Tour the Islands
Stockholm is made up of many islands and taking a boat to visit some of them and learn more about the culture of the Swedes is a must. Just 20 minutes for Nybroplan are the nearest islands, Fjaderholm islands. I was able to enjoy the genuine archipelago environment, pleasant cafes, bathing rocks and small booths selling arts and craft. I learned how to make a ceramic heart shaped dish ( www.fjaderholmarnaskrukmakeri.com) and then went to Rokeriet Fish Smokery to smoke and then eat salmon. (www.rokeriet.nu ) It was really delightful!
Because there are 14 islands nearby, you may want to stay more than a couple of days to see all the sights. One way to see the area is by kayak. There are over 50 bridges in the Stockholm area and 30% of the city is waterways, 30% parks and greenery so the area although containing all the essentials of a big city has a relaxed outdoorsy feel.
Other important sites in Stockholm include the Parliament Riksdag building, on the island of Helgeandsholmen, and the Drottningholm Palace on the island Lovon. Check out www.visitstockholm.com to buy a Stockholm card that gives the purchaser entrance to many museums, public transportation and sights for a discounted price.
Tourists may want to visit Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum. This is Sweden in miniature; old farms and dwellings from different parts of the country have been dismantled and transported to the museum and there is a zoo that contains Nordic animals.
Both locals and tourists enjoy the green island of Djurgården, close to central Stockholm. The island is a calming environment that has been royal land since the fifteenth century.
Djurgården is also home to several of city’s top museums, attractions, and restaurants. Stop by to see the VASA Museum, the most visited museum in Scandinavia. The 230 ft warship VASA was salvaged in 1961 after being on the bottom of the Stockholm Strom for 333 years and now is the world’s only preserved 17th century ship.
Leaving Stockholm I took the fast train to Sweden’s 2nd largest city, Gothenburg, an important port and gateway to the outside world. Situated on the west coast of Sweden, the city has a total of 937,015 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. Fifteen minutes away is the Gunnebo House and Gardens, a beautiful neo-classical estate situated just south of Gothenburg. Built at the end of the 18th century, it has lovely gardens to discover and the Gunnebo has a wonderful restaurant which serves historic dishes of Sweden.
Fish Church (market)
Locals and tourist can also enjoy visiting the Feskekorka (fish church), an indoor fish market in Gothenburg. The market received its name from the building’s resemblance to a Gothic church. There are lots of different types of fish for sale at this market including a Swedish favorite, herring. Only try it if you like things really salty!
Visitors can get a new perspective of the city of Gothenburg on the new 60 m Ferris Wheel erected on Kanaltorget Square next to the Opera House and near Avenyn, the main city street. The ride last 12-15 minutes and contains 42 capsules going around 3-4 revolutions. If one ride isn’t enough for you in Gothenburg then head to the most popular amusement park in all of Scandinavia- Lise Amusement Park. I never expected to go to a theme park on a trip outside the country, but this was a refreshing and less crowded Disneyland.
Evert’s Sjobod (boathouse) arranges one of the world’s tastiest safaris- an oyster safari. Run by two brothers from their boathouse in Grebbestad, Sweden’s oyster capital, I traveled out into the archipelago aboard a wooden boat to collect and eat oysters straight from the sea, along with local seaweed crispbread- a true taste of this part of the world. About 95 % of the Swedish Oysters come from the waters around Grebbestad. This was my first time trying an oyster, but definitely not my last!
Bumpy Ride West
From Grebbestad I headed to Fjallbacka (30 minutes away) to visit the Vaderoarna (Weather) Islands, a group of islands that spread out across the sea and home to one of the coast’s largest seal colonies. The windy and warm weather in this area helps produce lush vegetation and a barren landscape. The islands are a paradise for birdwatchers, fishermen, divers and nature lovers. Accommodations on the island are at Vaderoarnas Pensionat, a guesthouse with basic rooms that are comfortable. The guesthouse serves fresh seafood, fish and vegetables. The highlight of my night on this remote island was a trip up to the lighthouse where I had a glimpse of the northern lights and snacked on fresh shrimps caught that day!