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30+ Best Things to Do & See in Stockholm

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In the eyes of many, Stockholm is the ultimate travel destination in the Nordic region. It’s hard to refute that belief because it is one of Europe’s most enchanting and memorable cities. With its scenic natural setting, postcard-perfect medieval Old Town, soaring cathedrals, world-class museums, and convivial vibe, Stockholm is definitely a city for the ages. Here’s our lowdown on the best things to do in Stockholm.

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How to Get Around Stockholm

Even though Stockholm isn’t as compact as the other Nordic capitals, it is still a pedestrian-friendly city. Walking is the best way to discover its many hidden gems and appreciate the true charm of the city.

This resonates particularly strongly when sightseeing in central Stockholm and the Old Town. When in Gamla Stan, make sure to wear a comfortable pair of flat shoes rather than heels as they can get stuck in the pavement.

In order to save some time or save some energy, you can also get around Stockholm using the city’s efficient public transportation system. This will prove particularly useful in order to get to some of the further lying attractions. All the major attractions in Stockholm are easily accessible by public transport, and switching from one form of transport to another is very seamless.

Stockholm’s public transport is top-notch and consists of the T-Banan (the subway), trams, regional trains, buses, and even a boat shuttle service to get from one island to another. 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 will first need to buy an electronic smart card called the SL Access Card on which tickets are loaded. These cards can be bought at Pressbyrån kiosks, tourist information offices, and Stockholm Public Transport (SL) centers.

Otherwise, you can also purchase single-use travelcards with tickets valid 75 minutes or 24 hours. You can find more information about fares and tickets and how to plan your trip using public transport here.

Insider Tip

Sweden is the most cashless society in the world, coins or notes barely make up 1% of the value of all payments in a year. Some places in Stockholm don’t even accept cash, so just keep your cards ready.

Should you be visiting Stockholm in the summer, getting around on a bicycle is a fun way to see the city. Stockholm has great bike infrastructure, there are dedicated bicycle lanes and bicycle routes are clearly posted throughout much of the city. 

Stockholm doesn’t have a bike-sharing system at the moment but there are several places you can rent a bike. Renting a bike isn’t as cheap as in the other Nordic cities but if you’re interested you should check out Rent a Bike on Strandvägen or Gamla Stan Cyklar.

Taxis are totally not worth it as they are very pricey, and you’ll unnecessarily run up a high bill. Taxi prices in Sweden aren’t regulated so the prices vary vastly. Unauthorized taxi drivers have become an increasing problem in the city when hailing a cab on the streets, especially late at night and on weekends. 

However, if you have to use a taxi, always check the yellow price label on the rear door window which indicates the price for a 10 km journey. Otherwise, you can check out a licensed company like TaxiKurir to book a taxi. Instead of hailing a cab off the street, it’s better to order a taxi by telephone or book one in advance on the web.

Is the Stockholm Pass Worth It?

The Stockholm Pass is a convenient city pass that accords you free access to over 60 of the best attractions and sights in the city. In addition to this, The Stockholm Pass grants unlimited travel on the city’s Hop-On Hop-Off buses and boats.

However, the Stockholm Pass does not include free travel on public transport which is kind of vexing. The Stockholm Pass has a 24-hour, 48-hour, 72-hour, or 120-hour validity. 

Ultimately, the question of whether the Stockholm Pass is worth it depends on how much you want to get out of the city. However, some of the best museums in Stockholm are free irrespective of whether you possess a Stockholm Pass or not. 

If you plan on visiting a lot of cultural attractions and museums, then it is definitely worth investing in the card. If not, then maybe the Stockholm Pass isn’t worth buying.

Things to Do & See in Stockholm

There are heaps of great things to do in Stockholm and this magical city is a thrilling and superb getaway for those on a short break. Whether your interests lie in architecture, museum hopping, eating, shopping or just chilling in the park, there’s something to do for everyone in Stockholm. 

For your convenience, this post includes a free map of the top sights in Stockholm. You can find the addresses of the attractions by clicking on the icons in the map.

Below we have compiled a list (in no specific order) of the best things to see and do in Stockholm.

  1. Wander Around the Old Town (Gamla Stan)
  2. Take a Tour of Stockholm City Hall
  3. Be Dazzled in Stortorget
  4. Vasa Museum
  5. Stockholm Cathedral
  6. Fotografiska Museum
  7. Explore the Stockholm Royal Palace
  8. Delve Into Sweden’s Heritage At the Skansen Open-Air Museum
  9. Check out The Royal Armory
  10. Admire the Striking Riddarholm Church
  11. Discover Classical Art at the National Museum
  12. Hallwyl Museum
  13. Marvel at the Stockholm Metro Art
  14. Learn About the Vikings and more at the History Museum
  15. Take a stroll on Strandvägen
  16. Dance to the Tunes of ABBA at the ABBA Museum
  17. German Church
  18. Learn About Swedish Culture at the Nordic Museum
  19. Take a Canal Tour
  20. Feast on Swedish Cuisine
  21. Pick-up Swedish Souvenirs
  22. House of Nobility
  23. Visit the Nobel Museum
  24. Relax in Stockholm’s Green Spaces
  25. Check Out the Hipster Södermalm District
  26. See Where The Royals Live At Drottningholm Palace
  27. Modern Art Museum
  28. Get a Boost of Adrenaline at Gröna Lund
  29. Go Shopping in Norrmalm
  30. Östermalm Food Hall
  31. Take a Day Trip

1. Wander Around the Old Town (Gamla Stan)

Must-see Stockholm: Aerial view of the Stockholm Old Town (Gamla Stan) in summer.

The Old Town (Gamla Stan) is one of the largest and best conserved medieval centers in Europe that looks like an open-air museum. 

One of the best things to do in Stockholm is to get the feel of Gamla Stan by ambling around its labyrinth of medieval stone streets at will. There’s something to experience in every little nook and cranny of its enchanting alleyways.

Gamla Stan is undoubtedly my favorite place in Stockholm. I could easily spend hours on end admiring its antique shops, cluster of grand 17th- and 18th-century buildings, former merchant palaces, and gabled houses decorated with ornate portals.

I would advise visiting Gamla Stan early in the morning when light filters through the streets and the shutters on the buildings are still closed, it feels akin to being transported to Medieval times.

Gamla Stan is the birthplace of Stockholm and it dates back to the 13th century. It consists of three islands – Riddarholmen, Staden and Helgeandsholmen.

Gamla Stan is home to some of the major attractions and well-known landmarks in Stockholm. In addition to this, there is a large number of cafes, boutique shops, bars, and restaurants located here.

Stockholm Old Town (Gamla Stan): Pastel-colored houses on the cobbled street Prästgatan

There are several interesting streets in Gamla Stan to look out for. Prästgatan, a tranquil little street with pastel-colored houses and devoid of any commercial displays, is my absolute favorite.

It still retains the authenticity of a medieval street which has made it a sought after location for movie shoots. Look out for the runestone etched in a building wall at the corner of Kåkbrinken and Prästgatan that dates back to the Viking Age.

Things to do see in Stockholm: Pastel-colored ancient buildings on Österlånggatan

Västerlånggatan is the main drag in Gamla Stan and is also its most popular shopping street. Although it is home to some beautiful architecture, the street is usually chock-full of people and feels geared toward tourists.

For a more authentic and pleasant experience, check out Österlånggatan, Gamla Stan’s other major street which is much quieter and home to some quaint boutiques.

