Vasa, so if you have friends or relatives with you and you were wanting them to learn about The Vasa incident at the museum, then don’t use the audio. Thanks to my friend Melissa for hanging out the window to get the above shot!

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There was some really good architectural and historic information about the buildings we saw and how they came into being as the culture and politics of the area evolved.

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The route took us all the way around Södermalm, so you get to go through the Lock of Hammarby, which separates the fresh water lakes from the Baltic ocean.

We went by the old Absolut factory, but somehow were not able to see the famous vodka barrels. Was probably too busy talking and just missed them. 🙂

 


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 2
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 2
Total score: 10
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Viking Museum

Viking Museum

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: GOOD*
(met expectations, would recommend, would do again)

  • What did I like the most: Creativity of presentation
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: Everything in one big room

Logistics

This is the Viking Museum. It’s located on the Djurgården island. It’s between the aquarium and the Spirit Museum. It costs 190 kr ($23), and took about and hour. It’s very child friendly, and has a small cafe next to the gift shop.

We went to this museum with our friend Melissa, who was visiting with us from the states.

The Museum

The big challenge for museums is how to present their wealth of information in a way that will be interesting, and also to present it in a way that you will remember it. The Viking Museum does a pretty good job at both of these things.

They use various digital kiosks, where the data is narrated and presented on large TV monitors. And while this was a very good approach, I would have preferred separate, smaller rooms. Having them all in the same general area was not only noisy and distracting, but it also made people feel like they needed rush through it.

They also have physical presentations of various artifacts in display cases with text describing them. Not overdone or over documented. Very informative and interesting.

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Then there was was this creepy guy. I say creepy because he is very lifelike.  He has been expertly recreated based on osteological analysis conducted by scientists from the Stockholm University.

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Then there’s the story of Harald. You get into a car, of sorts, as demonstrated by our lovely models, Jana and  Melissa.

You are then wisked around to view various presentations that support the narration and sound effects of Harald’s trek. And I’m not going to ruin it for you, but it is well done and was a very creative way to give us the information.

So if you’re like me, you probably envision Vikings as a bunch of medieval terrorists plundering and burning villages and towns along their way. But, there are facts and circumstances that I was unaware of, and this place has the facts and they present them to you in a creative and memorable fashion. I won’t spoil it for you except to say it is a worthwhile visit.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 3
How well were the logistics handled: 4
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 3
Total score: 13
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

 

 


Södermalm Segway Tour

Södermalm Segway Tour

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: riding Segways is great fun!!
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: some of the units were showing their age and could use a refresh

Logistics

There are several Segway tours in the Stockholm area, and we intend to do them all eventually. The tour we did for this review was hosted by Daytrip Stockholm AB, located at Mälartorget 19, 111 27 Stockholm (all the way south on Gamla Stan).

Our tour lasted about two hours, and cost 495 kr each ($60). It’s a guided tour, meaning there are a few planned stops where your tour guide will give some narration on the local area you are traveling through. But the way these things generally work is you’re really more interested in riding than talking, and they are aware of this. Our tour guide was Åsa, and she was awesome.

The Training

This was not our first time on a Segway, so we didn’t really need the introduction session that they all give, but it never hurts to hear it again. They help you get on it the first time so you see how it works, then you ride around in the designated training area for about five more minutes and now you’re ready. It really is that simple.

The Tour

We had a nice route that took us around Södermalm. I say it was a nice route because they kept us away from the heavy traffic areas and we had limited big intersections to get through.

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And Södermalm has a lot to offer in terms of beauty. Looking down at the water from those high cliffs is spectacular. One of the areas our guide stopped at was where some of the older houses were that were there before the big Södermalm buildup. Very historic. Then she took us to a large seemingly private paved area that went around a group of trees in the middle. She let us do laps around it as fast as we wanted. Kinda of a neat way to blow off some steam!

