Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stockholm : A very kid friendly city that we love!



Come visit a little bit of Stockholm with us! Every year we try to pop by the Swedish Capital for a few days. My Swedish hubby has many fond memories and lovely friends in the city so we try to visit and experience what the family friendly Scandinavian city has to offer. Now with two children, our attractions and interests have slightly change. Here's a short over view for you to get a taste of Stockholm with (or without kids).

It's a very clean, compact and charming city surrounded by water ways. Stockholm today straddles 14 islands. But when the city was founded in 1252, only one area mattered—Gamla Stan. It ranks among Europe's best preserved "old towns." It's a lovely first point of interest for adults and grown up… Most kids will want to start at the Royal Palace. Souvenir hunters can find everything from Lapland knits and hand-painted Dalarna horses to kid-sized Viking paraphernalia and funny or odd trolls in this part of town.

Walking toward park-like island of Djurgården, and you will come across Scandinavia most visited museum, WASA Museet. Today the Vasa is the largest object displayed in any museum in the world. There in the middle of this giant ship hall is the Vasa, the only remaining intact ship from the 1600’s. The Vasa, an ornate warship, made a big splash when she was launched in 1628. Overloaded with canons, the top-heavy vessel didn't even sail a mile before sinking on her maiden voyage. Now she enjoys new life as the star of Sweden's top museum. Looking at the Vasa today, you'd never know she spent 333 years at the bottom of Stockholm's harbor. Almost the entire hull is the original, but the lower masts and rigging have been reconstructed to give the visitor a sense of what the ship looked like before she set sail. You can view the ship from six different levels and look at her from both above and below. There are all kinds of exhibits surrounding this ship, from “Life Onboard” and “Sweden in 1628” to the story of the discovery of the wreck and its salvaging.



Next door to Wasa, you will find one of Luella's favorite attraction: Junibacken and the wonderful world of author Astrid Lindgren. One of the most widely published authors in the world. Her make-believe characters, such as Pippi Longstocking and the Brothers Lionheart, are known and loved by kids on every continent. She is the most widely translated Swedish author ever to live. Even if you’ve never read any of her books, Junibacken is an enchanting storybook world well worth the visit, specially children up to 10 years old. It's always a popular and very busy attraction, specially on rainy day. This year, we spontaneously went one afternoon on a beautiful sunny day… we got to enjoy most of it to our self! Check the website for more details on admissions and special happenings.


Was a a and Pippi aren't the only attractions on the park-like island of Djurgården. This former royal hunting ground is home to museums that work overtime to keep families engaged: most notably the Nordic Museum (with a dedicated kids' zone and dollhouse display) and the National Museum of Science and Technology. Check out  Gröna Lund Tivoli as well, the fun fair for the whole family.

Keep walking (or jump on the tram) to Skansen, original open-air museum. I use to say Skansen is a zoo (focuses mainly on indigenous animals—like brown bears, wolves, and, reindeer) but it's so much more to it! It's a living museum, designed to show how people lived and worked in different parts of Sweden in the past. Skansen has developed into a popular public recreational area for children and adults alike. It's big attraction, where you could spend the whole day. We like for young children the petting opportunities at Lill-Skansen, an indoor-outdoor children's zoo with bunnies, miniature pigs, and more. Exotic species can be seen (at extra cost) in the Skansen Aquarium and World of Monkeys. Recommend you look into the website to plan your visit.

Since a quarter of Stockholm is covered with water the city should also be explored on the water. There is many ways to do so. You can escape the urban milieu by taking an excursion into the Swedish Archipelago: a cluster of 30,000 islands and islets. We took another option and rented a GOBOAT to explore the waterfront and the beautiful canals by water. The boats can carry as many as eight people, (no neither licence nor experience is required to operate the boat). The silent and solar cell powered boats are equipped with a table in the centre, ideal for a family friendly picnic out on the water. The staff was very helpful providing a map, directions, suggestions, ice cream and fishing net for the kids.




Stockholm is a green city with many parks well equipped for children enjoyment. We always spend hours in our favorite park: Humlegården. The park has rocks to climb, a fun playground—with municipal child-care staff who will lend you toys when their cabin is open, even lounging chairs and a little communal coffee/snack option. Keep your eyes open, you are sure to find many green retreats.



Regarding restaurants and bars, there is obviously many options. If the sun is shinning you should not miss out on all the outdoors venues. Enjoyed a lunch by the water after your WASA visit at Strandbryggan. The little bistro is located on the Djurgård Bridge with on-the-water service. The popular, well-stocked bar focuses on rosé wines and champagne. Strandbryggan serves shellfish, fish, salads and classic Swedish dishes. For easy drinks and light dishes we always stop at popular summer bar Humlan, located in a corner of park Humlegården near Stureplan. If you like food, don't miss out and visit Ostermalms Saluhall, a wonderful indoor high quality food market. The gourmet destination offers different little restaurants to try out like Lisa Elmqvist for yummy Swedish classics. For children don't hesitate to stop at the many ice cream kiosks, hot dog stands for special treats! We also love the little bakeries for cinnamon rolls (kanelbullar), chocolate balls (chokladboll) ,…. and so much more! Did I mentioned, swedish coffee? Enjoy! :)



Like me to know more and plan your visit to Stockholm, read visitstockholm.com and stockholm4kids.com.


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