Image credit: Filippo C
The effortlessly on-trend and endlessly tranquil city of Stockholm is undoubtedly a capital like no other. But if you’re in the market for more of a smörgåsbord of Swedish culture, here are five nearby destinations that need to be at the top of your list.
If you’re in the general vicinity of Sweden’s Royal Family, it would be rather rude to miss out on paying them a visit. It’s highly unlikely you’ll have any trouble finding them, given that the Drottningholm estate is rather dramatically situated in the middle of Lake Mälaran.
Though the palace itself is truly beautiful, we recommend seeking out the Chinese Pavilion for a real treat. Built as a surprise birthday present for Queen Lovisa Ulrika in 1753, this painstakingly constructed tribute to all things Asian (such was the fascination with the mysterious Orient at the time) makes a striking change from the sleekly designed Swedish architecture you’ll see in the city, and still houses a number of far-eastern treasures to admire.
At 32,000 square foot, this exceedingly slick space certainly has a reputation that precedes it. As one of the country’s largest galleries, it plays host not only to a wild and wonderful array of contemporary creations, but also to a wealth of other inspiring artistry and events with originality at their heart – opera, skateboarding festivals, TV tapings, live painting workshops; you name it.
Not satisfied with simply housing awe-inspiring exhibitions, The Artipelag has even ventured into the realms of the restaurateur and prides itself on providing a smörgåsbord menu directly influenced by the Stockholm archipelago itself.
Tyresta National Park
Something of an anomaly in terms of their proximity to a capital city, the primeval forests of Tyresta remain virtually untouched by the world of man. Even more impressive, however, is that some of the trees that line the snaking trails leading down to the very edges of the chilly Baltic Sea have been around for a trifling 400 years.
Entrance to the immeasurably abundant and wildlife rich reserve is gained through a bordering village of the same name – small in stature, maybe, but thought to be one of the sites pre-historic humans first settled.
Located on the fantastically named island of Björkö, this archaeological epicentre is undoubtedly the holy grail for anyone with a liking for all things Viking. You will have to hop on a boat to visit Sweden’s oldest town, but that only adds to the overall experience.
Alongside a museum practically bursting at the seams with artefacts recovered from various excavations throughout the centuries, visiting day-trippers can also take in their surroundings from the ancient fortress that sits at one of the atoll’s highest points; perhaps they could even take a minute to ponder just how on earth this tiny landmass was, at one time, the most important place for trade in the entire country.
1 hour 30 minutes
As one might expect from a town which boasts a 15th century university, a castle constructed in the Vasa dynasty, botanical gardens, nobleman’s museums, ancient burial mounds, a specialist sports stadium and the almighty Domkyrka, Uppsala has long been seen as the cultural hub for those seeking a small taste of everything Sweden has to offer.
Thanks to the flow of the Fyris River – which effectively splits the town in two – you’ll be able to find your way between the old and the new quite easily depending on your tastes. Though a student atmosphere buzzes throughout the town, you’ll never be too far from a quieter spot to sip some coffee and nibble on a deliciously warm cinnamon bun or two.