If you are thinking of visiting Stockholm in Sweden, read on to see what we recommend as the best places to visit in Stockholm.
Most tourists’ knowledge of Stockholm, and Sweden in general, revolves around Ikea and Stieg Larsson’s crime novel Trilogy based on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
For us, Sweden is our second home as Jonas’ is Swedish and all of his family still live there in Västerås. As such, we have spent a lot of time in Sweden over the years and have accumulated a vast amount of travel knowledge which we have happily shared with many travellers.
The list really is endless so we have narrowed it down to the ‘must see and do’s’ for those of you looking at visiting Stockholm.
“You’re not really supposed to like ABBA in Sweden. It’s nerdy.”– Izabella Scorupco –
Introduction to Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is located on the south-east coast and is a city of fourteen islands spread across the Baltic Sea archipelago.
The city is easy to get around by walking or by using the extensive public transport system including the metro, bus and tram network.
Stockholm city can be divided into four distinct districts all of which have their own unique vibe. The island of Södermalm has a laid-back air and is a draw for the creative set, while Östermalm is the picture of refined elegance. Nestled between these two areas, Norrmalm is a busy and vibrant downtown spot, and you’ll find the charming Old Town of Gamla Stan just south of Norrmalm.
Tips for Visiting Stockholm
If you are visiting Stockholm for the first time, here are some tips / information to help you plan your perfect holiday.
English Is Spoken Everywhere By Everyone
Swedes learn English as a second language from a very early age and speak excellent English.
Scandinavia is world renowned as being an expensive place to travel so factor this when planning your holiday.
Cards Are Preferred Over Cash
The use of debit and credit cards is the norm in Sweden and in some places, cash is not accepted. This is great as you won’t need to go to the ATM to withdraw Swedish krona which is only useful in Sweden.
Buy a Stockholm Pass (Tourist Card)
The Stockholm Pass is excellent value and provides free entry to more than 60 big tourist attractions including almost all the best museums and galleries in the city. The pass also includes free buses to and from major attractions and free boat tours along the canals.
Fika is an integral part of Swedish culture and simply means time taken with friends for coffee and cake. As a result, you will find coffee shops selling amazing coffee, cakes and pastries throughout the city.
Map of Stockholm, Sweden
Must See and Do When Visiting Stockholm
1. Gamla Stan
Often referred to as the ‘Old Town’, Gamla Stan is the oldest area in Stockholm and dates back to the mid-13th-Century. It is considered to be one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centres in all of Europe.
Gamla Stan is rich in history and is a living museum filled with narrow winding cobblestone streets, beautiful churches, colourful houses, charming restaurants, eclectic boutiques and accommodation to suit all tastes.
Stortorget is the oldest square in Gamla Stan and is known for its iconic colourful historic houses and buildings. From jovial market days to mass executions, every corner of this square has a grand story to tell.
Some of the most famous attractions in this part of Stockholm include:
- The Nobel Museum
- The Swedish Royal Palace
- The Riksdaghuset – home to the Swedish Parliament
- The Vasa Museum – Vasamuseet
- Storkyrkan – The Royal Cathedral of Sweden
- Visit Duration: 2 – 3 hours
- Where: Gamla Stan, Sodermalm, Stockholm
Hours: All Day, Everyday
- Cost: Free
- Tip: Wander the cobblestone alleyways and find cool coffee shops and bars that are worthy of a fika and photo.
2. The Vasa Museum
This maritime museum is one of the most popular museums in Scandinavia. It houses the Vasa, an almost completely intact 64-gun battleship that sunk in 1628 on its maiden voyage.
The ship was recovered and lovingly restored, and the museum now provides the history about the life and times of the people aboard the battleship Vasa through a film and also guided tours and audio guides.
Explore the different sections of the battleship and walk through the different exhibitions to see the weapons that were used to arm Vasa, the different people aboard the Vasa at the time it capsized, and the more than 700 sculptures and ornaments retrieved from the ship.
- Visit Duration: 2 – 3 hours
- Where: Galarvarvsvagen 14, 115 21 Stockholm
- Hours: 1 June to 31 August: 8:30am – 6:00pm, Everyday; 1 September to 31 May: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Thursday to Tuesday, 10:00am – 8:00pm, Wednesday
- Cost: Under 18 Free, Student – 100 SEK (AUD$15.50 / USD$12), Adult – 130 SEK (AUD$20 / USD$15)
3. Skansen Open Air Museum
Skansen Open Air Museum and Zoo is known for being the first open-air museum in the world.
Walk back in time and experience the traditional life and culture of Sweden across five centuries. Explore the more than 150 houses and farmsteads including Vastveit Storehouse, Selgora Church, Alvros Farmstead, Skogaholm manor house, and the village hall. Other interesting exhibits at the museum include pottery demonstrations, an engraver’s workshop, a shoemaker’s shop, and more.
The museum also houses a range of domestic and wild animals at the zoo. Animals include the wolverine, otters, wolves, Scandinavian brown bear, reindeer, moose, Grey seal, Eagle Owl, Guereza, and many more interesting species.
Do not miss out on the Skansen Aquarium with its corals, crocodiles, turtles, pygmy marmosets, and also the Children’s Rain Forest.
- Visit Duration: 4 hours
- Where: Marknadsgatan, 115 21 Stockholm
Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm, Everyday
- Cost: Child (6-15 years) – 60 SEK (AUD$10 / USD$7), Adult – 100 SEK (AUD$15.50 / USD$12)
4. The Royal Palace
Located close to Gamla Stan, the Swedish Royal Palace is considered one of the biggest and most magnificent palaces in all of Europe. It dates back to the 18th-Century and is the ‘official’ home of the King and Queen of Sweden, but the palace where they actually stay is Drottningholm Palace.
