Stockholm has 14 islands and 57 bridges, and like few other cities, it resembles Venice in some way. Although the architecture is very unique and its interesting features cannot be seen anywhere else, not even in Scandinavian countries.
There is something about Stockholm that is at the same time calming, buzzing, and energetic. Being on the Baltic sea gives you calming water effects, boat tours, walking across bridges. At the same time, it is an ultra-modern city with modern architecture, tech companies, popular fashion brands, and everything else one capital city should have. And then you see all the greenery in the city and around the city, which pushes you to go outdoors, stay active, and enjoy nature.
Being in Stockholm is like time travel, from historic Gamla Stan to modern Norrmalm. You can spend a month in the city and still have streets to walk through, and parks to explore. As international as the city is, don’t be surprised that everyone speaks good English, and that you will make friends or ask for directions easily.
Stroll Through Gamla Stan
Stockholm Old Town, located near the Royal Palace, is overlooking the canal and offers great views of the city. Its narrow streets and buildings in warm colors look very cozy, and even though it is the most touristy area of the city it is not too crowded. You can always find a cafe where you can sit and enjoy the surroundings.
Gamla Stan was built in the 1200s, and it was the city center. Now it is filled with authentic art galleries, small restaurants, and other attractions. While exploring the labyrinth of small streets stop by souvenir shops and get something to remind you of Stockholm.
If you visit Stockholm in wintertime, you will find the most adorable Christmas market here, Julmarknad. In Gamla Stan, there is also the Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm Cathedral, and the Parliament house.
A place you should not miss in Gamla Stan is Stortorget, a square at the highest point of the island. Nowadays this is the most recognizable tourist attraction in Stockholm, and a few centuries ago this was a horrific place where Danish forces killed 90 people on this square.
Visit the Vasa Museum
In the Vasa Museum, you will see a marvelous Vasa battleship that never sailed. It was built in 1628 and as soon as it left the pier it sank because it was built too heavy. They paid too much attention to the outside of the ship and the design but didn’t think of how that is going to work once the ship is on the water.
They took it out of water in 1961 and did a slight reconstruction. Still, 95% of the ship is original and even the reconstruction followed the original plans, so what you see is exactly what people in the 17th century saw.
Vasa Museum is now the most visited museum in Sweden. It is quite interesting and funny when you know the story of the ship, but it is definitely a piece of history worth seeing. Make sure to set up your camera right when taking photos inside the museum, because the museum is very dark and if you take photos with a flash they will turn out very bad. Use the night mode or low light mode for best results. The ticket is 170 SEK for adults, and kids are free of charge.
Wander Through Djurgården on a Sunny Day
Central Park is to New York, Djurgården is to Stockholm, a favorite place for free time. Not just locals, but also tourists love visiting this gorgeous park for relaxation and recreation. The most beautiful part of the island is Royal National City Park, where you can enjoy the scenery while having a picnic.
The forest has hiking and biking trails, and you can also explore the area by canoe or kayak. On the island are Skansen, ABBA Museum, Gröna Lund amusement park, and Vasa Museum. A section of the park is also dedicated to Rosendals Garden, an oasis hidden from the city buzz, a farming garden with vegetables and fruits grown sustainably.
I Love the Skansen Open-Air Museum
To me, Skansen is the most impressive place you can visit in Stockholm. This open-air museum on Djurgården island has authentic homes and buildings brought here from all around Sweden. They were carefully taken down from their original locations and built back up to look the same in this amazing place. You can enter many of these homes and see what life was like a few centuries ago.
Opened in 1891, Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. Later on, many Scandinavian countries created similar museums that are very popular among tourists nowadays. Part of the museum is also Skansen Aquarium and Children’s Zoo.
In more than 150 buildings, costumed staff will create time travel for visitors. You can see manor houses, bakeries, a wooden church, and more. In the Solliden restaurant, you can try delicious Smörgåsbord, a traditional Swedish buffet-style meal. Admission to the museum is 220 SEK for adults and 70 for kids.
