Add a day and visit Gotland

Gotlandsflyg airline is opening a direct route to Stockholm on September 18 2010. So why not add a couple of extra days to your Stockholm visit and travel to the island of Gotland, with its lime stone rock formations and the picturesque and popular medieval city, Visby.

Excursion to Gripsholm Castle and Mariefred

Gripsholm Castle and park

Mariefred town with the magnificent Gripsholm Castle by the lake Mälaren is well worth an excursion. My husband and I went by car, but I do recommend to take the historical steamship Mariefred to Mariefred. Launched in 1903, it has trafficked this route ever since. You can eat lunch on board in the beautiful dining saloon. Mariefred also has a narrow-gauge historical railway. The charming town center has numerous charming restaurants, cafés, and shops offering something really nice during a daytrip.

Gripsholm is known as Gustav Vasa's castle, as it was he who built the castle here in 1537. See the Swedish State's collection of portraits - featuring prominent Swedes from the days of Gustav Vasa to present day and don't miss out on the palace theatre.

The castle is situated by the lake Mälaren

The picturesque Mariefred town
Wintergarden by the castle

Visit the charming Sigtuna

Swedens oldest city Sigtuna is a lovely and picturesque town one hour from Stockholm by train. The city offers plenty of nice shopping, cafées and some good sightseeing opportunities as well. Dont miss out on the historical sites and The Rosersbergs Palace, which is the only royal palace that you actually can stay at. Here is an itinery:

  • Start at the Tourist Office on Storgatan (beautiful building and great souvernirs)
  • Visit a café! Tant Brun is an exellent choice but there are some 10-20 cafées to choose from
  • Lunch at 32 rum & kök or the top class 1909 Sigtuna Stadshotel
  • Stroll along Storgatan-street and along the shore and do some shopping.
  • Learn more about the findings, vikings etcetera at Sigtuna Museum
  • Visit the historic sites, the ruins, the runestones and the town hall..
  • Rosersbergs Palace

Me and my colleagues visited Sigtuna yesterday. And this is our story...

We met up with the Managing director Camilla and Sofia who works with PR at Sigtunaturism outside their tourist office situated in a garden with a view of lake Mälaren. What an office!

We started with some morning coffee and a "kanelbulle" (swedish cinnamon roll) at Tant Brun a café in beautiful red cottage from the 1700's. (Johanna and Camilla in the image). Look at the size of that bun - it tasted lovely!

The name Tant Brun (aunt brown) comes from the children book author and painter Elsa Beskow's books about two children (Petter and Lotta) who grows up with three sisters (aunt green, aunt brown and aunt lavender) - if i remember correctly. Mrs Beskow lived in Sigtuna. The book Petter and Lottas Christmas have defined christmas for many swedish children.

Here's a live aunt Brown... serving buns and coffee in an authentic setting.

This is the city landmark, the Sigtuna Town Hall, is the smallest one in Sweden - and maybee the smallest in Europe. Anyway, its surely its the cutest in Europe!  Never has a history lesson been so fun. Our guide Karin made everything come alive...

'She told us that the inhabitants of Sigtuna could enter the town hall whenever they wanted. Behind one of the shutters you could find the key. Karin vivedly told us about intoxicated inhabitants that used the key when it was too far to walk home....

Sigtuna was founded some 1000 years ago and is one of the first christian cities. There are plenty of churches, runestones and churchruins in the city. The Saint Mary church is a red brick church built in the mid-13th century and the parish church of the town. (Saint Olafs ruin in the image). Visiting the museum Sigtuna museum is definately a must. We met up with an archaeologist, Anders, at the museum and it was really interesting to hear of his personal findings. Wow.

The city is very picturesque. Here are some typical Sigtuna houses...

We ate lunch at the newly opened "32 rum & kök" restaurant, hotel (32 rooms) and conference 15 metres from Lake Mälaren. They offer a really nice atmosphere and good tasty food. I hope to get back to try the hotel part. Its a family business with the wife in the reception, the husband serving, the brother in the kitchen and the father that can do a wedding ceremony if needed. They have just opened a out door terrace viewing the water...

We took the car to the Rosersberg Palace, which is one of HM the Kings own palaces and went for a guided tour. A visit to Rosersberg Palace means taking a step back into an authentic royal milieu from the turn of the 19th century. The permanent interiors have been untouched since 1860. The best of all - you can stay here!

