Day Trips from Stockholm
Steal away on a day trip to see more of Stockholm’s surroundings and the region’s history. Explore Stockholm’s own archipelago and islands far out in the Baltic Sea, plan extra time to explore these unique islands and town easily accessible from Stockholm.
618 92 Kolmården, Sweden
The closest thing Stockholm has to a full-scale zoo is quite impressive. Located 90 minutes’ driving from the city, Kolmården Animal Park (Djurpark) is the largest in Scandinavia with about 750 wild attractions from all the jungles, savannas, and oceans of the world. What makes the park exciting, in addition to its wide array of wildlife, is that it opened the world’s first wildlife-park gondola. The gondola takes you high above the trees—think spectacular views of the bay and Baltic—as you cruise over, coming as close as possible to animals from around the world including lions, bears, wolves, elephants, and giraffes. Marine World offers up dolphin and seal shows, while you can get up close to Siberian tigers in Tiger World. For kids, there’s a storybook setting of Bamse’s World, and an adventure camp with Sweden’s largest slide and a petting zoo.
Strandgatan 14, 621 56 Visby, Sweden
After Carcassonne in southwest France, Visby lays claim to the most important and best-preserved medieval city walls in all of Europe. The town’s citizens began building the original six-meter-high (20-foot) fortified walls in the 13th century, and they eventually grew to over 11 meters (36 feet). Today, the wall still stretches for 3.4 kilometers (2.1 miles). Walk in its shadow and explore the 36 intact medieval towers as well as numerous gateways. The North Gate offers the most impressive view of the wall, providing a sense of its enormous scale. St. Mary’s Cathedral, a few blocks inland, also dates to the 13th century.
It’s a sign of just how revered Carl Linnaeus is in Sweden that for many years many people had a picture of him, and his garden, in their pocket. That’s because the botanist, who is famed for creating the two-name system for classifying plants and animals, adorned the 100-krona banknote for many years. It’s easy to visit the garden where he did his research, as the town of Uppsala can be reached in less than 40 minutes by train. The garden was originally laid out in 1655, then redesigned by Linnaeus in 1745. You can also visit his former home, now the Linnaeus Museum. As for the banknotes: In 2017 Linnaeus was replaced by Greta Garbo.
178 02 Drottningholm, Sweden
While the enormous Royal Palace in Stockholm’s Old Town is the king’s official residence, the family lives outside the center at Drottningholm. And this being Sweden, everyone is allowed to stop by. You can visit the interior, excluding the royal family’s private wing, and then roam around the extensive grounds. The estate is also famed for its theater, which still uses the original stage equipment from the 18th century. UNESCO lists Drottningholm as a World Heritage Site: “With its palace, perfectly preserved theatre (built in 1766), Chinese pavilion and gardens, it is the finest example of an 18th-century northern European royal residence inspired by the Palace of Versailles.”
A 25-minute ferry ride from Slussen takes you to Fjäderholmarna (the Feather Islands) where you can sample slowed-down archipelago living. Once on the island, there are several artisan shops like Krukmakeri, which makes pottery, and Åtta Glas, where you can blow your own glass. You can also grab a seafood lunch at Fjäderholmarnas Krog & Magasin and then explore hiking trails and beaches all around the compact island.
About an hour’s drive from Stockholm in Nykvarn lies Taxinge Slott, which touts itself as having “Northern Europe’s largest kakbord (cake table)” with over 60 varieties of home-baked desserts, pastries, and other fikabröd. Also known as the “Cake Castle,” everything is baked locally with no artificial ingredients or semi-manufactured products and each item has a moniker like Treasure Chest, Gemmy, or Almond Flower. Once you’re stuffed, you can explore the castle’s beautiful gardens and grounds to burn off those calories.
It seems every town here in Sweden has its own “slot,” or castle. While in Tyresö, we decided to check out its medieval castle, which was built in the 1620s and is now a museum owned and run by the Nordic Museum (Nordiska museet).
Waxholmsbolaget runs ferries from Slussen to Vaxholm, and the ride usually takes about an hour each way. Probably the most visited within Stockholm’s archipelago, Vaxholm offers these main attractions: a 16th-century fortress; a harbor lined with wooden cottages; and restaurants, cafés, and shops. Day trips from Stockholm are popular, and the island’s narrow alleys are made for walking. Vaxholm also serves as gateway to other islands within Roslagen commune such as Österåker, Norrtälje, and Östhammar.