Stockholm Old Town: Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, the narrowest alley in Stockholm

Don’t miss the tiny alleyway Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, which at a width of 90 cm (35 in) at its slimmest, is the narrowest street in Stockholm. A great chance for a photo opportunity.

2. Take a Tour of Stockholm City Hall

Stockholm sightseeing: Stockholm City Hall, which consists of 8 million dark red bricks.

The City Hall (Stadshuset) is undoubtedly one of Stockholm’s top 10 sights and features in myriad images and postcards of the city. Visiting the City Hall is one of the best things to do in Stockholm and worth every bit of your time and effort.

Completed in 1923, the City Hall took a monumental 12 years to complete. Its somewhat lackluster exterior consists of a staggering 8 million dark red bricks.

The building’s tower is noted for its three golden crowns at the top, which is the Swedish coat of arms. No matter how dull the day, the crowns always appear to be gleaming.

Stockholm City Hall: The Blue Hall, venue of the Nobel Prize banquet. PC: Jorge Láscar from Melbourne, Australia [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The City Hall’s interior is famous for its Viking themed Council Chamber, the Blue Hall, and the Golden Hall. The Blue Hall is a banquet hall that is best known as the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet that takes place here every year in December.

It has a lovely mosaic floor and a magnificent staircase. Contrary to its name, it’s not blue but red. The name stems from the original plan to use polished blue-painted bricks.

Fun Fact

Even though the Nobel Prize banquet is held at the City Hall, the Nobel Prizes are awarded in the Stockholm Concert Hall, which lies in the Norrmalm district.

Stockholm City Hall: Byzantine-style wall mosaics of the gilded Golden Hall.

The crowning glory of the City Hall is undoubtedly the aptly named Golden Hall. The Byzantine-style wall mosaics contain 19 million fragments of gold leaf and represent allegories of events and people from Swedish history.

The motif on the northern wall is the Queen of Lake Mälaren while the southern wall displays different motifs from all around Stockholm. The post-Nobel banquet dancing and festivities take place here.

There’s even a possibility to go to the top of the tower for panoramic views of Stockholm at a cost of 60 SEK from May-September.

The interiors of the  City Hall can only be seen on a guided tour. Guided tours from April-October cost 120 SEK and 90 SEK from November-March. Tours in English commence at each hour from 10:00–15:00.

3. Be Dazzled in Stortorget

Stockholm: 17th and 18th-century pastel-colored stone buildings with curling gables in Stortorget

The vibrant main square of Stortorget is one of the must-see sights in Stockholm. Stockholm’s oldest square forms the heart of Gamla Stan and has been a meeting point for centuries. The western side of Stortorget is lined by the most picturesque 17th and 18th-century pastel-colored stone buildings with curling gables.

These buildings paint of good portrait of what the square must have looked like during imperial Sweden’s heyday in the 17th century.

Stortorget is quite small and it is always packed with tourists. There are many eateries and souvenir shops surrounding the square making it a good place to hang around and snap pictures or enjoy the Swedish ritual of  “taking a fika” (a break for coffee and pastries).

Though Stortorget is idyllic and peaceful now, it was the site of one of the most infamous events in Stockholm’s history, the Stockholm Bloodbath of November 1520. Denmark’s King Christian II defeated the Swedish Regent, Sten Sture the Younger, and the Swedes chose Christian as their king. None of the Swedes were fond of their new king but were promised amnesty if they cooperated with him, so they did.

The king hosted a party at Tre Kronor fortress to celebrate and invited Stockholm’s most prominent people such as councilors, noblemen and priests. Towards the end of the festivities, Christian broke his promise and the partygoers were suddenly bolted in and rounded up for heresy.

The following day more than 80 Swedish noblemen and burghers were guillotined in the square on Christian’s orders and a pyramid of their heads was displayed in the square.

4. Vasa Museum

No visit to Stockholm would be complete without visiting the Vasa Museum, one of the top things to see in Stockholm. It is home to the immaculately restored 17th-century warship, the Vasa, which sank in Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa Museum also provides the perfect refuge on a rainy day.

Stockholm Vasa Museum: The richly ornamented 17th century warship 'Vasa'. PC: Matej Kastelic/shutterstock.com

Although the cause of the Vasa’s sinking hasn’t definitively been established, many historians believe that the Vasa’s hull was too slender to endure even the slightest swell. This along with top-heavy rigging caused the seemingly invincible ship to sink like a rock with 30 people barely a few hundred yards from her moorings.

A big crowd had gathered by the harbor to celebrate its maiden voyage and its unexpected sinking made it a national catastrophe.

Having laid in mud for over 300 years, the ship was pulled up along with 12,000 objects in 1961, and now forms the core of the museum. The cold, oxygen-poor, and brackish Baltic Sea water saved the ship’s oak timber from attacks by shipworms and bacteria to the extent that 98% of the ship’s original wood was still intact.

The ship’s intricate decoration features a total of 500 sculptures and 200 ornaments and is what makes the ship so special. It was designed to be the most expensive and richly ornamented naval vessel of its era.

Many of the sculptures are Biblical figures and figures from Greek mythology. There are also depictions of Swedish nobility, sea monsters, and royal insignia. The gun ports and the lion figurehead of King Gustav II Adolf are particularly impressive for their fine detail.

Stockholm Vasa Museum: Figures of cherubs on the Vasa ship.

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. You can almost feel yourself surrounded by phantoms of perished mariners as you pass the gun decks.

Adjacent exhibition halls and presentations cover all the retrieved items, which give an invaluable insight into life on board the Vasa – everything from primitive medical equipment, pottery, coins, pewter tankards, glassware, items of clothing, kitchenware, and even a backgammon board. Be sure to go to check out each level for precious exhibits and wonderful vantage points!

The Vasa Museum is open daily from 08:30–18:00 (June-August) and 10:00–17:00 (September-May). The entrance costs 150 SEK.

5. Stockholm Cathedral

Stockholm Churches: Italian Baroque exterior of the 13th century Stockholm Cathedral

The Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan) is one of the best things to see in Stockholm. It was constructed in 1279 and is the oldest church in Gamla Stan. The cathedral carries significant religious value in Sweden because it was from here that Swedish reformer Olaus Petri spread his Lutheran message around the kingdom. Prior to this, the Swedes practiced forms of Norse paganism.

Stockholm Cathedral is noted for its Italian Baroque exterior and a 66-meter tall clock tower that is a prominent feature of Stockholm’s skyline. In addition to religious services, royal coronations, weddings, and funerals have been carried out in the cathedral.

Stockholm Cathedral: The main nave and the red-tiled Gothic interior. PC: Maurizio De Mattei/shutterstock.com

The cathedral’s primarily red-tiled Gothic interior contrasts nicely with the Baroque exterior. The church has an extensive collection of medieval and contemporary artworks. Look out for the glimmering royal pews and the exquisite black and white altarpiece.

The cathedral’s pièce de résistance is the metal statue of St. George and the Dragon, considered one of the finest late Gothic works of art in Northern Europe. Wood, iron and gold leaf were used in the sculpture’s carving and real elk antlers were used for the dragon’s scales. 

The Stockholm Cathedral is open daily from 09:00–16:00 (September-May), 09:00–17:00 (June) and 09:00–18:00 (July-August). The entrance fee is 60 SEK.

6. Fotografiska Museum

Stockholm sightseeing: The Art Nouveau style red-brick exterior of Fotografiska Museum. PC: Cederskjold [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you have an affinity for photography or art, the Fotografiska Museum is a must-see. It is a relatively new museum that is one of the premier photography museums in the world.

