Europe, Sweden

3 Days in Stockholm: Stockholm Highlights & Neighborhoods

Stockholm is one of those cities which makes you fall in love with it right from the moment you set foot there. You could easily spend a couple of days in Stockholm soaking in all the city has to offer. As a person who’s visited Stockholm on multiple occasions, I usually recommend that 3 days in Stockholm is ideal. We’ve created a three-day itinerary for you to spend the best possible weekend in Stockholm.

 

 

3 DAYS IN STOCKHOLM – WHY & HOW

We’ve created a three-day itinerary for Stockholm with information on what to do and see. This itinerary covers all the essential sights but we also focus on some of Stockholm’s unique neighborhoods which add to the city’s flair. We’ve included a free map which highlights the best places to visit in Stockholm in three days.

 

YOUR THREE DAY ITINERARY TO STOCKHOLM

For practical reasons, we have divided this itinerary into 3 parts: Essential Stockholm, Cultural Stockholm, and Alternative Stockholm. The itinerary includes both walking and the use of public transport. Keep in mind that if you take a bus or light rail trains you cannot buy your ticket on board, so make sure you have a ticket before you get on board. You can plan your trip using public transport here.

Alternatively, you could purchase the Stockholm Pass which includes unlimited travel within Stockholm as well as free entrance to a number of attractions. We have added a map of all the attractions included in this Stockholm itinerary for you below!

If you are looking for accommodation for your 3 days in Stockholm, check out our guide to the best hotels and hostels in Stockholm for every budget!

* If you’re in a hurry and are only in Stockholm for a day check out our self-guided walking tour. *

 

Day 1: Essential Stockholm

Today’s itinerary will cover the must-see attractions of Stockholm at a reasonable pace. We’ve tried to curtail the walking aspect here in comparison to our earlier one day self-guided walking tour itinerary.

 

City Hall

3 Days in Stockholm: View of Stockholm City Hall from the water.

Situated on the island of Kungsholmen, the City Hall is one of Stockholm’s most recognizable buildings and features in countless images and postcards of the city. Its tower is noted for its 3 golden crowns at the top, which is the Swedish coat of arms. Offices, various splendid works of art, grandiose assembly rooms are housed here. The celebrated Nobel banquet is held here every year in December. The best part? There’s a possibility to go to the top of the tower for some amazing views of Stockholm at a cost of 50 SEK from May-September.

 

Gamla Stan (Old Town)

I really love Gamla Stan, it’s probably my favorite place in Stockholm. The Gamla Stan is the birthplace of Stockholm and it dates back to the 13th century. Today, it is one of the largest and best conserved medieval centers in Europe that looks like an open-air museum. Gamla Stan is packed with attractions like the Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral, Nobel Museum, and the House of Nobility. You can also explore the city’s religious history as the Riddarholmen Church, Stockholm Cathedral, and the German Church are also found in Gamla Stan. In addition to this, there is a large number of cafes, boutique shops, bars, and restaurants located here. Beware though that some are specifically geared towards tourists.

Gamla Stan is full of narrow winding cobblestone streets, filled with architectural beauty of lovely old houses. I could spend days just looking at doors, windows and other architectural elements here. It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of streets and alleys of Gamla Stan and it’s always best to wander in the more quiet ones. Österlånggatan and Prästgatan are two of the best ones in my opinion. Mårten Trotzigs Grand which is the narrowest street in Stockholm at 90 cm (35 in) in width can also be found here.

 

Stortorget

Long Weekend in Copenhagen: Colorful facades are the trademark of Stortorget in the Old Town of Stockholm.

Stortorget is the colorful and vibrant main square in Gamla Stan. The square is a lovely old area, a typical medieval cobbled focal point surrounded on all sides by some fabulous architecture, tall colorful buildings with interesting roof lines, it is very photogenic. So, it’s not surprising that Stortorget is flooded with tourists. Stortorget isn’t very large, but radiating off of it, is a series of narrow streets of the Old Town. The square also has a macabre history being the site of a historic massacre when the Danish king Christian II executed Swedish nobles in 1520 following a siege of Stockholm. Lookout for the cannon balls still embedded in the walls of some of the buildings and reflect that this.

