Stockholm is Sweden’s capital city, and the largest city of the Nordic countries. Located on the Baltic Sea in an archipelago, Stockholm consists of 14 islands, with bridges, ferries and a Metro providing easy access around the city. Like almost everything in Sweden, even public transportation can be expensive.
It’s not a budget destination, but it’s a unique city and the gateway to many other amazing places to visit in Sweden. Make sure to get your Stockholm Pass, which gives you free entry to over 60 top attractions and museums and includes a wide range of boat and bus tours. Here are a few of the best things do to in Stockholm.
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Your visit to Stockholm will likely include one or more trips to Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town. You might even decide to stay in this central location. The historic center of Stockholm is lined with cobblestone streets and gold-painted buildings. Set on an island with ferry and tram connections, there are many tourist attractions in Gamla Stan. Be sure to take some time to wander the streets, sample the cafes, and enjoy the views connecting Gamla Stan to nearby boroughs. In the center of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, Stockholm’s oldest square.
- Stockholm:Hit The Streets Old Town Walking Tour
- Private Tour: Stockholm Historical Walking Tour of Gamla Stan
- The Original Stockholm Ghost Walk and Historical Tour
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Boat Ticket in Stockholm
Sweden’s Royal Palace has over 600 rooms, making it one of the largest palaces in the world. The Palace is the official residence of the King of Sweden, but several areas remain open to the public for tours. The Italian Baroque palace was built in the 18th century, and visitors can watch the changing of the guard each day at noon. You can royal apartments, the crown jewels and visit five museums contained in the palace grounds. The Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) museum is in the cellars of the Royal Palace, and is dedicated to the original medieval palace which stood here in the 17th century.
Also located in Gamla Stan, the Nobel Museum highlights the various fields of the Nobel Prize. Five Nobel prizes were established in 1895 by Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel, to be awarded to outstanding contributions in chemistry, literature, peace, physics, and medicine. The museum features the Nobel laureates and their accomplishments. Multimedia displays give you the history of the award and how the awards are determined.
Photography fans will want to plan a visit to Fotografiska, located on the waterfront in the Södermalm district. While it’s not technically a museum, it’s an exhibition space decided to contemproary photography and has hosted exhibits in the past from Robert Mapplethorpe and Annie Leibovitz, among others. The rooftop cafe and bar offers excellent views of the surrounding area as well.
Djurgården is another island in Stockholm, which was once the playground of the Royal Family. Much of this area is comprised of parks and gardens, although there are many museums and cultural attractions here, too. You can easily reach Djurgården from other areas of Stockholm by bus, tram or ferry. A highlight of Djurgården is Rosendals Trädgård, a public garden, farm and orchard. There is an excellent cafe/bakery on site, as well as a farm shop. Both feature locally produced organic ingredients.
- Stockholm: The Royal Bridges & Canal Tour
- Best of Stockholm City and the National City Park – 3 hour Bike Tour
- Private 3h Bike Tour: Best of Stockholm City and the National City Park
One of the museums on Djurgården is Scandinavia’s most visited museum. The Vasa Museum, a maritime museum featuring warship Vasa that sank in 1628. The ship was salvaged and brought up in the 1960’s after over 300 years at the bottom of the sea. It’s nearly fully intact and is the only such 17th century ship in the world. The museum covers six floors, where you can see into the hull of the ship and get a glimpse of 17th century life as it’s been preserved in this time capsule, even skeletons of some of the crew!
- Guided Tour of the Vasa Museum
- Stockholm Super Saver: Stockholm City Walking Tour Including Vasa Museum plus Bohemian Stockholm Walking Tour
- Private Tour: Stockholm City Walking Tour Including the Vasa Museum
A more modern museum of Djurgården is the ABBA Museum, an interactive exhibition featuring all things ABBA. The Swedish pop group ABBA was formed in the 1970’s and rose to worldwide fame in the disco era. The museum is highly interactive and features memorabilia from the band, including costumes, gold records and more. Not only will you see and hear the story of ABBA, but you’ll also learn what they’ve all been up to since disbanding in 1982. Even if you’re not a huge ABBA fan, you’ll enjoy this music museum, as it also includes a collection of historic guitars.
- ABBA The Museum
- GAILY TOUR in STOCKHOLM – Gay Tour & ABBA’s Secrets
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus and Boat Ticket in Stockholm
Along the waterfront of Djurgården is Gröna Lund, Sweden’s oldest amusement park. Since 1883, Gröna Lund has been entertaining Stockholm residents and visitors alike. It’s also a popular musical performance venue, and even hosted Bob Marley three times. There are seven roller coasters, including a timber coaster. Keep in mind this is a historic amusement park, so it lacks the huge coasters and acreage of other parks, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had for the whole family. If you love scary rides, small rides or thrillers, you’ll enjoy Gröna Lund.
Yet another popular Djurgården attraction is Skansen, an open-air museum and zoo. It’s a sort of living history museum, with 150 authentic buildings where you can explore and experience five centuries of Swedish history and culture. Special events include Swedish folk dancing in the summer, and a Christmas celebration. You can easily spend half a day at Skansen, especially if you have children with you. Luckily, there’s a cafe on site where you can take a break before resuming your tour.
The Stockholm Archipelago makes an excellent day trip while in Stockholm as it’s just 20 minutes away. The area is comprised of over 30,000 islands, and is second only to Finland as the largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea. The best way to see the archipelago is by ferry, but you can also book a boat tour for a more leisurely day. The archipelago is a great escape from the city, with lots of outdoor recreation opportunities, including kayaking, hiking, cycling and even camping.
- Royal Canal Tour
- 3-Hour Brunch Cruise Stockholm Archipelago
- Rent a Kayak
- Stockholm Archipelago Sailing Adventure
- 3-Day Stockholm Archipelago Kayaking and Camping Tour
Something fun to do in Stockholm is to take a cruise tour of the canals. Seeing the city from the water gives you a whole new perspective and you’ll learn the history of some of the buildings and bridges along the way. Different variations of the tour are available, with lunch or dinner, or a Royal theme. Do this early in your trip so you can get a feel for the areas of Stockholm, and make note of the places you’d like to return to once you are on land again.
Foodie fans visiting Stockholm must make a stop at Saluhall, a 1880’s food hall in the trendy Östermalm district. As food halls pop up all over Europe, they’re increasingly popular tourist destinations as well. This is a great place to pack up a picnic lunch before heading to one of Stockholm’s many parks and gardens. You can purchase fresh seafood, meat, cheese and produce, or visit a gourmet food vendor for pre-made items.
The “Central Park” of Stockholm, Kungsträdgården translates as “King’s Garden,” and is sometimes referred to as Kungsan. It has many outdoor cafes, art galleries, restaurants, and year round activities. If you visit Stockholm in the winter, don’t miss the ice rink. In the summer, there are many events including music concerts. Given the central location, you may find yourself passing through the park en route to other attractions, but it’s a great place to stop and take a break. If you haven’t yet experienced the Swedish coffee break, fika, this is a great place to do it.
- Stockholm Red Bus 72h Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket
- Modern Stockholm Walking Tour
- Best of Stockholm Photography and Sightseeing Tour