Housed inside a former Art Nouveau red-brick customs warehouse, the museum showcases exhibitions of both local and international photographers through a changing series of exhibitions.

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 excellently curated and the style and lighting are fantastic. 

Stockholm Museums: A photography exhibit at the Fotografiska Museum. PC: Stefan Holm/shutterstock.com

Jacky and I have been here twice and both times the exhibitions have been inspirational. The balance between the gamut of themes and subjects was striking.

Be prepared to be open-minded, challenged, and even to feel uncomfortable at times. The aesthetically creative exhibitions often carry a thought-provoking social message.

Visiting Fotografiska is convenient due to its long opening hours. It is open from 11:00–23:00 (Sunday-Wednesday) and 11:00–01:00 (Thursday-Saturday). The entrance costs 155-255 SEK depending on the day and time of your visit. Payment by card only!

7. Explore the Stockholm Royal Palace

Must-see Stockholm: View of the exterior of the Royal Palace from across the canal.

Visiting the Royal Palace (Kungliga slottet) is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Stockholm. With 608 rooms, the Royal Palace is the largest working palace in Europe. The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Sweden, although the royal family resides in a fairy-tale setting at Drottningholm Palace.

The Palace was constructed between 1697 and 1754 in the Italian Baroque style, on the spot where the Tre Kronor Castle was reduced to rubble after a fire in 1697. The Royals have their offices at the palace, where they hold audiences with visiting dignitaries and host official state ceremonies.

Fun Fact

After the Tre Kronor Palace got smoldered in 1697, the Royal Family made Wrangel Palace their temporary residence until the reconstruction of the new Royal Palace in 1754. The Wrangel Palace, which lies on Riddarholmen in Gamla Stan has served as the home of the Svea Court of Appeal, the regional court of appeal since 1756.

Besides this, the Royal Palace is home to as many as four museums. Here, you can visit the Museum of Antiquities, the Treasury, and the Tre Kronor Museum.

Stockholm Royal Palace: The sumptuous interior of the 'White Sea' room. PC: Øyvind Holmstad [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Due to the Royal Palace’s sheer size, it’s good to know what are the main things to see at the palace before going in, otherwise, palace fatigue can get to you. The Royal Apartments are definitely one of the highlights of the interior.

Priceless 17th-century Gobelin tapestries, paintings, china, jewelry, and furniture are displayed with full pomp. One of the standouts here is the opulent saloon known poetically as ‘The White Sea’, which is used at State banquets.

Stockholm Royal Palace: Invaluable artworks in the lavish Karl XVI’s Gallery. PC: Maurizio De Mattei/shutterstock.com

The magnum opus is definitely Karl XVI’s Gallery, modeled on the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Each window here is paired with a niche on the inner wall, where some of the palace’s invaluable artworks and tapestries are displayed. It is the finest example of the Swedish Rococo style and is used for banquets such as the annual honoring of the Nobel laureates.

The fancifully decorated Bernadotte Apartments, the lavish Hall of State, the Royal Chapel and the Treasury are also worth taking a look at. The Treasury, with its collection of state regalia jewel-studded crowns, is a particular treat.

Stockholm Royal Palace: Soldiers taking part in the daily Changing of the Guard.

Of course, no visit to the Royal Palace without witnessing the ever-popular changing of the guard. It takes place in the Outer Courtyard daily at 12:15 (Sundays and holidays an hour later). It is a 30-40 min low-key affair with a bit of marching and flag hoisting. Certainly not as formal as some other ones I’ve seen.

The Royal Palace is open daily from 10:00–17:00 (May-September) and 10:00–16:00 (October-April). The entrance costs 160 SEK. The palace may be fully or partially closed in case of official receptions so check the website before you plan your visit.

8. Delve Into Sweden’s Heritage At the Skansen Open-Air Museum

Stockholm Museums: Entrance of Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum

Swedish ethnographer Artus Hazelius opened Skansen in 1891 as the world’s first open-air museum as a means to show a burgeoning industrialized society how people lived in the past.

Skansen is understandably one of the must-see sights in Stockholm. The exhibits at Skansen are based on traditional Swedish life and are a microcosm of Swedish history and culture. 

More than 150 historical manor houses, Lapp huts, and ancient farmsteads from all over Sweden were transported to Skansen, showcasing the life of both peasants and landed gentry, as well as Lapp culture.

The most enjoyable aspect of Skansen is that the museum staff dress in traditional attire to illustrate craft skills such as glass-blowing, pottery and how a smithy operates. This offers a fascinating insight into the customs and traditions of a bygone era. 

Stockholm Skansen: Traditional old Swedish buildings on a cobblestone lane

There’s plenty more to see in Skansen and the Nordic animals such as bears, wolves, elk, and other native wildlife, living in enclosures is one of the highlights. Skansen also hosts many summer concerts, midsummer celebrations, and an outstanding Christmas market throughout December.  

The thing I like about Skansen is that it has managed to avoid becoming kitschy like some similar ventures in other places. Skansen is thus the most interesting place for adults and children alike.

Prices and opening hours of the Skansen Open-Air Museum vary seasonally so check the website before you go.

9. Check out The Royal Armory

One of Stockholm’s most underrated sights, the Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren) is one of the Royal Palace’s museums. It is the oldest museum in Sweden having been founded in 1628.

The exposition isn’t too big but is very interesting and covers royal ceremonies, the history of costume, and items belonging to Swedish regents. 

Stockholm Royal Armory: An ornate royal carriage in the hall of carriages. PC: goga18128/shutterstock.com

The Royal Armory contains a wealth of Swedish artifacts pertaining to the military history of Sweden, items of interest (including ceremonial costumes) from Sweden’s royalty and magnificent, elaborate carriages and even a sled from the royal stables.

Also on display are suits of armor, embroidered wedding dresses and the masked costume worn by King Gustav III when he was assassinated in 1792.

The dark lighting in the cellar where the carriages and sled are kept lends the place a medieval feel. I really enjoyed observing all the artifacts here, especially those ornate carriages! 

The Royal Armory is open Tuesday-Sunday and admission is free so it’s definitely worth the visit. Opening hours vary according to the time of the year, which you can check here.

10. Admire the Striking Riddarholm Church

Stockholm Churches: Riddarholm Church with its distinctive cast-iron lattice tower. PC: Cooler8/shutterstock.com

The Riddarholm Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) is one of my favorite churches in Stockholm. It is one of Stockholm’s oldest churches and was built on the site of the late 13th-century Greyfriars abbey.

The red brick church has expanded over the centuries and attained its distinctive lattice-work, cast-iron tower after a big blaze in 1835. The cast-iron church steeple is very beautiful and interesting to look at.

Riddarholm Church served as the burial ground for Swedish monarchs for over six centuries. In addition to the 200 graves, the interior features are a number of ornate pewter and gold sarcophagi.

The walls of the church are covered in the coats of arms of the Knights of the Seraphim Order. Although the interior is a pleasing mix of simplicity and regality, I think the church is much nicer on the outside.

The church is open daily from 10:00–17:00 (mid-May to mid-September). It is open only on the weekends from 10:00–16:00 (mid-May to late November). Admission costs 50 SEK.

