June 29, 2010

Renting Kayaks in Stockholm


(EDIT: click here for a more recent reposting with updated information and links). Stockholm isn't called the Venice of the North for nothing! Central Stockholm alone is built on about 15 islands, so there is water everywhere. One fun activity to do on a sunny afternoon is to rent a kayak and paddle around the islands. Stockholm is at her most beautiful when seen from the water! Kayaking is fun and you don't need to be an Olympian to do it... good as a family outing. There are several places to rent kayaks by the hour/day and it is generally quite inexpensive. Depending on the place, you are looking at about 100 SEK an hour though it is sometimes cheaper if you take the kayak for half or full day.
When choosing a kayak rental place think about where you want to paddle! Stockholm actually strides the borderline between a lake and the ocean with the Old Town being the borderline. Everything to the east is the Baltic Sea and everything to the west is Lake Mälaren. If you want to paddle in the lake then I recommend Kafé Kajak located in Rålambshovs Park on the island of Kungsholmen. Or else you can head across the bridge to the island of Långholmen where you will find Långholmen Kajak. Here you will be able to paddle by a lot of parklands and beaches as well as cliffs where Stockholmers enjoy diving and sunbathing. If you want to paddle in the Baltic Sea area, then I recommend Djurgårdens Sjöcafé located on near the bridge leading from Östermalm over to the island of Djurgården.
Stay close to the island of Djurgården so you don't stray too far out into the shipping lanes! Lots to see here... beuatiful parks as well as great architecture on Strandvägen and the villas on the southside of the island. Another option is to paddle in the lake called Brunnsviken on the northern outskirts of Stockholm. Haga Park surrounds the lake with lots of interesting things to see like Haga Castle and Stockholm University... you also don't have to worry about larger boats! The place to rent kayaks here is Brunnsvikens Kanotcentral.
Their websites, that I've linked, are in Swedish so it is better to contact me directly at the hotel for prices and directions on how to get there as well as other practical information. Have fun!

If you are feeling more adventurous then you can do a full day of kayaking out in the beautiful archipelago. Stockholm Adventures offers tours all summer, Thursdays through Sundays. The price is approximately 1,000 SEK (depends on the day) and includes lunch. You leave Stockholm at about 9am and head to the town of Stavsnäs where you will be met by the guide. You will be back in Stockholm at around 6pm.

Restaurant/Bar - Mälarpaviljongen



It's gorgeous weather this week... hot temperatures and lots of sunshine! A great place to enjoy it is at Mälarpaviljongen. The food is basic, but good... however it is not the menu that lures Stockholmers here. It's the location! Located on the waterfront promenad of Kungsholmen island called Norr Mälarstrand, this restaurant/bar is built out over the waters of Lake Mälaren with great views of the city. A friend and I visited Mälarpaviljongen yesterday afternoon... it was great just enjoying a beer and watching the boats go by. It's gay owned and operated, but the crowd is very mixed... everyone is welcome to come and enjoy the sunshine! The waterfront promenad is one of the most popular places for Stockholmers on a sunny day with lots of parks, beaches and restaurants. The bar really comes alive on weekend evenings with DJs playing and people enjoying the late evening sun...
The restaurant is café-style, no table service. Order at the counter and the waiters run out the food to you when it's ready. Tables are on a first-come basis... no reservations are accepted. But there are lots of tables, so finding a place to sit is usually not a problem.

June 24, 2010

Tip #10 - Liquor Stores


(EDIT: I have written an updated post regarding this which you can read here). If you have thoughts of stopping at the grocery store to pick up a bottle of wine... you will be sorely diappointed. There are strong laws in Sweden regarding the sale of alcohol. In Sweden all wine, strong beer, alcohol and liquors can only be purchased at state-run liquor stores called Systembolaget. The only thing that can be sold in regular grocery stores is a weaker beer (3.5% or less alcohol by volume).

