Djurgården is the green island in Stockholm City where you find Stockholm´s number one museum – the Vasamuseum. Here you also find the very popular ABBA-museum, the open-air museum and zoo Skansen and the amusement park Gröna Lund. If you go a little bit further off the beaten track Djurgården has a lot more to offer. Things that you would never have expected to find that close to the city center. Walking or biking the 10 kilometres all around Djurgården you find meadows, red little cottages, sandy beaches, windmills, fancy restaurants, lovely gardens and lawns where you can have a picnic.
Most of this beautiful 10-12 kilometres path around Djurgården is gravelled stone. The route is not signed but easy to follow since you follow the shore more or less all the way around the island.
If you choose to go by bike you have to pay close attention along the way and adjust your speed since this is mainly a walking area although biking is permitted.
You can also go by paddle boat around the bay or rent a kayak for a couple of hours. Going by kayak all around Djurgården will take you about 2-3 hours and the distance is a about 12 kilometres.
There is a really good rental shop for bikes and kayaks on Djurgården right after you have walked across Djurgårdsbron. You rent bikes and kayaks on a first come, first serve basis.
Finding the start of the hike is often the most difficult part but this one is supereasy to find. It starts by the blue gates to the left right after you have walked across Djurgårdsbron.
The first part takes you along a bay – Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. On the other side of the bay you see some rather big villas. There are 12 of them built between 1910-1920, originally built for private persons but later on turned into embassies.
Behind the villas to the right you can get a glimpse of the American embassy from 1955.
A kilometre later you pass by the road to Rosendals trädgård on your right hand side. The latter is a true oasis and if the weather is nice it is very well worth it to have a cup of coffée, a sandwich or soup in the beautiful garden surrounding Rosendal. There is also a shop selling pots, seeds and plants.
The rest of the walk along north coast of Djurgården is along a tree-lined path along a channel, the Djurgårdsbrunnskanalen. There are three bridges crossing the channel along the way.
This is a very popular track for people running during their lunch break or in the morning. One popular route is running from Djurgårdsbron to one of the bridges crossing the channel and then back. Running back and forth to the most distant bridge is about 7 kilometres and to the one in the middle is about 4 kilometres.
There are also a couple of small sandy beaches along the channel where you can go for a swim.
At a distance, you see the 170 metres high Kaknästornet from 1963 rising up above the trees. It is the highest building in Stockholm, today closed to the public.
Reaching the most eastern part of Djurgården brings some lovely views of the archipelago and it suddenly gets a lot more windy and less crowded. Most people turn around before reaching this part of the island. Don´t! There is so much more to discover.
Walking a little further you arrive to the southern part of the island where you pass by the Thielska galleriet, an art museum.
Continuing along the southern coast line by Saltsjön (Salt lake) the next large building is Manilla, a school for kids aged 6-16. It is an impressive building with views of the bay.
You then reach a small harbour and the newly opened Aira, a restaurant by one of Sweden´s famous chefs – Tommy Myllymäki. They serve lunch and dinner. Be sure to book weeks in advance.
From here you reach some truly hidden gems of Djurgården: gardens, a windmill, a beach and little red cottages. Here you also find the museum Prins Eugen - Waldemarsudde, an art museum. There is another restaurant at the museum.
Prins Eugen was born in 186 and was the youngest son of king Oscar II and queen Sophia. At an early age he studied art and also spent a few years in Paris. Around 1900 he bought Waldermarsudde and besides painting he also developed an interest in garden design.
Continuing past Waldemarsudde you reach Ryssviken (the Russian bay) and the tram station Waldemarsudde. From here you walk a bit away from the water along a road for about 10 minutes.
There is a small island called Beckholmen that you reach by a wooden bridge just outside Djurgården. To go there you turn left as you pass by the main entrance of Skansen on your right hand side.
Close to the bridge to Beckholmen you also find one of Stockholm´s most famous restaurants, the 2-star Michelin restaurant Oaxen krog. This place is great, especially in summer time when you can have the aperitif on the terrace overlooking the channel between Djurgården and Beckholmen. You have to book weeks in advance. You can also stay overnight in a boat right by the restaurant if you like.
Right beside the restaurant is a bistro, Oaxen Slip. Preebooking is necessary.
Continuing along the water you pass by several museums like the Abbamuseum, the Spritmuseum, the Vasamuseum and Junibacken. The last one is inspired by the stories by the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. This place is really worth a visit if you have kids aged 3-10. Nordiska museet is an impressive building once built for Stockholms World´s fair in 1897.
How to get to Djurgården?
You can choose to go to Djurgården by boat, tram or simply walk along the shore by the impressive Strandvägen.
Tram number 7 takes you all the way from T-centralen in the very city center all the way to Djurgården passing by all the museums mentioned above every 10 minutes. The end station is at Waldemarsudde.
By boat you arrive right by the amusement park of Gröna Lund. The boat trip starts either at Slussen (about 10 minutes) or at Skeppsholmen.
If you choose to walk it is about 2 kilometres passing by boats, restaurants and cafés along the way.
Some other great places to visit in Sweden
Edsviken is a beautiful elongated bay some 15 minutes north of Stockholm city. This place really gives you wibes of the archipelago. Walking and biking around the bay you will pass by two castles, several meadows with grazing horses , seaside villas and lots of cliffs and small sandy beaches that are just perfect for a picnic or a swim.