Fun Fact

The first documented use of the name “Stockholm” dates back to 1252 when it featured in a letter written by Birger Jarl, a Swedish statesman who is generally regarded as the founder of the city. The name Stockholm is derived from the words stock meaning “log” and holm meaning “islet.” Its etymology is shrouded in mystery with one account pointing to the chunks of logs transported from Sigtuna into the waters near Old Town while another account points to the Vikings using a log bound with gold while seeking to ascertain the location of their new settlement.

11. Discover Classical Art at the National Museum

Stockholm Museums: Exterior of the Renaissance-style building of the National Museum

The amazing National Museum is home to Sweden’s largest haul of artworks. The museum’s panoply of paintings and sculptures from the late Middle Ages to the early 20th century is pretty impressive.

Fun Fact

Stockholm is home to approximately 100 museums whose remarkable collections cover every conceivable subject and interest. It is thus one of the most densely packed museum-cities in the world and the museums are visited by millions of people every year.

There’s an abundance of European and Mediterranean artworks, paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, drawings, and prints. Old masters like El Greco, Canaletto, Delacroix, Goya, Gainsborough, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Lucas Cranach, and Rubens are well represented.

The collection of 17th-century Dutch and 18th-century French paintings is particularly strong. Rembrandt’s tantalizing The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis is a steal for the museum and shouldn’t be missed. 

Stockholm sightseeing: Classical artworks and sculptures at the National Museum

Don’t miss Francois Boucher’s The Triumph of Venus, arguably his greatest work. Jacky and I both enjoy impressionist art and were glad to see the works of Courbet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Renoir, and Manet in the museum.

Naturally, the National Museum is a great place to get familiar with Swedish art. The Lady with the Veil, a seductive painting by Alexander Roslin, is one of the highlights of the museum and is emblematic of 18th century Sweden. Anders Zorn’s Midsummer Dance is a wonderful imaging of Midsummer’s Eve in the Swedish province of Dalarna. 

Stockholm National Museum: Midwinter Sacrifice, a famous painting by Swedish artist Carl Larsson

I also really loved the museum’s upper staircase. Two of Carl Larsson’s greatest works are displayed here. On one side is the monumental mural The Entry of King Gustav Vasa of Sweden in Stockholm 1523. On the opposite wall is his controversial Midwinter Sacrifice, which shows the mythical Swedish king Domalde being sacrificed to avert famine.

The National Museum is open from 11:00–19:00 (Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday-Sunday) and 11:00–21:00. Entrance to the almost the whole museum is free (only special exhibitions come at a price), so it’s definitely one of the best things to see in Stockholm.

12. Hallwyl Museum

Things to do in Stockholm: Grandiose tapestries and antique furniture inside Hallwyl Museum. PC: Hallwyl Museum / CC BY-SA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The amazing Hallwyl Museum (Hallwylska Museet) is another in Stockholm’s cavalcade of great museums. Housed in an elegant 19th-century Patrician mansion, the museum’s ornately decorated rooms are filled with an eclectic array of treasures.

This museum doesn’t really get a lot of publicity, which is a shame because it definitely warrants a visit. Be blown away by the grandiose Gobelin tapestries, books, manuscripts, antique furniture, crockery, armor, paintings, and silverware.

This astonishing collection was amassed by Countess Wilhelmina Hallwyl, an extremely wealthy heiress who had a penchant for collecting high-quality decorative art. In 1920, she bequeathed the mansion and all its possessions to the Swedish state.

Hallwyl Museum Stockholm: Antique porcelain on display. PC: Hallwyl Museum / CC BY-SA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

I’m a sucker for these kinds of stately mansions and was amazed at how well the rooms have been preserved. Each room you walk into has a “wow” factor.

You can get a real glimpse of how life in the Victorian era in Sweden was for the upper classes.  The museum provides written guides in English so you know what you’re looking at.

The Hallwyl Museum is open from 12:00-16:00 (Tuesday, Thursday & Friday), 12:00-19:00 (Wednesday), and 12:00-17:00 (Saturday & Sunday). Admission is free.

It is worth it to go on a guided tour, so you can hear interesting stories about the family. Guided tours in English are offered on Saturdays at 13:30.

13. Marvel at the Stockholm Metro Art

Stockholm Metro: Escalators and the exposed red and black bedrock at Solna Centrum

Traveling on the metro is one of the best things to do in Stockholm. The Stockholm Metro has turned an otherwise humdrum experience into a visually gratifying one through the use of vivid mosaics, murals, tilework, installations, and sculptures. For the price of a train ticket, you get to feel like being part of a modern-day archeological expedition.

Often dubbed the “World’s Longest Art Gallery”, this stunning art display has been highly lauded and is beloved by Stockholm natives as well as foreign visitors. Every time Jacky and I visit Stockholm we make sure to hop on the metro just to admire the wonderful art. 

There are more than 100 stations on the Stockholm Metro and about 90 of these have intricate art installations. The best time to go would be from 11:00-15:00 on weekdays or later in the evening when the crowds will have dissipated. The following are some of the best stations on the Stockholm Metro to observe the art –

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)

Stockholm Metro Art: Escalators and the blue vines and floral motifs at T-Centralen. PC: Anton Kudelin/shutterstock.com

T-Centralen is artistically decorated by blue vines and floral motifs intended to create a sense of tranquility for commuters. You can also see silhouettes of carpenters, machinists, steelworkers, engineers, and miners, a homage to the men who built the subway.

Stadion is one of the top three metro stations of the Stockholm subway in my opinion due to its striking five color bands on the sky blue walls which resembles a rainbow. The vivid colors were inspired by the colors of the Olympic rings.

Stockholm Metro Art: Exposed pink bedrock and elephantine columns in Rådhuset

Rådhuset is replete with numerous archaeological findings and exposed bedrock resembles an underground pink grotto, leaving the bedrock exposed. The elephantine columns are a sight to behold.

Tekniska Högskolan celebrates scientific discoveries with the art representing Newton’s laws of motion, Polhelm’s mechanical alphabet, and the cynosure polyhedra. This station resembles a lunar landscape and I feel it’s something that Stanley Kubrick would have been proud of.

Stockholm Metro Art: Statues, intricately carved columns and mosaic floor of Kungsträdgården station. PC: yakub88/shutterstock.com

Descend to the netherworld of Kungsträdgården and you’ll get the feeling that you’re walking in an underground garden. It is the deepest one of all the stations of the Stockholm Metro and certainly the most visually interesting one. You can see plenty of old statues, intricately carved Roman columns, and water fountains.

14. Learn About the Vikings and more at the History Museum

Must-see Stockholm: Exterior of the History Museum. PC: FriskoKry [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons.

If you’re a big history buff and intrigued by the Vikings like me, the History Museum (Historiska Museet) is one of the best things to see in Stockholm. 10,000 years of Swedish history and culture from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages are shown through an extensive series of artifacts and exhibits.

Unlike some other museums of the same ilk, the collections of the History Museum are presented in a way that doesn’t put you to sleep. Don’t forget to check out the magnificent exhibition of medieval church art containing a stunning assemblage of ornately decorated triptychs, gold chalices, and wooden crucifixes.

The museum’s engaging Viking Age exhibition extensively showcases their culture, lifestyle and many artifacts. It also strives to correct misapprehension about the Vikings and focuses on their everyday life as farmers and tradesmen. 

Stockholm History Museum: Gold bracelets inside the Gold Room.

The museum’s undisputed tour de force is the much-heralded Gold Room, a room protected like a bank vault which contains over 50 kg of gold treasures and 250 kg of silver uncovered in Scandinavia from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages.