The good news is that there are many stores spread out thoughout the city, 23 in downtown Stockholm alone. The closest Systembolaget to the Rival Hotel is at Rosenlundsgatan 7 (just 3-4 blocks away). The stores are large and have a huge variety to choose from. The staff is very knowledgable and happy to help you pick the perfect bottle of wine to go with dinner. The bad news is really their opening hours. They generally close at 7pm on weekdays and 3pm on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays and holidays. So it takes a bit of planning, no popping out last minute before a party for a bottle of wine. You have to be 20 years old to purchase alcohol at Systembolaget (18 years old at restaurants and bars). Check their website for more information.

June 23, 2010

Day Trip - Skokloster Castle


The tour to Skokloster Castle goes on the same boat as the one to Sigtuna (see last entry below). After stopping at Sigtuna the boat continues on for 1 hour more to the castle. The cost is the same... 290 SEK for a round trip tour.

Skokloster Castle is one of many castles and palaces scattered thoughout the Mälar Valley and perhaps the most well preserved baroque castles in the world and a monument to Sweden's Age of Power. Completed in 1676, the castle was built by Carl Gustav Wrangel and later came into the posession of the influential Brahe family. Wrangel was quite the collector and the armoury is filled with an amazing display of weaponry and even exotic objects from around the world. The baroque interior design is spectacular... hard to know where to rest your eyes with all of the magnificent furniture, tapestries and paintings. You are met by a guide at the boat dock who takes you through the castle, explaining the contents of the castle as well as about the Wrangel and Brahe families. The grounds are beautiful, especially considering that the castle is located in the Skohalvön nature reserve. There is a gift shop and a café for lunch on the castle grounds as well as a nearby church. You have two hours in all before the boat heads back to Stockholm. You are back in town at around 6:10pm.
The tour runs Wednesday through Sunday from July 3rd to August 22nd.

You want to go to Skokloster Castle on your own? Take the commuter train north to Bålsta and then get on bus #311 for Skokloster. The trip takes approximately 1 hour 15 minutes. Click here for more information on public transportation.

Day Trip - Sigtuna





(EDIT: Strömma does not offer this tour anymore... but you can still visit the town on your own. Info at end of this article) I had the pleasure today to try out two new day trips that Strömma are offering Summer 2010. They are Sigtuna town and Skokloster Castle. The tours both leave on the same boat from in front of City Hall (Stadshusbron), you just choose if you want to get off first at Sigtuna or continue on to Skokloster. The cost is the same... 290 SEK for a round-trip ticket.

Sigtuna is located just north-west of Stockholm on the way to Uppsala. It was an important trading center and is considered the first city in Sweden. Sigtuna had its golden age between the late 900's and the mid 1200's when Stockholm rose to prominence. The city layout looks today much like it did back in its heyday with the main street (Stora gatan) still in place... though the buildings are mainly from the 17 and 1800s.

The tour starts by boat at 9:45am and the trip to Sigtuna takes approximately 2 hours. It is a beautiful trip through the forests and farmlands surrounding Lake Mälaren, sometimes going through narrow waterways and draw bridges. There is a cafeteria onboard serving light refreshments and a guide is there to explain the history of the countryside passing by. The tour continues on land with a guide who takes you through the charming streets of Sigtuna as well as seeing the church, ruins and runestones that are scattered through the town (the county has the highest concentration of runestones in Sweden). You then have some time on your own to explore, shop and eat lunch. Entrance to the Sigtuna Museum is included in the tour price. All in all you have 4 hours in the town before the boat picks you up for the trip back to Stockholm. You are back at about 6:10pm.

The tour runs Wednesdays through Sundays from July 3rd to August 22nd.

Would you like to visit Sigtuna on your own? Take the commuter train north to Märsta, there get on the bus #570 going towards Hässelboskolan. The trip takes approximately 1 hour. Click here for more information on public transportation.

June 22, 2010

Tip #9 - Midsummer in Stockholm



(Edit: Please note that this blog entry is from 2010, for current information... click here!).
Poor tourists! Every year they wander around Stockholm Midsummer weekend (June 25th to 27th) wondering why the city has been turned into a ghost town. They don't understand that Midsummer rivals Christmas when it comes to a holiday that is celebrated with family and friends. Many stores and restaurants close as Stockholmers head to their countryside homes to celebrate in true pagan style. But, not to fear... there are still plenty of things to do this weekend!
The best bet is to head to Skansen park. There you can witness the traditional Swedish Midsummer celebration... singing, dancing around the maypole, games and much more. Open between 10am and 10pm, there will be celebrations going on all day and evening long. For more information about prices and how to get there, check my earlier blog entry about the park.


