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Castles

Falling in Love with Fall Markets

Who doesn’t love fall? You have to be a psychopath or something, to not feel any joy at the turning of the season. Yes, I’m totally going to be one of those cringe-worthy people boasting about their love of fall right now. I have no shame. There are a million reasons to go crazy for it (and it’s almost over, so we have to celebrate it as much as possible, while we still can). I love the colored leaves, the sweater weather, the pumpkin spice everything (even the pumpkin spice haters), apples, scented candles that smell like food, the actual food, etc. I could go on for days, but I’ll spare you. 

Other than baking up a storm and lighting scented candles that smell like dessert, I had been really looking for something fun to do in Stockholm this time of year, that really felt like a seasonal celebration. Back in the states, my family used to take my sister and I to a pumpkin and apple farm for a whole day. We would pick out our Halloween pumpkins, drink warm apple cider, take a horse-drawn hayride, walk through corn mazes and purchase homemade sweets in a little old-fashioned country store. If we were lucky, we even got some caramel apples and cider donuts to take home with us. Those days made up some of my best memories as a young kid.

I searched around a little and realized that pumpkin farms aren’t a real popular thing around the Stockholm region. If you go down to the south of Sweden, it seems to be a bit easier to find one. Maybe it has to do with the climate down there or something? A pumpkin farm outing was out of the question unless we wanted to take a very long road trip. So, I had begun looking around at all the fall markets nearby instead (also known as a “Höstmarknad” or a Harvest festival "Skördefest" in Swedish). 

A couple of years ago, we went to the Skansen Autumn fair. It was well organized and had a good amount of vendors. I found a really good homemade jam stand that year. The Skansen festival is really a bit more than just a fall market. They have musicians and actors putting on a show at different times and everyone is dressed up in old-fashioned clothing. You must pay to get into the open-air museum, but then you also have access to a full day of fun activities inside (whether you stay in the fall market part of the park or not.)

More recently, we've gone to Zetas fall market. Zetas is a beautiful garden center and "White Guide" recommended cafe, just south of the city. The market takes place inside the venue and is free to attend. Unfortunately, I was a little late in looking it up, so we missed it this year. It was a really good event though and worth the trip. They had everything you could want; all the typical jams, fresh produce, and old-world food products one hopes to find at these type of events. I even saw a lot of fun craft items, clothing, and jewelry everywhere. The cute little red and white striped awnings over each booth made the whole market seem very fun and festive. It could possibly be my favorite one so far!

This year we decided to try something new. There was a fall market happening at a castle called Ulriksdals Slott (”slott” is Swedish for “castle”). I have a huge love for visiting castles, ever since my move to Europe. I find them absolutely fascinating to see in person. Especially since we grow up without that type of history around us in the US. Henrik, being an architect, also has a love of buildings that are both old and new. So, visiting castles and old manor homes has kind of become a little thing that we do together. (Which, is why we’ve even chosen to get married at one next year!) So, you can guess at my level of excitement, to see that one of the local castles was holding a fall festival.

Ulriksdal’s fall market was small but nice. It didn’t have as many vendors as I was expecting, yet it was fun to visit none the less. I think the most exciting part was really just to be outside in such a beautiful park on a sunny crisp autumn day.

The castle itself held guided tours (only in Swedish, unfortunately. However, they do happen to have English ones in the summer). At 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, the small beautiful chapel nearby had a free music event going on as well. There were even cute little pony rides for children at 50 SEK a turn, making this quite the fun family event.

I think my favorite part of this festival was that it was in walking distance to Ulriksdals Trädgård; a garden center with a self-picking field, greenhouse, gift shop, and cafe. The cafe makes excellent vegetarian food and fika desserts year round. Often, using organic ingredients they grow on site. It’s one of my favorite escapes just north of Stockholm city. We frequently come here to pick vegetables and flowers in July and August too and it's absolutely wonderful.

On the day of the market, we all ended up walking over to Ulriksdals Trädgård and getting the best lemon meringue pie EVER! Hands down, THE BEST. Henrik always goes crazy for it. I have begun to consider it a favorite of mine as well. I’m a bit sensitive to dairy and gluten, so I can only have things like this in really rare amounts (I’m currently living by the 80/20 rule), but the pie here is so worth the sacrifice. This is truly one of the best fika places in town. (If they had a barista that could serve specialty drinks—like a latte or cappuccino—I would say it was “the best,” but still waiting on that.)

I would say this was the perfect picturesque fall day that I had been hoping for. Even the long hike back to our car and finding a delightful parking ticket on our windshield couldn’t spoil the mood. It was a great way end to the season. 

If you have any tips for other good fall markets or activities in the Stockholm region, please leave a comment below!!! I would love to hear more about what everyone else has been doing. 🍂