Check Out Sveriges Kungahus: the Royal Palace
The royal palace in Stockholm is one of the best-preserved royal palaces in Europe. Every room is filled with furniture, everyday items, art, and personal items of the royals. It is still the official residence of the King of Sweden.
The palace consists of 600 rooms, and it was built in the 18th century in Baroque style. The palace is separated into several museums, some of which is the Museum of Antiquities, Tre Kronor Museum, and Treasury. Changing the guard is an attraction by itself you shouldn’t miss. The ticket is 160 SEK for adults and 80 for kids.
If you love visiting royal palaces, Sweden is the country for you. Some of the other palaces you can see are: Kungliga slottet, Drottningholms slott, Gripsholms slott, Hovstallet, Kina slott, Ulriksdals slott, Rosersbergs slott, and many more.
Snap Photos of Stadshuset: the City Hall
The City Hall was built in national romanticism style by the architect Ragnar Östberg. It features a 106 meters tall tower decorated with three golden crowns. The most fascinating fact is that the entire building has 8 million bricks.
Stockholm municipality is inside the building, with all the government offices, wedding hall, and the Council Chamber. But the building can still be visited on guided tours, and tickets for adults are 130 SEK for adults and 80 for kids.
The Golden Hall that features 18 million gold mosaic tiles can also be seen on the tour. This is the place where a banquet is held after the Nobel Prize ceremony. On your visit, you will also see the Blue Hall, Prince’s Gallery, and with an additional ticket that costs 60 SEK, you can climb the Three Crown Bell Tower.
Jump On a Stockholm Archipelago Boat Tour
If you have enough time or if you are looking for special ways to see the city, a boat tour is for you. This tour will take you on a cruise around the islands of Stockholm Archipelago, and you will get to observe nature and see the city from a different perspective.
The tour is 2.5. hours long, and on the boat, you can buy snacks and drinks. While you are enjoying beautiful views the guide will tell you all about the places you are looking at. They will also talk about the natural features of the area.
Fotografiska offers unique experiences in Stockholm and several other cities in the world. This venue includes a museum, cafes, restaurants, shops, events, and more. It is a modern world hub where freelancers, artists, and photographers meet to see new artwork, discuss art, and listen to lecturers from the field.
The mission of Fotografiska is to connect people, and that can be felt right at the entrance. Everyone here is friendly and open-minded, and you will get to see some new photography names on the exhibits that are changing every few months. The tickets are different prices on different days, they vary from 165 to 255 SEK depending on the time and day, making weekends more expensive.
When visiting Fotografiska, stop by this amazing viewing point. It is a 500m long walking path from which you can see Lake Mälaren, Stockholm City Hall, and Riddarholmen. You will also see up-close charming homes along the path.
In the wintertime it can be slippery and frozen, so make sure to hold on to a rail. It is a very romantic place, especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise. Another beautiful viewpoint in Stockholm is Fjällgatan, not too far from here.
For modern art lovers, this is an ideal stop on your trip to Stockholm. Moderna Museet has one of the biggest modern and contemporary art collections in Europe. The second gallery of the museum is located in the Swedish city of Malmo.
You can see everything from paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more, from prominent artists in the 20th century. There are some artworks by Picasso, Dali, Oppenheim, and Matisse on display here. The total collection consists of over 6000 paintings, sculptures, and installations, 25000 watercolors, drawings, and prints, 400 art videos and films, and over 100000 photographs.
Because the collection is so huge it can’t be displayed at the same time, so they have temporary exhibits that change every few months. Tickets to exhibits are 150 SEK, and depending on the exhibit sometimes you will have to pay for each exhibit, and sometimes you will have free entrance to some of them.
Shopping in Östermalm
Östermalm is the neighborhood with the best shopping options in Stockholm. I loved how busy the street is and there are many nice cafes where you can stop for a break from shopping. They offer international brands, and some Scandinavian designers as well.