Notable highlights in the Gold Room are the three 5th-century gold collars and the Elisabeth Reliquary, originally a drinking goblet adorned with gold and precious stones to enclose the skull of St. Elisabeth of Thuringia!

The Swedish History Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11:00–17:00 (September-May) and on all days from 10:00–17:00 (June-August). The entrance is free so go and check it out.

15. Take a stroll on Strandvägen

Stockholm: Sailing vessels in the canal with palatial buildings of Strandvägen in background

Strandvägen is a leafy boulevard with three rows of lime trees overlooking the waterfront that is dotted with ritzy Italian and French Renaissance-style buildings with turrets and round towers. Bünsowska House (numbers 29-33) and Von Rosenska Palace (number 55) are two of the standouts.

One of my favorite things to do in Stockholm is taking a peaceful stroll on Strandvägen admiring the grand facades and the old schooners moored by the quay.

Strandvägen is understandably one of Stockholm’s most prestigious addresses and is home to several prominent hotels, embassies, and designer boutiques. It’s a little hard to believe that at the turn of the 19th century, Strandvägen was one of the seediest areas in Stockholm, where homeless people, the destitute, and prostitutes hung out. How times have changed!

16. Dance to the Tunes of ABBA at the ABBA Museum

Things to do in Stockholm: Assorted memorabilia on display at ABBA the Museum

Love ’em or hate ’em, you can’t deny the fact that the Swedish group has left an indelible mark in the world of pop music. Visiting the ABBA Museum might be one of the more cheesy things to do in Stockholm, but if you’re a fan of Sweden’s best-known pop band you will love it. 

Visiting the ABBA Museum was a highly enjoyable and emotional experience for me. It covers every facet of ABBA’s ascent to fame from their humble beginnings to their solo careers post their halcyon years.

I had grown up listening to their catchy tunes and being surrounded by ABBA memorabilia was a trip down memory lane. 

Stockholm Attractions: Guitars and music recording equipment at the ABBA Museum

The museum features stage costumes, props, photos, trophies, gold records, and an audio guide with fascinating insights into ABBA’s history. The museum offers a delightfully interactive experience and the use of CGI technology is clever.

You can even audition to be ABBA’s fifth member with the holograms of the real group, and record a music video. 

The ABBA Museum is open from 10:00-18:00 (Friday-Tuesday) and 10:00-20:00 (Wednesday & Thursday). The entrance costs 250 SEK, payment by card only.

17. German Church

Stockholm sightseeing: The soaring spire of the German Church in the Old Town

The soaring German Church (Tyska kyrkan) is one of the best places to visit in Gamla Stan. It stands as proof of the power the Germans yielded in Stockholm during the days of the Hanseatic League. It was originally built in the 14th century and served as a guild house for German merchants.

Fun Fact

Gamla Stan was home to many German merchants during the 14th and 15th centuries. They were so influential in politics and were so dominant in the local trade that a law was even passed to suppress people of German birth from seeking a majority in the city council.

Stockholm German Church: Stained glass windows and gilded interior. PC: SvetlanaSF/shutterstock.com

For a Lutheran church, the richly gilded Baroque and Renaissance interior is very ornate. The southern gallery features some beautiful paintings depicting biblical figures and scenes from daily life. Don’t forget to admire the ebony-alabaster pulpit and the vivid stained glass windows!

You can enter the German Church for free but if you want to look around it costs 30 SEK. The church is open daily from 10:30–16:30 (mid-June to mid-August), 11:00–15:00 (mid-May to mid-June, and mid-August to mid-September).

For the remainder of the year, the church is open from 11:00–15:00 (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) and 12:30 – 15:00 (Sunday).

18. Learn About Swedish Culture at the Nordic Museum

Things to do in Stockholm: Exterior of the Renaissance style Nordic Museum

The Nordic Museum (Nordiska Museet) paints a vivid picture of everyday life in Sweden from the Middle Ages to the present day. Unsurprisingly, the museum was started by Artus Hazelius, creator of the Skansen Open-Air Museum, as a means to remember old Nordic farming traditions.

The museum building itself is a masterpiece and is reminiscent of a sumptuous Renaissance castle. Once you step inside, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the huge atrium, whose ceiling adorned with gold symbols and beautiful windows. although your attention is dominated by the monumental statue of King Gustav Vasa.

Stockholm Museums: An exquisite example of a set dining table at the Nordic Museum. PC: Ray Swi-hymn from Sijhih-Taipei, Taiwan [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

The Nordic Museum has an extensive collection of Swedish folk art and has more than 1.5 million exhibits in its collection. There’s a ton of stuff to look at including luxury clothing, priceless jewelry, paintings, porcelain, housewares, furniture, dollhouses, and replicas of period homes. 

I particularly enjoyed the Sami people’s exhibition on how the indigenous people need to struggle to keep their identity, customs, and culture. The section on food and drink with table settings from different eras also shouldn’t be missed.

The Nordic Museum is open from 10:00-17:00 (September-May, till 20:00 on Wednesdays) and 09:00-18:00 (June-August). The entrance costs 140 SEK. Free entrance on Tuesdays between 13:00–17:00 (September–May).

19. Take a Canal Tour

Stockholm sightseeing: View of canal boats in Stockholm from the water

Stockholm has always had a close relationship with the water and it’s such an intrinsic part of Stockholm’s DNA that it’s criminal to come here and not go on a boat tour.

Stockholm’s spectacular natural setting between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic archipelago means that its waterways play a vital role in city life.

Fun Fact

Stockholm is spread over 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges, earning the Swedish capital the moniker “The Venice of the North.”

Although you can hire a kayak, pedalo or a motorboat, boat tours are the optimum way to see Stockholm’s beautiful canals and waterside districts. There is a rich assortment of sightseeing boats, harbor tours, and ferries. The routes are all quite similar. Choose the boat tour that suits you best. 

I personally love the Royal Stockholm Canal Tour. It departs from Strömkajen or Nybroplan in the center of Stockholm several times per day.

The tour will take you around some of Stockholm’s most important islands giving you a completely different perspective of the city. Whether you go during the day or at night, you won’t be disappointed!

20. Feast on Swedish Cuisine

Swedish Cuisine: Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes, and lingonberries

Tasting some authentic Swedish cuisine is one of the best things to do in Stockholm. Traditional Swedish cuisine may be fairly simple as compared to some of the more famous world cuisines but there are still a couple of iconic Swedish foods that you must try.

The Swedes are very good at making delicious dishes out of rustic fare where seasoning is usually kept to a minimum with salt, pepper, and fresh dill. This type of food regularly features on the menus of many Stockholm restaurants.

Swedish meatballs are probably the most iconic Swedish dish, courtesy of IKEA. They are most commonly served with mashed potatoes, and lingonberries. 

Swedish cuisine: Pytt i Panna (a hash of meat, fried egg, onions, and potatoes) on a plate

I also really enjoy pytt i panna (a hash of meat, fried egg, onions, and potatoes) and ärtsoppa (yellow pea soup traditionally served with bacon).

Toast Skagen consists of peeled prawns mixed with mayonnaise, dill, and lemon, served on sautéed bread. It’s similar to Danish smørrebrød and just as delectable. 

Other popular Swedish dishes include gravadlax (pickled salmon in dill that is served with a creamy mustard sauce) and Jansson’s Temptation (a scrumptious casserole of potatoes, anchovies, onion, and cream).

