A short bridge away from Östermalm, the wealthy east side of the city, is one of Stockholm’s most characterful islands. A royal parkland dotted with harbours, colourful Swedish cottages and delightful museums, leafy Djurgården feels more like a countryside escape than part of a capital city. Here you’ll find museums that celebrate the best of Sweden and cute cafés clustered around the village-like centre of Skansen.
From Skansen, follow the coast around the island’s edge for a gorgeous walk. Stop and watch cruise ships pass on their way to Helsinki from beaches just big enough for two. If you have the time, you can walk around the whole of Djurgården on foot, but tram 7 also goes half-way around the island and can take you back to the city centre afterwards if you’re not feeling up to a trek.
For stylish, ABBA-themed rooms (yes, really), there’s Pop House. Less famous than the pop quartet but just as evocative of Stockholm are the beautiful boat-houses: grab an opulent room on board the Prince Van Orangiën, moored between Djurgården and its off-shoot mini-island, Beckholmen. For something more affordable, Scandic Hasselbacken is right in the centre of Skansen, in a gorgeous old house with an impressive garden.
To sample fresh, traditional Swedish cooking, organic vegetable garden and café Rosendals Trädgård is a treasure on the quieter east side of Djurgården.
Take a trip through an array of Nordic liqueurs at the Spirit Museum, set within an old naval building by one of Djurgården’s lovely harbours. If that doesn’t warm you up enough, in summer months the Nordic Museum has an outdoor bar with bright lights and palm trees, which can fool you into thinking you’re spending your evening somewhere altogether more tropical.
Delve into Scandinavian culture at the Nordic Museum, join the band at the ABBA Museum or head to the Vasa Museum to witness the resurrection of Sweden’s least successful battleship, the Vasa, which sank mere yards from its maiden departure.
If you only do one thing…
Head to Skansen park, an outdoor museum that takes visitors on a journey through Swedish history amid lush green surroundings. Here you’ll find beautiful deer, live demonstrations of traditional crafts and recreations of ancient Swedish houses from different regions, mapped out like the country itself.