Summer in Stockholm means long days and lots and lots of light. These few months are what makes living in the Swedish capital worth it despite the long dark winters and mostly dreadful weather. Not only the architecture in Stockholm but also the city landscape is tailored for maximum enjoyment during this period when the locals hit the streets and parks with blankets and picnic baskets.
While few of us are lucky enough to have great views from our living rooms and bedrooms, everyone is welcome to walk out and appreciate the numerous parks and beaches in Stockholm where these can be fully enjoyed. If you too want to get to know the true spirit of the city at sunset, I cannot recommend the following few places enough.
One of my go-to places, the beach stretching on the western edge of the Kungsholmen Island is ideally located to allow you to fully grasp the warm feeling you get while watching the sun seemingly disappear into the water. Hornsbergs strand is long and diverse enough for everyone to choose whether to admire the sunset while walking, sitting, or lying down. There is always the extra option of finding a spot at one of the venues available just metres from the beach where you can grab a bite and a cold drink.
The botanical garden at Frescati feels like a green paradise when you decide to visit during the warmer half of the year. As is common in Stockholm, it lies right on the shores of a large lake which adds to its appeal at least as much as some of the architecture you can find between the blossoming flowerbeds. My favourite part of Bergius Botanic Garden is the so-called Italian Terrace which does indeed feel like a sunny place in the Mediterranean. The outdoor parts of the garden are open all day long and year-round, so there is nothing stopping you from choosing your favourite bench and admiring the beauties of mother nature just a few-minute ride from the city centre.
Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde is not only one of the most beautiful and famous art museums in Sweden, but it is also a place where you can spend a nice day under the clear skies of Stockholm. Sitting on a small cape on Djurgården Island, the location of the museum and its surrounding park could hardly be any better for watching the sunset. I can especially recommend the area just west of the historical mansion where you can find benches, a small pavilion, and a large enough cliff to get yourself comfortable after a long day at work or maybe on a sunny weekend. Keep in mind that the park closes for the night and you should leave before 9 PM.
This tiny island in the centre of Stockholm is often overlooked and left undiscovered by many travellers visiting Stockholm. Take advantage of that if you are looking for a calm place where you will not be bothered by anyone or anything. Kastellholmen sits very close to the Old Town (Gamla stan), there is no need to worry about opening times, and I believe you will always find a spot to your liking there. Although you won’t be able to see the sun disappear behind the horizon from here, the roofs and towers of the Old Town provide a more-than-good-enough canvas if you ask me.
Riddarholmen Island has a reputation among the locals for not being the most appealing place in the city centre. This is solely due to the overwhelming presence of serious institutions on the island such as various courts. Understandably, most people find these less desirable than summer terraces of fancy bars and elegant restaurants. On the other hand, I must point out that the historical architecture on Riddarholmen is exquisite and well worth a visit.
On top of that, Evert Taube’s Terrace, which you can find on the western edge of the island, is a place that offers views unlike any other. With the famous Stockholm City Hall (Stockholms stadshus) on the right, the heights of Södermalm on the left, and the massive Lake Mälaren stretching right in front of you, this is one of the finest choices when it comes to places to watch the sunset in Stockholm.
Hill parks, which you can find in many parts of Stockholm, are wonderful for many reasons. They combine their practical function (getting rid of excessive material obtained during construction) with providing a pleasant, relaxing environment. Being elevated from the normal street level, they feel somewhat detached from the busyness of the city and often allow you to take a better look at their neighbourhood. An additional bonus of being able to see far and wide, just like in the case of Högalidsparken, can be that you can watch the sun disappear between the tall, red-brick towers of a historical church on warm summer evenings.
Sometimes I feel like all parts of life in Stockholm can be better enjoyed in Hammarby Sjöstad. This modern, eco-friendly district is built around water which is, in turn, present everywhere. This, together with the impressive modern architecture, makes for an enjoyable experience every time. Walk around, sit, lie down, or grab a beer at the local brewery. Whatever you decide to do, pay attention to the tranquil atmosphere of this area which, enhanced by the warm beams of the evening sun, is almost magical.
Enjoying summer sunlight is as important as anything in the life of a Stockholmer. The city offers limitless possibilities to appreciate it but it is always best to come prepared and know where to head when the opportunity to admire a summer sunset in Stockholm strikes. I hope this article will help you find a place or two where you can make some unforgettable summer memories.