The hotel lobby is in the right wing and the rooms are in the left and right wing of the palace. Rosersberg Hotel & Konference offers really nice rooms and conference facilities viewing the beautiful park. In the morning they serve breakfast in a breakfast basket delivered to your room - I great idea. They offer 58 rooms 43 of them being single rooms at the moment. The rooms are newly refurbished (images on the site does not do them justice) and they are adding new double rooms.

We enjoyed an afternoon tea with the general manager of the hotel, Pär Hernell. The café offers a great view of lake Mälaren...

Time to go home...

Visit Gustavsberg, part 2


Photo: Gustavsbergs porslinsfabrik
In my snort summary earlier about Gustavsberg I forgot to write about the Porcelain factory, and thats a shame. The factory have been producing porcelain since 1827 and is nowadays privately owned. Its the only porcelain factory in Sweden and well worth a visit. The website is unfortunately only in swedish.

Gustavsberg - an archipelago tour in the winter




Photo: Gustavsberg Expo, Bistro and Hamn
Come and enjoy stockholm's scenic archipelago and the unique heriage of the old gustavsberg Porcelain Factory, says the broschure of Gustavsberg Harbour - and I do agree. Go here by boat (in the summer) or by bus (nr 420, 422, 424, 425, 428-430, 474, 492) from Slussen. The area is nice and on a relatively small area there are plenty of things to see and do:
1) Gustavsberg Porcelain Museum (discover some of the top ceramics, among them porcelain of Stig Lindberg and the Nobel dinner set etc)
2) Gustavsberg Art Gallery, Glass Expo and Studio shop at Gula Byggningen. The artgallery opened in June 2007 and is devoted to present top contemporary art in ceramics and glass. The gallery also houses a display of unique art for sale.
3) Tornhuset Gallery selling nice nostalgia things and beautiful black and white pictures from Stockholm and Gustavsberg. Tornhuset also has a nice café with a view over the lake.
4) Antikhuset, specialized in selling vintage china and works of art from Gustavsberg during the years 1850 - 1990
5) Gustavsbergs Glashytta (Glassworks) where you can see and try to "blow" glass
6) In the same building as the Glassworkds you will find Restaurant Glashuset which is a really nice restaurant, there is also a café in the Tornhuset Gallery and a Bistro (image above) with the interior made of ceramics.
7) Factory outlets of  HPF Household porcelain factory, Hackman-Rörstrand, Villeroy & Boch, Orrefors Kostaboda.
Read also about the Porcelain Factory .

Visit lake Mälaren


Lake Mälaren is Swedens third largest lake and makes up one half of the waterfront in Stockholm - the other half beeing the much larger Baltic Sea. Lake Mälaren has played a very important role in the history of Sweden and of Stockholm of course. Birka Viking village and Drottningholm Palace are two examples of attractions in the lake area. But there is much more to see in the area. Mälarturism (Mälaren touism) is a network of the citys around the Lake promoting the area from Stockholm to Sigtuna, Gripsholm, golfing, harbours etcetera. Check out more info in Swedish only

Gardens open for public


Photo: sjuträdgårdar
Private gardens open for the public is a relatively new phenomena in Sweden. SvD is writing a new series about open gardens in Stockholm, starting today with a wonderful red colored garden and a beautiful turn-of-the-1900-century house. Seven totally different gardens from the wild one on Lidingö to the herb garden on Långholmen are working together. Visit one of them, or all. All you have to do is to pre book.

Manor houses & palaces around Mälaren


Photo: Gripsholm Slott
Stockholm is surrounded by freshwater on one side and saltwater on the other side. Within a 150 kilometre radios from Stockholm you can reach some 20 palaces, each with its own splendour and treasures. They lay as pearls on a necklace round lake Malaren. Why not visit these buildings of great cultural significans, from dazzling royal abodes to privately owned estates? Enjoy the generous selection of cakes and pastries at Taxinge-Näsby, Gripsholm Castles large portrait gallery for example. Most of them can be reached by boat or by local transports. Starting from Stockholm and go south and end back in stockholm from the north: Sturehov, Taxinge-Näsby, Gripsholm, Mälsåker, Sundbyholm, Fiholm, Strömsholm, Västerås, Engsö, Grönsöö, Wik, Uppsala, Skokloster, Rosersberg, Görväln och Svartsjö palaces.

