Djurgården sits in the heart of Stockholm, a tiny island that has blossomed into a verdant tourist spot over the years. The island has been held by the Royal Crown since the 15th Century. Djurgården abounds in cultural attractions and historic sights. Scattered in between are vast swathes of greenery - meadows, forests and parks - that offer a sense of solitude. From ABBA: The Museum, the Nordic Museum, the Vasa Museum, Skansen and the Thielska Gallery to family-friendly attractions like the amusement park Gröna Lund and the charms of the Djurgårdsstaden neighborhood, such a rich collection of sights in such close proximity is rarely found elsewhere. There are also performance venues like Cirkus and the Royal Dramatic Theatre, walks beneath wooded canopies, and yachts docked at the harbor. A little of history, culture and nature, Djurgården is Stockholm's crowning glory.
It was a momentous day when the Vasa first set sail, a 64-gun, 69-meter (226-foot) long and 52.5-meter (172-foot) tall warship, the pride of Sweden's naval fleet. A critical miscalculation meant that the ship was unbalanced, tipping to one side just minutes after she set off on her maiden voyage on August 10, 1628. The ship sank soon after, taking with it a few of the people on board. In 1961, the shipwreck was salvaged from the depths of the harbor and pieced back together. The world's only almost entirely intact 17th-century salvaged ship, the Vasa is now housed at the custom-built Vasa Museum where hundreds of visitors arrive each day to take a closer look at this vessel. The cleverly constructed museum allows visitors to view the Vasa from six levels, its stylized masts indicative of the actual height of the ship when fully rigged. Informative exhibits chronicle the history of the ship, the people involved and the Swedish navy in general, while the artifacts recovered from the wreck offer a glimpse into the life on the Vasa. The ship itself is spectacularly well-preserved despite having spent over three centuries submerged under water. Today, the Vasa Museum is considered one of Scandinavia's most visited museums.
Stockholm City Hall, a gorgeous and historical municipal building, houses offices, ceremonial and banquet halls. The tower of the City Hall is located at the shores of Lake Mälaren and offers an incredible view of the city. It is open for access daily from May to September at a nominal admission price.
Located in Djurgården, this open-air museum also has a zoological park that displays Scandinavian fauna. Arthur Hazelius laid the foundation of this museum-park in 1891 to showcase the historical transition of the Swedish people. Historic buildings that date back to the 18th century surround the park, and the hosts dressed in traditional costumes greet the visitors. The park is open all through the year, and tourists throng to the place to experience the 18th century lifestyle. Prices and hours depend on the time of year, so be sure to check the website for further details.
Gamla Stan is where the city of Stockholm first took root in the 13th Century. This Old Town is one of Europe's best preserved Medieval city centers. Down narrow alleys and cobblestone streets, lined with buildings in shades of gold and red, lie some of the city's most treasured historic attractions. Stortorget is the heart of Gamla Stan and Stockholm's oldest square from where begins Köpmangatan, the city's oldest street. The Royal Palace, the Nobel Museum and the Stockholm Cathedral are a few of Gamla Stan's grandest features, while countless shops, restaurants and cafes all add more charm. An enchanting combination of historic and cultural sites, Gamla Stan is authentically Stockholm.
The Royal Swedish Opera, or simply the Operan, carries forward the legacy of King Gustav III under whose reign the Swedish arts were celebrated with much aplomb. The great monarch was a passionate patron of the arts and founded both the Royal Swedish Opera and the Royal Swedish Ballet in the year 1773. A new home for the Royal Opera was soon conceived of and constructed in 1782, although this was eventually replaced by the glorious classical Operan in 1892, designed by Axel Johan Anderberg. The stately exterior does little to prepare you for the opulence within; a grand spectacle of elaborate stucco embellishments, lavish gilt ornamentation, and rich, vibrant paintings, all illuminated by sparkling chandeliers. The Operan is truly a baroque gem and a fitting venue for the Swedish national stage. The opera house hosts a much-acclaimed program of ballets, concerts and operas; it is the home of the Royal Swedish Ballet and Opera companies to this day.
In 1832, fine art was hardly as accessible to the public as it is today. There was no network of galleries offering glimpses of the latest talent, and most people wouldn't pay an obscure artist just to look at his work. But, that's how Sweden's Konstförening (Art Association) first gained its popularity. It created the link between art and the public through exhibiting artwork with the support of members. Today, the Konstförening still upholds the tradition in its centrally located gallery. Exhibitions are frequent, and the Association also comes out with a new art book every year. Members are eligible for the yearly lottery, where one piece of artwork can be won.
Christina Knall Galleri is located in Södermalm's fashionable main gallery district. Knall, who graduated from the College of Art, Craft and Design in 1971, has been selling her art in her Stockholm gallery. Knall is a prolific painter who uses light and minimal colours in her paintings with her main focus on oil on canvas, water color and graphic art.
The porcelain factory in Gustavsberg was constructed in 1825 and has been producing household china ever since. The museum has two active workshops where artists demonstrate their pottery skills, and an extensive collection is available at the Gustavsberg Ceramic Centre. It is also possible for visitors to take part in painting and decorating their own plates or mugs. The museum shop sells ceramics created at the factory.
Managed by Klas Ahlstedt, Oden Teatern absolutely lives up to its belief of being a small theater with a difference. Actors mingle with the audience after shows, and proximity to connect with the audience is a high priority here. On Thursdays at noon, lunch theater is held where one can enjoy a theatrical performance while relishing some Swedish soup with bread and butter, and coffee and cake. The theater also has an offer where those who become theatrical agents get discounted tickets, but more importantly, a chance to witness rehearsals. Now that is incentive enough for any theater lover! Check the website for details of shows.
Built during the Medieval ages, Ekerö Kyrka is a church which dates all the way back to 1100. The church is located next to Lake Mälaren, close to the Asknäs manor and is a beautiful piece of ancient architecture. A tower and vaulted ceiling were added to the original Roman structure of the church in the 1400s. Through the years there have been additions made to the basic structure of the church, thereby showing different styles of architecture in one building.