72km (45 miles) S of Stockholm

A visit to this former royal palace near Trosa in Sörmland -- just an hour's drive from Stockholm -- can be turned into so much more. You can feast on wild hogs cooked over an open fire, eating your meal by the cool lake, or you can picnic beside one of the dams in the area. If you're lucky, your visit can be tied in with one of the outdoor cultural performances presented here. At the very least, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a Swedish pastry at the Stable Café or the Orangery.

As for the palace itself, it occupies a panoramic setting on a bay of the Baltic Sea, and was a favorite of Gustav V (1858-1950), the great-grandfather of Sweden's present king. The palace dates from the early part of the 1800s. In 1772, Gustav's younger brother, Fredrik Adolf, turned it into his summer retreat.

The grounds invite exploring, with a theater, an orangery, sculptured parks, and ponds. But the palace interiors are also filled with riches. The facade is austere, while the rooms themselves are a hodgepodge of elegant styles -- rococo, Gustavian, and Victorian -- that hold their own fascination. Much of the decor came about during the reigns of King Gustaf V and Sweden's Queen Victoria, who spent their summers here in those Belle Epoque days around the turn of the 20th century.

The palace (tel. 08/555-720-11) is 60km (37 miles) south of Stockholm. By car, take E4 south about 60km (37 miles) and turn right at the sign that directs you to Tullgarns Slott, near Vagnhärad. It's another half-kilometer (1/3 mile) to the palace. Getting here by public transportation is extremely inconvenient and not worth the trouble. You first have to take a train to Södertälje Södra (about 20 min.), and then wait for a bus to Trosa, which lies 7km (4 1/3 miles) south of the castle. From Trosa, you have to take a taxi the rest of the way. You could spend all morning just trying to get to the castle, so we recommend skipping it unless you have private transportation or endless amounts of time.

Admission is 60SEK ($12/£6) for adults, 30SEK ($6/£3) for students and children ages 7 to 18. The palace is open to the public on weekends from June to August. Guided tours leave the main entrance every hour from 11am to 4pm.