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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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)