There will also be festivities occuring at Vasa park, in the Vasastan neighborhood, starting at 12pm. Fun for the whole family! Otherwise, get into a boat and head to the nearby island of Fjäderholmarna or the town of Vaxholm. Public festivities will be happening at both places. But... be aware of when the last boat goes back to Stockholm so you don't get stuck there!

Here are some special opening hours of some museums this weekend (Skansen is open all weekend):
The NK department store will be open on Friday until 2pm and then closed the rest of the weekend. All sightseeing tours will carry on as normal! For other opening hours, contact the hotel reception.

June 21, 2010

Day Trip - Finnhamn

Last week I visited one of my favorite islands located in the Outer Archipelago... Finnhamn. Along with my visiting parents, I took one of the Cinderella boats out. We opted for a short visit, taking the same Cinderella boat back when it returned 1½ hours later... though one can stay longer and take the evening boat back. There are also several forms of accomodations if you wish to stay the night. Everything from camping in your own tents to renting a cabin to staying at the hostel. The island has a nice restaurant as well as a store selling food and other necessities needed for camping or having a picnic. There are several trails criss-crossing the island and it's a perfect place to take a nature walk. Whenever I come here, I usually take a nice walk to the other side of the island through the beech trees and meadows before ending with a nice herring lunch overlooking the water.

Stockholm Archipelago

Traversing Stegesund straights by Vaxholm
 One of the top destinations for summer tourists in Stockholm is the archipelago (called Skärgården in Swedish) stretching out from the city into the Baltic Sea. I have noticed, however, that tourists really don't understand just how large the archipelgo is. It is vast, about 1,700 square kilometers in size (150 kilometers north to south and 80 kilometers east to west) and made up of over 30,000 islands. I often get guests who think that they can see the whole archipelago in a couple of hours. While there are shorter tours that give you a glimpse of the islands, to really see the archipelgo you need a full day. Once again, the company Strömma gives you the most options of getting around. They offer both a shorter guided tour, which is about 3 hours long and takes you out to Vaxholm and back, and a longer guided tour, which is about 11 hours long and lets you see a large part of the archipelago. The shorter trip costs 220 SEK for adults (110 SEK for children 6-11yrs) and you can combine the tour with a meal. The tour does not stop at any of the islands. The longer tour costs 975 SEK and includes coffee, lunch and a dinner (488 SEK for children 6-11yrs). If you choose you can opt for a 2 course dinner (cost 1110 SEK and 550 for children 6-11yrs). On the longer tour you do stop at several islands and have a chance to explore a bit. Click here for a map showing some of the more popular islands. You can also explore the islands on your own, which I definitely recommend for those with a sense of adventure. The best option, in my opinion, are the Cinderella boats that travel from Stockholm to the outer archipelago and back. One boat goes to the island of Sandhamn before returning and another boat goes to Möja and back. Both boats stop at several islands along the way(there and back)... like Vaxholm, Grinda and Finnhamn. I often take a Cinderella boat and get off at one of the islands, explore and then jump back on the Cinderella boat on its return trip. Keep in mind... the farther out you go the less time you have to explore. The boats leave around 9am and get back around 5pm. There is a café and restaurant on board. It is quite inexpensive and you pay according to which island you disembark at, but no more than 300 SEK round-trip. Almost all of these islands have cafés, restaurants, trails and beaches. Lots to do and see! Strömma also offers daytrips to the island of Sandhamn (which some consider the quintessential archipelago village/island).


Cinderella boat arriving at Finnhamn
How ever you decide to see the archipelago, short or long, guided or on your own... you won't be disappointed! Truly a natural wonder of the world!

