Checking Out Stockholm

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Sweden’s capital city encompasses 14 islands and more than 50 bridges on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago. It’s a vibrant modern city tempered by the historic ochre-colored buildings of the Old Town dating back to the 13th-century. It’s full of surprises too—like the elaborate art under its streets a rocking museum and a boat resurrected from a watery grave after 333 years. There’s so much to see and experience in Stockholm, let’s explore some of the highlights.

Inside the Stockholm Subway Stations

The World’s Longest Art Gallery

Stockholm‘s subway system is home to the world’s longest art gallery. Sculptures, mosaics and paintings created by 150 artists adorn the walls of 90 of the system’s 100 stations. If you only have time to catch one, head to the Kungsträdgården station on the blue line. Created by Ulrik Samuelson, the art is meant to evoke an underground garden. It is truly spectacular and even had my New York subway driving husband saying, “We need to work on our subway stations. I’m jealous.”

Rocking with ABBA

In Stockholm you can sing, dance and sleep with ABBA—well sort of. Interactive exhibits at ABBA The Museum let you join the act of the iconic Swedish foursome. Get on stage with holographic images of the band members to sing and dance your way to stardom. Try out virtual stage costumes, mix music and sing “Dancing Queen” to your heart’s content. There’s plenty of ABBA memorabilia on display including gold records, instruments and performance costumes.

As for sleeping with the group, book a room at the ABBA-themed Pop House. Connected to the museum, this hotel has ABBA-inspired rooms, a restaurant, bar, and live music on the patio playing…you guessed it, ABBA hits.

The Vasa

The Ill-Fated Vasa

Setting off on its maiden voyage on August 10, 1628, the massive warship, Vasa, was the pride of the Swedish crown…for a brief moment. Within minutes, the top-heavy vessel fraught with miscalculations sank to the bottom of Saltsjön where it remained for 333 years. Talk about a bad day at work!

But, life wasn’t over for Vasa, in 1961 it was resurrected and reassembled piece by piece like the world’s largest LEGOS set. Remarkably, it stands in the custom-built Vasamuseet. Tour guides provide an in-depth look at Vasa’s death and resurrection. Four levels of exhibits showcase artifacts salvaged from the vessel. Notably, one exhibition utilizes forensic science to re-create the faces and life stories of a number of the ill-fated passengers.

Pomp and Circumstance

Get a dose of royalty at the impressive 40-minute Royal Guards ceremony at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Donned in blue and white uniforms the impeccable guards, accompanied by a military band, parade towards the palace from the nearby Cavalry Barracks. The ceremonious changing of the guard is completed in the palace courtyard.

The palace interior yields more royal treasures including opulent chandeliers, period furnishings, golden coronation carriages and jewel-encrusted swords. As the official residence of the Swedish royal family since the 1700s, the palace has more than 600 rooms. Guided tours are available to delve deeper into the historic splendor of the palace.

Gardens in Stockholm Allotments

Allotments of Cuteness

With its abundance of islands, waterways, gardens, wooded trails and parks, Stockholm is a nature-lovers paradise. It’s not surprising to see perfectly manicured gardens at every turn. What is unexpected and unique are the allotments. In the middle of the city, residents are granted allotments for small parcels of land for gardening. Along with the color-infused gardens, the allotments have tiny brightly painted wooden garden cottages equipped with kitchens and a small room for napping or just hanging out. There are more than 100 allotments scattered about on Tantolunden’s hillside make this one of the city’s most picturesque parks.

Even if you’re not fortunate enough to have an allotment (or know someone who does!) you can still enjoy the park. Stroll along the well-worn paths or garner a front row seat to watch the passing boats on one of the park’s many benches. Visiting in winter? Check out the toboggan ride for a good time in the snow.

Isn’t it time you checked out Stockholm?