Viking for a day at Birka!

Photo: Vikingboat, Birka
Fascinated about the Vikings? Then experience the real thing at Birka. Birka is on the UNESCO world heritage list and is still an active excavation place. During the summer the island is packed with Viking craftsmen, merchants and activities. The beautiful boats are tied up, and the smells of tar, smithies and campfires are in the air. You can try to row a Viking boat, or throw a spear and youngsters can also try painting their own shields or baking bread.

Children?s activities are also available onboard the m/s Victoria during the morning trip from Stockholm, and Viking period clothes can also be borrowed onboard. If you take the morning tour, don?t miss the dramatised tour.

Let Snerrir, the ?brave? warrior, Tora the bondswoman, and the rich and vain Brynhilde take you through their everyday life in the trading metropolis of Birka! Next summer Strömma Kanalbolaget will offer families to rent a furnished Viking period house, including diner and loan replica clothes. The evening is spent around the campfire with merchants and others. (30th June? 19 th Aug).

8 Water ways

Photo: from Stockholmcharter

Stockholm the city on water offers a great variety of water-vehicles. The only limit is the size of your wallet. 
  1. Rowing boat in the city:  Djurgårdsbrons sjöcafé, Djurgården: 85 SEK/hr, 400 SEK/day
  2. Rowing boat in the archipelago: Free of charge with ?båtluffarkort? (hop-on card) from Waxholmsbolaget
  3. Pedal boat: Djurgårdsbrons sjöcafé, Djurgården: 100 SEK/hr, 300 SEK/day
  4. Canoe in the ArchipelagoResarö
  5. Sauna float:  First hour: 4875 SEK, following hours: 1875. Skipper, towels, soap etc is included.
  6. Waterscooter in the archipelago  at Rindö harbour, costs 1250 SEK/hr and includes fuel, security and insurance.
  7. Sailboat
  8. Luxury yacht   

Unusual ways to see Stockholm


Do you seek adventure? Stockholm offers a great variety of ways to explore the city and its beautiful surroundings. With Viamare sjöflyg (seaplane) you can fly over the city and land on water in the archipelago. From Bromma Airport to Grinda or Sandhamn takes about 20 minutes. A hot-air ballon is another unique way to see Stockholm, but if, when how and where you will fly depends all on the weather conditions. A guided tour with Segway is a relatively new way to explore the city (segway a electric gladiator-looking vehicle) and with a RIB-boat you can explore the archipelago in high speed. You can also go on a archipelagorace, a fast sightseeing tour.

2 boat sightseeing ideas

There are three new ways to explore Stockholm this year. Strömma has introduced three new boat sightseeing tours; The first is Good Morning Stockholm , a sightseeing tour for stressful early birds. The two other are; Swedish Wilderness, a half day tour to Tyresta Nationalpark, in English and Swedish. An addition to the regular sightseeingtour Nybroviken-Djurgården, the Stockholm Sightseeing also stop at Masthamnen to pick up cruise passengers.


Goodmorning Stockholm sightseeing for early birds

Are you an early bird? Then you?d love the ?good morning Stockholm tour?. Experience a very different Stockholm from the water ? early in the day, as the city awakens, when the waters lie perfectly still and sweet birdsong echoes in the glittering morning light. The boat takes you from the Old town, Stockholm?s oldest parts, via Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm?s most modern parts, out to Fjäderholmarna ? the innermost islands of the Stockholm archipelago and Djurgården. The tour starts at 08.30 and takes 2,5 hours and costs SEK 150. The tour runs daily June 2 August 18 from Nybrokajen.

Art returns to Vinterviken

Skulpturens hus in Vinterviken/Aspudden closed down in November 2006. But has reopened again under the name Wintervikens konsthall and is now runned by the popular café next door. Winterviken. In 1865 Alfred Nobel constructed the world?s first nitropglycerin-factory in an area called Vinterviken in Stockholm. Two years later he invented the dynamite and manufactured it in this location undtil 1920. Today the factory-area is transformed in to an art-gallery, and a nice recreational area with cafées, allotment gardens and a beautiful park area by lake Mälaren. In the summer the outdoor ecological Vinterviken gardens serves sandwiches and music by local musicians. The area Aspudden, Midsommarkransen och Telefonplan is one of the trendier suburbs in Stockholm.

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