I would like to say thank you to the people at Green City Ferries for a cheap and very different way of seeing the sights around Lake Mälaren. They use the world's first super charged electric ferry, E/S Movitz. I was really surprised at how silent she is! No emissions whatsoever and it was the perfect way to spend a relaxing hour or so on the water seeing all the magnificent views. I stumbled upon her a week ago at her stop on RIddarholmen (I think there are maps and info on her website).
Well worth the money and great staff.
If you want to get from Djurgården to Skeppsholmen, be sure to take the "Djurgården 4" from the ferry dock. Like the other ferries, cost is SEK 30, SEK 20 for children and Seniors. SL 1 day, 3 day, 7 day and longer time cards/passes are valid. SL single (1 hour) cards, Stockholm Card, and Stockholm a la Carte are NOT valid.
A convenient and pleasant way to get around Stockholm is the Djurgården ferry. Boats depart from Slussen to Djurgården, right next to the amusement park. Skansen, the Vasa Museum, and the Nordic Museum are within walking distance. Ferries depart every 15-20 minutes weekdays, every 20-30 minutes weekends. The boats still run off-season, but less frequently. Some ferries will also stop at Skeppsholmen.
1-way fare is SEK 40, SEK 25 for children and Seniors. SL (public transport) 24-hour and 72 hour cards are valid, as are weekly, monthly, and annual passes. SL single (1-hour) cards, the Stockholm Card, and Stockholm a la Carte are NOT valid.
Getting around Stockholm was quite easy as most of it we were able to walk.
To go further afield, like to the Vasa Museum, we bought the Hop on Off Boat pass for 1 day of travel and found this to be a nice way to view the city of Stockholm from the water, and also to reach our destination.
We boarded at the Palace on the first Boat of the day. From here, we went to quite a few stops before reaching our stop for the Museum.
There is a total of five stops around Stockholm, including....
The Royal Palace, The Nybroviken terminal, The Vasa Museum and Nordiska Museum, Gröna Lund amusement park and Skansen and the Old town.
On-board commentary in Swedish and English
One-day pass......Do the full circuit, lasts approx. 1 hour
Regular departures between 10:20 AM and 5:40 PM
Departure location....The circuit begins at the Royal Palace
Check the time-table's when you get on and off.
As you walk along the Quay, you will see the sign's advertsing the Boat.
Cost for the 24 hour ticket in 2012.....100 sek
If you plan to spend a day in the Stockholm archipelago, I would suggest a trip to Utö. I went there last summer (2010) and had a great experience. You can hike, rent bikes, swim by sandy beaches or really nice cliffs. The views are great and the water slightly salty and really refreshing.
Me and my friends went by local community train from Stockholm's Central towards Nynäshamn and left it on Västerhaninge station. From Västerhaninge we took the bus 846, (the bus stop is situated right outside the train station). We took the bus to Årsta brygga and from there we took the regular boat to Utö. We spent 45 min on the boat to Utö and 45 min back. This journey is quite a bit shorter than to take the boat from Stockholm, which takes 3,5 hours, single fare (totally 7 hours on boat). The boat from Årsta havsbad is 80 skr single fare.
Contacts to Waxholmsbolaget (the company that ships to Utö) below. Here is their site (with timetables) for utö: http://www.waxholmsbolaget.se/populara-resor/populara-resmal/uto/
Here is the homepage for Utö, with information about service, maps, mages etc.: http://uto.fi/2.0/main.php?lang=en
Waxholmsbolaget ships a lot of other destinations in the Stockholm archipelago as well. Check it out!
There are three stops at Utö. We went off at Gruvbryggan, close to all accomodations, bike rentals, restaurants, cafés etc. At Utö, do not forget to buy the "Utö Limpa" a very famous rye bread.
We walked, and had a great day hiking, picnicking and swimming, but to see more of the island and reach the most secluded beaches, rent a bike!
There is food to buy both on the boat (coffee, icecream, sandwiches) and at Utö (all kinds of things), but we brought our own picnics, Swedish budget style. We sat down on some nice cliffs and ate, with the sea and part of the horizon in front of us. Nice!!!
The Hop-On Hop-Off boat round the harbour in Stockholm is a very pleasant and economical way of getting round the city and its islands. Leaving Gamla Stan and walking down to the waterfront we picked it up at that stop and before deciding what to do next, enjoyed a trip round the bay in the sunshine. This is the easiest and quickest way to get to Djurgarden for visits to Skansen or the Vasa Museum and from one end of the waterfron to the other. From Gamla Stan to Strandvagen is a really long walk but with this ferry you can there in a few minutes. I was thrilled to find that one of the stops was the Photographic Museum and even more thrilled to find that our boat ticket gave us a 50% discount on the entrance price.
In September 2010 The HO HO ferry cost SEK 100 ( around EUR10) and the ticket is good for 24 hours. Because of the islands and widely dispersed attractions, Stockholm can be a little confusing for first-time visitors. A ride on this ferry is an excellent way to orientate yourself as well as enjoying some fresh air and great views. Excellent also for taking a rest in between sightseeing. Feeling tired ? Just hop on the boat and rest those weary feet.
