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A regal day trip to Stockholm’s Drottningholm Palace

Please only travel when it’s safe to do so.

The young queen of Sweden, Hedvig Eleonora – whose beauty had enticed the king to marry her – needed a jaw-dropping palace.

Drottningholm Palace, to be exact…

And – after you’ve explored Gamla Stan (Stockholm’s Old Town) – visiting this Swedish royal palace today is one of the best day trips from Stockholm!

Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm

Contents: Guide to visiting Drottningholm Palace

Where is Drottningholm Palace?

Drottningholm Palace history | Hedwig Eleonora, the blue bedchamber and Louisa Ulrika

Kina Slott | Chinese pleasure palace

Confidence dining room | Whispering palace secrets 

Where Swedish royalty live

Best Stockholm day trip

How to visit? | Tips, guided tour and restaurant

How do you get to Drottningholm Palace? | Boat trip

Drottningholm Palace

Where is Drottningholm Palace located?

Stockholm's Drottningholm Palace
Don’t miss visiting Drottningholm Palace when in Sweden!

The palace is built on the island of Lovon in Lake Malaren, in a suburb of Stockholm called Drottningholm.

See this link to Google maps for the Drottningholm Palace location.

Drottningholm Palace history

Now let’s step back in time and learn a little about the history of Drottningholm Palace and how it came to be…

Hedvig Eleonora:

Queen Hedwig Eleonora of Sweden, as painted by David von Krafft

Hedvig Eleonora’s husband, the king, had recently died, and she would rule as regent of the country until their young son was old enough to become the next king.

Sweden was one of the most powerful states in Europe, and the palace she would commission had to dazzle visiting royalty and dignitaries with its grandeur.

And so, in 1662, Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholm slott in Swedish) was built in grand Baroque style.

Drottningholm Palace
Built by Queen Hedvig Eleonora, Stockholm’s Drottningholm Palace was inspired by France’s Palace of Versailles

As it turned out, Hedvig Eleonora ended up reigning for much of her life.

Even when her son assumed power, he still deferred to her and called her “the Queen.”

Later, when her grandson left to fight the Great Northern War between Russia and the Swedish empire, she assumed control of Sweden once again.

View of the palace through an arch in a hedge on the expansive grounds

Hedwig Eleonora’s bedchamber:

One highlight of the palace is Hedvig Eleonora’s peacock-blue bedchamber.

You’ll gaze in amazement at the lavish décor – the gilded furniture, silk wallpaper and porcelain vases.

Eleonora never actually slept in this state bedchamber though.

She used it for official purposes, to greet visitors.

No doubt she succeeded in impressing many prominent guests here during her long reign!

Louisa Ulrika’s artistic influence:

After Eleonora’s passing, the palace remained the residence for the royal ladies.

Then in 1744, it was given as a wedding present to Princess Louisa Ulrika of Prussia when she married the Swedish crown prince.

A lover of the arts, Louisa thrust Drottningholm into its golden age, redecorating the interiors in the latest French Rococo style on display at the Palace of Versailles.

Louisa also added a splendid library.

Drottningholm Palace library
The white sculptures on display in the royal library were souvenirs from Pompei, Italy

Dripping with crystal chandeliers, the gilt-adorned library simply oozes luxury.

A friend of Voltaire, Louisa loved to read – she founded Sweden’s Academy of Letters (which promotes the study of humanities and social sciences).

What must it have been like to pick up one of her precious history or botany books, and read in that room?

Do you love palace intrigue? Then you’ll love reading our post on the mystery of the looted Amber Room at Russia’s Catherine Palace

The lovely kina slott

Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm
The pink Chinese Pavilion is home to some of Europe’s finest 18th century chinoiserie

On her 33rd birthday, Louisa received a surprise gift from her husband – a “Chinese pleasure palace.”

In a letter to her mother, she wrote of her delight: “He led me to one side of the garden and suddenly to my surprise, I found myself gazing upon a real fairytale creation, for the King had built a Chinese palace, the loveliest imaginable.”

The Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm Palace has many examples of intricate chinoiserie on display.
The Chinese Pavilion has many examples of intricate chinoiserie on display

Chinoiserie was in fashion at the time.

This pretty pink Chinese Pavilion (Kina slott in Swedish) displays the exquisite Chinese porcelain statues, lacquered panels, china and vases that so fascinated Louisa and her friends.

Chinese silk wallpaper decorates the inside of the Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm Palace.
Chinese silk wallpaper decorates the inside of the Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm Palace

Indeed, as you wander through the red, green and yellow rooms, you can easily imagine them reading or laughing, gossiping and having fun as they played cards here.

