After your overnight flight, you’ll land in Sweden’s capital. Prepare to be awed. Gorgeous Stockholm sits on 14 islands, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, and the shimmering waters of its sophisticated setting are especially stunning during the long days of summer.
One of the city’s islands, Djurgården, is home to a vast park—a stretch of the Swedish countryside with wide-open meadows and forested groves in the heart of Stockholm. It’s also the location of Stockholm’s biggest Midsummer celebration, at Skansen
. Visiting the world’s oldest open-air museum is like a journey back in time and through the entire country, with thatch-roofed farmsteads, cobblestone streets, charming churches, and real homes from all parts of Sweden. It’s fun for everyone, and a great place to celebrate the important holiday; over the course of three days, from June 19 to June 21, visitors of all ages can join traditional activities like making garlands of birch leaves and dancing around the maypole.
The island, however, also plays host to some smaller, less-crowded venues that offer more personal experiences all close by each other. Begin with some art inspiration. At the Thiel Gallery—one of Sweden’s finest art galleries—you can stroll the historic building as you peruse the impressive collection of late-19th-century and early-20th-century works by iconic artists such as Eugène Jansson and August Strindberg, and be awed by the largest collection of Edvard Munch’s art outside of Norway. Move on to the Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, a castle-like building once owned by Prince Eugen that now displays some of his best-known works, as well as that of other famous Swedish artists.
Then it’s time for some fun! If you’re traveling with kids of an entire multigenerational group, Gröna Lund is an exciting amusement park with 30 rides and a wealth of entertainment. Feel the wind in your face as you climb high in the air on thrilling ride with a magnificent city view, or take the kids on a family-friendly roller coaster.
When you’re ready to eat, Djurgården serves up a number of local favorites, offering alfresco dining under Stockholm’s blue skies. In walking distance, the restaurant at Spiritmuseum’s
craft cocktails pair well with a menu that focuses on the sea, the lake and the animal kingdom, and you can check out the famed Absolut Art Collection and delight your tastebuds with a tasting while you’re there too. Oaxen includes two restaurants, both featuring contemporary interpretations of Nordic cuisine: Krog’s menu consists of delicious and refined seasonal dishes, while Slip is a more casual bistro. Rosendals Garden
is a working farm with a café serving dishes that incorporates the vegetables, fruits, and herbs grown on site. The restaurant offers a true farm-to-table experience, with only a few feet separating them; it’s a hidden gem that’s not to be missed.
You can also visit some of Stockholm’s most interesting museums without leaving the island. The Vasamuseet
—Scandinavia’s most-visited museum—houses an enormous, restored 17th-century warship; ABBA The Museum celebrates Sweden’s legendary pop group; and the Nordiska museet offers a deep dive into Scandinavian culture, including Midsummer.
You may have a tough time deciding where to stay tonight: Stockholm boasts some amazingly unique hotels that offer a true sense of place. Perhaps you’ll pick the historic Hotel Skeppsholmen
, which features a castle-like exterior and uniquely shaped guest rooms. Originally built as barracks for the Royal Marines, the hotel has a bucolic, tranquil setting that’s replete with water views—you may not even believe you’re in the heart of the city. History also comes alive at the Grand Hôtel
, Stockholm’s waterfront grande dame, which first opened in 1874. Today, modern luxury touches every corner of this extravagant hotel, with Stockholm’s singular skyline on view throughout. Or, for a one-of-a-kind experience, opt for the Oaxen Prince van Orangiën
—a prestigious boat that’s been luxuriously transformed into space that oozes romance, thanks to a wealth of dark woods and marble. All are hotels offering experiences you’ll never forget.