The Swedish capital of Stockholm is in essence an aggregation of different islands making water a quasi-omnipresent element during your visit. The Scandinavian city is often underestimated in comparison to other European homologues, which is mainly due to its location and its lack of world renowned postcard sights.

Whilst the argument of cold and long winters cannot be turned down, the accusation of the expensive Swedish lifestyle has to be put into perspective. Although it is true that your Stockholm stay won’t be on the cheap side, the quality of services and products generally justifies the prices. It is furthermore essential to emphasise the amazing hospitality that is diffused by locals in the Swedish capital.

In a nutshell, Stockholm definitely deserves more than just a weekend. This fact is highlighted by the following 10 suggestions.

A snowy street in Stockholm

1. Get around Stockholm via the hop-on hop-off boats

Using the hop-on hop-off boats makes commuting a true Stockholm experience. It is the ideal way to get a great overview of the city’s main parts which are perfectly connected thanks to the water routes. You have seven different stops on the circuit and you can catch a boat every fifteen minutes which makes it the fastest transportation method to reach certain destinations.

An essential part of Stockholm: water

2. Have a culinary experience in Gamla Stan

Talking about Swedish cuisine, classic Swedish meatballs as well as traditional reindeer meat dishes have to be listed along with the different fish-based delicacies. One of the best places to try out the previously mentioned dishes is Gamla Stan.

The charming Old Town attracts tourists and locals alike with its vast range of restaurants inside its maze of cobbled streets. The two addresses recommended in this guide are Restaurang Kryp In (Prästgatan 17) and Slingerbulten (Stora Nygatan 24), bearing in mind that there are many other options (advisable to book a table a day in advance because most Old Town restaurants are quite small). Gamla Stan moreover invites to have a drink in one of its cosy bars such as Wirströms Pub (Stora Nygatan 13) or Pharmarium (Stortorget 7), no matter if it is before or after your meal (or even both).

3Have a stroll around a gourmet temple

If your culinary desires could not be entirely satisfied in Gamla Stan, Saluhall (Östermalmstorg/Östermalm Square) is the place to go to. This high-quality market hall knows how to convince even the most demanding gourmet. Its numerous stands offer mainly regional products such as salmon, reindeer meat or Swedish cheese which you can purchase and take back home.

You can naturally also eat in one of the restaurants located inside the market hall.

4. Visit Skansen

Skansen (Djurgårdsslätten 49-51), a hybrid between an open-air museum about traditional Swedish lifestyle and a zoo hosting regional animals is definitely a venue not to miss during your Stockholm stay. On the one hand, you have the opportunity to learn about how Swedes lived in the past, whereas on the other hand, you can observe members of the regional fauna such as brown bears, elks, reindeers or wolfs in a close-to-wilderness habitat. Skansen doesn’t only stand for Stockholm but represents the entire Swedish country.

Skansen

5. Discover a legendary ship

The Vasa Museum (Galärvarvsvägen 14) is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgarden in Stockholm. Scandinavia’s most visited museum showcases the almost fully intact 17th century Vasa ship which is named after the former Swedish king. The warship was salvaged after it had sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628. Being something completely different compared to modern ships, Vasa definitely has its own flair and impresses every visitor. Apart from the Vasa ship which constitutes the heart of the museum, you can learn more about Swedish history, mostly the time when the kingdom was a great European power back in the 17th century.

The Vasa ship inside the museum

6. Hang out in Gröna Lund

Also located on Djurgarden, Stockholm’s funfair Gröna Lund (Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9) is a popular spot to have uncomplicated juvenile fun. Even if Gröna Lund is smaller than most other funfairs, mostly due to its central location, it has over thirty attractions for kids and adults at its disposal. Besides classic roller coasters and carousels, Gröna Lund is famous for hosting concerts (mainly pop and rock) during the summer months. In this respect, the venue has hosted world renowned musical icons such as Bob Marley and Elton John over the years.

7. Embark on a day trip to Vaxholm

In central Stockholm, you have the opportunity to take a boat which navigates you from the capital through the Stockholm archipelago to Vaxholm. The Stockholm archipelago, or Stockholm’s Skärgard is an archipelago of roughly 24,000 islands (some of them are very small though) in the Baltic Sea eastwards from the Swedish capital. The archipelago stretches over 60 kilometres from North to South.

All of the islands are connected thanks to many boat and ferry lines. Some islands are uninhabited and natural reliefs dominate the image of the archipelago.

Aside from innumerable nature related locations, the archipelago boasts some larger towns as well. That is the case of the aforementioned Vaxholm which is often seen as the capital of the archipelago. Apart from attracting tourists, Vaxholm is also a popular destination for Stockholm residents who frequently like to escape the capital after a busy week of work by spending a day in this lovely and very quiet town.

Vaxholm

8. Discover your talent as a singer and/or dancer

Back in the capital, again on Djurgarden, you should visit ABBA – The Museum (Djurgårdsvägen 68), an interactive exhibition about Sweden’s most famous band. Despite its name, the venue cannot really be considered as a museum in the traditional way as it focuses more on getting its visitors into action.

You can in this context take the microphone and perform the hits of the Swedish pop group or you can merely test your dance skills while moving to the tunes of the 70’s an early 80’s. Especially if you are from the ABBA generation this spot is a must, but a visit also pays off for younger generations given that you will learn about general music history and certainly enjoy yourself.

