April 28, 2017

Crazy weekend! Festivals, tour starts, openings, Walpurgis and more!

Fjäderholmarnas Krog opens for the season on Saturday.
There are so many things going on this weekend in Stockholm! So if you are here now... lucky you. To start off with, it is a three day weekend here in Sweden as Monday is a bank holiday (May 1st- International Workers' Day). Keep in mind that banks, liquor stores and smaller shops will be closed on Monday. Several sightseeing tours start for the season on Saturday, April 29th: Hop On/Off boat tours, Birka Viking Village, Fjäderholmarna boat trip and the Stockholm Grand Tour (bus/boat). The fact that the boats are starting to go to Fjäderholmarna means that the archipelago restaurant Fjäderholmarnas Krog opens for the season on Saturday. Don't forget that the new Viking museum Vikingaliv has its premiere on Saturday as well (read about my visit here).
Ulvbjörn and Ragnfrid at Vikingaliv.
Photo by Peter Knutson ©
Then there are some special events going on in the city as well. On Saturday they are having a street festival in Gamla Stan (the old town). They close off the street Stora Nygatan and local vendors sell their wares (between 11am and 7pm, possible later). This is quite a new event so I don't have any real experience with this but, if you are in the old town, by all means stop by and have a look around.
Walpurgis Eve Celebrations on Riddarholmen.
Photo by Jeppe Wikström/mediabank.visitstockholm.com
The other event I have much more experience with Sunday evening is Valborgsmässoafton, or Walpurgis Night in English. This is a very Germanic holiday celebrating Saint Walpurga and is celebrated in different ways throughout northern & eastern Europe. In Sweden it is celebrated with bonfires and singing. The bonfires will be lit at different places all through Stockholm but for Rival Hotel guests, the most central places are either on Riddarholmen or at Skansen. The Riddarholm bonfire starts with a torch parade from Stortorget in Gamla Stan at 7.45pm. The parade ends at Riddarholmen and the bonfire is lit at 8:30pm. At Skansen they have events all afternoon starting at 3pm and culminating with the lighting of their bonfire at 9pm.
Buildings in Hötorget lit up in purple during 2016's Kulturnatt
Photo: Adrian Pehrson @ Studio Emma Svensson
The final big event this weekend is Kulturnatt ("Culture Night") on Saturday evening. Basically, this is an evening of free culture throughout the city, everything lit up in the color purple. Between 6pm and midnight, the major cultural institutes in the city are open... museums, galleries, libraries, theatres and much more. All with free admission! It is virtually impossible for me to list all of the things going on, but you can download and print out an English leaflet with information on the different venues on their website. I would say that the best thing to do is stop by the Stockholm Visitor Center at Sergels Torg. Here you can get an English program and ask questions/advice. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, you can also talk directly with me. Art, dance, performances, music, literature and much more!

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