There’s a smile for everyone in Sweden’s proudly inclusive capital–and plenty to make you smile: from cutting edge, low-rise modern architecture that doesn’t spoil the pretty skyline–to the gentle medieval beauty of cobblestoned streets. There’s something about a place where the sun barely sets in summer, that convinces you you’re getting more for your money, somehow. And given that it’s a city of more than a dozen islands; you don’t have to feel too guilty about giving your feet a rest and hopping on a boat to reach the best attractions on a busy sightseeing day.
We had a whistlestop 24 hours in Stockholm, and can’t wait to get back.
Here are our eight ‘must-see’ attractions……
Catch a tour bus: There are several hop on/off circuits serving the city. We’re big fans of jumping on this kind of bus when we’re new in town, as it gives you a great sense of perspective and is a good way to plan your visits. Most stop at Stockholm’s main attractions such as the Royal Palace, the Old Town and several popular shopping districts. Of the three tour companies in Stockholm – the green Hop-On-Hop-Off and Sightseeing World Wide tours are included with the Stockholm Pass
Gamla Stan: Stockholm’s Old Town boasts grandeur (13th-century Storkyrkan Cathedral, and the Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace are in this district), and medieval mysteries, too. Wander.. and wonder at buildings bathed in golds and ochres. Stop for coffee and blåbärsbakelse (blueberry cake) but not too much…they say Gamla Stan’s narrowest alley (Mårten Trotzigs gränd ) shrinks to a width of just 90 centimeters.
The Vasa Museum: Hop on a ferry to the island of Djurgården, and you’ll see, and discover the story of the 1628 warship Vasa; stuck for 333 years at the bottom of Stockholm Bay until it was rediscovered, rescued, and preserved. Around 1.5 million visitors a year make this one of the most popular museums in Scandinavia.
SkyView : Get a bird’s eye view of the city from the top of the world’s largest spherical building, the Ericsson Globe. The apex is 130 metres above sea level. Two gondolas run every ten minutes or so, to get you there.
Skansen Open Air Museum: Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum, setting out dozens of Swedish houses and smallholdings typical of every part of the country since 1720. We found it a great place to amble round, offering a chance to discover more about the Swedish way of living, farming, working and learning over centuries. A bakery, tannery, printing and engineering works are among the attractions, along with a zoo housing some of the country’s native and most rare breeds. We took the funicular railway to the site, as we knew we’d be covering a fair bit of ground around the museum site.
Fotografiska : More than inspiration for your travel snaps of Stockholm, this contemporary photography museum stages four main exhibitions every year, and many smaller ones, set out across 2,500 square meters. It’s a popular place for creatives to meet, eat and drink, and offers photography courses, too. What other museum do you know that’s open til 1am?!
Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde : One of Sweden’s most beautiful art museums, boasting a stunning historic collection of priceless masterpieces. Prince Eugen (1865–1947) was both a keen collector and producer of great artistic works.
The Royal Canal Tour: In under an hour we got a sense of the city from the water, with tour information in your headphones. We glided through the beautiful Djurgården canal and spot some of Stockholm’s gems, such as the islands of Fjäderholmarna – “the gateway to the archipelago”.
The Stockholm Pass is a city sightseeing card available to purchase for between one and five days, offering entry to over 60 attractions and museums, including the iconic SkyView, the Royal Palace, and a range of bus and boat tours. You can add a Stockholm Travelcard, covering unlimited travel for 24 hours or 72 hours on Stockholm’s public transport system.
In the interest of disclosure, we received a complimentary Stockholm Pass on the promise of writing about the city. If we had had criticisms about any aspect of the pass, we would have written about it. For more on our disclosure policy, read here.