Kungliga Slottet in Stockholm is the king’s palace situated on Gamla Stan, where the Swedish royals reside for part of the year. Year round you can witness the changing of the guards, though the length and performance will certainly depend on the weather. And you can also purchase a ticket to see various parts of the castle. With selected guided tours costing an extra 20:- each, you can visit three (and in summer four) different parts of the palace for 160:-. Additionally, your ticket is valid for a week, they just check off where you’ve been as you go in, so if you don’t want to do everything at once you can spread it out over a few days, which is nice.
In all the years I’ve lived here and even roaming semi-solo for two weeks prior to moving overseas, I never made it to the palace tours. I have seen the changing of the guard in various cold weathers, so never with music, but that’s about it. In general it’s not my thing, or at least not alone, especially if I’m doing self-guided. So finally we had the company in town that was interested in going, and naturally I went along. While I’m still not entirely a museum person, barring certain exceptions, I can always take something away. So here’s the breakdown:
- The Crown Jewels/Treasury (Skattkammaran): This was the one guided tour we did. The guide was quite informative and entertaining. While the treasury itself is small and underground, and no photos are allowed here, it was very cool to see all the old crowns and how they were changed (or changed hands) over the years. I think that without the guide it would have been nice, and of course there are signs, but I would definitely recommend it for the added history lesson that you wouldn’t otherwise get.
- The Royal Apartments (Representationsvåningarna): Another instance where the guide probably would have provided insight, but we did it without and it was still very interesting to see all the old furniture and paintings and stuff. Of course, the royal family still lives here, so I am not sure what changes would be made season to season, what areas may be blocked off and what not, but in summer you enter through the Hall of State (Rikssalen). Admittedly, while very lovely and interesting, it looked a lot like other royal apartments, if you’ve seen any, but being included in the ticket why not see it? Probably would get the guided tour next time, though.
- The Tre Kronor Musuem (Museum Tre Kronor): Long story short ,under the palace is a museum covering the fire that destroyed the old castle and a brief history of the new palace. Lots of signs to read for the full history lesson, but guided tours are only on weekends. While I’ve heard mixed feelings on it, it is definitely a hit among history buffs and the old walls and stuff are certainly cool.
- BONUS – Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities (Gustav III’s Antikmuseum): This is only available on your ticket in the summer season, which was lucky for us. It’s very small, and doesn’t require much time, featuring the collection of antiquities (mostly statues) and a brief movie about it. I like statues, so it was cool to drop in and see, but definitely didn’t require an extensive tour.
So as I said before, not entirely my thing, these sorts of tours and visits, but given that you get all the places in on one ticket and can visit at your leisure within a week, definitely worth it, especially if you like history or old/shiny things. And hopefully you get to the Apartments before all the crowded tour groups instead of having to constantly weave around them, but that’s summer for you. I personally like all the history lessons best, so again recommend the guided tours if you can afford it or make the meeting times. Otherwise there is definitely a lot to see.