Sweden is big on its monarchy. And I mean, really big. Although the royal family had their ups and downs since the installment of the monarchy in 1818, the public loves them nonetheless. Although King Carl Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia are ever so popular, it is Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, who is the face of the modern monarchy. Her 2010 wedding to the Duke of Västergötland, Prince Daniel, has been described as “Europe’s biggest royal wedding since the Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.” Doesn’t it all just sound like a wonderful fairy tale?
If you grew up reading about sleeping beauty and her fellow princesses, you may have a soft spot for royal castles and palaces and everything outrageously extravagant. Of course those things come with a big price tag, but fortunately for you, you can get a taste of royal Stockholm on a budget! How? Just read on! To stay true to the title of this post, all activities in this list are completely free of charge and easy on your wallet. If you fancy exploring royal Stockholm more in detail, it may be worth to get the Stockholm Card, as entrance to most palaces is around 12€.
The Royal Guards
The Royal Guards are responsible for guarding the Royal Palace of Stockholm. You can find them at the outer palace courtyard. Similar to their English counterparts at Buckingham Palace, you can take silly or earnest pictures with them. Or you can hang around for a while and see the ceremonial Change of Guards. Between 23 of April and 31 of August each year, the Change of Guards is accompanied by a full marching band. The parade starts at the courtyard at 12:15 on weekdays and 13:15 on Sundays. Make sure to arrive a little earlier than that in order to get a good view 🙂
In order to see all the splendor of the royal family to its full extent, you’d have to purchase a pricey entrance ticket to one of their palaces. However, you can get a taste of it just a few metres from the outer palace courtyard, namely at the Royal Armoury (Livrustkammaren). The entrance to the beautiful cellar vaults of the Royal Palace is completely free and gives you the chance to travel back in time. Blood-stained costumes, ceremonial weapons, and day-to-day artifacts allow a glimpse into days past. Have you ever seen a real golden crown? It’s about as pretty as you’d imagine it to be.. now if only security wasn’t quite so tight.. 😛
Also make sure not to miss the royal coaches in the basement! They are huge and absolutely stunning. I could almost imagine myself as Cinderella next to them…
Your own royal apartment
Okay, so we can’t afford gold-plated cutlery or mattresses filled with horse hair. However, you can spice up your old boring home with a few almost-royal items from the gift shop. Paper napkins with royal crowns printed on them? Or a bar of soap? Dang, you can really fancy it up. If all else fails, you can always buy yourself a piece of royal chocolate. Or, if you’re still sad about leaving behind the gold crown, there are some pretty crowns here to cheer you up 😉
Hmm.. What do princes and princesses do all day in stuffy old palaces? They should go out in the fresh air and play! Yay! Take the metro to Drottningholm Palace and do just that! The entrance to the UNESCO World Heritage Site is not cheap, however the beautiful gardens are free of charge. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here if you want to bring some royal snacks along. The park is beautifully sculptured and has lots of hidden corners to discover. Adjacent to it lies a more natural park which is home to a family of ducks and swans. At the very end of the park you can even find a maze, although unfortunately the hedges have been abandoned for a more natural approach. You can still give it a try, though 😉