Hey there, I’m Jenny, Ashley’s longtime friend and writer of the first guest travel post on Wanderlust in the City! While based in Chicago, my husband, Jason, and I love to travel. This year, we ventured to Scandinavia.
We arrived at the Stockholm airport early on a Saturday morning and took the Arlanda Express to the city center. Navigating the city was very easy – we quickly found the appropriate subway line and popped out a few blocks away from our hotel, Birger Jarl. Check-in wasn’t for several hours, but we were able to drop off our bags and quickly freshen up before setting off to explore the city. The hotel was only a short, and scenic, walk to the Strandvägen, a boulevard right on the water.
Our first sight was Djurgården, a little island that hosts a number of museums and attractions. While a popular area for tourists, there were a refreshing number of Swedish families enjoying themselves here as well.
While on Djurgården, we visited the Vasa Museum, which showcases a giant warship that prematurely sank in 1628. The ship was excavated and restored to its current glory over the course of several years, and today is really something to marvel.
We also visited Skansen, supposedly the world’s first open-air museum. It’s a gigantic outdoor park that has everything from historic homes that resemble an old Swedish settlement, to a zoo, to a glass blower’s shop.
In an effort to see more of Sweden than just its most populous city, we caught an early train on our second day to visit Uppsala, a town north of Stockholm. Uppsala is home to Uppsala University, the oldest university in Sweden, founded in 1477. Since the city is pretty small, we were able to explore quite a bit in a short amount of time, making for a perfect day trip.
If you visit, I highly suggest walking to Uppsala Castle and the Botanical Gardens – both beautiful, especially with the trees changing colors all around us. Most of all, we really enjoyed seeing a different take on Swedish life, in a place that’s much less touristy. In fact, we didn’t see a single tourist while in Uppsala.
As was recommended by several travel books, we made it over to Gamla Stan, the Old Town. However, this little island – Stockholm itself is surrounded by archipelagos – was absolutely stock full of tourists, so much so that we felt overwhelmed and cramped. The only things worth seeing in this part of town were the Stockholm Palace and the Nobel Museum. Even then, I felt that a quick walk past each place was sufficient and am glad we didn’t spend more time in the area.
Overall, I highly recommend visiting Sweden and wouldn’t have changed my experience at all. In fact, Jason and I both liked it so much that we’re seriously entertaining the idea of moving there! But, as Ashley wisely stated, we really ought to spend a dark winter in Sweden before making the move!
Your future Swedish resident, signing off! Stay tuned for our Norwegian leg of the trip!