Swedish food: Princess Cake, princess cake, a domed, cream-filled sponge cake topped with a layer of green marzipan

Swedes love their sweets too and there are a variety of delectable choices to choose from. Cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) are probably the most beloved Swedish food and are a ubiquitous fixture in Stockholm’s bakeries and cafes.

Other popular Swedish sweets that will tantalize your taste buds are chocolate balls (chokladbollar), and princess cake (a domed, cream-filled sponge cake topped with a layer of green marzipan).

When munching on Swedish cuisine, you might also want to try Sweden’s national drink, aquavit (or snaps). It is distilled from potatoes or grain and flavored with herbs and spices, coming in many varieties.

Aquavit goes well with food, especially herring, and is served ice-cold in small glasses. I’m not particularly fond of it though.

21. Pick-up Swedish Souvenirs

Swedish Souvenirs: The iconic Dala wooden Horse

One of the best things to do in Stockholm is buying some Swedish souvenirs to remember your trip. Some of the most authentic and popular Swedish souvenirs include iconic Dala wooden horse, Lapp handicrafts, Orrefors glassware, and wooden butter knives. Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) is a great place for buying high-quality Swedish souvenirs.

Swedish foodstuffs also make for great souvenirs. Popular preserves made from wild berries such as bitter lingonberry jam, sweet cloudberry jam are popular choices.

Herring (sill), crispbread (knäckebröd), salty licorice, the putrid-smelling fermented herring (surströmming), and Marabou chocolates can be purchased in supermarkets. Snaps miniatures come in gift packs.

22. House of Nobility

Stockholm architecture: Beautiful Baroque facade of the 17th century House of Nobility

If I was asked to name the most beautiful building in Stockholm, the House of Nobility (Riddarhuset) would probably be my answer.

The building is an exemplary work of 17th-century Dutch Baroque architecture. It was built as a base for the Swedish aristocracy to convene and host events from the 17th-19th centuries.

Sculptures of the Roman deities Mars and Minerva lie above the north entrance of the House of Nobility. The roof of the building is adorned with various allegorical statues. The interior of the building is equally beautiful and features some interesting artwork and a magnificent double staircase.

Its walls are covered with over 2300 coats of arms of the nobles, a reminder of the glory days of the Swedish aristocracy.

You can see the interiors of the House of Nobility if you can get around the limited opening hours. It is open Monday-Friday from 11:00–12:00. Admission costs 60 SEK.

Fun Fact

The first documented use of the name “Stockholm” dates back to 1252 when it featured in a letter written by Birger Jarl, a Swedish statesman who is generally regarded as the founder of the city. The name Stockholm is derived from the words stock meaning “log” and holm meaning “islet.” Its etymology is shrouded in mystery with one account pointing to the chunks of logs transported from Sigtuna into the waters near Old Town while another account points to the Vikings using a log bound with gold while seeking to ascertain the location of their new settlement.

23. Visit the Nobel Museum

Stockolm sightseeing: Beautiful exterior of the Nobel Museum, formerly home to the Stock Exchange

The Nobel Museum (Nobelmuseet) was inaugurated in 2001 to mark the centenary of the Nobel Prize and celebrates the achievements of the prize winners. It is not very big but is packed with interesting information about all the winners, their lives, and their work.

The museum building itself is very beautiful and dates to 1778. It was formerly home to the Stock Exchange (Börsen) for more than 200 years till 1990.

The Nobel Museum makes excellent use of multimedia installations and artifacts and is well worth a visit. I learned a lot during our visit to the Museum, both in terms of important findings in science and medicine as well as in history and endeavors for peace! Listen to some of the acceptance speeches on headphones.

The Nobel Museum is open daily from 09:00-20:00 (June-August). For the remainder of the year, it is open from 11:00-17:00 (Tuesday-Thursday), 11:00-20:00 (Friday) and 10:00-18:00 (Saturday-Sunday). The entrance fee is 120 SEK.

24. Relax in Stockholm’s Green Spaces

Things to do in Stockholm: Park in Stockholm during autumn. PC:  Alindfors [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Swedes are big on nature, and this shows as almost a third of Stockholm is comprised of green spaces. There are several lovely parks in the city such as Rålambshovsparken, Kungliga Djurgården, Vasaparken, Humlegården, and Kungsträdgården. Their verdant lawns offer many opportunities to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Kungsträdgården (The King’s Garden) is the oldest park in Stockholm and one of my favorite places in Stockholm. The name is a little misleading since you won’t find designed flowerbeds and rose gardens here – it’s a pedestrianized paved square, in the form of an elongated rectangle, with a couple of lines of elm trees.

Stockholm Parks: Sunlight falling on trees in Kungsträdgården Park in autumn

Kungsträdgården is a popular rendezvous point among Stockholmers and a great space for tourists to unwind and watch the world go by when visiting attractions that lie in the vicinity. There’s almost always something going on here like free music, live theater, food festivals, and exhibitions. 

Rålambshovparken (or simply Rålis) is one of the most popular parks in Stockholm. Its grassy expanses are especially popular with the locals and you can often find them running, strolling, picnicking, sunbathing here. The park’s beauty is enhanced by the presence of some beautiful sculptures.

25. Check Out the Hipster Södermalm District

Things to do in Stockholm: Panoramic view of the Södermalm district at sunset

The bohemian district of Södermalm is one of the best places to visit in Stockholm. Once one of Stockholm’s poorest areas and a bastion for the working class, it has reinvented itself with the onset of gentrification, and artists and creative types moved in. Södermalm is sort of like a city within a city and has its own distinct dialect, character, and charm.

One of the great things about Södermalm is that it has a very unassuming vibe and is devoid of tourist hordes. There are plenty of secondhand shops, vintage stores & art galleries here.

Hornsgatan and Götgatan are full of small shops selling bric-a-brac. If you’re looking to go bar-hopping in Stockholm, Södermalm is a great option. Götgatan is probably the best bar street in Stockholm.

Stockholm neighborhoods: Cafes, people and buildings in the trendy Södermalm district. PC: Artesia Wells/shutterstock.com

The hip streets of Åsögatan, Bondegatan, and Skånegatan lie south of Folkungagatan and are thus popularly called “So-Fo”. Home to many independent shops and cool eateries, it is a prime example of why Södermalm is often mentioned in the list of coolest neighborhoods in the world.

Stockholm Södermalm: Wooden cottages and old buildings on a cobblestone street

Södermalm has a dramatic landscape that is characterized by steep craggy cliffs, turrets, and towers. The prettiest street in Södermalm has got to be Fjällgatan, an old-fashioned cobblestone street that runs along the hilltop with well-maintained rust-red old wooden cottages. 

While there are a couple of intriguing sights to see in Södermalm such as the Katarina Church, the Katarinahissen lift, and the Stockholm City Museum, it’s really just fun to stroll around and soak in the atmosphere.

Don’t forget to check out Mariaberget, famous for its stone buildings, steep winding streets, and alleys. Mariaberget is also the location of the Monteliusvägen viewpoint which offers some of the most scenic vistas stunning views across Gamla Stan and central Stockholm.

Fun Fact

Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander, the male & female protagonists from Stieg Larsson’s best-selling Millennium Trilogy both reside in Södermalm. Blomqvist lives in a penthouse at Bellmansgatan 1 just beside Monteliusvägen while Salander lives in a huge apartment at Fiskargatan 9. You can also take a Millennium Tour in Södermalm which takes you past some of the principal locations from the books and movies.

