Skinnarviksberget is the highest point in Stockholm, overlooking Gamla Stan and much of the city. To get there, you have to hike up a series of rock steps and eventually do a little scramble to get to the top. At night, you can find families, friends, and couples all gathered to watch the sun set over the city. It feels sacred; everyone coming together to appreciate the beauty of their home and those they have grown to love.
On my last night in Stockholm, my roommate and I climbed to the top together. We sat there in silence for a while, surrounded by laughter, stories, and barking. I think we were both appreciating our time here, the people we had met, and the lessons we would be taking home with us. At one point, I turned to her and said that I thought we had been to every part of the city. She smiled and agreed.
It did not feel like an end, but as I am writing this post, I can see Stockholm fading into a mass of green trees and blue water. Quickly, the city is turning into clouds too thick and heavy to discern anything that is happening on the surface, and last night at Skinnarviksberget feels so much more special.
In my head, I replay the scenes from this summer: working in a lab at the Karolinska Institute, exploring Budapest with my classmates, and watching the sunset from my apartment’s window. I am waltzing through a scene out of Frozen at Tyresta National Park and marveling the joy of riding a public transportation ferry. Most of all, I am filled with gratitude for the friends, mentors, and teachers I met along the way.
It is incredible to think about how nervous I was to come here, to make new friends, and to live in the largest city I had ever been to. Of course, there are things I would have done differently, and aspects of studying abroad that I still struggle with. Yet, I am so thankful that I was able to. Here are some of the places that made my experience so special. 🙂
Vaxholm is the capital of the Swedish archipelago, and while any part of the archipelago is beautiful to visit, Vaxholm is home to a variety of fun activities, including swimming, visiting the medieval fortress, strolling through the town, and enjoying a café with a cake bar. Plus, it is accessible via ferry, which is free with your SL card. I went with one of my friends, and even though it was a rainy day, we had so much fun exploring! We went to Hembygdsgårds Café, Roddarhuset, and Vaxholm Fortress.
2. Skansen, Gröna Lund, and Museums Galore
Stockholm is home to lots of fun things to do. During my time here, I went to Gröna Lund, a historic amusement park filled with rides and places to eat. My favorite ride was the swings, where you can get a beautiful view of the water and Stockholm. Skansen, the largest outdoor museum in the world, is located right by Gröna Lund. There, you can spend time with Nordic animals and learn more about the history of Sweden. I also went to the Vasa Museum, which is located on the same island as Gröna Lund and Skansen. It was surreal to see such an old and well-preserved boat. Seeing it was like a time portal to another era. There are also a lot of free museums, including the Moderna Museet, National Museum, and Snösätra, the grafitti wall of fame. These are incredible for a rainy day, and it is possible to go back many times to see new parts of the museums!
3. Parks, parks, and more parks
Stockholm’s natural beauty is unrivaled. It is possible to go kayaking in the archipelago, stroll through the city’s many parks, and picnic at the botanical gardens. My roommate and I kayaked with Långholmen Kajak, which was only a ten minute walk from our housing. It was so fun, and we saw baby ducks, beaches, and more. We also went to two botanical gardens: Stockholm University’s botanical garden and Rosendals Trädgård. Finally, I went to lots of parks, including Ivar Los park and Skinnarviksberget. I liked to go to these parks at sunset and read a good book. I was able to walk to most of them from my housing!
Cafés have always been an important place in my life. They are the perfect way to get some reflection time, read a book, or complete some homework. In Swedish culture, they have an extra importance, creating a space for fika. I went to a variety of cafés during my time in the city. Some of my favorites were Fern and Fika and à la Lo, which also happen to be some of the best vegan cafés in the city. As an oat milk lover, I was amazed that à la Lo’s default milk choice was oat milk! I also really liked Kaffeverket, which is located by Karolinska along the green line. It is right by Systrarna Andersson and Johan and Nyström, which are fun cafés. Finally, I really liked Lykke Kaffegårdar and Fosch, which is located by DIS!
5. Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan or old town is a touristy but must-see part of Stockholm. I enjoyed walking through the church at Kungliga Slottet, watching the changing of the guard, seeing the historic town square, and going on a ghost tour. It is incredible to see how the city used to look and to learn more about the history of the area. There are also lots of fun places to eat, grab coffee, or hang out with friends in the area!
I can not believe this blog is coming to an end, and I loved sharing my summer with you all! I hope that I can hear more about Stockholm and Copenhagen from you all in the future!