I made the most of my last two days in Stockholm. Taking ferries, I managed one UNESCO site, two museums, Gamla Stan, and two more stellar restaurants.
Things to do in Stockholm with only two days:
1. Sightseeing. Gamla Stan has many small streets to walk, the main square (Stortorget), the cathedral (Storkyrkan), and the Royal Palace to name just a few sites. It is easy to spend more than a day just walking the small streets of Gamla Stan. The entire waterfront and the parks would take many more days to cover. There is so much to see without even entering a museum, it keeps you busy.
2. Drottningholm. I took the first ferry out to the Queens country palace (Queen Hedvig Eleonora from the 17th century), now a UNESCO Heritage Site. The palace itself is interesting with beautiful rooms, but even more so I enjoyed the tour of the theater on site, dating from 1766. It is still in use today using the original stage workings. The English language tour was worth waiting for. A walk through the gardens and grounds, and a tour of the Chinese Pavilion covers a large area and much walking is involved. The ferry ride to and from the palace from near downtown was an excursion of its own. I can recommend the fish soup at the Drottningholm cafe. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/559
3. Museums. In one day you can visit the Nordiska Museet and the Vasa Museet. Both are located on Djursgarden, another ferry ride from Gamla Stan. (Skansen, another very good outdoor museum is in the same area, but that takes more time than I had). Again, the ferry ride is another sightseeing ride. The Nordiska Museet has exhibits on Swedish trends and traditions from 1500 to the present. I particulary liked the examples of table settings from 1500 – 1950. The Vasa museum is truly amazing. The building of the ship was an accomplishment, the sinking on August 10, 1628 a tragedy, but the most amazing part of the museum is the salvage of the ship after 333 years at the bottom of the harbour. http://www.nordiskamuseet.se/en http://www.vasamuseet.se/en/
4. Shopping for the Dalecarlian horses. I love these carved symbols of Sweden, and can’t seem to get enough of them. There is a small shop near the main square that has a few cabinets of rare and collectable horses. I spent some time in this shop, and others, looking for just the right one. These carved horses became famous after the 1939 World Expo in New York. Of course they were carved for hundreds of years prior to that, but it was the exhibit at the World Expo that catapulted the little horses to fame. The Nordiska Museet called them “The greatest sales success of the Stockholm Exhibit.” http://www.woodenhorsemuseumsweden.se/
From the website of the Wooden Horse Museum:
The first Dala horse factory was started by the Olsson brothers in Nusnäs, a village in Mora, in 1922. The second one was started in 1928. Both factories are still run by descendants of the Olsson family today.
During the 1939 World Expo in New York, 20,000 wooden horses were sold at the Swedish Pavilion. The same year, almost one ton of Dala horses was shipped to the USA. Mass production of Dala horses began after this Expo.
The simple toys made for Swedish children became Sweden’s No.1 souvenir and symbol, as well as a collector’s item.
5. Good food. I can now recommend three wonderful dinner spots in Gamla Stan. Fem Små Hus is a cozy place with many levels descending into the cellar. I had the best shrimp appetizer of the trip here, plus a wonderful lobster dinner. For my last dinner in Gamla Stan, I dropped into Mårten Trotzig. I didn’t know what to expect, but ended up having the best fish soup of the trip. http://www.femsmahus.se/en