Stortorget is also a great place to enjoy a fika (coffee with gobsmackingly scrumptious cinnamon buns). Chokladkoppen or Kaffekoppen are great for fika in Stortorget and a delectable traditional Swedish cinnamon bun.

 

The Royal Palace & The Royal Armory

Weekend Guide to Stockholm: The Royal Palace in Stockholm as it overlooks one of the city's canals.

Boy! This place is huge. With over 600 rooms the Royal Palace is one of the largest palaces in Europe. Here, you can visit the Museum of Antiquities, the Treasury, and the Tre Kronor Museum. It is the official residence of the King of Sweden. Oddly though, the Queen’s official residence lies elsewhere, in the equally impressive Drottningholm Palace. The grandeur is impressive, the exhibits well laid out and while expansive, is easily explored as the areas flow well between each other. I would only recommend seeing it from inside if you’re really into seeing palaces or haven’t seen any. The price of admission is 160 SEK. Be sure to watch the changing of the guard which takes place daily at noon. That is free and fun to watch.

 

What to do in Stockholm: Visit the Royal Armory for free and see how the Swedish royal family travels in style!

Founded in 1628, the Royal Armory is the highlight of the Royal Palace complex and, best of all, it’s free. It contains a wealth of Swedish artifacts pertaining to the military history of Sweden, items of interest (including costumes) from Sweden’s royalty and magnificent, elaborate carriages and sleighs from the royal stables. The dark lighting kind of lends the place a medieval feel. I really enjoyed observing all the artifacts here, especially those ornate carriages!

 

Lunch at Slingerbulten

Head to Slingerbulten for a sample of Swedish cuisine. It is a reasonably priced restaurant offering traditional Swedish classics like herring, reindeer, smoked salmon, moose, meatballs meaning you won’t be disappointed.

 

Vasa Museum

Best Museums in Stockholm: Visit the Vasa Museum in Stockholm and learn about the tragic-comic history of the ship which sunk several minutes into its maiden voyage.

The Vasa Museum is an absolute treat and definitely the best one among Stockholm’s great museums. It is an experience in the power Sweden wielded and the danger of engineering blunders and conceit. The Vasa is dazzling and can easily consume an afternoon. The interactive exhibits allow for an understanding of how and why the ship was built, what life was like in Stockholm when the ship was built and how the ship was hauled up from the harbor. The museum is set up in a way to permit visitors to see the ship from many viewpoints and discover about how and why it was built and why it sank.

Be sure to go to check out each level for precious exhibits and wonderful vantage points. There are some great areas to just sit and relax and take in the wonder that is Vasa.

 

Fotografiska Museum

Must see museums in Stockholm: The Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm is a world-class museum of photography without permanent exhibitions.

Fotografiska is another top-notch museum in Stockholm and a must-see for photography lovers in particular. One of the things I love about this place is the long opening hours. It is open till 1 am on weekdays and 11 pm on weekends. Fotografiska showcases exhibitions of both local and international photographers. The museum runs 3-4 exhibitions at the same time, which are updated every few months. So there’s always some interesting stuff to see. The exhibitions are well laid out and the style and lighting are fantastic.

Jacky and I have been here twice and loved it both times. The interesting thing is that the exhibitions often carry a social message. The museum also has a restaurant and bar upstairs, and a terrace during the summertime, both worth visiting as well. In fact, the restaurant is thought to be one of the premier museum restaurants in the world. The admission price is 145 SEK (free with the Stockholm Pass).

 

Day 2: Cultural Stockholm

Soak in the great culture of Stockholm by following this segment of the itinerary.

