Thursday, 17 March 2011

Stockholm Djurgarden Running Route

Click here for route map 
Length: 11.5 km (7 miles), terrain flat

Note: I forgot to take my cell phone on this trip, so I had to run with my laptop to take the pictures!  

Stockholm running routes:
Stockholm 5 Islands route
Stockholm Djurgarden island park route
Kungsholmen Island loop route 
For other running routes, see Route List

Djurgarden is Stockholm's green paradise for runners, bicyclists and hikers. It's an island 3 kilometers long (2 miles) and 1 km wide, with a flowing mixture of open fields, woods, endless fjord waterfront and countless old homes and museums. And it's easily reached by foot from the downtown. Djurgarden means "game preserve" and was once the royal hunting grounds.

Let's start at Nybroplan square, on the eastern side of downtown, easily reached using buses or the number 7 tram. The amazing Dramatic Theater, with its golden ornaments, dominates the east side of the square. Turn towards the docks on the south end of the square to start the run.
Theater at Nybroplan
Head out along the fjord, with the water on your right side, following the tram-tracks. The waterfront curves to the left and the street becomes Strandvägen, a wide tree-lined promenade. Keep going straight along the water. You'll notice a lot of old boats in various states of restoration: this is one of the many shores in Stockholm where the old-boat scene is in full bloom. After a while, you'll come to a bridge (with the horn-blowing viking) across the ever-narrowing fjord to Djurgarden island to the right.

Djurgarden houses in winter
Cross the bridge. You'll see the renaissance-styled Nordic Museum straight ahead and the strange-looking Vasa Museum right behind it, on the right.

NOTE: An alternative route, which avoids all traffic on Djurgarden island, is to run through the blue gates on the left side of the bridge and follow the path along the water (canal) down to the second or third bridge back to the north side again.

View towards Vasa Museum from Skeppsholmen island

Run straight along the street, Djurgardsvägen, past the museums. The Vasa Museum houses one of the most unfortunate ships in history. The Vasa was built to be Sweden's biggest warship in 1628, but it capsized and sank on its maiden voyage as soon it sailed out into the harbor. You can look in the museum windows at the impressive well-preserved remains, if you want to take a little detour.

Across the street you'll soon see the cool Biological Museum building, built in Viking style, like a giant wooden longhouse.

Keep running south on the road. The Skansen museum-village occupies the low hill to your left, with buildings brought here from all over Sweden. There are a few old-fashioned restaurants and cafés lining the street, too. This is what amusement areas looked like a hundred years ago.

After a few hundred meters, you'll pass the Gröna Lund amusement park on your left, but keep following the tram tracks. The tracks finally end by looping around a little hill with the Italian embassy on it, at the southern waterfront. From now on, there is no more car traffic.

Along the Djurgarden waterfront
There is a marina here, at the last tram stop. Run right up the main drive to the Waldemarsudde art museum villa, then go around the right side to get to the waterside path. Keep running east along the water now, with the water on your right side.

NOTE: This beginning part of the waterfront belongs to the Waldemarsudde museum, and is open to public access from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. If the gates are closed, then take the path marked Prinz Eugens Väg, which skirts the museum on the left, and hits the water at the next marina.

The gravel path at the water's edge now follows the waterfront for about 1.5 kilometers, until you hit the southeast corner of the Djurgarden island, after passing lots of old wooden houses, big villas, art museums and marinas.
View from Radmansbaken over the frozen fjord
After the little white lighthouse (Radmansbaken), the path follows the shore as it curves northwards along the east side of the island, with the main fjord in the distance.

Keep running northwards for just half a kilometer and cross the canal that separates it from the mainland at the little arched pedestrian bridge.
Heading back west along the Djurgarden canal
Start running westwards along the north side of the canal, (water on your left side) back towards town. Just keep to the path the whole way. At first it's all nature. Only the tall, ugly, squarish telecom tower off to the right disturbs the scene. After the next bridge at Djurgardsbrunn (was closed for repairs this last visit), some big houses begin to line the water. There are impressive villas, embassies, stone churches, a very nice neighborhood.
Another spot along the canal
After 3 kilometers running westwards along the north side of the island, the gravel path will rejoin Strandvägen, and you'll reach the bridge that we used to get to Djurgarden before. Now you just keep running straight along the water, following the tram tracks back to Nybroplan and the end of the journey.

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