All in all this was a great tour and honestly, the length was just right for us. I will definitely add the other tours once we do them.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 3
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 4
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 14
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

 

Drottningholm Palace Cruise

Drottningholm Palace Cruise

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: the inside of this palace is magnificent, better than the Royal palace even
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: all of the outdoor walking areas are on gravel, be careful if with elders or handicapped

Logistics

This was a Strömma boat ride from Stockholm to the Drottningholm palace on Lake Mälaren (third largest lake in Sweden). It’s one hour out, and one hour back. You could easily spend a couple of hours here, especially if you also visit the Chinese pavilion and the gardens. There is also a cafe and restaurant in the immediate area, which would take even more time. Your best bet is to allow for being there for three hours, then you can always cut it short and come back sooner if you wanted. So that puts the total even time at 5 hours.

We got our tickets at Stadshusbron, Klara Mälarstrand 2, 111 52 Stockholm (this is over by City Hall). We paid 210 kr ($25) for each adult. That only covers the boat ride over and back. Entry to the palace itself is 130 kr ($15), and the Chinese pavilion is 100 kr ($12). If you’re concerned about the pricing, Strömma does offer package deals, so check their site.

Departure times vary dramatically, so check online for latest schedules leaving Stockholm. On the return trip, a boat leaves Drottningholm every hour.

The Cruise

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You’ll get one of three boats that service this tour. They all feature plenty of seating, a bar, and a restaurant if you want have a meal on the way over or back. We managed to get the M/S Prins Carl Philip going out and coming back.

 

It was pretty warm when we went, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery of Lake Mälaren.

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When I think of Sweden, for some reason, beaches just never really comes to mind. But they have them here, and yes they swim in the cold water!

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Lake Mälaren offers some really fantastic landscapes. This is one of my favorite trips since it is so beautiful, and the one hour boat ride each way is just right.

The Palace

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Ok, spoiler alert here, in case you haven’t already heard, Drottningholm Palace is one of the nicest palaces in all the land! Think I’m exaggerating? Guess where the royal family lives…. Nope, not in the Royal Palace. They have lived in the Drottningholm Palace since 1981.

I haven’t reviewed the Royal Palace for you yet, but if you saw it, you would understand why everyone, including the royal family, loves this palace so much more.

 

While the palace grounds do not stand up to the great Château de Versailles, you can’t help but feel the influence. And it is beautiful in its own right.

We were a little pressed for time when we were there, so we did not do the Chinese pavilion but I promise I will add it in at some point.

 

The comments about this palace vs. the Royal Palace apply as much to the inside as the out. The Royal Palace is much more business oriented and doesn’t have nearly the luxuries of this place.

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One thing you will notice is that the statues throughout the palace are made to look like expensive Rome era artwork, when in fact they are cleverly disguised painted replicas. Still, very nice and very impressive.

Once we finished our tour, we had a few minutes before the next boat, so we sat down at the cute little cafe right by the boat dock. It’s nice because you can have a nice glass of wine or coffee and still be able to see if the line for the boat starts growing.

All in all this is a great way to spend a half day.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 14
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Vaxholm Dinner Cruise

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: sipping wine while watching the spectacular scenery of Sweden’s archipelago drift by
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: condition of the windows made photography a tad challenging in direct sunlight

Logistics

The dinner cruise is hosted by Strömma, aboard the s/s Stockholm, with restaurateurs Maria Svensson and Jesper Taube handling the culinary aspects.

We got our tickets at Strömma Kanalbolaget Terminal, Nybrohamnen 4, 111 47 Stockholm. They were 200 kr per person and do not include food or drink.

The cruise goes non-stop from Strömma Kanalbolaget Terminal (ours was slot #15) to the beautiful Vaxholm. We left the dock at 7pm sharp, and the entire trip was around 3 hours. The menus were in Swedish and English, and there is no tour guide, it is strictly scenic.

The Boat

The name of the boat was s/s Stockholm, and she was classy and cozy. We sat up on the second deck. Each table is by a window. There were three of us in our party, and we had a table to ourselves, but I don’t know if couples share a table with others or not. Will find out, though, since Jana and I will definitely be doing this again.

The Dinner

As you might imagine, dinner is handled very much like a restaurant. You order whenever you’re ready. It is possible to book your food in advance, and have it brought in by course, but we opted for à la cart. I ordered the classic steamboat steak, and it was cooked exactly to order, served hot, and tasted delicious. Combined with the gherkin, it made a surprisingly good taste combination. I did bulldoze some of those onions off though, haha. They also offered lamb tenderloin, corn fed chicken breast, and various other seafood dishes. Overall a very good menu.

