The island of Djurgården is one of the Stockholm archipelago’s most visited islands, dominated by scenic parklands and former royal hunting grounds stretching along the picturesque Djurgården Canal. A haven for walkers, cyclists, and picnickers, Djurgården is also home to some of Stockholm’s top museums and cultural attractions.
One of the highlights of Djurgården is Skansen, an open-air museum and zoo devoted to preserving Sweden’s native wildlife and traditional craftsmanship, with over 150 reconstructed 19th-century buildings displaying everything from baking to glass-blowing. Another popular draw is the neighboring Vasa Museum—an impressive naval museum that houses the world’s only intact 17th-century warship, Vasa, which famously sank on her maiden voyage. Additional highlights include Gröna Lund Tivoli (Sweden’s oldest amusement park), the Nordic Museum (Nordiska Museet), and the Rosendal Palace, all supported by a variety of atmospheric waterfront cafés and restaurants.
Djurgården is a stop on most Stockholm city sightseeing tours, boat tours, and bus or bike tours. The Royal Canal Tour focuses on the city’s bridges and canals that connect the different islands in the Stockholm archipelago, including Djurgården.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Djurgården is a must-do for first-time visitors to Stockholm.
- As Djurgården comprises a disparate set of attractions, the Djurgården Visitor Center is a great place to get your bearings.
- There are plenty of eating, drinking, and picnicking options on the island.
- Most museums and attractions on Djurgården operate on different schedules according to the season.
- Many Djurgården businesses are accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Djurgården is best accessed by ferry, subway, or bus. Parking is not widely available, so driving is not recommended. The Tunnelbana from central Stockholm stops in Karlaplan, on the island.
When to Get There
Djurgården certainly comes alive in the summer, when the greenery is in full force and the locals are soaking up the sun. Skansen and Gröna Lund, two of the island’s top attractions, are most active during this time, with longer hours and lots of special events. But Djurgården’s array of museums stay open year-round, offering lots of activities and a respite from the bitter Scandinavian winter.
Originally named Kungliga Djurgården, or the Royal Game Park, the island was a game park and hunting ground for King John III in the 16th century. Over the years it has seen different additions and iterations, such as yacht harbors, a naval shipyard, and the 1897 World’s Fair site. Today Djurgården is one of Stockholm’s most popular leisure destinations, hosting 10 million visitors per year.