June 20, 2010

Crown Princess' Wedding

Congratulations to Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel! I had the day off so I took my visiting parents down to see if we could spot the couple when they travelled through the streets of Stockholm after the ceremony, first by horse and carriage and then by boat. Police estimate that there were half a million people gathered on the streets to do the same thing! We finally settled in front of the National Museum where we had a view of the castle across the water... there we could see the couple leave the castle by carriage and later return by boat. The weather cooperated and people were in a festive mood. It was fun watching all of the journalists from around the world scrambling to get there pictures. The harbour was filled with ships... many military but even the Norwegian and Danish royal yachts. There was a 21 gun salute as the couple passed Kastelholmen on their boat... and finally there was a spectacular military plane fly-by in the shape of Cupid's arrow. Congratulations to Stockholm for a great party!
.
Click here for a full list of this summer's festivals and events.

June 17, 2010

Swedish Design - Svenskt Tenn



Svenskt Tenn is one of the premiere Swedish interior design and furniture stores and is also one of Sweden's oldest design companies... 80+ years. They are especially well known for their beautiful textiles. The form designer Josef Frank is closely associated with the store. He emmigrated to Sweden in 1933, escaping Nazi oppression and worked at Svenskt Tenn until his death in 1967. The store is celebrating the fact that Frank would have been 125 years old this summer with an exhibition of his work. The exhibition runs from June 10th through August 15th, 2010.
Svenskt Tenn is located on Strandvägen 5 in the Östermalm neighborhood. The nearest subway stations are Östermalmstorg(red line) and Kungstädgården((blue line).

June 16, 2010

Shopping- IKEA


What's a visit to Sweden without a trip to the world's biggest IKEA? Come and pray at the altar of Swedsh design and efficiency! It is located southern suburbs of Stockholm, in the area known as Kungens Kurva. There are free buses going back and forth from the city and the trip takes only 20 to 25 minutes. The buses leave from Vasagatan 18 (across the street from the Central Train Station) at the top of every hour between 10am and 7pm. The buses leave Ikea on the bottom of every hour between 10:30am and 7:30pm to take you back to town, stopping first at Hornstull and Fridhemsplan before the final stop downtown.
The store itself is open between 10am and 8pm everyday except bank holidays when they close at 6pm (closed Christmas, New Years and Midsummer). Even if you are not looking for furniture, there are lots of Swedish knick-knacks and food for sale. The restaurant on the top floor is extremely popular... cheapest lunch in town!

June 14, 2010

Restaurants- Swedish Cuisine









You can't travel all the way to Stockholm and not try the local food. Swedish cuisine is world famous! Almost everyone has heard of things like Swedish meatballs, pickled herring and the smörgåsbord. But Swedish cusine is so much more. Seafood is very popular, often including salmon, shrimps and other shellfish. Local wild game (reindeer, venison, moose, wild boar) has made real inroads recently in Swedish menus. Local produce, like lingon berries, mushrooms and vegetables, are often incorporated into dishes and it bears noting that Swedish cuisine is often very seasonal... asparagus and strawberries in early summer, crayfish in late summer and wild mushrooms and berries in the fall to name a few examples.

Swedish chefs have come a long way from the Muppets, with many chefs winning international contests. Marcus Samuelsson was the chef that the Obamas recently picked to cook their first State Dinner. Other chefs (Melker Andersson, Mathias Dahlgren, Jonas Lundgren, Niklas Ekstedt, Erik Lallerstedt, etc;) have made quite a name for themselves on the international foodie scene and many of them have award winning restaurants in Stockholm.

Looking for restaurants in Stockholm that serve Swedish cuisine? Here is a list of restaurants that I recommend... (Rustic = "husmanskost")