26. See Where The Royals Live At Drottningholm Palace

Must-see Stockholm: Drottningholm Palace, home of the the Swedish Royal Family

The beautiful Drottningholm Palace is one of the main points of interest in Stockholm. The Swedish Royal Family has used part of the palace as its private residence since 1981. The royal palace in its present form dates to the end of the 17th century and was based on Italian and French architecture.

It is often described as the Versailles of Sweden, and although I feel that it isn’t quite grandiloquent as the former, it still manages to be quite elegant and stately.

The Palace of Drottningholm is supplemented by the Court Theater (the world’s oldest theater still in active use), the Theater Museum, the elegant Chinese Pavilion, and the surrounding Baroque, Rococo, and English style gardens. The whole complex was deservedly added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1991.

Drottningholm Palace: Ornate Baroque interior of Queen Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedroom

The palace interior is dominated by lavish furnishings, ceiling paintings, polished checkered floors, and portraits of former monarchs. Highlights include Queen Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedroom – probably the most extravagant example of Baroque in Sweden, Karl XI’s Gallery – featuring paintings of historical events, and Queen Lovisa Ulrika’s opulent Library.

My favorite, however, is the Great Staircase which dominates the center of the palace with its trompe l’oeil paintings. 

Drottningholm Palace: The Hercules sculpture in the well manicured Baroque gardens

Drottningholm Palace is also noted for its excellently manicured gardens. The Baroque gardens are laid out in French style with fountains and symmetrically cut chestnut trees.

Embellished with fine statues (note the dramatic Hercules statue), topiaries, and waterfalls, the gardens are a delight to walk around. In the summertime, the gardens provide a perfect venue for picnicking.

Drottningholm Palace: Two guys outside the Chinese Pavilion, a mixture of Chinese and Rococo styles

Besides the gardens, there are two other notable attractions here. The first is the Chinese Pavilion, a strange but visually interesting mixture of the Rococo and Chinese styles.

Although well preserved, the Chinese calligraphy here seems a bit amateurish. The other one is the Court Theater, which boasts lavish interiors despite looking very ordinary from the outside.

27. Modern Art Museum

Things to see in Stockholm: Exterior of the Modern Art Museum.

If you enjoy contemporary art, a visit to the excellent Modern Art Museum (Moderna Museet) won’t leave you disappointed. Modern art has gradually begun to grow one me and the Moderna Museet one of the better modern art museums I’ve seen.

It houses modern and contemporary art including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and watercolors from 1900 to the present day. The collection is split into artworks from three eras: 1900–45, 1946–70 and 1971– present. 

Things to do in Stockholm: People admiring the artworks at Moderna Museet. PC: Kiev.Victor/shutterstock.com

The collection from the postwar to the 1970s is the strongest. All the familiar names in modern art such as Dali, Duchamp, Bacon, Matisse, Rauschenberg, and Warhol can be found here. Not everything will be to everyone’s taste but the exhibits are well laid out.

The most bizarre of all the artworks that I saw here has to be Rauschenberg’s Monogram, which includes an angora goat with a painted nose, with its midsection passing through an automobile tire. Go figure what this eerily hypnotic artwork means.

Stockholm Modern Art Museum: A variety of colorful sculptures in the sculpture park. PC: Frankie Fouganthin [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The sculpture park outside the museum features colorful sculptures by well-known artists. Particularly striking is the group of 16 sculptures of kinetic art The Fantastic Paradise by the sculptors Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely.

Visiting the permanent collection is free of charge, but some of the temporary exhibitions have entrance fees. The Moderna Museet is open from 10:00–20:00 (Tuesday & Friday) and 10:00–21:00 (Wednesday, Thursday, and the weekend).

28. Get a Boost of Adrenaline at Gröna Lund

Stockholm sightseeing: Panoramic view of Gröna Lund Amusement Park from across the water.

If you’re a thrill-seeker or are traveling with kids, Gröna Lund Amusement Park makes for an ideal getaway. It has a great location next to the water and easily accessible by the ferry. Opened in the 1880s, this is Sweden’s oldest and one of the most popular.

There are over 30 different rides to keep visitors enthralled, out of which the age-old wooden roller coaster, haunted house, ghost train, and the 80 m freefall tower are the highlights. 

Although many of the rides at Gröna Lund are not as terrifying as some modern parks, there are a few worthy ones. If you aren’t lily-livered like me, try the speed-demons like the aptly named “Insane” and “Jetline” roller coasters for a veritable adrenaline rush. 

Gröna Lund isn’t very big, but it’s very clean and well maintained. It boasts plenty of restaurants and cafés to satiate your hunger pangs. 

The entrance to Gröna Lund costs 120 SEK. Gröna Lund has a carnival-like ticketing system that means you pay per ride with some rides requiring up to three tickets. So it’s better to purchase the unlimited ride pass (445 SEK) if you’re planning to go on a few rides. 

The amusement park is only open for a little over four months in the year, from May-September. You can check the opening hours and prices here.

Insider Tip

If you visit Gröna Lund, take a moment to admire the cluster of old houses on some of the narrow streets near the amusement park. This quaint community, known as Djurgårdsstaden, was established over 200 years ago and grew up around the shipyard.

29. Go Shopping in Norrmalm

Stockholm shopping: Exterior of the prestigious Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) department store. PC: Tommy Alven/shutterstock.com

Swedes are the most fashion-conscious of the Nordic lot and Stockholm offers some great shopping options from major retailers to luxury brands meaning that even the most demanding shoppers can get what they desire.

Shopping in Stockholm gives you a fantastic opportunity into the world of Scandinavian design. Top products include glassware, ceramics, crystal, stainless-steel cutlery, silver, furniture, and textiles.

Some of the best streets for shopping in Stockholm are Drottninggatan and Hamngatan in the commercial Norrmalm district. Here, you can find major department stores like Åhlens City and Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) and some of the best malls in Stockholm like Gallerian and MOOD.

Biblioteksgatan (and the smaller streets that branch off it) is like the Fifth Avenue of Stockholm and is lined with luxury brand-name boutiques.

Fun Fact

Between Hamngatan and Biblioteksgatan lies a small square called Norrmalmstorg. The square itself is nothing special and is most famous for the Norrmalmstorg bank robbery. This bungled robbery incident took place in the former Sveriges Kreditbank in 1973, located on the corner of the square. During the six-day standoff, a seemingly bizarre bond developed between the four hostages and their two captors. This strange occurrence baffled psychiatrists and spawned the term “Stockholm Syndrome”, which has since found its way into the popular lexicon. The ensuing chaos dominated headlines around the globe and was broadcast on television screens across Sweden.

30. Östermalm Food Hall

Things to do in Stockholm: People inside the Östermalm Food Hall. PC: Rolf_52/shutterstock.com

If you love food, a visit to the chic Östermalm Food Hall (Östermalms Saluhall) is a must. This is Stockholm’s best food hall and all kinds of delectable Swedish food can be found here.

You can take your pick from vegetarian dishes, seafood, meat dishes, and sweets. It is located in a wonderful old red-brick, wrought-iron, and glass market building from the late 19th century.

Östermalm Food Hall is home to more than 15 traders that have been selling their products to Stockholmers for ages. I highly recommend Lisa Elmqvist seafood restaurant for its excellent salmon and crayfish.

You can also find some exotic products here like canned bear, moose, and reindeer jerky that are great souvenirs.

