Sweden,  Urban Outdoors

On a winter morning in Djurgården

It’s my last morning in Stockholm and when I step outside and I can’t believe it. It’s snowing. Again. 4 Days in Stockholm and all I get is nothing but snow and less than 5 minutes of sunshine. Just great…

Today I’ve planned to visit  Djurgården. As you might know, Stockholm is built on 14 islands. One of these is Djurgården, or more officially Royal Djurgården, or the Royal Game Park. It’s a giant island in the central part of Stockholm and belongs to the Royal National City Park, which is actually the first national city park in the world.

Visit Stockholm was so kind to provide me with a complimentary Stockholm Card and today, when I’m all by myself since my friends had to go back to work, I plan to make good use of it.

First up is the boatride to Djurgården from Slussen. Even though I looked up the departures online, I managed to miss the boat by 1 minute so I have to wait for the next one. While the snow is coming down and I’m jumping up and down to keep myself warm, I patiently await the next departure. The ride takes about 15 minutes and before I know it, I’ve arrived at Djurgården. Today I plan on taking a city hike, based on an itinerary from the 100% Stockholm travelguide, kindly provided to me by MoMedia. Whenever I visit a new city, I always use these guidebooks because of the city walks that are described there. I love walking through a city!

On the ferry it’s just plain cold. See my face? That’s my cold face! It doesn’t matter however, because being on my way makes me happy and warm inside. Today is going to be a great day!

boat-to-djurgarden on-the-boat Djurgarden-collage

After stepping off the ferry, I feel kind of lost. The big, abandoned amusement park that’s right on the waterside looks kind of eerie and during the first bit of my walk, I see nothing but closed places and construction work going on. Upon reaching the main street of Djurgården, I’ve become so incredibly cold that I can’t help but feel like a yeti, so I decide to head down to the Vasa Museum. Now I’ll be painfully honest here: I don’t like museums. Generally said, that is, because over the past year I’ve been amazed by two really great places: the MAAM Museum in Salta (Argentina) and the Glacier Museum in Norway. Other than that, no thanks. Please don’t put me in one room with ancient clay items or paintings I don’t see the purpose of…

However I’d been told the Vasa Museum was the one place to check out. I figured that, since it was a Monday morning at 11.00 am I could easily walk around quickly to get a first impression. Djurgården is covered in a thick pack of snow and I feel like a kid. I cross fields of which I assume they are flowerbeds in the summer and make tracks in places I’m probably not supposed to walk. But who cares, it’s a Monday and I’m in Stockholm…


Somehow I finally find my way to the Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) and am happy to read online they have free wifi. Always a plus! Basically I’ve done no research before this trip and all I know is that the Vasa is a ship and this is the most impressive museum in all of Stockholm. How impressive it is, I wouldn’t have guessed. Upon stepping in, I entered the story of the Vasa. How horrible it must have been to see it go down inside the Stockholm harbor …


Even though I could have easily spent the rest of my day here, after one hour I have to leave. Well ofcourse I don’t have to but there are more things I want to do today and since I have to make my way back to the airport in the afternoon, I want to see a bit more of Djurgården …

I exit the museum and make my way over to the bridge that connects Djurgården to Östermalm and as written in the guidebook, I make my way over to the blue arch. From here, I step through the snow and follow the trail along the water. While the snow keeps falling I am amazed by the landscape. Slowly the sounds of the city disappear behind me and it’s just me and the snow. Every now and then a runner passes by (people in Stockholm seem to be running under all circumstances, very brave!) but other than that it’s quiet. A perfect Monday morning…

I try to take some pictures of myself but since there’s snow everywhere and I’m still cold, it doesn’t really work. See below.


Soon I reach the place where I planned on having my fika: Flickorna Helin & Voltaire. Without realizing it’s part of the hike I’m following, my friend Raquel advised me to go here. Upon entering it looks quiet and when I step inside I have to blink my eyes a couple of times before they are used to the dark. The first thing I see makes me really happy: a counter filled with awesome looking cakes and cookies. I have a hard time choosing so I let the girl behind the counter make the choice for me: it’s a chocolatepie with nuts today. I’ve decided not to care about my weight this weekend, dieting can be done when back home. While warming up inside and trying to understand some Swedish conversations going on, I decide I should still have enough time to make the walk as planned.


After thanking the girls one more time for serving me the excellent cake, I go outside again and shiver. It seems to get colder by the minute but that’s OK. I decide to speed up my walking pace and plug Spotify in and while Dave Grohl is singing his Last Song, I kick my feet through the fresh snow and feel totally happy. Here’s it’s just me and the rest of the world. The snow, the massive houses and the wind howling.

Next stop is the Rosendals Slott, a small pavilion, used by the royals to escape to from the Royal Palace. Even though I am not too impressed by the building itself (somehow, a slott – translated palace – should be much larger in my idea) however I still take a while admiring it. How cool it must be to live here, in the middle of this giant city park, away from the rest of the world…


From here, I realize, I only have some time left to make my way back to the central city. I still want to finish the trail rather than retracing my steps, so I keep on walking and walking.  Every now and then I pass another human being but most of the time it’s just me and my snowboots crushing down the snow. All around me it’s white. This is how winter is supposed to be… not the little blanket of snow we get in Holland for 3 days each winter and the icy roads that come along with that. A proper pack of snow, making the world a magic place and leaving space for dreaming and admiring the beauty of the world.

Djurgarden-Stockholm-2 Djurgarden-Stockholm-1 Djurgarden-1 Djurgarden-2

Eventually, after about 2 more hours of walking, I leave Djurgården and make my way back to the real world. The busy world where cars are horning and people are walking through the streets. Where there are shops and trams and everybody is living their lives. These last few hours in Stockholm were magic. True, it was cold and not very photogenic, however I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend them …

Have you ever heard of love at third sight? Well, I hadn’t, until I spend 4 days in Stockholm in January. It was my third time here and even though I’m always the one screaming “don’t put me in a city, I’ll go crazy” I realize that booking these planetickets on a whim just because I needed to get out, was one of the best choices I could have made. Those 4 days made me fall in love with Stockholm and their people. Their city parks, narrow streets and relaxing lifestyle. Stockholm and me, it was love at third sight…

If you are visiting Stockholm and are planning to using the public transportation and visiting various sights, it might be wise to buy the Stockholm Card. You can even use it to get to/from the airport with public transportation. Mine was kindly provided by Visit Stockholm. The Dutch guidebook I used for this hike, 100% Stockholm, was offered to my by MoMedia.

Want to read more about my trip to Stockholm and/or other Urban Outdoor stories? Check these:
A visit to Stockholm in pictures
Ice skating in Stockholm with ICE Guide
The Urban Outdoors of Munich

Thanks for sharing!



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