BEST of Stockholm
Updated: Jun 7
Stockholm, Sweden's capital city, is known as the "Venice of the North" due to its many waterways and lakes. It is located on several islands and peninsulas at the outflow of Lake Mälar into the Baltic, which forms a deep inlet here. The beauty of its setting is found in the interplay of land and water: the reefs and rocky islands dotted along the coast, the dramatic crags rising from the sea, and the intricate pattern of waterways encircling the city. World-class museums, theaters, galleries, and beautiful parklands await visitors, and there is no shortage of things to do in this lovely city.
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What not to miss?
Gamla Stan (Old Town) is a living, breathing museum in its own right, dating back to the 1200s, and packed with must-see sights, attractions, cafés, authentic restaurants, and boutique shops. For many, this is the first stop on their journey of discovery, and with reason. There is, without a doubt, no better way to immediately absorb the feel of Stockholm and become acquainted with the city's culture. There are plenty of souvenirs and gifts to be found in the Old Town, and you will be transported back in time as you meander through a bewildering labyrinth of tiny, winding streets, many of which lead to (or from) Stortorget, the main public square. Along the way, you'll come across numerous mysterious vaults and ancient frescoes hidden behind picturesque walls. If you visit in the winter, don't miss the magnificent Julmarknad Christmas Market, like being in a real-life fairy tale.
Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet)
The magnificent Vasa battleship, the main attraction at Stockholm's brilliant Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet), was built to be the pride of the Swedish Imperial fleet. Nonetheless, this majestic 64-gun vessel sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, foreshadowing the Titanic disaster centuries later. This is Sweden's most visited museum, and for a good reason. Every year, over one million people visit to enjoy the various exhibitions and watch the movie about the ship's history. On-site are many other historic vessels, including an icebreaker, a lightship, and a torpedo boat. If you are under the age of 18, admission is free.
Sights of Djurgården
The island of Djurgården, a tranquil oasis in the city's heart, attracts tourists and locals. It's hectic during the summer months when the days are long and the nights are short. The park is part of the Royal National City Park and is ideal for a stroll and picnic, as well as housing several of Stockholm's top museums and other attractions. Pleasant cafés, restaurants, snack bars, and hotels are scattered throughout. You can rent bicycles to explore the forest trails or take to the waterways in a canoe if you're feeling adventurous. The famous Vasa Museum and Abba Museum, the open-air museum Skansen and the Gröna Lund amusement park are all located here.
Royal Palace (Sveriges Kungahus)
The King of Sweden's official residence is Stockholm's Royal Palace (Sveriges Kungahus). Surprisingly, the Queen's residence is located elsewhere. It's on Drottningholm (Queen's Island), a beautiful island and UNESCO World Heritage Site, about a 45-minute ferry ride from Stockholm and an easy day trip. The palace is one of the largest in Europe, with over 600 rooms and several museums, and provides a rich taste of the once-mighty Swedish Empire. The palace, built in the 18th century in the Baroque style, houses many treasures. Visit the Museum of Antiquities, the Armoury, the Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) Museum, and the Treasury to see Queen Kristina's silver throne.
Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset)
The City Hall (Stockholms stadshus, or Stadshuset), nestled at the water's edge and topped by three golden crowns, is one of Stockholm's most iconic buildings and appears in countless images and postcards of the city. The hall, which dates from 1923, first opened on most Swedish dates: Midsummer's Eve. Assembly rooms, offices, works of art, and the machinery of civil democracy are all housed within. The prestigious Nobel Banquets are held here each year. Recipients dine first in Blå hallen (The Blue Hall) before proceeding to the formal ball in Gyllene salen (The Golden Hall), which boasts 18 million mosaics on its walls.
What else to visit?
Few 1970s pop bands can still elicit the same level of fan enthusiasm as Sweden's ABBA. To commemorate the ongoing interest in Scandinavia's most famous musical export, ABBA The Museum opened in 2013 and has drawn both young and old visitors with its unique interactive exhibits. Visitors can see computerized versions of themselves dressed in the band's most iconic outfits, dancing and singing along with Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid. Other highlights include a visit to a reconstruction of their recording studio, where you can try your hand at remixing some of their most famous songs, and the one-of-a-kind experience of seeing Benny's original piano, which appears to be playing itself but is actually controlled by the star from his home.
Skansen Open-Air Museum
Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum, opened in 1891 on the island of Djurgrden and is a fantastic attraction for families, especially those with young children. You will be treated to an authentic taste of old Sweden and have fun at the beautiful Skansen Aquarium and the Children's Zoo. More than 150 buildings and houses around the country were collected and reassembled here. Distinct town districts are on display, including manor houses, a bakery, the stunning Seglora timber church, and pottery, all brought to life by costumed staff. The zoo is home to many animals, including moose, bears, lynxes, wolves, and seals.