Biblioteksgatan area is more for flagship shops and designer boutiques, and Stureplan on the other hand is for numerous posh shops with very expensive items. If you want to shop for antiquities, go over to Kommendörsgatan.
SkyView, Avicii Arena
Avicii Arena is the largest spherical building in the world. You can climb up to the top and from a 130 meter (425 feet) dome and enjoy the best view of the city. The maximum group is 8 people. Price per person is 160 SEK, and 120 SEK for kids.
You will be inside the ball-shaped cabin that goes up to the top, from where you will have a stunning view. The entire experience is very exciting, and if you are traveling with kids they will love it.
Stockholm Medieval Museum
When in the 1970s the city was digging for the underground park, they stumbled upon medieval city walls. These were the walls of the city hall from the 16th century. Below the Norrbro bridge now the museum is built around the walls and it is dedicated to medieval times.
In the museum you will learn about Swedish history from the 13th to 16th century, you will see workshops, reconstructed brick buildings, warehouses, and listen to everyday life stories from that period. Museum also features a market square, church, and warship.
Children can dress up in armor, or they can dig at the archaeological site for fun. My favorite part was a medieval graveyard, which looks very creepy, and you can even see skeletons on the ground. Admission to a museum is free.
Swedish History Museum
Have you watched the Vikings on the History channel? If you have this would be the most interesting place for you to see in Stockholm. The Swedish History Museum houses the largest Viking exhibition in the world.
Start your visit from Yggdrasil, a tree of life that is in the center of the exhibit and represents the center of Viking mythology as well. The roots of the tree will take you to specific artifacts and stories through centuries. You will see the craftsmanship, seafaring, plundering, and everything else related to Viking everyday life.
Other parts of the museum cover the history of Sweden through centuries, the monarchy, medieval times, and mythology. The museum has 10 million historical artifacts, covering 10000 years of history in the country. Admission to the museum is free unless you are going to some specific events that require tickets
If you like romantic walks and exploring the city on foot, you should not miss Strandvägen. It is a pathway by the water that scratches from Östermalm to the city center. You will get to enjoy impressive views of the city, particularly of Gamla Stan, Skeppsholmen, and Djurgården.
The boulevard was built in the 19th century for the World’s Fair that happened in Stockholm. Some of the buildings in Djurgården are from that period too. Cities went above and beyond for this fair, I wish it was still happening around the world.
Along the street, there are many cafes and restaurants where you can have lunch or dinner. Boat tours also pass by Strandvägen pointing to the gorgeous architecture of the buildings in Revival style, especially the Isak Gustaf Clason’s Bünsow Building.
Prince Eugen Waldemarsudde
This beautiful estate in Djurgården was home to a popular royal at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Prince Eugen was the youngest son of King Oscar II and Queen Sophia. He studied fine art in Paris and was interested in art from a young age.
The estate was built in Art Nuevo style and the surroundings are so beautiful that you will wish you could live there. Museum consists of two buildings, one is the stunning fully furnished mansion, and the other one is the art gallery.
Prince Eugene’s art collection was the biggest privately owned collection in Sweden, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, and graphics from Swedish and international artists. The majority of the artworks belong to the contemporary art period, and he picked pieces that he loved. The adult tickets are 150 SEK, and while you are there visit their cafe and a restaurant.
ABBA museum, obvs
I can proudly say that I know the lyrics of every ABBA song. I loved listening to them when I was growing up, so a visit to the ABBA museum was a must for me, and it didn’t disappoint. The museum is so much fun, it has interactive exhibits and you will feel like you are performing with them on stage.
You can virtually dress up in their costumes, listen to their iconic songs, and learn about their lives. If you are lucky enough when you visit there will be a temporary exhibit as well. One of these was about the movie “Mamma Mia”, or the virtual reality experience of the Stockholm archipelago. If you purchase tickets in advance the price is 250 SEK, and if you buy them at the entrance the price is 260 SEK.
