The city of Stockholm is a sprawling landscape of interwoven islands at the inlet of a larger archipelago. This makes the city somewhat fragmented, but allows each island to play a larger role in the layout of the city. A favorite island of many tourists and locals alike is Djurgården. Sitting southeast of the city’s shopping and historical center, it acts as an oasis, an escape from the city’s crowded streets.
Hills shrouded in dark green trees, speckled with castles, beautiful museums, bright riverside homes, and even an amusement park, Djurgården has something for visitors seeking tranquility, history, thrills, or a sunny afternoon swim.
The history of the garden dates back to the 15th century, when it was first possessed by Swedish royalty. It was named a hunting park by Swedish King Johan III, who even bought deer and elk to populate the park. Djurgården translates to “the animal garden,” aptly name, because today you might not see an elk, but you can also find swans and ducks, hear birds chirping, and see many smaller animals as you stroll around.
Throughout history, the park has changed to accommodate the desires of royal family members. Queen Christina, who ruled during the 17th century, frequented the park to see ballet performances and firework displays. In the 19th century, Rosendal Palace was built on the island to accommodate King Karl XIV Johan.
What You Can Do There
Djurgården is home to many of the city’s most visited museums including the Vasa Museum, a historical treasure that displays a 400 year old ship that sank in the city’s harbor, and was largely intact when found due to the extremely cold water temperatures. The ship has now been recovered and restored to its original design and preserved in the museum. This amazing piece of history has most visitors gawking just for its size and intricate detailing.
Other museums include the Nordiska Museum, the Viking Museum and the Museum of Wrecks. Fun visits include the ABBA Museum complete with the Swedish band’s old costumes, disco balls, and colorful exhibitions detailing the bands history.
Skansen is the world’s oldest open air museum located in the park. Here you can discover Sweden’s history and culture through song and dance performances year-round, concerts in the summer, and Christmas markets in the winter. The museum also is home to many wild animals at The Children’s Zoo or the Skansen Aquarium.
If you’re looking for thrills, you’ll find them at Gröna Lund, Stockholm’s own personal amusement park located on the southern shore of Djurgården. Here rollercoasters, high swings overlooking the city, and plenty of zany rides will give you an adrenaline boost.
For those who want to be immersed in nature. A walk along the park’s paths will lead you through gorgeous woods, past stately homes, old castles, and restaurants and bars that blend into the surrounding nature. Take a walk along the water and cross over to Strandvägen where you can peruse past Stockholm’s iconic architecture along the water and take in the scenery. Also on the north side of the park you can take a swim just off the dock by the Maritime Museum. Here private boats are docked, people lounge in the sun, and on some days children’s sailing classes are held.
There are plenty of places to dine throughout the park, with each restaurant nestled in a garden or featuring a gorgeous patio overlooking the water.
Featured Image: Djurgarden (photo by Henrik Trygg / mediabank.visitstockholm.com)