Red Room at the Chinese Pavilion, Drottningholm Palace
The Red Room in the Chinese Pavilion (Credit: Swedish Royal Court)

Confidence dining room

The “confidence” dining room, in a separate building beside the Chinese palace, is also intriguing.

Its dining table could be lowered underground, so servants could set the meal on it then raise it back up into the dining room.

This way, the royals could eat in private without servants overhearing their conversations.

The room is the sparest in the palace.

Nature reigns supreme here.

The Drottningholm castle gardens include an English-style park with lawns, chestnut trees and leafy boulevards

Louisa must have found pleasure enough in the leafy views through the glass windows encircling the one-room building and in the secrets shared here.

Where Swedish royalty still live

Drottningholm is Swedish for “Queen’s Island.”

It’s a tribute to the vision and creativity of Eleonora and Louisa – both beautiful, strong-willed, intelligent women – that the golden-hued yellow palace today is one of the finest and best-preserved palaces in Northern Europe, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Drottningholm Palace
The current Swedish royal family, headed by King Carl XVI Gustaf, has used Drottningholm Palace as their main residence since 1981

Drottninholm is also still full of life.

The current Swedish king and queen make their home here.

Drottningholm Palace
Princess Madeleine (the King and Queen’s youngest child) and her husband held their wedding reception at Drottningholm Palace

Stockholm day trip to the “Queen’s Island”

Drottningholm Palace: Day trip from Stockholm
A highlight of our Stockholm visit? The day trip from Stockholm to Drottningholm Palace

A large part of the palace is open to the public, however.

And this Stockholm day trip – taking a century-old steamer across Lake Malaren to visit the “Queen’s Island” – is one of the best things to do in Stockholm!

Suggested reading: Learn the art of bathing naked (co-ed) in Baden-Baden’s Friedrichsbad!

Tips for visiting Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace tour:

Allow three to four hours to explore Drottningholm Palace and gardens.

Sign up at the palace for a 45-minute guided tour, offered at 10:00 am, 12 noon, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm from June to September (limited tours the rest of the year).

Karmellan Café & Restaurant:

There’s a lovely café in an historic building, the 1880 Karmellan Café & Restaurant, on the palace grounds – so you can have a snack or lunch at Drottningholm.

More information:

The palace website has detailed information on Sweden’s Drottningholm Palace.

Boat to Drottningholm Palace

Boat to Drottningholm Palace
To get to Drottningholm Palace, you take a century-old steamer on Lake Malaren

Drottningholm Palace boat service:

  • Return tickets for the Drottningholm Palace boat can be obtained from Stockholm’s City Hall Quay. Operated by Stromma, the ride on the boat to Drottningholm Palace is one hour.

  • Boats leave from Stadshuskajen, the quay beside Stockholm City Hall.

  • Boat tickets and entry into the palace are included when you buy the Stockholm Pass, which gives you free entry to over 60 attractions and tours.

  • Boat service is available from April through October.

  • See the Stromma website.

More Stockholm information

See the Stockholm travel guides available on Amazon.

(As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)

Got a crush on castles and palaces?

Read our posts on the following beautiful castles and palaces in Europe:

France | Is the fairytale Chateau de Chantilly more splendid than Versailles?

Croatia | Exploring Diocletian’s Palace in Split. It’s a walled wonder!

Germany | Spend two days in Dresden and see the sumptuous treasure in the Dresden Royal Palace.


Photo credits: 5 to 11, 16, 17 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 14, 15 Swedish Royal Court


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, luxury hotel reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Bora

Wednesday 18th of September 2019

This palace seems amazing, with such history. If you are passionate about history than i recommend you Albania for the most interesting things. Visit the house of leaves in Tirana and learn more about the dictatorship era of the country

Anda

Tuesday 23rd of May 2017

We visited some of the Swedish castles and manors around Stockholm last summer, but Drottningholm Palace wasn't part of this tour. I thought Gripsholm Castle was their crown jewel, but Drottningholm looks way more impressive. That library seems quite luxurious and so does the Chinese Pavilion.

Samantha

Monday 22nd of May 2017

I love Scandinavia, such an elegant travel destination - wonderful post!

Janice and George

Monday 22nd of May 2017

Perfect description for Stockholm - elegant :-). Glad you liked our story...

Dominique

Monday 22nd of May 2017

This would have been such an interesting place to visit! I love the photo taken through the hedge using it as a frame! Beautiful!

Janice and George

Monday 22nd of May 2017

The history is especially interesting... We had gorgeous weather too for our day trip to Drottningholm Palace - so the whole day was lovely, from the scenic boat ride to touring the palace.

Irene Levine

Friday 19th of May 2017

That pleasure palace is one of the most romantic notions ever! Love your photography!

Janice and George

Friday 19th of May 2017

Oh, thank you :-). And agreed, a VERY nice birthday gift :-).