Stockholm surprised me. I really didn’t know what to expect before we arrived, but left understanding why this capitol’s marketing slogan is beauty on water. Built on 14 granite islands gracefully rising out of the waters where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, this city begged to be explored both on foot and by boat. Summer was in full swing…the sun’s rays were felt early in the morning and it didn’t set until 11ish at night. Pretty amazing, but not sure I want to be here when the icy, thick winter curtain is drawn, although the idea of enjoying a bowl of Swedish peasoup with a mug of Glögg (traditional hot mulled wine) bundled by a fire sounds absolutely delightful.
Things Not to be Missed with a Tot ‘n Tow:
This is a great city for little ones! The parkland island of Kungliga Djurgården (central Stockholm) is the place to be for visiting families. And everything is within walking distance (Note: this advice coming from a walking New Yorker). If you can’t hang with the New Yorker in me, rent a bike! Explore this island, especially the parkland and forest, on wheels.
- Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum)- featuring the warship Vasa, which sank in Stockholm on her maiden voyage in 1628.
- GronaLund-Amusement park open since 1883.
- Junibacken-a real-life storybook house for children, where all the beloved characters from Astrid Lindgren’s and other fairytale worlds live. The Story-train was our favorite. I fell in love with all of Elsa Beskow’s books in the bookstore and the kids LOVED Pipi’s playhouse.
- Skanson- open air museum (over 150 buildings that recall the history of all of Sweeden). Definitely my favorite place that we visited.
- Moderna museet
A stroll through Gamla Stan is a must! The history of Stockholm dates back to the 13th century and the best place to discover it is here. Stockholm’s Old Town is located on a small island in the very heart of the city. Within its cobblestone bounds are a multitude of historical sights, adorable shops, and yummy restaurants. Stroll, shop, eat and indulge in this old town reminiscent of times once past.
Boat in archipelago – No trip to Stockholm is complete without an excursion to the archipelago (around 24,000 islands). All of the islands are unique, some big and some small, others inhabited and some too small to live on. Day trip boat tours are super fun for the whole family and the only way to really wrap your mind around the beauty and vastness of Stockholm. We visited the island, Stora fjaderholmen, and ate at the Rosa villan cafe overlooking the water. I fell in love with the artisanal feel of the island and the smell of the woods brought me back to childhood memories of camping in California forests.