  1. Prinsen- Downtown. Classic dishes using top notch produce in trendy atmosphere.
  2. Pelikan- Södermalm. Rustic Swedish cuisine in beer hall atmosphere.
  3. Grand's Veranda- Downtown. Smörgåsbord.
  4. Sturehof- Downtown. French influence. Great seafood!
  5. Ulla Winbladh- Djurgården. Classic Stockholm restaurant.
  6. Erik's Gondolen- Södermalm. Modern, with fantastic views of the city.
  7. Tradition- 3 locations in the city. Rustic, Swedish cuisine and design.
  8. Fem Små Hus- Gamla Stan. High end in historic atmosphere.
  9. Blå Dörren- Södermalm. Rustic Swedish dishes.
  10. Lasse Lucidor- (closed) Gamla Stan. Rustic dining in the Old Town.
  11. Operakällaren- Downtown. Haute cuisine, classic restaurant in the Opera House.
  12. Kryp In- Gamla Stan. Modern Swedish cuisine in cozy restaurant. 
  13. Den Gyldene Freden- Gamla Stan. Classic dishes in a historic Bib Gourmand restaurant.
  14. Clas på Hörnet- Downtown. Rustic Swedish cuisine in historic building. Outdoor grill during the summers.
Can't decide? Try Food Tours Stockholm's tour that focuses on Nordic flavours!


Tip: Do you like caviar? Then don't miss the Swedish version called löjrom (bleak roe)!

June 12, 2010

Tip #8 - Public Transportation


Stockholm has an excellent public transportation system. One company, called SL (Storstockholms Lokaltrafik), runs all buses, subways, trams and commuter trains. Some boats can be travelled on using certain SL tickets... more about that later. This means that travelling through Stockholm is quite easy.
  • The subway is very easy to understand, especially compared to the systems in larger cities like Paris, London & New York. There are three lines (blue, red and green) that cross the city like a starfish, all meeting under the Central Train Station.
  • Buses travel all over the city and can take you quite far out into the countryside... there are 4 cross-town buses (1, 2, 3 & 4) which are easy to spot as they are blue instead of red.
  • There is also a commuter train network (called "pendeltåg") if you are planning to travel to the outskirts of Stockholm or to get to the International Fair at Älvsjö. There are several trams and street car lines included in SL tickets. The ones that are important (from a tourist standpoint) is the line running out to Saltsjöbaden, a popular seaside resort, and the one connecting the Ropsten subway station to the island of Lidingö... where you can find the seaside town of Gåshaga as well as the sculpture garden at Millesgården. Finally you have an old fashioned street car travelling between the island of Djurgården and the NK department store.
  • SL tickets/cards work on the two ferries going out to the island of Djurgården as well... though not one-time tickets.
Ticket prices- one time tickets cost 40 SEK if you buy them at the turnstyle, 30 SEK if you buy them at an SL center or in a kiosk, like Pressbyrån. More economical choices are the 24 hour pass (100 SEK), 72 hour pass (200 SEK) and 7 day pass (260 SEK). Prices are reduced for youth (20yrs and under) and seniors (65yrs and over). These passes can be purchased at an SL Center or a Pressbyrån kiosk. Click here for the entire price list. The most convinient SL Centers are located in the Central train station and the Slussen subway station. Be aware that bus tickets can not be purchased on the bus!
The Stockholm Card works on all public transportation run by SL. They can be purchased at a tourist information center or a SL Center. Some hotels do sell them as well.

June 10, 2010

Skansen

When tourists ask me what they should see/do if they are only in Stockholm for one day, I usually say that they shouldn't miss The Vasa Museum and, especially if it is good weather, Skansen.
Skansen is a combination park, outdoor cultural museum and zoo. It is located on a hill on the island of Djurgården (where many other attractions are located). Founded in 1891, Skansen is the world's oldest open-air museum and one of the most popular attractions in Stockholm. The founder, Artur Hazelius, had around 150 buildings (from churches to manors to farmhouses) from different parts of Sweden shipped to the museum piece by piece... so you get a real feel for traditional Sweden. The buildings are all open to the public and there are usually people in traditional dress there to explain a little about the building and the traditions.
Skansen is also the perfect place to see how Swedish traditions and holidays are celebrated (Easter, Christmas, Midsummer, etc;). They have great Christmas and Easter markets every year. I was just there on June 6th which is the Swedish national holiday... park-goers were there waving their flags and having picnics. The king and queen were also there in the evening, front-row at a traditional concert.
The zoo is spread throughout the park with everything from exotic farm animals to Scandinavian wild animals like wolves, seals, bears, moose and reindeer. It really is fun for the whole family!
Skansen is open daily, year-round and entrance costs 120 SEK (50 SEK for children and 100 SEK for seniors). Free entrance with the Stockholm Card.
To get there: Bus 47 or a street car/tram from Normalmstorg or else the Djurgård ferry from Slussen or Nybroviken.