The wine list was very diverse, better than most restaurants. Stockholm leans more towards the French and Italian wines, and seldom if ever have any USA representation. But the cruise had not only French, Italian, and USA, but also some selections from Spain, Italy, Chile, and Africa. We also ordered some of the desserts, which were all very good.

You really can’t go wrong here, the dinner and drinks were excellent; we and everyone around us had a marvelous time.

The Cruise

The cruise was on par with the rest of the experience, very smooth sailing, and magnificent views of the archipelago.

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The noise levels inside the restaurant were acceptable, and there was no boat or engine noise whatsoever. We were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather. I will say we sat on the starboard (right hand) side. Folks on the other side seemed to have more sun coming in, which we wouldn’t have preferred.

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There was a brief stop at Vaxholm before starting back. We saw enough of it to make us want to go out there for a weekend stay. There was a really nice looking hotel right on the water and this cool palace to discover.

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I should mention that photography was a tad challenging at times. As you can see above, there is a lot of glare. There is really no controlling this, nor any way to really deal with it other than to  try different angles with the camera.

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The other thing, which would be controllable, is that the windows could have been a little cleaner on the outside. Especially with the evening sun hitting them, any dirt becomes highly visible, which added additional challenges to photography, as you can see above. I know, first world problem, just sayin’.

But if you’re persistent and creative, you can work around these challenges. On the return trip, we got to experience a breathtaking sunset.

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This was Brandi’s last evening with us. I can’t think of a better send off…..


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 4
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 15
4 – 8 is Poor (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is Good (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is Very Good (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is Highly Recommended (outperformed my expectations, great value)

Rooftop Tour

Rooftop Tour

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation: VERY GOOD*
(surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)

  • What did I like the most: full unrestricted 360 degree rooftop views
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: a better solution for using smartphone cameras

Logistics

I did the rooftop tour with our friend, Brandi, who had come out to see us from the US. Quite honestly, I had never even heard of a rooftop tour and really had no idea what to expect.

There are several companies in Stockholm that provide this service, we used Talvandring at https://takvandring.com. The cost was 595 kr (about $70), and it lasted a little over two hours.

We met at the statue of Birger Jarl, right at the center of Birger Jarls Torg, on Riddarholmen.  Our two guides, Lydia and Eva, showed up in full body harnesses and exactly on time. They escorted us around the corner to the old parliament house (pictured at the very top of this article). The entire tour was in English.

The Tour

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After they gave us our instructions and safety tips, we rode the elevator up, then climbed up the attic stairs, through a hatch, and onto the roof. Eight floors above the ground. As you can see from one of our guides, above, we suited up into a full body harness and helmets.

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Look closely on the picture above and you can see the steel platform/walkway. It’s only about a foot wide, and you can see the cable that goes alongside on the left side of the platform. Your body harness hooks onto this with a cable so you are attached. Note the platform has no railing, a little scary. But look over to the right and that one has a railing. Some do, some don’t.

But it was very safe. I wouldn’t classify myself as a daredevil by any means, and I never felt scared or that I might fall. However, if you are in any way scared of heights or have any vertigo issues, I advise you steer clear of this event.

After you’ve been up for a few minutes, you really get the hang of it and start relaxing a little and taking in the unprecedented view you are getting. A full 360 degrees with no windows, walls, or barriers. It is truly breathtaking.

So now a word about photography. Your phone goes into a thick clear plastic case around your neck. And you’re not really supposed to take it out of the plastic. So when you take pictures, the plastic is sometimes in the way, and the screen controls through the plastic can be cumbersome.

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See the picture above and how it’s a little blurry on the bottom right. This is the plastic effect and it happens on a lot of the pictures. Now if you had a real camera with strap on it, you could get some killer, I mean really killer pics up here. As it is, however, over half of my pics had to be deleted they were so bad.

Aside from the most spectacular views you will probably ever see in Stockholm, there is an educational side to this as well. The guides are quite knowledgeable of the landscape and the long history of Stockholm. So while you’re up there observing all this beauty, they are giving you some really good historic perspectives on what you’re looking at.

