Things to Do in Sweden - page 2
The King’s Garden, also known as Kungsan, is a popular park in central Stockholm. It hosts open air concerts and other events in the summer and is home to an ice rink in the winter months. First of May demonstrations by Sweden’s left-wing parties also take place in the park each year. The park’s space can be divided into four distinct areas: the Square of Charles XII, Molin’s Fountain, the Square of Charles XIII and the Fountain of Wolodarski.
The origins of the park date back centuries. A royal kitchen garden was gradually transformed into an enclosed pleasure garden in the 17th and 18th centuries. The walls of the garden were demolished in the 19th century and, in 1821, most of the garden was replace by gravel, creating the square now named for Charles XIII. Molin’s Fountain was added in 1866, when it was the centerpiece of a Scandinavian art and industry exposition.
One of the oldest buildings in Stockholm, Riddarholm Church is the traditional burial church for Swedish royalty. Originally built as a monastery, parts of the church date back to the late 13th century. It was transformed into a Protestant church after the Reformation and the congregation was eventually dissolved at the start of the 19th century. Today, it is used only for burial and commemorative purposes. Nearly every Swedish ruler from Gustavus Adolphus (1632) to Gustav V (1950) has been buried in the Riddarholm Church, as well as Magnus III (1290) and Charles VIII (1470). The interior of the church features dozens of coats of arms of the knights of the Order of Seraphim, a tradition that dates back to the middle of the 18th century. When a knight dies, his coat of arms is hung inside the church.
Whether peeking into the engine rooms and crew’s quarters of a North Sea freighter, learning how to navigate a submarine or sipping coffee on the deck of a 1960’s passenger ferry, there are few better ways to discover Sweden’s rich maritime history than with a visit to Gothenburg’s Maritiman. Much more than just a museum, the Maritiman ranks as the world's largest floating maritime museum, comprising around 20 vessels, which are moored along the Gota River waterfront and linked together by a series of walkways.
The museum’s star attraction is the huge naval destroyer Smålan, measuring in at 121 meters long, but other notable vessels include the Sölve, the museum’s oldest ship, which dates back to 1875; the 69 meter long submarine Nordkaparen; and the 1915 lightship, Fladen. Highlights of a tour include visiting Småland’s secret cryptograph room, getting a glimpse of life at sea in the medical rooms, cabins and kitchens.
The biggest indoor food market in Gothenburg, upmarket Saluhallen hosts over forty shops and places to dine. Built in 1889 on the site of the former boatyard at Götaverkan, its iconic barrel roof was designed by Swedish architect Hans Hedlund.
Inside, shop at independently-owned delis for spices and cheeses, olives, fruits and chocolates. Look out for tasting samples as you wander! Organic, locally-sourced produce is as big as you’d expect in Sweden: look out for Saluhallen bakery, which sells all kinds of organic breads. Saluhallen Kungstorget, also known under the name Stora Saluhallen, is located a block from the canal on Kungstorget (Royal Square) in central Gothenburg, There are lots of bistro style spots with daily-changing menus that offer everything from soup to fresh fish. A few of its restaurants stay open late for summer too, and have terrace bars where you can sit outside and enjoy the Swedish sun.
Part of the oldest botanical gardens in Sweden, the Uppsala University gardens were funded by donations of money and land from King Gustav III and established in 1807 by Carl Peter Thunberg, a protégée of the world-famous botanist Carl Linnaeus. Sitting close to Uppsala Castle, the gardens display more than 9,000 plant species, some rare and many ancient, including potted laurel trees that were planted by Linnaeus himself.
The central feature of the landscaped parklands is the formal Baroque Garden, designed by landscape architect Carl Hårleman in the 1750s. Today the garden is still faithful to its original layout, thanks to extensive restoration work in 1974; the neat rows of topiary, tinkling fountains and manicured lawns all leads to the imposing Neo-classical Orangerie, added in 1787 by Jean Louis Desprez and the site of occasional botanical exhibitions.
More Things to Do in Sweden
Swedenâs oldest town nestles around Lake MÃ¤laren in the scenic, lakeland region of Lunda north of Stockholm. Nowadays a pretty town of brightly painted wooden townhouses, narrow streets, plenty of restaurants and low-key hotels, Sigtuna is crammed with classy souvenir shops and galleries along its meandering main street of Stora gatan. The township lies at the center of a region first populated in the late 10th century by Vikings, who have left behind their rich heritage here as well as in the surrounding towns and villages.
Sigtuna was the center of Christianity in medieval Sweden and it has seven churches clustered close together; now they are in various states of repair but the Viking inscriptions in the churchyards can still be clearly seen. Another evidence of Viking presence is in the townâs layout; despite the low-slung wooden buildings in the historic center being built in the 18th and 19th centuries, the original Viking grid-like plan is still adhered to.
All ABBA, all the time. Stockholm’s ABBA Museum is an interactive space for fans of the Swedish pop group to dive deep into the band’s history and trivia. With plenty of the band’s costumes, gold records, memorabilia, and much more, the museum invites its visitors to experience the feeling of being ‘the fifth member of ABBA.’ Check yourself out in their stage costumes, sing with them at the Polar Studio, interact with holograms, and even go on stage with the band.
Some of the museum’s different interactive exhibits include Waterloo, where you’ll be transported back to 1974 Brighton; The Polar Studio, where you can get hands-on with the mixing desk; and Benny’s Piano, the self-playing piano that has some special tricks in store for you.
