August 9, 2018

Södermalm: parks, beaches, allotment gardens and flea market

Allotment gardens
The island of Södermalm is not only the location of the Hotel Rival, it is also the largest of the 14 islands which make up central Stockholm. Södermalm is a popular place for visitors to spend time, whether at the museum Fotografiska or in the SoFo neighborhood. A favorite pastime with the locals in the summer months, which many visitors miss, is to stroll along the southern coast of the island... mainly the coast between Eriksdalsbadet (subway stop Skanstull) and Långholmen (subway stop Hornstull).
Rehydrating at Loopen Marina
You can actually walk around the coast of most of Södermalm, especially the southern and western parts of the island. The path is popular with joggers, bikers and people out for a stroll. Along the southern coast you will pass pools, beaches, allotment gardens, parks and (on the summer weekends) a popular flea market. It is fun to feel like you are in the countryside even though you are in the middle of a large city.
I usually start by taking the subway to Skanstull and then walking down to the waterfront right at Eriksdalsbádet, which is a large aquatic complex with indoor and outdoor swimming pools. As you walk west, there are a lot of allotment gardens ("kolonilott" in Swedish) along the way. This is a plot of land that is then subdivided into smaller gardens, each usually with a small cottage. These picturesque gardens are used by people living in the city to have a piece of land and grow flowers and vegetables. They are very popular and usually stay with a family for generations.
Beach at Tantolunden
Tantolunden is a large park along the way and a favorite with locals when it comes to outdoor activities and sunbathing. There is even a beach there which can get quite crowded on warm days. Swedes are, however, great at finding secluded spots where they can soak up the rays so you will see them all along the coast... anywhere they can find a rock, some grass or even tree limb in the sun.
Swedes can sunbathe anywhere they find sun
After the park, you reach Loopen Marina and Hornstulls Strand. Loopen has a nice floating restaurant and bar, complete with palm trees for that "tropical" feel. Good place to stop for lunch and/or a drink. At Hornstull Strand they have a popular weekend flea market called Hornstull Marknad which is open every Saturday and Sunday, April through September. It is a small but popular flea market and they sell all sorts of knick-knacks, clothes, vinyl records and more. They also have food trucks lined up which is a great option for lunch (picnic in the park).
Flea market at Hornstull Marknad
You can either end your walk here and take the subway back (Hornstull station- red line) or you can continue along the coast to Långholmen, which is a little island just adjacent to Södermalm. There is a little footbridge that connects the two islands. Långholmen is a favorite place for locals to visit on a summer day. They have beaches, park and forests as well as places where you can rent kayaks. The beach is popular with children while young adults prefer to sun on the more secluded rocks. You have great views of Stockholm from the island.
Crossing over to Långholmen
Speaking of views, if you are feeling adventurous, you can access the large bridge (Västerbron- "western bridge") which crosses the lake to the other side of Stockholm. It is a bit of a hike up but you are rewarded with amazing views of the city and lake from the top! This might all sound like a long walk but, all in all, it is only around 4 kilometers from Eriksdalsbadet to Långfholmen. Click here for information on beaches and here for kayaking in the city.
Food trucks at Hornstull Marknad

The view from the top of Västerbron


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