Summer is undoubtedly prime time in Stockholm. The city starts livening up and people finally dare to leave their homes to enjoy the sun. Stockholm’s city center is situated on the water and there are endless possibilities when it comes to summer activities. The month of June is particularly full of celebrations here — including three of the most festive days you’ll experience all year.
Sweden’s National Day
June 6 is National Day, and to celebrate it in the best way possible, visit the outdoor museum Skansen. Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum and Stockholm’s only zoo, with a beautiful location on the Royal Djurgården park. In this gorgeous setting, you can mark the holiday with traditional crafts, glass blowing, tinsmith’s workshops, the eighteenth-century wooden Seglora Church and animals native to Scandinavia — think moose, wolverines and seals. During National Day, Skansen is the place for celebrations with the royal family and star-studded entertainment.
A Royal Wedding
On June 8 at 4 p.m., the youngest member of the royal family, Princess Madeleine, gets married to her beau Christopher O’Neill. The wedding will gather guests from all around the world. Want to get a glimpse of the big day? Visit the royal court’s website to see the program and procession route. Then pick a strategic spot from which to see the bride and groom as they’re transported from the Royal Palace of Stockholm to Riddarholmen by horse and carriage. Prepare for pomp and circumstance: Just after the wedding ceremony, listen for a 21-gun salute.
Last but not least is the Swedish calendar highlight, Midsummer. This year, Midsummer is celebrated on Friday, June 21. The tribute to all things summer kicks off the long-awaited summer vacation for most Swedes; Stockholm will empty as people leave the city and head out to the archipelago or to their country homes. If you are in town that weekend, try to get invited to a party or head to celebrations at Skansen or other major Stockholm parks.
If you’d like to celebrate Midsummer as a local would, there are a couple of traditions you should embrace, beginning with picking flowers: History says that you should pick seven kinds of flowers the night before Midsummer to put under your pillow to dream of your future love. You’ll also see maypoles — completely covered with birch leaves and decorated with flowers — with kids, parents and grandparents all dancing around them.
Swedes are crazy about their Midsummer food. On local menus, you can always find pickled herring, sour cream and chives, potatoes, Vasterbotten pie and, for dessert, fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream. But what is almost more important during Midsummer are the drinks. Think aquavit or snaps, snaps and even more snaps (don’t forget a glass of water)! The night is young.
Photos courtesy of iStock, Oleksiy Mark, Marta Sundstrom, Brigitte Grenfeldt, iStock, Tatiana Savvateeva