Whenever we visit Stockholm, we want to stay put. The city's romantic bodies of water, cozy cafés, and gorgeous modern design make us feel tingly inside. We'd frankly be happy spending all of our time eating kräm and yogurt with a side of cloudberry preserves in between museum runs, park walks, and people watching. But we recognize that we're a little bit in love with Stockholm. For those itching to explore beyond the city limits, Stockholm has a range of attractions easily reached from the city center. We're focusing on three here: the charming university town of Uppsala; the Swedish royal family's castle, Drottningholm; and a lovely little archipelago outpost, Grinda.
Stockholm Day Trips
University City: Uppsala
Highlights: university city; striking cathedral; lovely parks
Duration: five to eight hours
Exertion level: low
Accessible by: train
Uppsala, a university town located roughly 70km (about 45 miles) north of Stockholm, bears many similarities to several old, classic European university towns. Its classical buildings seem to be encased in a nimbus of serious intellectual hush. Yet despite this, Uppsala feels relaxed and spacious. Yes, the city is home to massive numbers of students, but it nonetheless feels quite mellow.
Pleasing university architecture and a student vibe aren't the only reasons to visit Uppsala. The city is also perched on the edge of Lake Mälaren, and is home to Sweden's largest church. Uppsala's Domkyrkan dates back to the 15th century. It's a massive, inviting structure. Also of interest is the Uppsala Slott, or Uppsala Castle, which provides lovely views over the region.
For more information, check out the official Uppsala tourist site.
It takes 40 minutes to travel between Stockholm Central Station and Uppsala by train. The least expensive round-trip off-peak journey costs SEK 98. The cost of a round-trip journey increases to SEK 128 during peak morning and afternoon travel periods.
Swedish Royal Tour: Drottningholm Slott
Highlights: home of the Royal Family; magnificent gardens; museums
Duration: four to eight hours
Exertion level: low
Accessible by: metro, bus, car
Designated in 1991 as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Drottningholm Slott, or Palace, is regarded very highly as a faithful representative of the grand Versailles tradition. Located on the outskirts of Stockholm, the palace and its gardens (as well as museums, a Chinese pavilion, and a working theater) offer hours of diversion and interest for those with interest in royalty, European history, and horticulture.
Since the early 1980s, Drottningholm Palace has also served as the home of the Swedish royal family. Who knows, you might just glimpse Princess Madeline while strolling the grounds.
Entrance to the Palace itself runs SEK 70 for adults and SEK 35 for children aged 7-18 and students; entrance to the Museum de Vries costs SEK 60 for adults (SEK 30 reduced). A combination ticket costs SEK 110. Admission to both the Royal Chapel and the Palace Gardens are free. The gardens of Drottningholm are quite remarkable. The "formal garden" of Drottningholm is bewitching in its careful symmetry.
There are a number of ways to get to Drottningholm Palace. The easiest way is to take the metro to Brommaplan, connecting there on one of a number of municipal buses to the palace. If pursuing this transportation route, we recommend obtaining a multi-day transportation pass instead of purchasing a ticket for a single journey. During the summer months, it's also possible to get to Drottningholm by boat. Check out the Strömma Kanalbolaget site for schedule information. Roundtrip journeys cost SEK 110.
For more details about Drottningholm Palace (as well as a lot of additional information about the royal family!) check out the Swedish Royal Family's site.
Archipelago Action: Grinda
Highlights: swimming; hiking; outdoor fun
Duration: six to ten hours
Exertion level: moderate to high
Accessible by: ferry
The island of Grinda, located about an hour's ferry journey east of Stockholm, is one of the nicest and most easily accessible spots in Stockholm's archipelago. It's known by Stockholmers to be an especially "green" island, full of lush foliage in the summer. While Grinda comes alive in the summer, it's a pleasing destination year round.
During the warmer months, Grinda is one of the best places to swim and appreciate the joys of the Swedish summer. It's not difficult to find a good spot for sunning and swimming in the often quite cold waters of the archipelago. Careful! The island also features a nice hiking path which should easy for most.
To get to Grinda from Stockholm, we recommend Waxholmsbolaget, which runs ferries between Strömkajen and Strandvägen and Grinda's south harbor several times a day year-round. A one-way journey costs SEK 80 (SEK 48 reduced). Another transportation alternative is Cinderella Båtarna (site in Swedish), which runs ferries between Strandvägen and Grinda between April and November. One-way ferry journeys between late June and late August cost SEK 110. All other times, one-way ferry journeys cost SEK 90.
We like the Grinda Wärdhus site. The Grinda Wärdhus is a highly touted restaurant and hotel located roughly at the island's midpoint.
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Stockholm blog posts
- 10 free museums in Stockholm
- Traveling by Ferry in Europe: Down to the seas again
- European Rail Connections: Headline changes in December 2012
- Stockholm: Three meals to remember, with photos!
- Stockholm: 5 budget tips to keep things cheap
- Eurolines: International coach journeys in Europe
- Capital Connections: New links in high-speed rail networks
- European Ferries: 4 interesting new options for 2011
- Stockholm Cheap Eats: Dagens lunch
- Stockholm Day Trips: Viking history at Birka Island