Museums With Free Entrance in Stockholm

Medieval Museum (Medeltidsmuseet)
Yes, it is true, Sweden is relatively expensive to visit. But there are ways of keeping your costs down when coming to Stockholm. For example, since 2016, all state run museums (as well as a few private ones) have free admission. These museums cover a wide range of subjects, from art to history to culture. Many of these museums are very child-friendly as well!
Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriskamuseet)
The list of museums in Stockholm, in alphabetical order, with free entrance:
  • Architecture and Design Center- The Stockholm center for architecture and design, housed in the same building as Moderna (modern art museum). 
  • Armémuseum (The Army Museum)- a look at Sweden's military past and peace keeping present.
  • Etnografiska museet (Museum of Ethnography)- dedicated to cultures and peoples of the world.
  • Hallwylska museet- art and history museum located in a palace from the late 1800's owned by von Hallwyl family. Some special exhibitions may cost to enter.
  • Historiska museet (Swedish History Museum)- focused on the history of Sweden... including the Viking era. 
  • Kungliga myntkabinettet (The Royal Coin Cabinet)- museum of economy as well as the history of money and finance.
  • Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armoury)- a look at Swedish royal history through their clothing, costumes, armour and carriages. 
  • Marabou Park (contemporary art gallery)- gallery located in the suburbs of Stockholm in a former cocoa labrotory. 
  • Medelhavsmuseet (Mediterranean Museum)- dedicated to the history and culture of the Mediterranean area (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, etc.).
  • Medeltidsmuseet (Museum of Medieval History)- how did Stockholm look in the Middle Ages? What was life like for Medieval Stockholmers? Actually not state run (run by the city), but still free entrance as of January 1st.
    Museum of Swedish History (Historiska Museet)
  • Moderna museet- Stockholm's museum of modern art. Certain temporary exhibits may have an entrance fee, but their permanent collection is always free to visit. 
  • Nationalmuseum (the National Museum)- Sweden's museum of art and design. Currently closed for renovations, they reopen in October.
  • Naturhistoriska riksmuseet (Museum of Natural History)- a look at the history of the natural world from dinosaurs to today. Entrance fee still for their IMAX theatre Cosmonova.  
  • Riksidrottmuseet (Museum of Sports)- museum of sports and the history of sports. 
  • Sjöhistoriska museet (Maritime Museum)- dedicated to naval and shipping history.
  • Skokloster Castle- one of the best preserved Baroque castles in Europe, with museum. Located just outside of Stockholm. . 
  • Östasiatiska museet (Museum of Far East Antiquities)- houses art and sculpture from the Far East (Japan, China, Korea, etc.). 
  • The Royal Armoury (Livrustkammaren)

Have you seen the Sea of Stars?

If you keep up with all that is viral, it’s likely you’ve come across these pictures of the ‘Sea of Stars’.

Bioluminescence in the waters of Maldives is nothing new. All you have to do is trail your fingers through the water at night, and you’ll see a bluish glitter. These are phytoplankton in the water reacting to disturbance.

But glittery phytoplankton takes a backstage in the phenomenon now famous as the Sea of Stars.

The ‘Sea of Stars’ got famous because it lasts longer, and thus, shows up clearly on long-exposure photography. It lasts longer than typical plankton bioluminescence because these shoreline light shows are held by creatures called ostracod crustaceans. They’re tiny cousins of crabs and shrimps. When disturbed, they can glow up to a minute.

You can spot this phenomenon at various islands in the Maldives. But the most famous location for sightings is Vaadoo Island in Raa Atoll.

The phenomenon can be seen in varying intensities year-round. But it’s highly unpredictable. There’s just no telling when these little guys start lighting up the beach. It simply happens when the number of ostracod crustaceans that wash up ashore increases.

What we do know is that they glow more intensely during the waning moon and that sightings increase beginning from mid-year. If you’re lucky, your trip to the Maldives might just coincide with this stunning display!

The post Have you seen the Sea of Stars? appeared first on Maldives Travel Blog.

August = Crayfish Season in Sweden!

Crayfish party
Photo by Carolina Romare/
It is August which means it is the traditional time of the year for Swedes to have crayfish parties (a kräftskiva). The reason this happens in August is that this was historically the only time it was legal to fish for the little critters here in Sweden. These days, due to the high demand, we import them from Turkey, China and the US year-round... but August remains the traditional month to eat crayfish. Crayfish parties generally happen in peoples' homes where friends and family gather, wear funny hats, sit at long tables decorated with paper laterns, drink akvavit snaps and sing drinking songs. It can be a lively evening! Swedish actress Alicia Vikander recently taught Jimmy Fallon about the tradition.
If you are not lucky enough to be invited home to some Swedes for a party, you can still try this Swedish delicacy at a select few restaurants in Stockholm this month. Depending on the restaurant, they either do it as part of a three course set menu or just as a main course. Double check the restaurant's website to see the duration of their crayfish offer (some have crayfish for the whole month while others do it for a week or two or even just a weekend). Here are the restaurants I could currently find. Interested in restaurants that serve traditional Swedish cuisine? Click here for a list.