 

Breakfast at Vete-Katten

What to eat in Stockholm: You have to eat a Swedish cinnamon bun in Stockholm with your fika!

Vete-Katten is an elegant cafe in the heart of the Stockholm which is an institution in itself. It has been around for nearly a century and is well known for their delicious cakes (would highly recommend their Princess cake), pastries, teas, and coffee. It can get pretty busy here later in the morning on weekdays, but it should be alright on the weekend if you head there early.

 

Canal Tour

What to do in Stockholm: On the Royal Canal Tour you will see Stockholm's sights from a new angle.

Given its natural setting, Stockholm simply needs to be seen from the water. It may be a very touristy thing to do, but seeing Stockholm on a canal tour is somehow special. The Royal Stockholm Canal Tour departs from Strömkajen in the center of Stockholm several times per day. The tour will take you by some of Stockholm’s most important islands and offer a completely different perspective of some of its monuments.

What I personally like about it is that it takes you by areas of Stockholm you may not otherwise get the chance to see. It’s also refreshing to leave the hustle and bustle and surround yourself with greenery in the Djurgården Canal.

The tour takes place throughout most of the year, except during the winter months when the canals tend to freeze over. It costs 220 SEK (free with the Stockholm Pass) and lasts for about 50 minutes. You can also buy drinks onboard. We recommend that you enjoy the view from the top deck, but try not to get a sunburn in the process like Jacky 😉

 

Swedish History Museum (Historiska museet)

Free things to do in Stockholm: A golden cloak is only one of the many exhibits at the Swedish History Museum.

If you are big on the Vikings, then no trip to Stockholm would be complete without visiting the Swedish History Museum. The best thing about the museum is that it’s free. The museum covers Viking culture extensively showing their culture, lifestyle and many artifacts. It also covers the period of transition from the Norse Gods to Christianity and finally to a little about modern Sweden. We went to mostly see the Viking gold room (plunder room) that has an amazing range of gold and other precious metals uncovered in Scandinavia from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages.

 

Skansen

Stockholm in Three Days: Reindeer are among the Nordic animals you can see at Skansen Open-Air Museum.

Head to Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum that is basically a microcosm of Swedish history and culture. This open-air museum is a great mixture of attractions, set on a hill on Djurgården island. The grounds are vast and you can easily spend an entire afternoon here with the only caution being that the better the weather the more that you will likely enjoy.

Skansen opened in the 1890’s based on traditional Swedish life. Historical farms and dwellings were transported to this park, giving you a wonderful look into what it may have looked like in Sweden hundreds of years ago. The Town Quarter has lovely shops that are set up to operate like they did in the past, which is really nice. I really loved the glass blowing demonstrations. The buildings are many and varied, including a Sami camp and various windmills and churches. The adjoining zoo holds a full collection of large Nordic mammals, each contained within extensive wooded pens.

Prices and opening hours vary seasonally so check the website before you go.

 

Lunch at Skroten Café & Skeppshandel

Head to this cozy little gem on Djurgården that is the ideal place for lunch. It has a unique marine theme and is very popular with the locals. The food is delicious and very reasonably priced. Not to be missed!

 

ABBA The Museum

Whether you love them or hate them, there’s no denying the indelible mark that ABBA has left on the pop world. The interactive and somewhat campy ABBA museum is a great tribute to the band and so much fun. The museum is also located on Djurgården, only a short stroll from Skansen.

It’s very well set out from the early days before ABBA, then onto the Eurovision success and finally through the glory years. There is a lot packed into this place including memorabilia, costumes and information that presents the story of how the band came together and charts their rise to fame. Even if you are not a big ABBA fan you can’t help but sing along to the catchy songs. You have to do the fifth member experience, forget about being embarrassed and just throw yourself into it. It is a truly unique experience. Just one caveat though, it is quite pricey at 250 SEK.

 

Modern Art Museum (Moderna Museet)

Free things to do in Stockholm: The permanent exhibition at the Modern Art Museum in Stockholm is free to visit.

