Homelands Cruise – Stockholm, Sweden

Day 19 – Aug 8 End of Homelands Cruise

This segment of our travels wound down on Day 19, which began with a 5-day pre-extension tour in Iceland. If you want to see that, click here and then select “next” after each post to continue reading those stories.

Our last port stop of the Homelands Cruise was Stockholm, the bustling capital city of Sweden. As the ship navigated from the Baltic Sea through the channel approaching the city, we passed several islands and islets, big and small, some with beautiful homes on them. It was a slow go, and little did we know we were cruising along the Stockholm Archipelago, a cluster of over 30,000 islands, islets and rocks. It is Sweden’s largest archipelago:

Islands of all shapes and sizes make up the Stockholm Archipelago
How about owning an island all to yourself?
This is obviously a popular summer recreation area for tourists and residents

It took approximately two hours to finally reach the cruise terminal, and along the way I captured some shots of the scenery as the ship glided along:

Soldiers raising the Swedish flag at the Kastellet

Stockholm is built upon 14 islands, where locals and tourists have access via 57 bridges to 26 parks and 96 beaches! The city consists of 30% waterways, 30% parks and green spaces, and the remainder holding buildings and other structures. Folks here sometimes refer to Stockholm as the Blue (water), Green (parks) and Brown (buildings) city of Sweden. We had not imagined Stockholm that way, but what we saw during our visit and from my snapshots reinforced the description:

This guy welcomed us with pride to his city

The view of the city and its islands from the deck of Viking Star was beckoning me to continue snapping away. I had plenty of time before our shore excursion began, so here we go:

This was named the Corona Bridge – it came from China and was installed on March 20, 2020 as the pandemic hit

Old Town buildings on Skeppsbron

Our excursion for the day was once again the included City Panorama Bus Tour (or Sit On Your Butt Tour), which traversed several islands near the port and covered many “must see” sights in the area.  The pictures below were taken through the coach’s glass windows, so pardon any glare:

Hey, there’s the Corona Bridge!

According to our guide, about 20% of Sweden’s population lives in Stockholm; one million in the city and over two million in the suburbs.

Just one of the many parks we passed, miles and miles of trees
Shopping area (I wonder what Tasty America is selling?)

The very popular ABBA museum, as indicated by the long line:

Each time we crossed a bridge I knew we were going to another island:

Parliament building
Ostermalm District, one of Sweden’s most exclusive residential areas

A “must get off the bus” stop was at an iconic and recognizable building, Stockholm’s City Hall. It’s here that every December 10th the banquet and awards ceremonies are held for the Nobel Prize winners in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine and Literature. The Nobel Peace Prize is the only one awarded in Oslo, Norway.

The Stockholm City Hall is built of eight million red bricks, and is topped by a tall spire that bears the Swedish National Coat of Arms

What do ABBA, IKEA and Alfred Nobel have in common? They are all Swedish but only one is from Stockholm. Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm, and December 10th is his death anniversary – hence prizes are awarded on this date each year. You may know he was the inventor of dynamite, and it’s believed he created the Nobel Prize using the fortune he had amassed in the explosives business to relieve his conscience!

Our guide must have said something about these balconies, for I snapped several pictures. But now I can’t remember what he said about them!

Near the end of the tour we were given the option of getting off the bus to explore on our own, which of course we took advantage of. But with this being such a big bustling city, a couple of hours was certainly not enough. We took a walk to the Old Town area, also known as Gamla Stan. And – surprise! surprise! surprise! – I took dozens of photos along the way 🙂

Stockholm was founded in 1252 on the site of historic Gamla Stan, one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in the world. Now it’s for pedestrians only, and we followed its winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways while seeing ancient churches and seemingly endless shopping and dining opportunities.

After purchasing Steve’s “mandatory” T-shirt for Sweden (only 4 more countries to go!), we decided to forego another lunch feast on the ship and try some authentic Swedish food in the stimulating onshore environment.  We located a nice little cafe and enjoyed a Swedish meatball dish and an excellent bowl of pasta with shrimp. Helping it down with a couple of Swedish beers topped off our day!

Back onboard, we had fun watching and hearing screams and shrieks from the nearby Gröna Lund amusement park:

While I may have shared lots of pictures here, the sights we saw are just a small representation of the city. So much more to explore! In comparing Stockholm to the other capital cities we’ve visited during this cruise (Oslo, Copenhagen and Berlin), I liked Stockholm the best. We only scratched the city’s surface, but it had a great vibe and was a place we’d love to re-visit and spend more time in.

The sun dipped below the horizon as if to say, “farewell for now from Stockholm”

We got off to an early start the following morning, heading to the airport for our flight to Paris and the beginning of our next Viking travel segment – France’s Finest River Cruise.

Goodbye Viking Star, we had a wonderful time with you!

Next up: Hello, Paris!

9 comments

  1. Re: The Nobel Prize. I believe the banquet is held in the City Hall;
    the prizes are actually awarded elsewhere (Concert House?).

    • Thanks for the catch, but you are partially correct. From 1901 to 1925, it was at the Old Royal Academy of Music, since then it was held at the City Hall, that is according to Nobelprize.org.

  2. When we watch the cruise ships heading through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I always think how long it takes from departing Seattle until they’re out in the open ocean — now I have an even better feeling for that with your description of coming into Stockholm. I never realized the city is comprised of a series of so many connected islands! That’s pretty cool. Maybe someday you’ll get back for more exploration!

  3. Thanks for the tour. I had no idea Stockholm was made up of islands. The Stockholm Achipelago reminds me of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River. Your photos are lovely.

  4. We’ve loved our visits to Stockholm … so many wonderful sights to see. The Vasa Museum, especially, was a wonderful surprise. If you go back, don’t miss the tour of the City Hall. We were lucky enough to be invited to a helipad sailaway on one of our visits and sailing out of the archipelago was definitely a highlight from that perspective.

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