Traditional Crayfish Party
Photo by Carolina Romare/

Södermalm: parks, beaches, allotment gardens and flea market

Allotment gardens
The island of Södermalm is not only the location of the Hotel Rival, it is also the largest of the 14 islands which make up central Stockholm. Södermalm is a popular place for visitors to spend time, whether at the museum Fotografiska or in the SoFo neighborhood. A favorite pastime with the locals in the summer months, which many visitors miss, is to stroll along the southern coast of the island... mainly the coast between Eriksdalsbadet (subway stop Skanstull) and Långholmen (subway stop Hornstull).
Rehydrating at Loopen Marina
You can actually walk around the coast of most of Södermalm, especially the southern and western parts of the island. The path is popular with joggers, bikers and people out for a stroll. Along the southern coast you will pass pools, beaches, allotment gardens, parks and (on the summer weekends) a popular flea market. It is fun to feel like you are in the countryside even though you are in the middle of a large city.
I usually start by taking the subway to Skanstull and then walking down to the waterfront right at Eriksdalsbádet, which is a large aquatic complex with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. As you walk west, there are a lot of allotment gardens ("kolonilott" in Swedish) along the way. This is a plot of land that is then subdivided into smaller gardens, each usually with a small cottage. These picturesque gardens are used by people living in the city to have a piece of land and grow flowers and vegetables. They are very popular and usually stay with a family for generations.
Beach at Tantolunden
Tantolunden is a large park along the way and a favorite with locals when it comes to outdoor activities and sunbathing. There is even a beach there which can get quite crowded on warm days. Swedes are, however, great at finding secluded spots where they can soak up the rays so you will see them all along the coast... anywhere they can find a rock, some grass or even tree limb in the sun.
Swedes can sunbathe anywhere they find sun
After the park, you reach Loopen Marina and Hornstulls Strand. Loopen has a nice floating restaurant and bar, complete with palm trees for that "tropical" feel. Good place to stop for lunch and/or a drink. At Hornstull Strand they have a popular weekend flea market called Hornstull Marknad which is open every Saturday and Sunday, April through September. It is a small but popular flea market and they sell all sorts of knick-knacks, clothes, vinyl records and more. They also have food trucks lined up which is a great option for lunch (picnic in the park).
Flea market at Hornstull Marknad
You can either end your walk here and take the subway back (Hornstull station- red line) or you can continue along the coast to Långholmen, which is a little island just adjacent to Södermalm. There is a little footbridge that connects the two islands. Långholmen is a favorite place for locals to visit on a summer day. They have beaches, park and forests as well as places where you can rent kayaks. The beach is popular with children while young adults prefer to sun on the more secluded rocks. You have great views of Stockholm from the island.
Crossing over to Långholmen
Speaking of views, if you are feeling adventurous, you can access the large bridge (Västerbron- "western bridge") which crosses the lake to the other side of Stockholm. It is a bit of a hike up but you are rewarded with amazing views of the city and lake from the top! This might all sound like a long walk but, all in all, it is only around 4 kilometers from Eriksdalsbadet to Långfholmen. Click here for information on beaches and here for kayaking in the city.
Food trucks at Hornstull Marknad

The view from the top of Västerbron

Restaurant Fjäderholmarnas Krog

Entrance to the restaurant
Fjäderholmarnas Krog is one of my favorite summer restaurants (and at Christmas too, but more on that later). Located on an island at the entrance to Stockholm harbor, the restaurant has an idyllic waterfront setting where you can enjoy late, summer evenings, or sunny days, and watch all of the boats pass by on their way in and out of Stockholm. The island itself is worth a visit as well with café, brewery, handicraft shops and picnic opportunities. Many Stockholmers go to the island to sunbathe and swim on warm summer days. Visiting the island is a good way of getting a feel of the Stockholm Archipelago without having to travel too far!
Arriving to the island
As it is on an island, you have to take a boat to get there. In my opinion, this is half the fun of eating at the restaurant. The boat trip only takes 25 minutes and the boats depart regularly. You have the choice of taking boats from the downtown area with the Strömma company or from Gamla Stan with Fjäderholmslinjen (the second option is better for Hotel Rival guests- just a 15 minute walk away). The boats take you through Stockholm harbor and past Djurgården and Nacka Strand... very picturesque.
This is a great way to eat at an archipelago restaurant without having to travel hours to get there. The restaurant serves Swedish cuisine with lots of fish and shellfish, though they do have vegetarian and meat dishes as well. When I was there last week, we had caviar (Swedish löjrom, salmon roe and arenkha caviar) and oysters for appetizers, then the seafood stew with aioli and the deep fried goat cheese salad for ther main course. It was all really delicious. We sat outside and it was a balmy evening.
Dinner and a show, you never know what type of boat will pass by
Whenever I visit this restaurant, I always try and time the boats so that we can spend some extra time on the island either before or after dinner. It is nice just to walk around the island and enjoy the views. Perhaps a Swedish craft beer at the brewery? Maybe a visit at the glass blowers or pick up some homemade chocolates? Or just a leisurely walk in the forest? The island isn't big so you can easily walk around the whole island in about 20 minutes. Keep in mind that some of the shops are only open during daytime hours.
During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, many restaurants in Sweden serve a traditional holiday smorgasbord called "julbord". Fjäderholmarnas Krog does have one of Stockholm's best julbords and is very popular... so if you are visiting the city then, try their julbord! It is especially nice if there is some snow which makes the boat trip extra special. The restaurant is only open during the summer months and these weeks before Christmas.
The restaurant during the Christmas season
As I mentioned, there is a great brewery & pub on the island which makes its own craft beer (served at the restaurant) and you can book beer tastings. Speaking of which, you do have the opportunity of tasting Swedish whiskey (Mackmyra) at the restaurant. You can book brewery or whiskey tasting packages through the restaurant. Fjäderholmarnas Krog is a popular restaurant so you should try and book your table in advance... either on their website or, if you are staying at the Hotel Rival, you can contact me directly for help. For the boats departing from Gamla Stan, you buy your round trip tickets on the boat. The boats departing from the downtown area can be prebooked. You can click here to see a collection of other restaurants I have visited and written articles about.
Boarding the boat in Gamla Stan
Leaving Stockholm
Passing Djurgården and...
...and Nacka Strand.