June 8, 2010

Festival: Love Stockholm 2010





Victoria, the Crown Princess of Sweden, is getting married to Daniel Westling on June 19th and Stockholm is celebrating with a two week long (June 6th-19th) festival called Love Stockholm 2010. The festival is a bit vague... but lots will be happening throughout the city: music, food & drink, culture, dancing, shopping and performances. All in the theme of love! Most of the venues are located around the royal palace, like Kungsträdgården, the Old Town and Skeppsholmen. Many local businesses are getting in on the action and offering special deals tying in with the love/wedding theme. Stockholm has wedding fever!
I spent yesterday at the festival, seeing what was offered at the different venues. The weather was perfect and it was fun wandering around, looking at all of the people. A lot of temporary restaurants and bars have opened up along the waterfront where you can sit both inside or outside. There are performances happening on stages both in front of the palace and in Kungsträdgården. At the Skeppsholmen venue they have gathered shops and restaurants from the archipelago and even erected a Midsummer pole. On the island of Djurgården, at Galärparken behind the Vasa Museum, they have lots of activities for children.
There are some cheesy elements, like cardboard cutouts of a wedding couple for photo oppurtunities, but all-in-all it's good fun with lots to do and see.
There is no entrance fee for the festival!
Click here for a full list of this summer's festivals and events.
.

June 7, 2010

Tip #7 - Money, money, money... SEK, Euros and Credit Cards.


(EDIT: this is an older blog article... click here for updated information) Sweden is one of three EU countries (along with Denmark and the UK) that opted to keep their currency and not use the Euro. Boy, are we happy today that we made that decision! The currency in Sweden is called the Swedish crown, or the krona (SEK). Over the past year, one dollar would buy you about 6-8 crowns and one euro would buy you about 9-11 crowns.
Some people, travelling through Europe, find it a bit bothersome that Sweden does not use the euro. One good thing to know is that you really do not need to exchange a lot of money. Credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere in Stockholm... taxis, boats, kiosks, stores, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, etc; It is very rare that a business does not accept credit/debit cards. One can also use bank machines(ATMs), called Bankomats, to withdraw money and then you will get the bank exchange rate.
If you are looking for a place to exchange money or buy SEK, then I recommend Forex. They are found throughout the city at 17 locations, including Arlanda, the train station, NK department store and the Old Town. They have good exchange rates there and do money transfers as well.

June 6, 2010

Restaurant Kungsholmen


(Name and concept changed... now called Trattorian and is an Italian restaurant!) Last night I went with friends, visiting from England and Australia, to Kungsholmen... one of my all-time favorite summer restaurants. Owned by celebrity chef Melker Andersson, it is located right on the waterfront on the island of Kungsholmen. It has a fun concept, sort-of a high end version of the food court at a shopping center. That might sound strange, but it really works. The dining room is surrounded by several kitchens(sushi, grill, Swedish, luxury, etc;) represented in the menu... lots to choose from! What really makes this restaurant stand out, especially in the summer, is the ambiance and the location. Very popular, a cool clientele and views over the water on long summer evenings... the area has become a Stockholm Riviera of sorts with several restaurants popping up on the waterfront, such as M/S Gerda and Mälarpaviljongen, with most of them having areas built out over the water. Great area to bar-hop, having cocktails, listening to lounge DJs under the late night sun...

The Museum of Medieval Stockholm




Medeltidsmuseet (Medieval Museum) recently opened again after being closed for a few years for renovation. The changes are really impressive! The museum is built around a section of the original defensive wall of the city and concentrates on Stockholm's history in the Middle-Ages. See through models how Stockholm grew and how people lived and worked in the city. Very interactive exhibitions... holograms, storyboards, relics and a mock set-up of a city street. Great for kids! During this summer they have an exhibition of Birger Jarl, the founder of Stockholm, celebrating his 800th birthday. They have even reconstructed how he probably looked after a recent excavation of his grave.


