Södra Djurgården - An island in Stockholm's National City Park
Only a few minutes by bus, tram or ferry from Stockholm's city centre, the idyllic island of Södra (south) Djurgården awaits you with parks, meadows and woods for relaxing strolls; several museums and an amusement park - just to mention a few things. Of course you can also walk here from the city centre and enjoy the view across the water from the waterfront.
This island (as well as the northern part of the national city park) has managed to remain relatively unexploited thanks to being the royal hunting grounds since late medieval times, and there's still a good chance to come across deer and other wild animals here. Today, however, there's no hunting going on - the island is now protected and preserved as a part of the national city park.
One of Djurgården's most popular attractions is the large open-air museum Skansen, where you can see traditional buildings that have been brought here from different provinces - if Stockholm is your only stop in Sweden, you can still get a taste of the rest of the country by visiting Skansen! A number of Nordic animals can be seen here too, including reindeer, moose, wolves, bears and lynx. Of course there are also restaurants, cafés and craft shops, and it's a good idea to allow plenty of time for your visit. There is a lot to explore here!
Opposite to Skansen is the amusement park Gröna Lund, where you can for instance try the world's highest star flyer (I you dare!). Children of all ages may also enjoy a visit to Junibacken, where Astrid Lindgren's stories are brought to life. Katla the dragon may be a bit scary, though!
A little bit further out on the island is Waldemarsudde, former home of prince Eugen, the 'painter-prince' who was one of the leading Swedish landscape painters in the late 19th and early 20th century. Here you can see his art collection as well as temporary exhibitions, and the garden is dotted with sculptures and places where you can sit down and rest awhile.
The museums on the island include The Vasa Museum, where you can see and learn all about the salvaged warship Wasa that sank in the 15th century on her maiden journey, and the recently opened Abba The Museum, where you yourself can experience what it feels like being a world famous pop star!
It feels safe to say that there's something for just about everybody at Djurgården. Still, what's most remarkable is the proximity of such a peaceful haven to the busy streets of a modern capital.