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Visit UNESCO world heritage in Stockholm – culture, history & nature


A perfect summer day trip for all ages

Did you know that Stockholm boasts an impressive three UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Royal Drottningholm, Birka Viking City and Skogskyrkogården? So if you’ve created a bucket list of world heritage sites you plan to visit, tick off these three this summer! Birka Viking City and a boat trip to Drottningholm are also included Stromma’s Staycation Ticket – maximise your holiday in Stockholm by taking 7 trips in 7 days.

What is a world heritage site?

A world heritage site is a cultural or natural landmark considered to be of outstanding universal value to humanity. It’s a landmark unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance. All the World Heritage Sites in Stockholm are situated within easy reach of the city centre and are interesting in their own way. They’re also destinations that appeal to all ages!

Skogskyrkogården is a beautiful and tranquil oasis

Work began on this woodland cemetery in the early 1900s and it was added to the world heritage list in 1994. The idea was to create a burial place where vegetation and architectural elements blend in perfect harmony. A competition was held, which was won by the now world-famous architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz. Their design proposal made the Nordic forest the central experience on the site. On a hillside overgrown with pine trees, several small chapels are integrated into their natural surroundings, and the burial plots are laid out without excessive alignment or regimentation within the forest.
You can spend an entire day here, visiting the five chapels, the Granite Cross, the Remembrance Garden, the Seven Springs Way and the Almhöjden meditation grove. Take special note of the 3.6 kilometre-long stone wall that surrounds Skogskyrkogården. Stroll around and enjoy the tranquil beauty of this place. An experience for the soul!

INFORMATION: The address of the Main Entrance is Sockenvägen 492 and the cemetery is open 24 hours a day. The easiest way to get here is to take the metro green line in the direction of Farsta Strand and get off at Skogskyrkogården station – a 13-minute journey from the T-Central metro station. Start your visit in the cemetery’s Visitors Centre, where you’ll find interesting information, a shop, café and exhibition.
There are guided tours for you to take on certain days and an audio guide is available via your smartphone.

Boat excursion to Drottningholm – a unique world heritage site

Drottningholm is a totally unique destination – a historic milieu of the highest international standards. It’s high up on the list of 'must sees' for many overseas visitors when they stay in Stockholm.
Drottningholm Palace was built in the 1600s. While the rooms in the southern wing are reserved for Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden, most of the palace and its park are open to visitors all year round. While you can explore Drottningholm on your own, a guided tour obviously makes the experience more rewarding. In addition to Drottningholm Palace, a visit should include the exotic Chinese Pavilion and the magnificent palace gardens.

The palace gardens and grounds

As you stroll through the Drottningholm gardens, you pass through many different style ideals: the formal 17th-century Baroque garden, inspired by the castle gardens in France; the 18th-century English garden, with ponds and canals, islands and beautiful bridges, tree-lined avenues and winding walkways; and the more intimate Bosquet garden from the 1760s, with its arbours and large cages intended for exotic birds. The Swedish mixed forest behind the palace gives the site a wilder backdrop.

The Chinese Pavilion - the pleasure palace

The Chinese Pavilion was completed in 1753 when, on an evening in July, it was presented as a birthday present from King Adolf Fredrik to Queen Lovisa Ulrika. The king had ordered this pleasure palace to be built in great secrecy and in a Chinese style, which was the height of fashion at this time. Here you can see Swedish Rococo furniture, lacquer screens, stained glass windows, porcelain and other ornaments, probably imported by the Swedish East India Company. Several of the rooms still have their original wall coverings of Chinese silk and paper.
It’s easy to get to Drottningholm by boat from Klara Mälarstrand. The beautiful cruise along Lake Mälaren takes one hour. On board the lovely boats, you'll find a café and/or restaurant.

INFORMATION: Book your boat ticket from Klara Mälarstrand to Drottningholm – prebook for a guaranteed place onboard. Via 'The Royal Palaces' app, you can take a guided tour at Drottningholm. There’s also an audio guide available for a tour of the Chinese Pavilion. The Royal Palaces website has more information about guided tours and opening hours.

Birka Viking City – a day trip for adults and children

The island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren is the location of a unique world heritage site. Sweden’s first city, Birka, was founded here. It was the Vikings’ most important trading centre between the mid-700s and the end of the 900s. It’s now one of Sweden’s best-preserved archaeological sites and was added to the World Heritage List in 1993.
Today, it’s possible to experience the Vikings’ bustling meeting place with all your senses. Thanks to several major archaeological excavations, it’s been possible to reconstruct an entire district of Birka, using the same techniques and tools as the Vikings. You can join guided tours around the island, through the burial sites and prehistoric remains, that bring the landscape back to life.

Summer programme on Birka

There’s a jam-packed programme this summer, including warrior school for children, the ‘Strong Viking’ strongman/strongwoman competition and theme days about Ansgar, the ‘Apostle of the North’. You can live like a Viking – shooting a bow and arrow, baking bread and felting wool.
You don’t need to be a history nerd or have a world heritage site bucket list to appreciate Birka – this scenic island is well worth a visit for its wildflowers, meadows and lovely beaches. There’s a restaurant with a Viking-inspired menu and a café on the island. You’ll also find a café serving coffee, cakes and light refreshments on board the boat.

INFORMATION: It’s easy to get to Birka by boat from Klara Mälarstrand. The ticket includes a return boat trip, a guided tour of Birka, plus admission to the Birka Museum. You can read more about this summer’s programme on the Birka Viking City website.

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