The shops here are open Monday-Friday: 09:30– 19:00, Saturday: 09:30–17:00 and the restaurants are open Monday-Tuesday: 11:00–22:00, and Wednesday-Saturday: 11:00–23:00.

31. Take a Day Trip

Stockholm archipelago: Cottages on a skerry in the summer

Once you are done sightseeing in Stockholm, our final recommendation would be to take a day trip from Stockholm. Stockholm is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape that provides an attractive setting for excursions. 

You can embark on a day trip to explore the former Viking settlements of Birka and Sigtuna, visit the magnificent Gripsholm Castle, or go sailing in the hauntingly beautiful Stockholm archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where to Eat & Drink in Stockholm

There is a wide array of dining options in Stockholm covering a broad spectrum of cuisines, meaning that even the pickiest of eaters will be satisfied. International influences are often incorporated with Swedish cuisine to concoct innovative and tasty dishes.

Some of the best bars, restaurants, cafes in Stockholm are – 

1. Chokladkoppen – a cozy little cafe in Stortorget. Great place for a fika break.

2. Vete Katten –  an elegant cafe in the heart of Stockholm which is one of Stockholm’s most authentic and revered cake shops. Perfect place for breakfast.

3. Cafe Pascal – stylish cafe that serves some of the best light roasted coffee in Stockholm.

4. Caffè Ugo espressobar – a boutique-style cafe that serves delicious coffee and pastries.

5. Stockholms Gästabud – reasonably priced restaurant in Gamla Stan offering traditional Swedish classics like Toast Skagen, reindeer, smoked salmon, meatballs.

6. Bakfickan – a chic bistro set in the basement of the City Hall serves traditional Swedish classics.

7. Farang – an upscale restaurant in Vasastan that is one of Stockholm’s best restaurants for Southeast Asian cuisine.

8. Tutto Bello – small but cozy restaurant serving classic Italian food.

9. AG – If you’re a hardcore carnivore and love a good juicy steak or a suckling pig, you will definitely love this sensational restaurant.

10. Franky’s Burger – If you are looking for the best burger in Stockholm, head to Franky’s. It is extremely popular with the locals and not hard to see why. High-quality buns with meat that is juicy beyond belief.

11. Akkurat – legendary establishment in Södermalm with an eclectic selection of global beers (especially Belgian beers) and fine single malts. Good selection of pub food, the mussels, in particular, are awesome.

12. Omnipollos hatt – head here if you crave craft beer in Stockholm. Belongs to the outstanding Omnipollo microbrewery.

13. Pharmarium – this hip cocktail bar is located in a former pharmacy and is one of the best places in Stockholm for a late-night infusion.

Where to Stay in Stockholm

The best place to stay in Stockholm would be in the inner city (Gamla Stan, Norrmalm, Östermalm & Södermalm). Virtually all of Stockholm’s main attractions can be found here, so they’re a perfect base for sightseeing.

There are a lot of chain hotels in Stockholm, though in recent years several acclaimed high-end design hotels and boutique hotels have opened.

Hostel: City Backpackers Hostel, a popular choice for budget-minded travelers looking for someplace close to the city center. The hostel is only a 10 minutes’ walk from Stockholm Central Station and Gamla Stan is only one metro stop away. The hostel has regularly been voted the best hostel in Stockholm for the past decade.

Budget: Comfort Hotel Xpress Stockholm, an excellent choice if you’re on the lookout for a frugal, no-frills option in central Stockholm. There are plenty of shopping and dining options nearby.

Mid-range: Scandic Sjöfartshotellet, a great choice if you are planning to stay in Södermalm. In keeping with its name, the rooms are tastefully decorated with a maritime theme. It is within comfortable walking distance of the ferry terminal and the Fotografiska Museum. The Old Town is just a 10-minute walk away.

Splurge: Grand Hôtel, undoubtedly Stockholm’s most prestigious hotel and still the benchmark for hotel opulence. Set in a classical 19th-century building overlooking the waterfront, this iconic 5⋆ hotel has hosted a retinue of glitterati, politicians, and royalty. The hotel also offers great views of the Royal Palace and the Old Town across the water.

Stockholm Travel Tips

Best Time To Visit Stockholm?

Stockholm is a year-round destination and when you travel depends on what you want to see and experience there. Spring and autumn in Stockholm are unpredictable, with temperatures hovering just above freezing. 

Late spring, the summer through to early autumn or more precisely the period from May to September is undoubtedly the best time to visit Stockholm. Summer or more precisely May through September is undoubtedly the best time to visit Stockholm.

The days are long, and the copious amounts of sunshine drives Swedes to parks and waterfront cafés. The summers are usually fairly cool, but sometimes there is hot sunshine for a few weeks of the summer. 

Another advantage of visiting Stockholm in the summer is that many attractions, especially those with outdoor features, have longer opening hours.

Winter in Stockholm is also an interesting time for visiting when the sea freezes over and skaters take to the open-air ice rinks. Despite its high latitude, Stockholm has a maritime climate and is much milder than people think. 

Winter temperatures often fall below freezing, but it is seldom severely cold. When it does snow, the city takes on a fairytale quality and the brightness of snow and ice provides a lovely reflective quality.

Is Stockholm Expensive?

Yes, it is. Stockholm is one of the most expensive cities in the world and visiting here won’t be light on your wallet. There are some ways to save money but all in all, prepare to spend more than on other tourist destinations in Europe.

Food and alcohol are two things that are very expensive in Sweden and will eat into your budget. For example, a cup of regular cappuccino costs 40-50 SEK, a pint of beer at a pub or a restaurant can set you back 70-100 SEK, and a small glass of wine costs 90 SEK plus.

A typical cocktail usually costs 120-150 SEK, and the main dishes at a mid-range restaurant cost somewhere between 200-350 SEK. 

Many lunch places offer a good-value meal deal which costs 100-150 SEK, which often includes a main course, plus salad or soup, bread, and coffee. Look for the sign Dagens rätt (dish of the day). Dagens rätt is served on weekdays, generally between 11:00–14:00. 

Otherwise, dining out is pricey. If you want to save money on food, our recommendation would be to head to the supermarket.

Is Stockholm Safe?

For a large part, Stockholm is a relatively safe city. However, in recent years, crime in Stockholm has increased though violent crime is scant. Although you are unlikely to get mugged, popular events and major tourist sights attract bag-snatchers and pickpockets.

Use common sense and precautions with valuables, particularly at night, and you will be fine. Late at night, the streets of Stockholm are usually full of young people, some the worse for wear from booze.

Though most are innocuous, some are known to be miscreants under the influence of alcohol. Traveling on the metro is generally safe but avoid empty carriages in the night, especially on the weekends.

How Does Tipping in Sweden Work?

As far as tipping in Sweden is concerned, service charges are included in hotel and restaurant bills. Gratuities for waiters, hotel housekeepers, tourist guides, and many others in the service sector are purely optional. Obviously, a little extra is appreciated for special services rendered, but it isn’t mandatory or expected.


Now, what do you think? What are some of the best things to do in Stockholm? And is Stockholm on your bucket list? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

About Mihir

Hi there, I'm Mihir! I was born in India, raised there and in Australia before spending nearly a decade in Finland. I suffer from chronic fernweh and am always looking forward to a new adventure. Besides traveling, my other loves are my beloved cats, architecture, art, beer, classic movies, history, cricket, and Australian Rules Football. Oh, there's also my partner in crime Jacky who's not too bad either 😉

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