Skip to Content

A Regal Day Trip to Stockholm’s Drottningholm Palace

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

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 Eleanora of Sweden
Portrait of Queen Hedwig Eleonora of Sweden

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?

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 we wandered through the red, green and yellow rooms, we easily imagined them reading, 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

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!

Tips for visiting Drottningholm Palace

Drottningholm Palace tour

We recommend allowing 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 and Restaurant

There’s a lovely café in an historic building, the 1880 Karmellan Café and 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

You can drive to Drottningholm Palace, but the most fun way to get there is by boat.

Boat to Drottningholm Palace
To get to Drottningholm Palace, you can 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 service is available from April through October.
  • For more information, see the Stromma website.

Guided tour of Stockholm with Drottningholm Palace

If you’re short on time and would like to see as many of Stockholm’s best attractions in one day, check out this top-rated small-group Stockholm tour.

It bundles visiting Drottningholm Palace with visits to the Vasa Museum, the Knights’ Island, the Royal Palace and Stockholm’s Old Town (Gamla Stan). All admission fees are included, along with hotel transfers and lunch.

The group size is limited to just seven guests.

More Stockholm information

See the Stockholm travel guides available on Amazon.

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

Pin this Drottningholm Palace visitor guide!

Got a crush on castles and palaces? More inspo!

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.

Our top travel tips and resources

Hotels: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)

Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).

Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours, plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out Viator (a TripAdvisor company) and GetYourGuide.

Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.

Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)

Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.

Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!

Photo credits: 6 to 11, 15, 16 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 11, 13, 14 Swedish Royal Court

About the authors

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

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


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


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.


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...


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 :-).