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Stockholm nature: parks, caves and an island

Author: Masha Kushnir 8 places in route

Travel GuidesSwedenStockholmStockholm nature: parks, caves and an island
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Description of any place usually starts with its geographic location. That said, Stockholm is situated by the sea, partly on tiny nearby islands. Its metro runs through the underground caves. The city itself is covered in numerous parks with wonderful greenery.

Skinnarviksberget
Skinnarviksberget

Skinnarviksberget is a hill in the north of Södermalm district. It offers the best city view ever. That’s why the park is always crowded. People bring their picnic hampers and plaids here. Better come early, or you won’t find a vacant space. If you are going by metro get out on Mariatorget or Zinken. Both stations are situated near supermarkets and restaurants for takeout.
If you don’t have time for a picnic, simply climb the top of the hill to make some fantastic photos. By the way, there is another reason to come at daytime – at night the place attracts beery youngsters.

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Tantolunden
Tantolunden

All local parks are open for picnics with a reasonable amount of alcohol (a bottle of fine wine will do).
Tantolunden has much more to offer: bicycle hire, volleyball field, mini-golf, open-air theater, beach, camping, hostel and even a cottage village. The latter represents a collection of small plots of land, studded with colorful cottages, beautiful gardens and orchards. The government allocated land to grow potatoes back in 1915, and there you are – the place is now occupied by Swedish country-houses.
Tanto also hosts various events. The most famous of them is Stockholm Pride gay parade, which held its 15th anniversary in 2012.

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Cave-like underground
Cave-like underground

You might want to dedicate a whole day of your trip to Stockholm metro. Its three lines offer a lot of interesting stations. The blue line is famous for its ‘rocky’ cavy stations. The red and green ones are also full of surprises. For example, Odenplan station, built half a century ato, features an exhibition booth right in the middle. Stockholm Tram Museum (today on Södermalm Island) was open in a bombproof shelter under this station from 1963 to 1989. Today it is a glazed tram platform with temporary exhibitions of works by graduates of designer and art institutions. The exposition changes once in three months.

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Rosendals Trädgård
Rosendals Trädgård

Eager to study Swedish plants? Or going to Stockholm in spring/summer? Then meet Rosendals Tradgard – the best place to buy seeds and seedlings, and also explore the local flora. Its orchard where people use to picnic, deserves special attention. Most of the apple trees are over 150 years old. I think Rosendals Trädgård is the most beautiful park in this city.

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Kungsträdgården
Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården is one of the oldest parks in Stockholm. In the 15th century it was a kitchen garden, which gradually transformed into a Royal Garden. Now it is a traditional meeting point for both citizens and tourists. The park features an ice rink around the Statue of Charles XIII in winter. In spring, when all 68 Sakura trees blossom, the day of Sakura is celebrated (on 30 April). Kungsträdgården hosts free concerts, youth festivals and other open-air events in summer and autumn. One of them is a gay-parade with colorful flags, speckled costumes, and creative posters.
Swedes are loyal to their city and ready to fight for it. In 1971 the governmental plan to construct a metro station, which called for the old elms to be chopped down, led to violent protests and even a tree-hugger campaign (people chained themselves to the elms). Eventually the trees were saved.

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Djurgarden
Djurgarden

Djurgarden is an island literally covered with attractions: here you'll see an open-air Skansen Museum, Gröna Lund Amusement Park, Vasa Museum, Junibacken, National Museum of Cultural History, Nordic Museum, Circus Concert Hall, Rosendals Trädgård Park, and so forth. It’s hard to explore all these places at one go, so it’s wise to rent a bicycle (the nearest hub is near Djurgardsbron Bridge). The best way to reach Djurgarden is by tram № 7 running from Norrmalmstorg. Return trip can be made by ferry going from the pier near Gröna Lund every 10 minutes.

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Hagaparken
Hagaparken

This English-style Haga Park was set up in times of an enlightened absolutist Gustav III who ruled in the late 18th century. That’s why the park, just like a famous trend in design and architecture, is often called ‘Gustavian’. Located a bit northwards from the historical area of the city, it invites visitors to make long walks and bicycle tours around it. You’ll discover a lot of interesting stuff here: unusual Sultan's Copper Tents (horses were kept here back then) and the Temple of the Echo (an outdoor summer dining hall). Gustav III wished to build a grandiose castle in the park, but the work on the project was cancelled in 1792 when the king was mortally wounded by a Swedish Jacobin at the costume ball. These dramatic events became the theme of Verdi's Masquerade. That said the king managed to build a small elegant pavilion in neo-classical style, which interiors he designed himself.
Sad but true, Haga Palace at the Bay of Brunnsviken is no longer open to the public: it is the residence of royals – Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel – since 2010. By the way, Haga Park features a flawless ecology. In the end of the 20th century Haga became part of the City Ecopark – the first national park in the world, which lies within the capital.

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Södermalm
Södermalm

Working class once inhabited Södermalm Island. Later on artists and musicians came to live there. Various cafés, clubs and second-hand stores opened on the island. GrandPa Shop was among the pioneers back in 2003.
I like this part of the city – rather bohemian, though not so posh, as in Ostermalm, and definitely not boring (as downtown area). Totally independent but solid Söder has its own lifestyle. It is often called Swedish Brookline; and its southern part, SoFo, can be compared to London's Soho. Anyway, things are humming in this place.
If you've never been there before, check out www.sofo-stockholm.se for sales, discounts, special offers and concerts in advance.

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