Drottingholm palace in Stockholm is the official private residence of the Swedish royal family. This stunning beauty is located on an island called Lovon. Prior to 1981, it was only used as the royal summer residence. We saw the other palace in Stockholm and that was already impressive. That is now being used for official government business. It is also a popular tourist destination. The Drottingholm palace surely offers more privacy. The fact that the grounds are massive and utterly gorgeous would be appealing to me. We decided to visit the palace on the last of ten days spent in Stockholm. I am so glad we did as it was worth every penny. To get to Drottingholm Palace from Stockholm, we took one of the Stockholm Boat Tour water cruises operated by Stromma from city hall. An hour of picture perfect views, cool breeze and some cold water and we were in Drottingholm. Here is our recap of our wonderful day trip from Stockholm, one that’s highly recommended.
Drottingholm Palace in Stockholm Day Trip:
Drottingholm Palace History:
The palace was designed by an architect by the name of Nicodemus Tessin the Elder. The original facade was pink plaster (yuck!). Thankfully, his son Nicodemus the Younger, who took over in 1681, toned down the loud color. In 1744, Queen Louisa Ulrika, mother of King Gustav III was given the palace as a wedding gift. She further incorporated some rococo elements to the baroque style of the palace. The grounds consist of the palace, church and the oldest theater in the world that’s still in use. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. Over the years, the palace went through many changes including a white exterior.
While Charles XIV John of Sweden’s ruled from 1818-1844, the palace was abandoned. In the king’s mind, it was part of an old history. As have happened to just about every royal residence we visited, the palace fell into ruins from abandonment. The furnishings were taken away and auctioned off. In 1846, King Oscar 1 started repairs when he became king, and it was later finished by Oscar II. They were criticized for making the palace contemporary rather than restoring it. It was King Gustav V, who had been born in the palace that eventually restored it to its former glory over four years, ending in 1911.
Drottingholm Palace Interior:
Drottingholm Palace Tour: An English speakers tour had just started when we arrived. We did a naughty thing ;-) . As soon as we paid and got our tickets, we hurried on till we caught up with the group and sort of followed them for the tour. I felt a bit bad cheating, but it was nice to get the lovely tidbits about the palace. We learned about the various ladies of the palace, a young one in particular who reminded me of Jane Austen. She had a diary and documented life in the palace. One of the funny things:
The king was the one who determined whether it was summer or winter. On a whim, he would change his mind, meaning all the people had to change to the appropriate clothing. That might mean for the ladies, having to remove their garments that took hours to change into winter clothing, only for the temperamental king to change his mind again and say it was summer after all ;-) :-) . I would have committed murder!!!
The one thing that struck me as we wandered through the rooms was that this was the very first palace I’ve been in that was actually tasteful. I have toured palaces in Versailles, Istanbul, and Marrakesh among others. The one theme they all have in common (at least the Christian ones) is the color pink. Every room is some sort of god awful pink shade and lots of gilded gold. The rooms in Drottingholm palace actually look homey and royal. The queen had good taste, a lot of blues and gold which blend harmoniously. Understated elegance. My kind of style :-) .
Drottingholm Palace Library:
I would love a room like this. I could spend all day. The views are of the garden and it is so peaceful.
The Drottingholm Palace Chinese Pavilion Room:
The “Chinese” stove was a gift from Catherine II of Russia. It was quite the attraction in those days, thanks to the sculptors and painted tiles. History has however proven that this depiction was strictly from imagination. Nothing on the stove represented China, not the tiles, the paint or even the looks of the sculptures :-).
Swedish Palace Drottingholm Ball Room:
There were so many more rooms that we saw. I just can’t remember all their names. Suffice to say they were all pretty interesting. I just loved the rich mahogany that was everywhere and the intricate patterns of flooring.
Related Reading: Stockholm Travel Guide
Drottingholm Palace Exterior:
An awe-inspiring garden landscape. Looking out from the library or just about any room down to the grounds was just wow!. The baroque style garden was modeled after the palace of Versailles according to the guide. It reminds me more of the Champs-Elysee garden myself. Federico was ahead of me and ran into a young newlywed couple who had been asking people to take their photos. They were dressed in white and had a simple point and shoot. Lucky for them, his wedding photographer side kicked in and they had an impromptu wedding shoot. They were so grateful, the girl was in tears when she saw the pictures. I was happy for them and didn’t mind sweltering in the sun :-) .
The front of the palace is just as beautiful. There are several Italian statues as you walk along the wide path of the park which had young lovers and families alike enjoying the sun. More statues are scattered all over the park and are meant to surprise the visitor. Unexpected in such a green area.
I would recommend a visit to the Drottingholm Palace as one of the top things to do in Stockholm. It was a fantastic way to end our wonderful time in the city. We did not get a chance to explore the Chinese Pavilion or even see the theater (my greatest regret :-( ) as we had to catch the last boat back to the Stockholm. I would recommend allowing at least five hours to fully enjoy and explore everything. This whole place reminded me so much of the British series Blackadder :-) .
You can find out more on the palace at their website.
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What do you think about Drottingholm Palace in Stockholm? How would you like this as your residence and wake up to these views on a daily basis? I still say “It’s good to be the King” (if you get this, you rock! :-) )