9. Check your knowledge about the Nobel Prize

The expression “Nobel Prize” rings a bell for everyone, but few people actually link it to Stockholm. The award was in fact named after the Stockholm-born scientist Alfred Nobel and the annual ceremony takes place in the Swedish capital since its inception in 1901. (except for the Nobel Peace Prize which is awarded in Oslo, Norway).

While visiting the Nobel Museum (Stortorget 2) which is located in the former Stock Exchange Building on Stortorget square in the heart of Gamla Stan, you will discover that the Nobel Prize is awarded in 6 different categories (Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, Physiology/Medicine and since 1969 also Economic Sciences).

You can obviously have a look at the list of laureates in each category and you will even have the opportunity to reproduce several Nobel Prize related experiments. Furthermore, the museum depicts the biography of the prize’s founder Alfred Nobel. Next to the exhibition room, you can find a small cafeteria offering refreshments, notably the Nobel Ice Cream which has the reputation of being the best in town.

10. Enjoy a city panorama

To finish your stay in the Swedish capital in some style, why not enjoy a drink and a stunning panorama view at Erik’s Gondolen (Stadsgarden 6) ? In addition to being a restaurant, this venue is also an open-air sky bar. This insider spot is a local’s favourite and it is located on the less touristy Island of Södermalm, in the South of Stockholm.





Useful links:

Hotel recommendation in Stockholm: Clarion Hotel Sign

Check out more Scandinavian destinations here

Check out more European destinations here

Read more city guides here

Check out 10 beautiful European winter destinations here

 

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23 comments

  1. Whoa, your photos of Stockholm are astounding. With the architecture and oldie-feel, it looks like something out of a movie! (Beauty and the Beast). I would definitely love to visit, I love that you laid out such awesome ideas to add to my itinerary! Thanks for a great read.

  2. There are so many things I’d like to do on your list. The hop-on/hop-off boats made me smile – gotta love life near the sea, eh? I’d be totally game for checking out the culinary scene. I never knew that the Nobel prize was named after a Swedish scientist. I’d love to visit the museum.

    1. Thanks very much! The sea is never far in Stockholm. Yes many people immediately think about Oslo because the Peace Prize is awarded there, happy travels!

  3. What a fantastic list of things to do! I really like the idea of the maritime museum. I would love to see the fully intact vasa ship! What a sight! Somehow I don’t think I will be discovering any talents at the ABBA museum! Haha.

  4. So many of the things on your list I still have to do. The open air museum sounds wonderful, and I can imagine spending hours there. My problem last time was that I got smitten with sailing through the archipelago, and spent way too many hours there, imagining myself with a cabin on a small island. It’s an amazing city, and I need to go back. More fika is calling.

    1. Thanks very much! Yes there is so much to see and do in Stockholm that one visit certainly isn’t enough, happy travels!

  5. Having recently been to Iceland, I wouldn’t find anything expensive ever again. Having said that, I don’t focus too much on the “it’s expensive” tag as this is such a subjective thing. Usually I find that places are not as expensive as others think. The Scandy countries are very much still on my list. Would love to visit all the foodie places here that you mention, they are usually the first places we go to in a new city. Reindeer spotting would also be on the cards! This info has certainly made me keep thinking about when we should go!

    1. Yes the ‘expensive tag’ always depends on your particular lifestyle and obviously budget. Iceland is completely different to Sweden although both are considered Nordic/Scandinavian nations. Stockholm is very varied and offers both great cultural activities and nature related activites which is why it is one of the most enjoyable cities in Scandinavia, you should definitely try it out, thanks for stopping by, happy travels!

  6. Perfect timing! I’ve been thinking about planning a trip to Sweden and your blog gives me lots to think about. Thanks!

  7. Actually, I don’t think that Stockholm is underestimated. I think that it feels so far so that when people travel Europe, they rather stay in the central region where they have all these capitols just a couple of hours from each other. Another reason for less tourists might be that it’s said to be super expensive. But of course it’s definitely worth a visit, your post proves it. I’d especially like to visit these cute guys at Skansen – and of course the view from Erik’s Gondolen on Södermalm looks just beautiful.

    1. Thanks very much! As we mentioned, the location does play a part and the prices are high but you get what you pay for and the quality of life is extremely high. Thanks for stopping by, happy travels!

  8. It certainly sounds like there is a lot to do in Stockholm! I love the idea of traveling by boat through the city, exploring the various islands. The Vasa ship looks cool, too. To think it was built almost four hundred years ago…wow! I think I would particularly enjoy Skansen to catch a glimpse of moose, reindeer, bear, and wolves; great that wildlife is accessible in a city setting. Thanks for the diverse ideas. It sounds like there’s something for everyone!

    1. Thanks very much, there is quite a lot to do in Stockholm and everybody will find something to his taste, happy travels !

  9. Wow, it looks gorgeous. A bunch of my family went for the Nobel prize ceremony last week. (a relative by marriage won). I would go for the ship and the reindeer for sure!

    1. Thanks very much! Wow that’s interesting, the ceremony always has lots of inspiring people featured, happy travels!

  10. Stockholm looks amazing! We have had this high on our list for years and haven’t made it yet! We need to make it a priority! The city is just beautiful and I have to make it to Skansen to see those reindeer! Also, that last image you shared from sunset is stunning!

    1. Thanks very much! Stockholm is underrated in comparison to other European capitals and probably the most enjoyable city in Scandinavia, thanks for stopping by!

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