So we got a Stockholm Card. That means we run around, visited and got cultural like nowhere else. Because the Stockholm Card includes all the museums, palaces and visitable places you can think of and, if you’re going to pay for it, you might as well make the most of it. With careful and efficient planning, you can cover mist of the included attractions. Anyway it’s all about prioritizing, because it is physically impossible to do them all in 5 days. Especially because most of them have the silliest visitation program there is, with visiting hours varying from 10 am – 5 pm and 12 pm -4 pm. Not all the places and things we’ve seen were worth our time, so I will try to make a short subjective resume about what we managed to access.
Things worth seeing with or without the Stockholm Card. I mean I would pay to see them anyway.
Royal Palace. Apparently, one of the few royal palaces still inhabited by the sovereign families and accessible to the public. It is the place that made me clearly establish that the swedes used to have a passion for opulence in general and chandeliers in particular. The chandeliers are still there, but the opulence has toned down and gotten more subtle. The same building as the Royal Palace hosts Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, which basically means one beautiful hall filled with statues. If you have the card and you are still there, go ahead and check it out.
Drottningholm. A sort of summer royal residence, that reminded me of a miniature Versailles, both because of the luxurious interiors and the superbly landscaped gardens. It’s easily accessible, via metro plus bus, it’s set on the side of a lake and it can definitely constitute an excellent spot for a pick nick and some green unwinding. In the castle park you can also visit the Chinese Pavilion, a sort of Asian Orangery.
Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde. A superb royal villa, with impeccably crafted and maintained ornaments. It also includes an art gallery, that didn’t impress me, and a cosy restaurant, that makes you fell like you are taking a trip back in time, while also providing some fine food.
Stadshuset. That is the city hall and the place where the Nobel Awards banquet takes place, so not exactly a humble abode. Huge halls, intricate chandeliers, gold plated walls, all nice things. There is also a tower. Visits are scheduled every 45 minutes and you have to book ahead, but it is worth the extra planning, because of the great view you get once you get at the top.
Skansen. Is a sort of village museum meets mini zoo. Basically, a big park where somebody thorough together old Swedish houses and farms, elks, bears and seals. I went there with a precise purpose. To walk among the lemurs! Which i did and it was awe-some! Maybe the coolest experience of my entire vacation.
Things worth seeing with the Stockholm Card. I mean if you got the card and you can make time, it’s nice stuff that you can see.
Moderna Museet. One of the few places with long opening hours (until 8 pm), where I keenly discovered, among some contemporary modernist installations, a Dali, a Picasso, a Matisse, a Pollock, and some Andy Warhol. If you have time and you like art it’s a must.
Fotografiska Museet. The museum of photography where I saw a couple of cool exhibitions and includes a really nice restaurant on the top floor, with a great view to the city center and, I presume, great food. Here the program is even longer. (until 11 pm).
Hallwyl Museet. It’s essentially the mansion of some Swedish nobles from the 1900s, that looks now just the way it looked then and amazes you with the extremely modern facilities that’s fitted with, among them central heating, electric lighting, a gym and a bowling alley.
Things not worth seeing, not even with the Stockholm Card. I think that is pretty clear what this means.
Skokloster. The castle that requires changing a couple of transportation means and that is pretty hard to reach. It is set in the middle of a beautiful estate, surrounded by nature and gorgeous orchards, but there is nothing special enough about it to justify the long way there and the wasted time. It was, all in all, the biggest fail we did, especially because of the “wise” advice offered by some of those competent swedes that I mentioned before.
Rosendal and Ulriksdal. Two ok-ish castles, set on green beautiful premises, but that can’t really impress you if you have seen the Royal Palace or Drottningholm. (Nonetheless, the living room of the second one is one of the most cosy, elegant and tastefully decorated room I’ve ever seen.)
Gröna Lund. The city’s entertainment park, that is pretty crammed in my opinion, compared to the Tivoli in Copenhagen for example. Since I’m not into the bombastic frightful attractions I was not impressed.
Skyview. That is, actually, a small sphere you get inside of and than get in top of another huge sphere from where you can see the city from above. The panorama is better from the city hall tower, so there is no need to go for this alternative, that is also set further away.
Kaknästornet. It’s the television tower, set somewhere far far away, in the middle of some woods and can be reached via bus 69. Also offers a view from above, that can be accompanied by a cake served at the restaurant on top. As with the previous objective, the view is better from the city centre.
Vasamuseet, that is a museum built around a huge battle ship from ancient times. Ok, the ship is huge and well preserved, but I was not blown away. I suppose if you’re fascinated by ships and such, you can give it a shot.
Riddarholmen Church. The church where the Swedish kings are buried. The nicely ornate tower is worth a look from the outside, but the interior is not spectacular.
Nordiska Museet. A museum dedicated to Sweden, with national clothes, jewels, furniture and other. It is hosted by an imposing building, but you can skip it.
Royal Stables. Five horses plus a couple of nice cars, that definitely don’t justify the effort of being there at a fixed hour (1 or 3 pm), when the guided tours, that last 60 minutes take place.