If you have no interest in seeing the ABBA museum, you can visit the Modern Art Museum on nearby Skeppsholmen instead. Moderna Museet houses modern and contemporary art by Swedish and international artists from the 20th and 21st centuries such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol. Visiting the permanent collection is free of charge, but some of the temporary exhibitions have entrance fees. A haven for modern art aficionados.

 

Stockholm Metro Art

Traveling on the metro is usually dull and prosaic right? Yup, but Stockholm defies this. Traveling on the metro in Stockholm is akin to being in a mobile art gallery that allows everyone en route to experience the stunning beauty of incredible mosaics, murals, installations, and sculptures. It arouses feelings of being part of a modern-day archeological expedition, full of unexplored secrets and surprises. The best part? Admission to this gallery costs only a price of a train ticket. Naturally, this splendid art display has been extremely well-received and highly lauded by Stockholm natives as well as foreign visitors. Every time Jacky and I are in Stockholm we spend some time on the metro just to admire the wonderful art.

 

What to see in Stockholm: Examples of Stockholm's metro art which can be found throughout the city's metro stations.

The Stockholm metro has more than 100 stations and about 90 of these have intricate art displays earning it the honor of being dubbed the world’s longest art gallery for decades. Some of our favorite stations to observe the art are –

a. Tekniska Högskolan (Red line T14)
b. T-Centralen (All lines)
c. Akalla (Blue line T11)
d. Stadion (Red line T14)
e. Kungsträdgården (Blue line T10 & T11)
f. Rådhuset (Blue line T10 & T11)
g. Näckrosen (Blue line T11)
h. Tensta (Blue line T10)
i. Solna Centrum (Blue line T11)

 

Day 3: Drottningholm Palace & Alternative Stockholm

The itinerary for this day in Stockholm focuses more on showing you something different. If you’re feeling like you’ve seen the Old Town and the canals and you’re after something different, this should give you a peek into the secret side of Stockholm and some residential areas that are a bit unique.

 

Drottningholm Palace

Day Trip from Stockholm: Drottningholm Palace from the front.

Drottningholm Palace is the official residence of the Swedish Royal Family and has been so since 1981. The palace stands on the island of Lovön on the banks of Lake Mälaren. It was built in the 17th century as a Baroque summer palace.

The entrance to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is 130 SEK and there is little information provided. We wouldn’t recommend spending your money on the entrance. However, the beautiful Baroque gardens are free of charge. You can easily spend an entire afternoon here if you bring some royal snacks along. The garden is beautifully sculptured and has lots of hidden corners to discover like the Chinese Pavilion. Built in the Rococo style and although well preserved we observed that the Chinese calligraphy there seemed a bit amateurish. Adjacent to it lies a nature park which is home to a family of ducks and swans. At the very end of the park, you can even find a maze, although unfortunately the hedges have been abandoned for a more natural approach. You can still give it a try, though 😉

 

Lunch at Östermalm Food Hall (Östermalms Saluhall)

Where to eat in Stockholm: Exterior of the market hall in Östermalm.

A visit to Östermalm Food Hall (Östermalms Saluhall) as it is a must for foodies. The main building is closed but the stalls are open in a new building across the road. There are all kinds of great Swedish food on offer ranging from veggies to seafood to meat to veggies to sweets.

 

Östermalm

Stockholm Neighborhoods: Explore Östermalm's beautiful architecture.

Make your way to Östermalm aka the ‘Upper East Side’ or ‘Belgravia’ of Stockholm. It is one of the largest and most populous areas of Stockholm. It is distinguished by a conglomeration of upscale residential areas combined with tree-lined boulevards with some of the highest property prices in Stockholm. Don’t let this dissuade you though as Östermalm is an inviting neighborhood that certainly warrants a visit. Walk around streets like Birger Jarlsgatan, Strandvägen, and Karlavägen and admire the beautiful architecture. Östermalm is home to many high-end fashion boutiques and top notch restaurants as well as a heap of cozy cafes.