Our guides were Lydia and Eva, and in addition to knowing all the history, they were also very friendly, professional, and very educated on safety procedures and protocols.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 4
Total score: 14
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)

 

Travelin’ Man’s Guide to Stockholm

This is an index of all of the current Stockholm activities and places that I have documented. More are being added every week, so be sure to sign up for notifications at the bottom of the page so you will get notified when I add a new article.

Each entry below has a thumbnail image with the name and a description of the attraction. If you want to see the Travelin’ Man’s detailed article of that attraction in a separate window, simply click on the underlined text.

The attractions are grouped by which island they are on. The amount of time for each attraction is given. Use those two pieces of information to help plan a day of sightseeing in and around this beautiful city.

Archipelago

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Fjäderholmarna [2-3 Hrs] Stockholm’s closest archipelago island, and the 30 minute boat ride was scenic and relaxing. It leaves from the Strandvägen ferry terminal. There are several great restaurants to choose from, some scenic walking trails, and a blacksmith that makes jewelry right on the island.

 

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Vaxholm Dinner Cruise [3 Hrs] The cruise goes non-stop from Stockholm to the beautiful Vaxholm. You really can’t go wrong here, the dinner, drinks and cruise were all excellent; we and everyone around us had a marvelous time.

 

Lake Mälaren

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Drottningholm Palace Cruise [4-5 Hrs] Ok, spoiler alert here, in case you haven’t already heard, Drottningholm Palace (aka Summer Palace) is one of the nicest palaces in all the land! It is in this palace that the royal family actually lives.

 

 

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Skokloster Palace – [8-9 Hrs] It’s a boat ride from Stockholm to the Skokloster palace and back. Experience the breathtaking beauty of lake Mälaren’s shoreline. On board cafeteria and bar, and the trip includes an onboard tour guide who will call out noteworthy sights along the way.

 

Djurgården

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Skansen [4-5 Hrs] It’s a museum, a zoo, and a historical town replica. It’s all of those things and all outdoor. There are some rides and activities for children. It also offers some fantastic views of Stockholm.

 

 

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Vasa Museum [2-3 Hrs] This museum displays an almost perfectly preserved ship that sank off the coast of Stockholm in 1628. They claim that it is the worlds only fully preserved 17th century ship. And it is completely intact.

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The Viking Museum [1 Hr] The big challenge for museums is how to present their wealth of information in a way that will be interesting, and also to present it in a way that you will remember it. The Viking Museum does a pretty good job at both of these things.

 

 

 Gamla Stan

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Rooftop Tour [2 Hrs] Walk around on the roof of the old parliament house, eight stories up! Get a full 360 degree view with no windows, walls, or barriers. And the guides give great historical perspective on what you’re looking at.

 

IMG_2817Stockholm Free Walking Tour [2 Hrs] It’s definitely a tour worth taking, even for locals since you probably walk right past a lot of this stuff but don’t know its history.

 

 

Norrmalm

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Under the Bridges Boat Tour [2 Hrs 15 Mins] I listed this one under Norrmalm even though it cruises around Södermalm because the tour departs from the main island. This one was just ok, and didn’t get a good rating. Some good tour information on architecture and history.

 

 

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Stockholm – Intellectual, fashionable, and very cultural. More than 100 museums, some world renowned. Picturesque, stately beauty of a city on the Baltic. Magnificent palaces, exquisite restaurants, unforgettable boat tours. By mid summer, over 18 hours of daylight per day!

 

Södermalm

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Segway Tour [2 Hrs] We had a nice route that took us around Södermalm. I say it was a nice route because they kept us away from the heavy traffic areas and we had limited big intersections to get through.

 

Other

 IMG_8163Hagaparken [All day] This is a massive and beautiful sprawling park across the lake from The Stockholm University campus. Not only is it a gorgeous display of nature, but it also has the Haga Palace, King Gustav III’s Pavillion, botanical gardens, a Chinese pavilion and gardens, a Turkish Kiosk, and it is also the site of the Swedish Royal Burial Grounds.

