A visit to the Vasa Museum is a must for any visitor to the Swedish capital of Stockholm. The Vasa is one of the best museums in Stockholm with the perfect blend of history and wow-factor and a story that mixes tragedy and triumph together over centuries.
This post has got you covered from where to stay, how to get to the Vasa Museum and what to expect when you get there.
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What is the Vasa Museum?
The Vasa Museum is arguably Stockholm’s most famous museum and is undisputedly one of the world’s most unique. The museum houses the enormous wooden warship, the Vasa, which sunk in Stockholm’s harbour on its maiden voyage back in the 1600s.
The Vasa, when built, was supposed to be the most powerful warship in the Baltic, yet sunk only minutes after it first slipped its moorings.
In 1961, the ship was recovered from the harbour floor, essentially intact and finally in 1990, the Vasa Museum was opened with the hulking ornate vessel on full display.
How to get to the Vasa Museum
From Stockholm Central, the Vasa Museum is an easy ten minute drive through Norrmalm to the island of Djurgarden. It takes about the same amount of time with or without tolls.
From the Sodermalm area of Stockholm (which is definitely where I recommend you stay), the drive also takes around ten minutes, via Ormsaltaren and past Kungliga Slottet.
There is a small parking area near the museum with disabled parking located at the museum entrance so it’s nice and easy for those with specific needs to get inside.
The Vasa Museum is located at Galärvarvsvägen 14 Stockholm.
From Stockholm Central, there are a few options for you to access the Vasa Museum. The best one is to take the 65 bus and then change for the 7 tram at T-Centralen Sparv. Then ride the train all the way to the Nordiska Museet (also a very good Stockholm museum to visit) and then walk for five minutes to the Vasa.
From Sodermalm, the route with the least amount of walking requires you to take the 55 Bus to to Slussen and then the 76 to Djugardsbron and will take around forty minutess overall to arrive at the Vasa Museum.
From Stockholm Central, getting to the Vasa Museum will take around forty minutes by foot, but the walk is mostly flat and easy.
From Sodermalm, the walk is a leisurely 55-minute stroll down the main street towards Slussen and then through Gamla Stan. If you’re not in a rush, it’s a lovely walk with plenty of beautiful sights along the way.
Tickets to the Vasa Museum can be purchased at the door to the museum, online prior to your visit or as part of the Stockholm Pass or iVenture Passes which provide access to many attractions around the city. If you’re staying three days in Stockholm, then these passes can save you a lot of cash!
The cost of a ticket to the Vasa Museum is 170 SEK for Adults and all children up to 18 years of age are able to enter free of charge.
What to expect at the Vasa Museum?
The Vasa Museum is easily visible before you arrive at the actual museum entrance as the masts of the ship stick up through the vessel shaped roof.
The museum entrance is quite dark and eerie, which sets the scene for the incredible sight that visitors experience as soon as they walk through the blackened doors.
The sight of the dark-oak coloured warship looming in front of them, remarkably intact from the depths of the ocean leaves a lasting impression. Even now, as I remember seeing it for the first time, the feeling of breathlessness and awe comes rushing back.
The ship itself is enormous. It feels impossible that this majestic creature was rescued from the bottom of Stockholm Harbour unscathed and seems unfathomable that something this large could have been lifted back up to the surface.
Intricate carvings on the vessel are still easily visible, the masts remain strong and defiant and the whole experience gives visitors the sense that they are discovering this ill-fated ship that sunk in the 17th century all over again.
The centrepiece of the museum is undoubtedly the Vasa itself, with three-tiered viewing platforms so it can be taken in from every intimidating angle. Surrounding the ship on the walls of the museum are various exhibits detailing the Vasa’s construction and sad history as well as the incredible feat of raising her from the ocean floor after 333 years.
The human tragedy on display here make viewing the Vasa all the more eerie as the museum sets the scene of a joyous day in Stockholm harbour where a huge audience of people set out to watch the ship set sail. Whilst fortunately most people survived the sinking that occurred only minutes later, thirty souls were lost – many trapped below deck and unable to get out.
The archival footage on display at the Vasa Museum detailing the salvaging and raising of this remarkable ship is astounding. Many Swedes gathered on the shores to watch this giant of the past breach the surface.
Where to stay to visit the Vasa Museum
As the Vasa Museum is pretty easily accessible from most parts of Stockholm, there are plenty of options for accommodation within walking or public transport distance.
I absolutely love the Sodermalm neighbourhood and would 100% recommend that anyone visiting Stockholm stay there for its vibrant nightlife, abundance of food options and proximity to all of Stockholm’s attractions.
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