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Djurgården island once served as the hunting grounds of the Swedish kings. Today, the island is still owned by the king, but he has been considerate enough to convert it into a national recreational island with a number of top attractions, from the Gröna Lund amusement park to the Skansen open-air museum and Astrid Lindgren’s Junibacken (‘Pippi Longstocking Land’).
Stockholm, which is surrounded by approximately 30,000 islands, is itself built on 14 islands, each with its own distinct character. The small Gamla Stan, with the quaint old city, is located in the middle, while Norrmalm in the north is the cultural island and Södermalm in the south the shopping island. In the east, you’ll find Djurgården (which means ‘animal yard’), which is the leisure island, a green oasis with woods, picnic fields, beaches, hiking trails and world-class museums.
The attractions at the Gröna Lund amusement park can be seen from far and wide, like the 55-metre-high Katapulten, which does exactly what its name would lead you to expect, and the 121-metre-high super carousel Eclipse. There are 7 roller coasters, of which the 32-metre-high Jetline reaches speeds of 90 kilometres per hour, good for an adrenaline rush that lasts one-and-a-half minutes. There are an additional 20 attractions, from bumper cars to a haunted house. Children (and adults) will not be bored for a second here.
With around 1.5 million visitors each year, Skansen is the most popular attraction in Stockholm. This open-air museum, which opened in 1891, takes you through 5 centuries of Swedish history shown through around 150 traditional homes, shops, warehouses, farmhouses and churches from all corners of Scandinavia. For the kids, there’s a zoo with bears, monkeys, crocodiles, moose and reindeer.
To visit Villa Villekula, Lönneberga, Bullerby and all other homes and streets from Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi and other books, you’ll need to take a 4-hour train ride to Astrid Lindgren’s Värld in Vimmerby. Closer by, at Djurgården, fans can get their fill at Junibacken. In this Pippi-themed museum, the kids can travel by train through a fantasy house designed by Marit Törnqvist, the illustrator of many of the Pippi books. Astrid Lindgren is the main focus, but other Swedish children’s book writers also get their due.