 

 

 

Boat Trip to Skokloster

Boat Trip to Skokloster

Recommendation

The Travelin’ Man’s Overall Recommendation GOOD*
(met expectations, would recommend, would do again)

  • What did I like the most: Breathtaking scenery on the boat ride and at the destination
  • What is the biggest area for improvement: food on the boat

Logistics

This is an all day event (8-9 hrs). It’s a boat ride from Stockholm to the Skokloster palace. The company that provided the boat ride was Strömma. We left the docks at 10am and got back at 6pm. We got our tickets from and left from Stadshusbron. Prices are seasonal; we did our trip at the peak of summer in July and paid 375 kr per adult. Food and drink are not included.

Breakfast is a pastry or choice of a couple of different muffins. Also have coffee and sodas. On board cafeteria serves only one selection for lunch, smoked salmon in our case. But there are sandwiches and paninis available at the snack bar.

The Boat Ride

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There is a lot of time spent here on the boat. The boat ride out is around 3 hours, and it’s about the same going back. So if that’s not your scene, you won’t have fun here. It’s a big boat, and you’re free to walk around. It has multiple decks, including outdoor areas front and back, two bathrooms, and a cafeteria and bar. So if you do enjoy a good boat ride, which I do, then you will love this.

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The scenery is spectacular. As you get further and further from Stockholm, you see the landscape morph from urban to rural. After you pass Hässely Strand, which is as far as the subway goes, you see the buildings get smaller and smaller until you suddenly realize you are in the northern rural countryside of Sweden. Standing out on the front deck with the wind blowing through my hair and the sun warming my face, I swear the air smells fresher, clean and crisp. Ok, the wine probably helped a little but I really felt I could smell the country freshness in the air.

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As you push up and then down the Mälaren lake (3rd largest lake in Sweden), you get to see the country living of the citizens of northern Sweden. Don’t misunderstand though, living right on the lake is insanely expensive, so most of the houses are over-the-top nice with huge plots of land, and there are even several mansions as well. The trip includes an onboard tour guide who will call out noteworthy things along the way, including the really large mansions. It’s done first in Swedish, followed by English.

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As you approach the palace, you will want to be on the front deck in order to get that beautiful photograph of the stunning baroque style palace. The palace is right on the lake and the photo potential here is fairytale quality. But if you missed it, it’s just as beautiful as you’re leaving.

The Palace and Grounds

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The entire trip including the palace itself is just a photographer’s dream. Definitely bring your nice camera on this one. The outdoor areas around the palace and church are quite spectacular. I couldn’t stop snapping pictures the entire time.

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The age of the place is a little deceiving. The outside is so well preserved that you forget it was built in 1676. So when you step inside, that’s when you go back in time. The internal archways and pillars, and the artwork tell the true age of the place. Take your time and follow the history of the owners through time.

Most of the plaques and documentation that describe the rooms and the antique collections are in Swedish. But we didn’t know that when we turned down the audio guide. I strongly recommend getting the audio guide.

 

 

 

We got to explore the first two floors for free. Some of them even had the original furniture and decor. And the ceiling artwork is rivaled only by the royal palaces. On the third floor is a Jane Austen presentation complete with some of the costumes from the movies. We didn’t opt for that since none in our group were familiar with her work. But if you are a fan, you should definitely opt for the 30 kr tour of that area.

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The boat ride back was just as pleasant and breathtaking as the trip out. It was just a little cooler, so coming back we got a table by the window and enjoyed some wine and conversation as the beautiful scenery scrolled past the windows.


* Each area is rated on a scale 1-5, with 1 = poor, 3 = good, 5 = exceptional
How did this do compared to what I had expected: 4
How well were the logistics handled: 3
Was the staff helpful and friendly: 3
Overall execution and presentation: 3

Total score interpretation: 13
4 – 8 is POOR (was not at all what I expected and/or was not worth the time/money)
9 – 10 is OK (quality of the experience was a little low, but I enjoyed it)
11 – 13 is GOOD (met expectations, would recommend, would do again)
14 – 15 is VERY GOOD (surprisingly good, exceeding on some levels)
16 – 20 is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (outperformed my expectations, great value)