The building has historical and cultural significance in the context of life over the centuries in Sweden. The palace has 7 floors with a total of 600 rooms in all. Admission includes entry to three individual museums: the Tre Kronor Museum showcasing the palace’s medieval history; Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities; and the Royal Palace Museum.
Apart from the three museums, you can explore other areas including the Bernadotte Library which holds a royal book collection of over 100,000 books owned by the royal family members over the centuries. Also, the Royal Chapel that has been around since the 13th-Century, and the Royal Guard.
- Visit Duration: 3 – 4 hours
- Where: Slottsbacken 1, Old Town (Gamla Stan), Stockholm
Hours: Check Opening Hours Here
- Cost: Child (7-17 years) – 75 SEK (AUD$11.50 / USD$8), Adult – 150 SEK (AUD$23 / USD$16)
- Tip: Don’t miss the parade of the Changing of the Royal Guard (ask for times at the Tourist Centre in Sweden House)
5. Drottningholm Palace
Drottningholm Palace is Stockholm’s most beautiful and best preserved palace and has been home to the Royal family since 1662. It is one of the homes of the King and Queen, but they only live in a small wing. The rest of the palace is open for visitors.
The Palace houses, amongst many things, a Palace Church which is still used by the people of the area; a 300 year old theatre which still conducts opera festivals; and the Chinese Pavilion.
The garden of the palace is beautiful and extremely popular with locals and tourists alike. They were built in different stages over the years, which is why you see gardens of different styles i.e. Baroque Garden and the English Garden, in different sections of the palace’s grounds.
- Visit Duration: 3 – 4 hours
- Where: Gustav Adolfs torg 22, 111 52 Stockholm
Hours: Check Opening Hours Here
- Cost: Child (7-18 years) – 35 SEK (AUD$5.50 / USD$4), Adult – 70 SEK (AUD$11 / USD$8)
- Tip: Catch a ferry to the castle and enjoy the added benefit of a cruise from central Stockholm through the archipelago.
6. Grona Lund Tivoli
Dating back to 1883, Grona Lund is the oldest amusement park in Sweden and has over 30 exciting attractions which will keep the whole family happy for hours.
Grona Lund is also a popular for venue for concerts and big acts like Status Quo, Deep Purple, Dropkick Murphys, Wolfmother, and many others have performed at Grona Lund over the years.
- Visit Duration: 3 – 4 hours
- Where: Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9, 115 21 Stockholm
Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm, Everyday
- Cost: 7 – 64 years – 110 SEK (AUD$17 / USD$13); Individual Rides Extra
- Tip: Swedes love to dance so make sure you visit the open-air swing dancing pavilion and join in for a couple of rounds around the dancefloor.
7. Stockholm Archipelago
Just 20 minutes away from Stockholm is the beginning of the Stockholm Archipelago which is made up of 30,000 islands covering an area of more than 650 square miles.
Fjäderholmarna Islands in the west are the closest to Stockholm city centre; Svenska Högarna islets are in the east, the abandoned fortifications on Arnholma in the north; and a lonely lighthouse on Landsort in the south.
Being such a vast area, there’s something to discover for everyone. You can explore uninhabited islands for a true escape to nature, or tour the 150 settled isles that are home to charming villages and small coastal towns.
If you are in Stockholm for just a short period of time, then Fjäderholmarna, Vaxholm, Gustavsberg, and Värmdö are accessed easily by a ferry, and are only one hour from Stockholm city centre.
If you have a little longer, the islands of Sandön, Möja, Nåttarö, Utö, Finnhamn or Grinda are great to explore. Allow approximately two hours on the ferry to reach these from Stockholm city centre.
- Visit Duration: 1 – 2 days
Other Popular Places to See When Visiting Stockholm
- Stockholm City Hall or Stadhuset – venue of the annual Nobel Prize Banquet
- Riddarholm Church – burial place for Kings of Sweden since the 15th-Century
- Stockholm Cathedral – oldest church in Stockholm
- Royal Armory or Livrustkammaren – oldest museum in Sweden and located within the premises of the royal palace
- ABBA Museum – museum dedicated to ABBA showcasing stage costumes, gear and memorabilia
- Nobel Prize Museum – exhibitions relating to the Nobel prize, its founder Alfred Nobel, the Nobel laureates through the years, and their efforts
- Maritime Museum – combine this with a visit to the Vasa Museum
- Museum of Photography – Sweden’s centre for contemporary photography
- Stockholm National Museum – The entire collection dates from the Middle Ages to the 20th century and includes, apart from paintings, sculptures, modern art exhibits, porcelain displays, and more
- Museum of Modern Art – showcases the best modern and contemporary art from the 20th-Century until today
- Nordic Museum – biggest cultural history museum in Sweden with over 500,000 exhibits
- Museum of Medieval Stockholm – meet the people and hear stories from the everyday life, explore reconstructed brick buildings, warehouses and workshops
- National Museum of Science and Technology – experience exhibitions on inventions, energy and the environment along with other areas of topical interest in a fun and inspiring way
In Summary: Visiting Stockholm Sweden? Our Top 7 Must See and Do’s
We may be a little bias, but Stockholm, Sweden’s vibrant capital, is a great travel destination for any type of traveller. There are so many things to do but if you are short on time, we highly recommend to start your planning with our top 7 must see and do’s above.
Are you planning on visiting Stockholm in the near future? Post your comments below.
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