Founded in 1891 by Artur Hazelius, also responsible for the Nordiska Museet, Skansen is a one-stop cultural tour of Sweden. The 150-plus traditional buildings - homes, shops, churches, barns and workshops - are organised as a miniature Sweden, with buildings from the north of the country at the north, those from the middle in the middle, and so on. Most of the structures, situated along paths lined with elm, oak and maple trees, date from the 18th and 19th centuries. The striking 14th-century Norwegian storage hut that overlooks Djurgårdsbrunnsviken is the oldest; newest is the ironmonger's shop and the co-op grocery store from the 1930s. Most complete is the 1850s quarter, with cobblestoned streets and artisans' workshops, including a baker, glass-blower and potter. Watch them work, then buy the proceeds. Nearly all of the buildings are original and were moved here whole or piece by piece from all over Sweden. Skansen's staff - dressed in folk costumes - spin wool, tend fires and perform traditional tasks (Oct-Apr 11am-3pm; May-Sept 11am-5pm).
Animals from all over Scandinavia, including brown bears, moose and wolves, are kept along the northern cliff in natural habitats. There's also a petting zoo with goats, hedgehogs and kittens, and an aquarium/zoo, Skansen Akvariet, near the southern entrance. An old-fashioned marketplace sits at the centre of the park, and folk-dancing demonstrations - with foot-stamping and fiddle-playing - take place in summer on the Tingsvallen stage.
Hunger pangs can be satisfied at a variety of eating places; the cafeteria-style Restaurang Solliden serves classic Swedish dishes and has a wonderful view of Djurgården and southern Stockholm. The 19th-century Gubbhyllan building to the left of the main entrance houses a Tobacco and Match Museum - it was a Swede who invented the safety match - and an old-fashioned café that serves simple dishes. Skansen is a popular destination on Sweden's national holidays since most of them, including Midsummer and Lucia, are celebrated here in traditional style. The Christmas market is a big draw too. Don't miss the shop by the main gate, which is packed with traditional arts and crafts. In the summer on Tuesdays, be sure to stick around for 'Allsång på Skansen', a singalong concert on the Solliden stage that is broadcast nationally at 8pm.