 

Södermalm

Stockholm Neighborhoods: Södermalm is known as the hipster district of Stockholm with many cafes and shops.

Bohemian and hipster Södermalm is a complete contrast to Östermalm. It usually features in the list of top hipster neighborhoods in the world. What I love about Södermalm is that it has a very local, unpretentious vibe with not many tourists. It is filled with creative restaurants, bars, cafes, unique shops, vintage stores & galleries. Fjällgatan and Monteliusvägen viewpoints are located on Södermalm and offer some of the best views overlooking Stockholm. Södermalm is not as charming as Old Town, but it has a great urban atmosphere.

Fans of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy can also undertake a Millennium Tour in Södermalm which takes you past some of the principal locations from the books and movies.

 

Vasastan

Stockholm Neighborhoods: Explore the quiet district of Vasastan in Stockholm.

If time permits and you’re still hungry to see some more of Stockholm neighborhoods do check out Vasastan. Here you can find an eclectic mix of architecture ranging from Renaissance to Art Deco. Vasastan is primarily a residential neighborhood peppered with small cafes, boutiques, and parks which lends it a very intimate feeling.

 

Go Shopping

Given that you are spending 3 days here, you might want to do some shopping. Being one of the most fashionable cities in the world, Stockholm offers some great shopping options from major retailers to luxury brands and high-end boutiques meaning that even the most demanding shoppers can get what they desire. Some of the best streets for shopping in Stockholm are Drottninggatan, Hamngatan, and Götgatan which feature major department stores like Åhlens City and Nordiska Kompaniet. There are plenty of tourist shops along the way if you want to pick up souvenirs.

 

Map of Stockholm Highlights & Neighborhoods

 

Is the Stockholm Pass Worth it for 3 Days?

Now that you have seen our itinerary for three days in Stockholm you may be wondering whether purchasing the Stockholm pass is worth it.

The Stockholm pass grants free entrance to most of the city’s attractions. Because the Stockholm Pass does not include free travel, we recommend that you purchase an optional 72h travel ticket. In order to see some of Stockholm’s beautiful metro art, you will need to use the metro (haha, yes really). Also, using public transport can save you plenty of time when exploring some of Stockholm’s neighborhoods. The 72h Stockholm Pass costs 1045 SEK. If you are lucky, you can find a deal on it for about 940 SEK. Find all information on the Stockholm Pass on their official website.

Below we have illustrated your potential savings following our itinerary. As you can see the Stockholm Pass does not lead to any immediate savings. However, it easily could if only you added one or two more attractions in your itinerary.

Which means: The Stockholm Pass MAY be worth it, depending on how much you would like to fit into Stockholm in 3 days.

 

Original PriceStockholm Pass
Public Transport250 SEK250 SEK
City Hall50 SEK50 SEK
Royal Palace160 SEKFree
Vasa Museum130 SEKFree
Fotografiska Museum145 SEKFree
Royal Canal Tour220 SEKFree
Swedish History MuseumFreeFree
Skansen180 SEKFree
ABBA Museum250 SEK250 SEK
Moderna MuseetFreeFree
Drottningholm Palace130 SEKFree
Total1,515 SEK1,595 SEK

 


Now, what do you think? Did we leave out anything important? How would you spend your 72 hours in Stockholm? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! Let’s stay in touch!

This guide for 3 days in Stockholm, Sweden explores all Stockholm highlights as well as some off-beat Stockholm neighborhoods. Comes with recommendations for which museums to see and where to eat in Stockholm. Includes a map of major sights. #travel #stockholm #sweden
This guide for 3 days in Stockholm, Sweden explores all Stockholm highlights as well as some off-beat Stockholm neighborhoods. Comes with recommendations for which museums to see and where to eat in Stockholm. Includes a map of major sights. #travel #stockholm #sweden

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