We bought our tickets at the stop by the Royal Castle. Schedules vary according to the time of year but the baoats generally run from around 10 in the morning until 6.30 in the vening. Check the websites for current information.
IMO, the most enjoyable and economical transport option for getting around Stockholm.
Let me set you all straight about the Silja and Viking cruise ships. Silja is no longer Finnish owned. It was purchased by an Estonian company and while it is still a nice cruise, some folks grumble how it ain't what it used to be (mostly the sour-grapes former Finnish cruise ship staff). That said, it's a common misperception the Silja ships are more expensive and classier. What you will find if you travel both cruise lines is that the prices, cabin size, duty-free shops, buffet restaurant and entertainment options are similar. The big difference for me is what is left to eat if you happen to miss the buffet. On Silja, you will starve. There is a deli with limited hours where you can munch on rather pricey cold sandwiches (pre-packaged) and whatever else you can find - similar to a gas station which has a snack shop and no grill. What you won't find is a hot meal. However, Viking has a wonderful cafe/restaurant which offers real food at affordable prices if you miss the buffet.
Both Silja and Viking cruise ships are finely appointed. Each line builds a new ship now and then, so to say the Silja line is better because some ships were built in the 90s while Viking ships were built in the 80s is - with all due respect - misleading. It takes the Turku shipyard at least a year or more to build a cruise ship and these big babies are meant to last for decades. They don't go out of style in 10 years any more than an expensive hotel.
Here in Finland, everyone seems to have a preference - Silja or Viking. I have travelled both lines, stayed in the deluxe cabins as well as the budget ones (just above the car deck) and really, a cabin is a cabin. Don't waste your money on an A-cabin or a larger B-cabin in the winter if you travel at night because you won't see anything. Get the standard B-cabin and save those cramped C-cabins for the Nordic natives. Big cabins with panoramic views are best left for summer when it's light nearly all night long or travel during the day. The reason it's more expensive to travel at night is because many Finns hop on board in the evening, party all night, spend the next day shopping and sight-seeing in Stockholm, then take the night ship back. This saves the cost of a hotel and the cruise line will give you a pretty good deal on that type of 1-day "cruise" (Most Finns are poor and can't afford week-long Norwegian style cruises plus we have no Fjords anyways *sigh*).
However, unless saving 20 euros is REALLY important, then forget the "cruise special" and give yourself a few days in Stockholm. You can buy a one-way ticket to Stockholm with¨
another one-way ticket back for a few euros more than the "cruise special." There are plenty of decent hotels in Stockholm between 70-90 euros a night, and for the brave of heart, there's hostels which are dirt cheap (we're talking under 30 euros, folks!) Then, there's the Ibis hotels which give you a real room and a Scandanavian smorgasbord breakfast all for the whoppingly ridiculous price of 44 euros. The staff is friendly too.
Check out the website "www.hotelmania.com" for the best price comparisons for all the Stockholm hotels. Be sure to enjoy Stockholm because there is a lot to see there and some great shops. The King's Palace with its Treasure Room is truly a sight to behold if you admire huge diamonds and saphires, plus it takes at least 4 hours to walk through the entire Palace. Don't bother getting a tour guide - just grab the pamphlet and see it on your own. The nautical museum is great and if you have time, visit one of the older castles too. If you want to see Stockholm in a nutshell and don't feel like walking, take the "hop on, hop off" tour bus. It's fun and will give you an idea of where the main attractions are, plus a little bit of interesting history. And yes... you can hop on, then hop off to do some sightseeing, then hop back on - all for one low price! It's really great and we need that thing over here on our side of the pond. But hey! If museums or palaces or tour buses aren't your style, then you can enjoy walking around the old town of Stockholm, which is plenty amusing and presents many opportunities to take photographs as well as pamper yourself at an outdoor cafe (Swedes make great American-style muffins and the coffee aint as strong as what we drink here in Suomi, but it's palatable...)
In summary, I think it's a big mistake for a foreigner (or anyone with a sense of adventure beyond 12 hours of heavy drinking) to only spend 1 day in Stockholm just because it's the "cruise special". Stockholm is definitely more historic than Helsinki and the King's Palace stomps our beloved castle in Turku - or as President Obama would day, gives it a "shellacking". My first trip to Stockholm I did on a "cruise special" and since that time, my subsequent trips have been booked as one-way tickets so I can spend a night or two in the great city of Stockholm. You won't find anything like it here in Finland because Viipuri was lost in the War. Helsinki has its charms, Turku is old and dates back to Viking times, but Stockholm is one of Europe's greatest cultural centers - competing comfortably with Paris, Rome, Vienna, and London. So, enjoy your cruise, but don't cut your time short in Stockholm just because the cruise reservation desk or your travel agent tries to sell you a "cruise special". If you spend 12 hours getting to Stockholm from Finland and 12 hours back again, then you owe it to yourself to spend AT LEAST 24 hours in Stockholm. Even if it's winter... (I leave again on January 7th .... with the Viking Line of course ... YAY!!!)
