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- Posted:Friday, May 3, 2013
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5 free things to do in Stockholm
The Swedish capital is one of the most colourful and delightful cities in Europe. Just walking around the city centre gaping at the amazing buildings and enjoying the Swedish welcome can be an activity in itself. But if you fancy something with a little more purpose, here are five free things to do in Stockholm, as told by Kathy Calmejane – you can find her excellent blog Kat Tales here.
1. Take a stroll in Djurgården
The island of Djurgården (‘Game Park’) is one of the many that make up the city of Stockholm. You will find all the main museums and tourist attractions there, but this vast wooded park is also very popular with Stockholmers on sunny days. It's a delightful place to wander around and it’s easy to reach on the old trams that run every 12 minutes or so from the city centre (or by bus 44 or 47). As you cross the bridge, keep your eyes open for the spectacular blue-and-gold gate on the left.
If you carry on past the museums, next to Gröna Lund amusement park you will find the area of Djurgårdsstaden, with many 18th-century wooden houses. The terrace of Lilla Parkkaféet café is a great place to stop in this area for a ‘fika’ (coffee and a piece of cake) and to rest your legs.
2. Dive in!
Needless to say, with millions of islands and lakes to choose from and gloriously long summer days, the Swedes love nothing better than to be on or in the water. In Stockholm the water is so clear that people fish from the banks in the city centre!
Långholmsbadet and Smedsuddsbadet are two well-known beaches close to the centre of Stockholm. Although they can get a little crowded in the summer they are a great place to relax, take a dip and mingle with the locals. Both beaches can be reached by taking buses numbers 4, 40 or 77.
3. Discover Stockholm's historic heart
The cobbled streets of Gamla Stan (‘Old Town’) are a must-see when in Stockholm. The beautifully coloured and decorated buildings, the antiques and arts shops and bars and restaurants hidden away in cellars and alleyways make it terribly picturesque.
Here you will find the Kungliga Slottet (‘Royal Palace’), built in the 18th century, where you can watch the changing of the guard (between 12pm and 1:15pm, depending on the day and month). Storkyrkan cathedral and Riddarholmen church are both nearby and free to visit.
4. Catch some culture
Free museums in Stockholm are becoming rarer. Many previously listed as free have now adopted a paying entrance. Some of them are still free, and others have free sections or are free within certain opening times.
The famous Kulturhuset has six floors of galleries, libraries and theatre spaces. Most of the exhibitions are ticketed but there is always something free to do such as browse the library, admire the fifth-floor views or browse the shops, including the famous Designtorget.
The Moderna Museet (with modern art) is partly free on Fridays from 6pm to 8pm, and some of the sculptures can be seen for free in the park outside.
The Arkitekturmuseet (for architecture and design) is free on Fridays between 4pm and 6pm and for under-19s all the time.
5. Commune with Nature
While Djurgården is still unmistakeably an urban park, the Nationalstadspark has a far more natural vibe. Spot the squirrels, foxes, elks and grazing sheep and admire the many fascinating buildings including the stunning Koppartälten (‘Copper Tent’), which now houses a restaurant and café.
Nationalstadspark is over 10km long from end to end so renting a city bike can be a good idea, or you can get there by bus or metro.
By Kathy Calmejane