Also included in the ticket price are the exhibits: Swedish National Music Hall of Fame and The History of Swedish Popular Music.
One of the largest and least touristic of Stockholm’s many islands, Kungsholmen is a popular retreat for locals during the summer months, when its scenic walkways and waterfront restaurants offer a tranquil alternative to the lively shopping and nightlife districts of Södermalm or Gamla Stan.
The star attraction of Kungsholmen is the grand Stockholm City Hall, which famously hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremony, and visitors can not only tour the legendary building, but take in the views from its 100-meter tall bell tower. Other highlights include the scenic waterfront promenade of Norr Mälarstand, which stretches all the way to Rålambshovs Park, the central Scheelegatan, crammed with bars and restaurants, and the harbor by City Hall, from where boat cruises head out to explore the islands of the Stockholm archipelago.
Stockholm is a popular port of call and a key turnaround point for many European cruises. As a result, this cultural capital—home to some two million people—is well equipped to handle (and entertain) travelers. Visitors can go back in time on a tour of the historic streets of Gamla Stan, lounge in well-kept green spaces or wander the interesting shops that line the bustling waterfront. And while Stockholm has a reputation for being a pricy port, there are still good options for getting around on a budget.
Passengers docking in Frihamnen can walk to the ferry terminal from port, hail a taxi or hop aboard one of the nearby buses to reach more interesting parts of town. Those who arrive at Gamla Stan can easily access the city’s electric trolleys or explore on foot.
Built around the remnants of the capital’s 16th-century city walls and crammed with significant archaeological finds, the Museum of Medieval Stockholm (Stockholm’s Medeltidsmuseum) belies its small size with a series of fascinating permanent exhibitions. If you've ever wondered how Stockholmers lived in medieval times, this is the place to find out, with informative exhibitions and full-size replica buildings offering a unique glimpse into the Swedish Middle Ages.
Encompassing a series of reconstructed medieval buildings, the museum takes visitors on a tour through the lives of the city’s former inhabitants, with displays including everything from period clothing to historic shipping vessels. Stroll through the medieval market square, learn about popular beliefs at the local church and peek into workshops to see how craftsmen and traders earned a living, then step inside a medieval home or brave a trip to the gallows.
Whether you prefer a nostalgic ride on the spinning teacups or a stomach-churning rollercoaster descent, there’s something for all ages and tastes at Liseburg amusement park, Gothenburg’s most thrilling attraction. Since opening its doors back in 1923, Liseberg has been consistently voted among Europe’s top amusement parks, drawing in over 3 million annual visitors and hosting a range of live music, dance and theater events during the evening hours.
Of course, the main draw is the amusements and there are around 40 hair-raising rides to choose from. Thrill-seekers can defy gravity on the award-winning Balder wooden roller coaster or the 1.4-kilometer Helix roller coaster; brave Europe’s tallest free falling ride, the AtmosFear; or enjoy the views atop the iconic Liseberg Ferris Wheel. Liseberg is also the center of Gothenburg’s yuletide festivities with the amusement park getting a festive makeover during the holiday season, serving up seasonal delicacies.
There are few more atmospheric ways to discover Gothenburg’s rich maritime history than bedding down in a stylishly redesigned ship cabin or dining with a porthole view over the waterfront, making the Barken Viking one of the city’s most intriguing attractions. Despite itsname, the Barken Viking bears no relation to the Norse warriors – instead, the boat was built in 1906 as a merchant ship and since retiring from service has been permanently moored in Gothenburg harbor.
Today, the striking four-masted ship floats proudly in the Lilla Bommen marina and has been transformed into a hotel and restaurant, with marine-inspired décor designed to complement the ship’s original fittings. Although the ship is closed to non-guests, many visitors choose to enjoy lunch or dinner at the onboard restaurant or sip a beer at the top-deck bar – the perfect excuse to explore Scandinavia’s largest vessel.
Buzzing with activity day and night, the grand main street of Avenyn (Kungsportsavenyn) runs for a kilometer through the heart of Gothenburg city center and makes a popular starting point for exploring the city. Laid out in the middle of the 19th century, the scenic parade is lined with stately architecture and crammed with shops, restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as offering tram links to all the city’s top attractions.
Start your walk at Götaplatsen square, home to the City Library, Gothenburg Concert Hall and the Gothenburg Museum of Art, as well as one of the city’s liveliest nightlife areas, then follow the boulevard all the way to the Rosenlund Canal, where you’ll find the grand Neo-Renaissance Stora Theatre and the Kungsportbron bridge, from where boat tours set out along the city’s canal ways.
Guarding the mouth of the Göta River, the island fortress of Nya Älvsborg was built in the 17th century to protect the city against Danish invaders and boasts a long history of warfare, coming under siege several times during the 18th-century Great Nordic War. Acclaimed as one of Sweden’s best-preserved castles, the sizable sea fortress has served a number of roles throughout the years, used as a prison in the 19th century and later as a storage facility during the First World War.
Since 1971, the castle has been maintained as a tourist attraction and boat cruises to the island are a popular choice for visitors to Gothenburg. Visits to Nya Älvsborg typically take the form of a dramatized guided tour, narrated by historic figures like King Christian IV of Denmark and Admiral Peder Tordenskiöld, while the castle’s prison cells, square tower and chapel provide an atmospheric backdrop.