Exploring Djurgården

On November 30, 2011, in Activities, Attractions, Djurgarden, Just For Fun, Skansen, Vasa Museum, by Aaron Saunders
  • Sumo

One of the most fascinating aspects of Stockholm lies in just how many distinct districts the city is made up from. But perhaps none is more diverse – and rewarding – than the island of Djurgården.

Djurgården is an island located within central Stockholm, and its many diversions are well worth your time. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Loosely translated as “The Game Park,” Djurgården is one of the most popular destinations for tourists and native Stockholmers’ alike, attracting roughly 10 million visitors per year. Located near central Stockholm, Djurgården can be accessed via tram from Sergels Torg or by boat from Nybroplan, Skeppsholmen or Slussen. And a day-trip to this fascinating island is well worth your time.

What’s truly interesting about Djurgården is just how many diverse attractions are to be found here. Everything from the world’s oldest open-air museums to raised shipwrecks to amusement parks co-exists on the island along with beautiful stretches of open forest, romantic seaside walks, and even a small residential community that calls this marvelous place home.

The Vasa Museum boasts an authentic, 17th century ship called the Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. Photo courtesy of the Vasa Museum.

Even if you devote an entire day to just exploring Djurgården, chances are you still won’t be able to see or do everything that’s available here; the offerings are that extensive. Fortunately, we’ve come up with a short list of some of our favorite – and downright interesting – attractions.

  • The Vasa Museum: Without a doubt, any maritime buff’s dream-come-true. One of the most popular museums in all of Scandinavia, the Vasa Museum houses the 17th century ship Vasa, which sank in Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage. Raised and preserved, she is one of the only intact 17th century sailing vessels in the world. New exhibits take guests through the history of Sweden in the 17th century, and guide them through the perils associated with wars at the time. A must-see.
  • Skansen: The world’s largest open-air museum showcases traditional Swedish architecture and boasts the only zoo in Stockholm proper: Wolves,  bears and elk are just some of the diverse animals on display.
  • Grona Lund: From shipwrecks to the zoo, Gröna Lund is Djurgården’s very own full-blown amusement park. Founded in 1883, it has all the traditional park mainstays like merry-go rounds and roller coasters, as well as functioning as a performance location for visiting music stars.
  • Waldemarsudde: Prince Eugen’s former mansion, Waldemarsudde now functions as a museum displaying Swedish works of art from the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Junibacken: a miniature world based on the works of popular Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Kitschy, but still enjoyable nonetheless.
  • Rosendal Palace: This structure built between 1823 and 1827 was ironically made famous for the magnificent park that surrounds it.

A roller coaster in Stockholm? That

Those are just a few of the ways you can enjoy Djurgården. The other, like so many other places in Stockholm, is to simply lose yourself on the island by taking a walk. Not only is this method of transportation highly rewarding, it’s also a great way to stumble upon something that perhaps you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Many attractions, like the Vasa Museum and Junibacken, are located relatively close to one other, making it easy to bounce from one whim to the next.

So the next time you find yourself in Stockholm, head on over to Djurgården and take a spin on that roller coaster. Gaze upon the massive bulk of a 300-year-old shipwreck. Lose yourself in the gardens of Rosendal Palace.

You’ll be glad you did.

  • Stockholmsean

    Great guide! Though no polar bears in Skansen unfortunately… just run-of-the-mill brown bears! 🙂