And most importantly... No entrance fee!


Opening hours this summer: 12 to 5pm, open later on Wednesdays to 7pm. Closed Mondays!


Very centrally located, though easily overlooked. It is found under the bridge connecting the Palace with Gustaf Adolf's Square, directly across from the Parliament building.

Event: Stockholm Marathon


The 32nd annual Stockholm Marathon was held yesterday(June 5th)... it was great weather: sunny, but not too hot. 15,400+ runners participated and thousands of people lined the streets to see the runners. Congratulations to the winners: Joseph Lagat of Kenya and Isabellah Andersson of Sweden.

While most Stockholmers aren't crazy about this day (closes off most of the city), it is a fun event and brings the city alive!
Click here to see a list of festivals and events this summer in Stockholm!
.

Tip #6 - Sightseeing Tours


There are a myriad of sightseeing tours of Stockholm available... by boat, by bus or on foot. The majority of the tours are provided by the company Strömma. If I was to recommend one tour to take then I would say that you shouldn't miss "Under the Bridges". It is an 1 hour and 50 minutes long boat tour that takes you around most of Stockholm, both the new and old neighborhoods. It really gives you a good overview of the city and Stockholm should really be seen from the water to be appreciated! The cost is 190 SEK (half off for children 6-11yrs) and is guided (8 languages to choose from) through earphones. Coffee and snacks are available on board. During the summer the tour leaves at the top of the hour (11am to 6pm) from in front of the Grand Hotel.

If you are looking for the most extensive sightseeing tour available, then "The Grand Tour" is your best bet. A bus & boat combination tour that lasts 3 hours 30 minutes and costs 420 SEK (half off for children 6-11yrs). Departs 10.30 and 12.30 daily from Gustaf Adolf's Square (after July 1st they add a tour at 2.30pm as well).
With the Stockholm Card you get discounts on some tours (not the above mentioned tours) like the Royal Canal Tour, Panorama bus tour and the Open Top bus tour.

June 2, 2010

Festival: Smaka på Stockholm


(This is a 2010 blog entry, to read about 2011 festival... click here) Today was the first day of Smaka På Stockholm (Taste Stockholm)... a fun, yearly food and drink festival. It takes place in Kungsträdgården, a square/park in central Stockholm. Around 20 restaurants are represented serving varied cuisines... Asian, Spanish, Italian, French, American and, of course, Swedish! Besides the food, there are beer, wine and champagne tents as well as booths selling balloons and toys for children. There is also live music and performances going on all day long from the stage in the middle of the park. Something for everyone! The festival runs from Wednesday to Sunday (June 2nd - 6th) and is open from 11am to 11:30pm. The weather is supposed to be great all week long... so come down a grab something to eat, or have a beer in the sun, listen to some music and watch all the people.
No Entrance Fee!
Click here to see a list of festivals and events this summer in Stockholm.

The Museum of History




Historiska Museet (The Museum of History) is a fascinating museum dedicated to Swedish history. Located in the Östermalm neighborhood, it's just a short 10 minute walk from other tourist attractions on Djurgården (like the Vasa Museum). I visited the museum today to see their new exhibition focusing on the past 1,000 years of Swedish history... from the end of the Viking era to today. It was very well presented as you walk through rooms dedicated to each century, learning about people both famous and unknown. A very hands-on exhibition!

Besides this new exhibtion, the Museum of History has several great permanent exhibitons. Two of my favorites are the Gold Room and the Viking exhibition. The Gold Room contains treasures found throughout Sweden dating from the Iron Age to the Viking Age. Over 100 lbs of gold and 400 lbs of silver. Treasures such as reliquaries, torques and collars can be seen. In the Viking exhibition you learn everything about the Swedes famous ancestors... not only about their raids, but also about their daily life and trade routes.
Great for kids! Open fron 10am to 5pm every day during the summer.
Entrance fee is 70 SEK for adults and 50 SEK for kids and seniors. Free entrance with the Stockholm Card.
How to get there: Bus 47, 69 or 76 to Djurgårdsbron, or subway to Karlaplan.