Skansen: Sod Roof Houses, Bears and Great Views of Stockholm

grass roof house

A house in Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm

My favorite thing about Skansen, Stockholm’s famous open-air museum, are the sod roof houses. Until the late 19th century, grass and flowers growing out of roof tops all over Scandinavia were a common sight, but not anymore. These houses seemed like something out of fairy tale and were a definite highlight in sprawling Skansen.

skansen stockholm sweden

Welcome to Skansen!

We visited Skansen as our last stop on a busy sightseeing day in July. First we went to Junibacken, then Vasa Museet, then lunch at Bla Porten, then a quick stop into Nordiska Museet and then finally Skansen! If that sounds ambitious, well, it was. But all of these attractions are located very closely together on the beautiful island of Djurgarden.

stockholm zoo

Bears at Skansen’s zoo

stockholm sweden
We left Skansen for last because we weren’t that excited about it, but we ended up liking it a lot more than we thought we would! Founded in 1891, it’s a collection of 150 buildings (houses, barns, churches, workshops) from all over Sweden to illustrate countryside life — plus a children’s zoo (kind of lame) and a regular zoo (much better even though we couldn’t find the reindeer). There’s also little village within it staffed with people in traditional dress acting as a blacksmith, pharmacist, storekeeper, etc., which appeals more  to school-aged children and we only had a toddler who wanted to dismantle the exhibits.

Skansen is huge, and while it felt like we walked for miles, I really have no idea how much we covered. We enjoyed walking along the paths and seeing the various houses, many of which were accompanied by nice gardens or laws. An unexpected bonus was beautiful views, as much of Skansen is on a hill. If I lived in Stockholm, I could see myself visiting Skansen regularly and using it as a local park. At the very least, spend a few hours there on your trip to Stockholm.

skansen view

Excellent view of Grona Lund from Skansen

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8 Responses to Skansen: Sod Roof Houses, Bears and Great Views of Stockholm

  1. Andrea March 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Looks like an interesting day out – I always enjoy sod roofed houses

  2. Abby
    Twitter: abbytegnelia
    March 7, 2013 at 4:51 am #

    Gorgeous!! I think I’d feel cozy in a house with earth on the roof.
    Abby recently posted..How to take the perfect picture (even without Steve Carell)

  3. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    September 15, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Those sod roof houses are absolutely charming. I’m seeing rooftop gardens and grass on a lot of new condo buildings lately, as a way to control temperature. Sometimes the old ways of doing things are really the best :)
    Micki recently posted..The Barefoot Nomad’s Best Travel Things of 2013

  4. Heidi (@WagonersAbroad) September 15, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    I love the roof tops! Skansen looks great too. Thanks, now we have another place to add to our bucket list. :-)
    Heidi (@WagonersAbroad) recently posted..Reggio Emilia, Itay – A Photo Walk

  5. Elena September 16, 2013 at 1:38 am #

    Love looking at rooftops –and walking around neighborhood streets. Looks like a beautiful city!
    Elena recently posted..Talk to Children About Giving

  6. Shelly Rivoli September 16, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Wow! I will have to share your sod roof with my kids later today – very cool! The living roof on the Cal Academy of Sciences is pretty boring next to this. 😉
    Shelly Rivoli recently posted..Will your child need a “letter of consent” or other documents for international travel? (sample letter included)

  7. wanderingeducators
    Twitter: WanderingEds
    September 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    beautiful place!
    wanderingeducators recently posted..The Methods of American Study Abroad in an International Context

  8. Marina K. Villatoro September 18, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    What an adorable village. THis is what I expect Sweden to look like. Colorful, quaint and on the water.
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Eco Vacations in Guatemala – Parks and Reserves #1

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