Who doesn’t like a good amusement park? Gröna Lund is the oldest amusement park in Sweden, located on the island of Djurgården. It was opened in 1883, and all the attractions still work. Of course, new roller coasters are set up every few years, and repairs are done regularly.
The park is especially beautiful in the evening, and also from here, you get to see the city lights when the night falls. Some of the most popular rides here are Jetline, Twister, and Monster.
The scariest one is the Eclipse, a swing that will take you up to 120 meters above the ground. In these 2 minutes how long the ride takes, you will feel like it was a lifetime. Tickets start at 100 SEK and depending on what you want to see and do, it can go up to 300 SEK.
This is the largest museum of cultural history in Sweden. It covers the culture and history of all Nordic nations, featuring folk art, clothing, jewelry, traditions, furniture, and more. Aside from the permanent exhibit, there are often temporary exhibits like the recent ones: Paris Of The Norths, and The Arctic – While The Ice Is Melting.
The collection of over a million artifacts includes everyday items, unique items, and everything else that could represent cultural history from the 16th century till today. The building by itself is very impressive and worth seeing.
Once you are done with a visit, stop by the cafe in the backyard which is a very cute and relaxing place. The tickets for the museum are 140 SEK for adults, and free for kids. You can also download the audio guide in multiple languages.
A beautiful 17th-century palace in French style is listed as a UNESCOregularly World Heritage Site. in the palace you can see furniture and artifacts from a few centuries and several royal families, who all left their mark on this gorgeous place.
Outdoors is as impressive as indoors, with a spectacular Chinese pavilion finished in 1769. A mix of Oriental and Rococo styles, decorated with porcelain and lacquered furniture, the pavilion is surrounded by a beautiful park that connects the palace and this place.
Another incredible part of the estate is Drottningholm Palace Theatre, built in 1766 and still standing in all its beauty. It was the most popular theater in the 18th century and all the great operas had opened here. To this day you can see operas, ballets, and plays performed here in an 18th-century manner.
The estate is open year-round and the entrance to the park is free. The palace is sometimes closed, due to events happening inside. The price for adults to visit the palace is 160 SEK, and for kids is 80 SEK. If you want a guided tour you can sign up at the entrance and pay an additional 30 SEK.
It is hard to imagine that this trendy neighborhood was the poorest part of Stockholm just a century ago. It was covered in tobacco fields, children were working in factories, and it was filthy and unsafe. Until the 1960s the neighborhood was cut off from the city, but then the subway was built and they had fast transit to the Old Town.
Start your visit at the Slussen area, which is located between the Södermalm and Gamla Stan islands. From there you can go to the Häckelfjäll neighborhood, where you can see many old houses and buildings in a very authentic style.
Cobblestone streets are now home to hip bars and cafes, coworking places, shopping malls, designer stores, and city parks. You can shop in small galleries and boutique shops, or check out one of the eateries along the way. If you want to listen to local stories you won’t find in guide books, sign up for one of the local guided tours.
This beautiful mansion was once home to Walther von Hallwyl and his wife Wilhelmina, an aristocratic couple that wanted to live in the city center. A famous architect Isak Gustaf Clason created their home in the 1890s, as one of the most beautiful houses in the city.
The building was advanced for that time, but it was built in Renaissance style. They even had electricity, phone, plumbing, and central heating. They were art collectors and before their passing, they donated the building and the art collection to the state. Admission to the museum is free.
This neighborhood was made pedestrian-only in the 90s and since then all the big department stores have opened their shops here. Now, this is the busiest part of Stockholm, especially on weekends, when all the youngsters come here for shopping, food, and fun.