The Lonely Planet guidebook recommends a visit to Drottningholm palace, being a World Heritage site and the residence of the Swedish royals. But also recommended is getting there by boat/ferry from Stockholm.
Being made up of many islands with much water and waterways this is quite a usual or necessary form of transportation - getting about by boat - and this trip out to Drottningholm is recommended as a nice thing to do too see the sights along the way.
When I was walking back from my enjoyable tour through the lovely Town Hall I realised that the small quay I was at with advertised ferry trips was the departure point of the boat out to Drottningholm. Though the palace wouldve been closed the ferry still continues to run its half hour journey each way till fairly late in the evening so this could be a nice way to spend an evening.
When I drove myself to Drottningholm I did get to see the ferry come in and leave again making a fine sight on the large water area that the palace is situated next to.
So I would recommend this as an addition to your to-do list for sights and things to do around Stockholm!
If you want to visit Djurgarden take the Stromma ferry. Its the fastest and most picturesque way to reach Djurgarden and the sightseeing from it is wonderful. It departs every 20 min and the journey lasts approx 8-10 minutes.
Although we did not do it, we found it quite a nice idea: there is a steamboat from near the Cityhall in Stockholm to Drottningholm. We saw it on both locations and for those of you who enjoy boatrides - you should consider going! It cost 125 SEK (return ticket) in 2006 and is both means of transportation as well as lovely sightseeing! Check out the website for more information!
These white little ferries have been running forever it seems (see second pic for close-up). They are definately a popular Stockholm institution, and an easy "shortcut" to get from Slussen in the south to Djurgården and its amusements (Skansen, Gröna Lund...) without having to go through the downtown city centre. There is also nowadays a ferry from Nybrokajen downtown due to popular demand. The journey is SEK 25 (unless you have an SL card - lose SL tickets are not valid) and it is money well spent. Yes, the ferries are crowded in summer when families and tourists want to go to Djurgården, but you should be able to get a stand somewhere outside nevertheless, contrary to the case on bus 47 which does the Djurgården run and is always full. You also have great photo opportunities of the City on Water this way. :-)
We went on a boat tour called The Royal Canal Tour by a company called Stockholm Sightseeing. Their boat tours depart at Strömskajen across the street from the Grand Hotel and this is where you can also buy the tickets.
The Royal Canal Tour last for about 50 minutes and this is what you will see (taken from the official website of Scandinavian Sightseeing):
"We start with a trip along the shady canal of Djurgården. As the canal opens out into the sea, we return towards the city and pass Fjäderholmarna, Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde, the Vasa Museum, Södermalm and Slussen."
They provided headphones and you could choose your favourite language - very nicely done!
The tour cost 120 Swedish crowns.
There are also other tours, so do check their website!
Almost all boatconnections inside the Skargarden Archipelago are organised by Waxholmsbolaget. This company was founded in 1896 and has been the biggest company ever since. At this moment Waxholmsbolaget has 12 boats in wintertime and 35 during the summer, because in wintertime boats hardly can get through the ice in the area.
Starting from the base at Stromkajen, the boats go to about 250 harbours in the complete Archipelago. At the informationdesks at the banks you can get the free guide with times and costs. The costs are quite reasonable because again, the boats are not only used for tourism, but they also function as a busline inside the area.
To be sure you'll take the right boats you'd better ask the staff before you depart, because the schedules can be a bit difficult to read.
Stockholm is built on 14 islands. A lot of these islands are attached to each other by bridges, but some of them are not. To solve this problem, ferries are a normal way of transportation in the city. For most tourists it looks more like a fun trip, but thousands of Swedish do use the ferry as a normal way of transportation.
From Centralbron, near City Terminalen, a ferry connects the city with the southwest of Stockholm. But the most famous ferries depart from Skeppsbron at Gamla Stan and from Nybrokajen at Norrmalm. These ferries go to Djurgarden. Although the bus from Nybrokajen is the normal way to get to for example Skansen, the ferries are very popular too, especially during summer. With your SL-card, the public-transportation-card the trips are free, and boats departs several times an hour, so you never have to wait long. The boats can handle 300 people at a time, so there is plenty of space.
Stockholm is located between the Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea, and that calls for a special means of transportation: the ferry!
There are generally four types of boats:
- Sightseeing boats and restaurant boats going for shorter trips in Stockholm or archipelago
- Harbour ferries, like the one from Gamla Stan to Djurgården, Djurgården ferries have an annual passenger total of about 2.5 million.
- Archipelago boats, bringing you to the islands in the archipelago. There are 18 archipelago boats. The Stockholm Archipelago is a wonderful area and consists of 30.000 islands, islets, and skerries.
- Boats that go into Lake Mälaren, for instance going to Birka and Mariefred.