Storkyrkan: The Great Church
Storkyrkan, Stockholm's oldest church, is in the Gamla stan district. It was built in the 13th century and is a remarkably well-preserved example of medieval architecture. It is also known as "The Great Church" or Stockholms domkyrka. The brick pillar-supported vaulted ceiling and the many Baroque flourishes added later in the 1700s highlight this simple yet impressive hall church. Recently, the church has hosted major national events such as royal weddings and coronations.
Royal National City Park
The right to roam (allemansrätten) is ingrained in the Swedish psyche. The Royal National City Park (Kungliga nationalstadsparken) is a 27-square-kilometer green space that surrounds and snakes into Stockholm, encompassing three royal parks: Djurgrden, Haga, and Ulriksdal. This, the world's first national urban park, attracts both tourists and locals. The forest is home to moose, foxes, deer, and a variety of winged creatures, including rare birds. Museums, castles, theaters, sports facilities, and historic homes are all fun things to do.
How to travel there?
Airport coaches and municipal alternatives connect Stockholm's airports to the city center. Arlanda Express, a high-speed train service, is also available from Stockholm Airport. Stockholm-Arlanda Airport is 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Stockholm. Bromma Stockholm Airport, Skavsta Airport, and Västers Airport are the other airports.
Are you traveling by sea to Stockholm? Here's what you should know. Several major ferry lines serve the Baltic Sea, and Stockholm's harbors are conveniently located. Stockholm is also a popular cruise destination, with around 300 cruise liners from all over the world visiting its harbors each year. The journey through the stunning Stockholm archipelago, with its 30,000 islands, is an experience in and of itself. All inner-city harbors are prepared to receive international cruise ships. Stockholm is a unique cruise destination due to its central location, which includes city sights, museums and galleries, shopping, cafés, and restaurants.
Stockholm Centralstation is the city's primary transportation hub. If you're arriving by train or taking the Arlanda Express from Arlanda Airport, this is likely your final stop. The station is conveniently located and linked to the T-Centralen subway station. Some regional and national train lines also make stops at Stockholm Södra, Stockholm Odenplan, Flemingsberg, and lvsjö Stations. Train tickets can only be purchased at Stockholm Centralstation's ticket dispensers or online; there is no staffed ticket office, but station hosts are available if you require assistance or assistance.
The options are subway, tram, bus, ferry, or commuter train. The local transportation network in Stockholm can take you almost anywhere. A single ticket is valid for 75 minutes and costs 38 SEK. It can be purchased at SL's ticket machines, via their app, or directly at the turnstiles with a credit card. Tickets for 24 hours, 72 hours, and 30 days are also available.
When to travel there?
The high season is from June to August.
The best time to be outside. During peak season, the days are long and sunny. Shortly after Midsummer, the city comes alive with active park life, urban beach swimming, cultural festivals, island excursions, cheaper hotels, and a celebratory atmosphere. In August, summer begins to wind down, and Stockholmers who haven't already gone on vacation do so now, so many restaurants and shops may be closed. The weather is perfect. A fantastic time for the island if they are hopping or cruising the archipelagos. Crayfish parties, too!
Shoulder Season is from September to October and from April to May.
The best time to go hiking, cycling, or dining without having to deal with crowds. Fall is beautiful in Sweden, and Stockholm means a better chance of getting that hotel room or a table at that restaurant you've heard about. Outdoor activities are especially appealing right now, with some of the most popular outdoor races taking place at this time of year. Brighter weather prevails during the spring shoulder season, but temperatures remain relatively low. During the local spring holidays, it's the ideal time to visit quiet museums and enjoy family-friendly events at major tourist attractions.
November to March is the low season.
The best time to go holiday shopping, ice skating, and drink mulled wine. Snow is likely between November and March, transforming Stockholm into a winter wonderland. Summer festivals are replaced by ice skating and bandy games in public squares such as the central Kungsträdgrden. The weather may be cold, and the sun may be a distant memory, but the city is surprisingly beautiful at night. Even if copious amounts of knitwear are required, festive Christmas markets provide a lovely atmosphere. Locals begin to emerge from their winter hibernation in February, and the social scene begins to liven up a little to alleviate cabin fever.
Stockholm costs between 70-120€ per day for budget travelers. These prices are based on what you'll need to visit the city on a tight budget. If you want to upgrade your accommodations, add 80-150€ per night, depending on the length of your stay. These prices exclude big nights out at the bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenir/clothing shopping, tours, random purchases, more excellent food, and so on.