The famous Swedish brand H&M has huge stores here, along with other popular international fashion brands like Zara, and Mango. Nordiska Kompaniet, also known just as NK, located in Hamngatan, is a national institution when it comes to fashion and design. Also, the nearby MOOD Stockholm is a new mall with shopping, food, and service.
In the city center, right behind the Royal Palace, there is a beautiful park with cherry blossoms in spring. The name of this garden means King’s Garden, and it is an ideal place to sit and relax for a bit, read a book, or chat with your friends.
In April, on Cherry Blossom day, Körsbärsblommans Dag, thousands of people show up to walk between the cherry trees, take photos, and enjoy the natural beauty. There is always something happening here year-round, so in winter you can come to skate on the ice here.
One of the best fine art museums in Sweden, Thielska Galleriet, is located in the royal park of Djurgården. Here you can see 19th and 20th-century artworks from artists like Eugène Jansson, Carl Larsson, Bruno Liljefors, Edvard Munch, August Strindberg and Anders Zorn.
Aside from the beautiful estate and permanent collection, a few times a year you can also enjoy temporary exhibits here, have coffee in a cafe or buy souvenirs in the gift shop. Some of the temporary exhibits here include works from the Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Collection, Hjalmar Söderberg artworks, and many more. Tickets are 130 SEK, and you can opt for guided tours as well.
Red Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Boat
For everyone that doesn’t have much time to see the city, or simply enjoys rides in an open bus, I recommend Hop-On Hop-Off Bus & Boat tours. The ticket includes unlimited rides in a certain time frame, and it is the easiest way to go from one attraction to another. You can choose 24 to 72 hours long tickets, and when you count how much time and money they save you it is affordable.
This tour is especially good because it includes boat rides as well. In a city like Stockholm that lies across the islands of an archipelago, the fastest transport is often by boat. The best views of the city are from the water, and with the audio guides, you will learn everything you need to know about Stockholm.
Wildlife Safari with Campfire Dinner
This is a perfect tour for nature lovers. You get to experience Swedish nature and to see its native animals like moose, deer, wild boars, hares, badgers, foxes, and different bird species. Don’t forget your cameras and binoculars on this tour, as well as warm clothes and comfy shoes.
The tour includes pick up and drop off a wildfire dinner, and a professional guide that is going to tell you about the animals. After dinner, you are going for a hike and wildlife sightseeing. The hike is very light and even those who are not used to spending time in nature can enjoy it.
Viking City – Boat Trip from Stockholm City Hall
For all the history buffs, this is a tour you should choose. Go to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Birka, a city from the 8th century. It was a Viking settlement and the oldest known Swedish town.
On this tour, you will see the archeological sites, discover Viking culture and life, and enjoy the nature of the island. There is a museum, a graveyard, and a reconstruction of Viking’s everyday life, on the site.
The Nordic Food Walk
If you are a foodie, The Nordic Food Walk is the best gift you can give yourself. Swedish people enjoy food and coffee. For them staying true to the traditions is very important, and although Sweden is a modern country you will find traditional food in many places.
The guide will take you to the local markets, historical areas, and authentic places where you can taste local dishes and products. The tour starts at Östermalmshallen, and it will last for 4 hours until you reach Gamla Stan. Bring a backpack so you can carry things you will probably buy from the market.
Self Guided Kayak Adventure
For a group of friends or a family traveling together, a kayaking adventure through the Stockholm canals is the next level of exploring the city. This is the best fit for those who already have experience with kayaks or at least someone from the group is experienced enough to take responsibility for everyone else.
In my experience kayaks are very safe, and sightseeing from the kayak is a unique and incredible way to see the city. Just in case, bring a waterproof camera instead of a regular one, or a waterproof case for your phone. Before you start your tour they will give you a map and everything else you need, and give you a brief description of kayaking.
To me, Stockholm was the city I fell in love with so much that I could go back there and stay for a long time. Not many cities give you the feeling of belonging on the first visit. Even if you want to visit just for a week, it will be an enjoyable week you will remember.