Spending a day in Djurgarden during winter

Djurgården is often considered as “the green island of Stockholm”. It’s a calm oasis, where you can do a lot of things, even during winter !  It’s the home of historical buildings, museums, running and walking paths, and of course the famous amusement park, Gröna Lund. We decided to spend most of our time in museums since the weather was not fantastic… and we had a great time !

The island is easily accessible from the city centre by foot or you can take a tram from Sergels Torg (tram #7). It is important to know that it’s impossible to buy tickets on the tram, so you have to buy it in advance ! We used the Stockholm card, so we didn’t have to bother as all transportation and entrances to these museums were included, and I think it’s a good value for money. With the ikea card, we even had a 20% discount on the price of the Stockholm card. It was valid for 2014, but they may do it again in the future, keep an eye open :-)

So, what did we do in Djurgården to enjoy ourselves ?

Skansen, a miniature historical Sweden

Skansen is an open-air museum founded in 1891. Over there, you can walk through five centuries of Swedish history. The venues illustrate the different social conditions in which people lived in Sweden between the 16th century and the first half of the 20th century. At Skansen, you can also fin domestic and wild Nordic animals such as bears, wolves and lynx.

Winter is not probably the best season to visit the museum, as there are no outside activities available, like people performing everyday household tasks, crafts and occupations. The best time to go there would be for the Midsummer festival I reckon. Christmas is another interesting period as they apparently have a huge Christmas market !

We were there at the end of December. It was quiet and we really appreciated the sunny views of Stockholm and the nice walk through the park. We also tried to spot the few animals that were not hibernating… (without much success :D).

We also had a look at Sanken’s aquarium. It was possible to pet a snake and a tarantula, but I’m too scared of spiders to even think about doing it :-) They had a huge collecion of frogs, they were so colourful ! It is small, and I you don’t have the Stockholm card, I don’t think it’s worth buying the extra entrance, unless you are with children.

The Vasa museum, power and glory of a sunken warship

The impressive Vasa museet shows a resurrected 17th century Swedish sunken warship and is considered as the #1 tourist destination in Stockholm. It’s understandable, as few exhibitions show a full-sized warship ! The exhibits are located on five different levels all circling the massive vessel, so it can be observed from different angles. You will learn why the Vasa sank after sailing less than 2 km… but I’m not going to spoil you, just in case you plan to go there :-)

Since the boat sunk in the mud, it rested relatively untouched and without decaying much, for over 300 years. The ship has been restored to some of its former glory. To prevent the inevitable deterioration of the ship exposed to the air, the main hall of the Vasa Museum is kept at a temperature of 18–20 °C and a humidity level of 53%. Apparently, despite precautions, deterioration still occurs. A few years ago, it was possible to walk on the upper deck, but they have decided to close it because of the humidity caused by the tourist shoes that was deteriorating the wood. It’s a delicate balance, they need funding from tourism to maintain it, but the huge amount of tourists slowly destroy it…

It was one of my favourite places we’ve visited in Stockholm. I highly recommend the visit. The only problem is the number of people inside… it’s difficult to move in the exhibition and you are being pushed all the time.

The Nordiska Museum, a nice overview of Scandinavian culture

The Nordiska Museet is where to go if you want to see folk art, fashion, textiles and furnished rooms and get a whole picture of Scandinavian culture. The audio-guide was amazing, and we learned so much about the Swedish culture ! It was no busy at all, people prefer to go to the Vasa museet, but I think both of them are interesting !

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52 responses to “Spending a day in Djurgarden during winter

  1. Pingback: The origin of the Stockholm Syndrome | Darwin on the rocks and around the world·

  2. This reminds me a lot of the Bygdøy peninsula in Oslo, where there are many museums. :) Skansen is at the top of my Stockholm wish list. :D

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  3. Although I have never petted one myself, I have heard that tarantulas can be kept as a pet. I seem to recall hearing that some (south-of-the-[US]border, rural) households keep a tarantula to keep the other insect populations down. Their fur may even be soft :D

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  4. The preservation of the warship is incredible, although it’s disappointing to hear that tourism is deteriorating it. It’s hard to find a balance of making things accessible to the public, while still maintaining them adequately. The outdoor museum looks like fun (more so in summer :) ) as well!

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  5. This post brought back wonderful memories of our trip to Stockholm. We were there in early September (about ten years ago), which probably is one of the best times of year to visit the museums. Summer tourists were gone, but the weather was still beautiful, so people were soaking up the sun outdoors. There were not many people at Skansen, but it still had outdoor demonstrations, and fortunately the Vasa museum (which was amazing) was not very crowded either. It probably gets much more crowded in December when people have less outdoor options. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Going there in early September must have been an amazing time ! It’s still possible to enjoy the outdoors and the museums are not crowded anymore :-) It makes sense, yes, during winter, it’s cold outside and you want to hide in the warm :-)

      Also, a lot of people buy the Stockholm card these days, and they probably want to make the most of it. I’m not sure it existed 10 years ago. If you have to pay for each individual museum, maybe you think twice before going.

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  6. Great overview of the museums – I love the sound of all of them but the warship sounds really interesting. Would love to visit Stockholm and always good to have indoor options as well as the main sights!

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  7. That is such a cool ship ~ would love to be able to explore it on my own…but that sounds very unlikely :-) The blue frog looked cool, and given a chance to pet a tarantula that might be pretty cool ~ sounds like a day well spent (and great lighting looking back on Stockholm).

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    • This is highly unlikely…. It’s too overcrowded and it’s difficult to visit at your own pace :-)

      Beginning of afternoon, around 2pm, the sun was setting down. It was well worth the climb ! :-) I didn’t have the appropriate lens, but I enjoyed the view :-)

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