How much will you have to pay for Stockholm's attractions and museums? It varies, but our favorites are the Vasa Museum (130 SEK = 12€), Skansen open-air museum (120-225 SEK = 11-20€), and the ABBA Museum (250 SEK = 23€).
Consider food prices. Lunch costs between 60-160 SEK (5-14€) in Stockholm. Budget dinner prices in Stockholm range from 90 to 250 SEK (8-23€). Going out for beer or wine in the evening will cost you a little more. You should budget around 55-60 SEK (5-7€) for a beer and 90 SEK (8€) for a bottle of wine.
And how is public transportation in the city? Stockholm has a public transportation system that includes buses, trams, and the subway. A 24-hour travel card costs 115 SEK (10€), a 72-hour travel card costs 230 SEK (21€), and a 7-day travel card costs 300 (27€).
Where to eat & drink?
Stockholm's culinary scene is becoming more diverse and innovative by the year. From Michelin-starred New Nordic restaurants to run-down falafel joints, the city has something for everyone.
Den Gyldene Freden, a classic restaurant in the Old Town, is located in a medieval basement. The Swedish Academy, which selects the Nobel Prize for Literature, owns it. According to legend, many Nobel prizes have been awarded at the Academy's regular table here. The menu features well-known classic Swedish chefs and interesting contemporary touches.
Meatballs for the People serves as a restaurant, bar, and shop. The classic Swedish meatball is the focus, as the name suggests. The shop sells at least 14 different types of meatballs made from ingredients such as elk, beef, and salmon. Take your meatballs to go or sit at a rustic wooden table.
To the greatest extent possible, family-owned and trendy Bistro Bananas lives up to the motto "something for everyone," with a menu that capitalizes on urban food culture with precision, from incredible pizzas to three-course vegan meals. In an unpretentious setting, the wood oven and kitschy neon colors collide. In the summer, outdoor seating lines Sknegatan's classic flatiron building.
Nightlife & drinks
Start the evening with a glass of wine or two at Savant Bar in Vasastan or a drink at Stockholm Under Stjärnornas rooftop bar in the summer.
Drop by the Moyagi karaoke bar for spicy Asian tapas and a few songs. But then it's off to Södermalm, where all my favorite clubs are.
Södra Teatern near Mosebacke square and Hornhuset near Hornstull is multi-story clubs with multiple bars, rooms, and dance floors. One floor may be dedicated to hip hop and R&B; another may be devoted to disco and yet another to house and techno. Trädgrden, a summer club, has a similar concept.
For coffee & pastry lovers
Bröd & Salt is a local artisan bakery chain with locations throughout Stockholm. Everything is made from scratch with sourdough and is lactose-free. Bröd & Salt has a selection of fresh salads, sandwiches, and wraps in addition to fresh bread, buns, and cookies if you're hungry for lunch.
Café Pascal is located on a quiet corner a block from busy Odenplan. The coffee shop won the prestigious Gulddraken award for best café in Stockholm in 2019. Delicious coffee and sandwiches with shrimp or porchetta!
Fabrique is a locally owned and operated chain of traditional wood-fired bakeries in central Stockholm. Fresh-baked sourdough bread, rolls, and cakes baked by hand with natural ingredients according to time-honored traditions are available here. Remember to try the famous blueberry buns!
Stockholm Design Week
Scandinavian design is celebrated during Stockholm Design Week. Between modernism and traditional Nordic craftsmanship, he has significantly influenced modern tastes, and their creations have infiltrated our interiors. This event is a meeting place for designers, architects, buyers, influencers, and lovers of style and innovation worldwide!
Sweden observes its national day on June 6 to commemorate two significant historical events. The first celebrates King Gustav I Vasa's election in 1523, marking modern Sweden's beginning. The second commemorates the transfer of some royal power to parliament in 1809, which resulted in increased democracy for the people. This is your chance to see the royal family parade in traditional blue and yellow folk costumes.
Midsummer Day & Evening - Summer Solstice
One of the most ingrained traditions in Swedish culture is the celebration of St. John. The sun does not set on the longest day of the year. Everything is shut. On this day, most Stockholmers travel to the archipelago or the countryside to visit family. Ancient pagan rituals honored Mother Nature, the sun, the light, and the earth's fertility. During the Midsommarathon, flower wreaths are woven, a mast is built, families parade in a parade, and they sing and dance together. In the city, it's the enthusiasm in Stockholm's parks. The next day, families gather around an extensive buffet to celebrate Midsommardagen. Traditional products like herring, potatoes, and local strawberries are highlighted.
We've reached the end of the article about Stockholm. This city has a fantastic atmosphere, and we believe you will love it as much as we did! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our blog. How about Oulu, Helsinki, or Tartu? Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!