Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a city where modernity effortlessly blends with history, offering a delightful mix of cultural treasures, scenic beauty, and vibrant urban life. Spread across 14 islands connected by bridges, Stockholm is often called the “Venice of the North.”
Whether you’re interested in exploring its fascinating history, indulging in its culinary delights, or simply taking in the breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea, Stockholm has something to offer everyone.
To help you plan your trip, here’s a comprehensive guide to the top things to do in this enchanting Scandinavian city.
Begin your exploration of Stockholm in Gamla Stan, the city’s charming Old Town. With its cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and medieval architecture, it feels like a step back in time.
Gamla Stan is a living museum where every corner holds a piece of Stockholm’s history. Explore the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Swedish monarchy, and witness the changing of the guard ceremony. During your time in Gamla Stan, you should also visit Storkyrkan, Stockholm’s oldest church, and the area’s alleyways that boast hidden courtyards, boutiques, and cozy cafés.
The Vasa Museum houses the only almost fully intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged, the Vasa. This warship sank in Stockholm’s harbor in 1628 and was raised to the surface in 1961.
The Vasa Museum is a testament to Sweden’s maritime history and engineering prowess, and the massive ship that has been beautifully restored stands in the center of the museum, allowing visitors to marvel at its intricate carvings and learn about its ill-fated voyage. Interactive exhibits provide insights into life aboard the ship and the efforts to salvage and preserve it. It’s a must-visit for history enthusiasts and those intrigued by incredible tales of discovery and restoration.
Skansen is the world’s first open-air museum, showcasing the diversity of Sweden’s historical buildings and way of life.
You can explore farmsteads, windmills, and manors, each representing a different era and region of Sweden—the zoo within Skansen houses native Scandinavian wildlife, including bears, wolves, and moose. Visiting during the Midsummer or Christmas market season adds an extra layer of cultural immersion, as the museum comes alive with traditional celebrations. Be sure to take a moment to enjoy a traditional Swedish fika at the charming cafes scattered throughout the open-air museum!
Djurgården, a tranquil island in the heart of Stockholm, offers a break from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s home to several of the city’s top attractions, including Skansen and the Vasa Museum.
Rent a bike or take a leisurely stroll along picturesque pathways, stopping at one of the many waterfront cafes. Visit the Rosendals Trädgård, an organic garden cafe, and enjoy fika (Swedish coffee break) in a beautiful orchard setting. And if you do plan on visiting, don’t forget to bring some birdseed along for the friendly ducks and swans that often gather along the island’s canals!
ABBA The Museum
Music enthusiasts shouldn’t miss ABBA The Museum, a tribute to Sweden’s most iconic pop group. The museum is an interactive experience where you can sing, dance, and relive the magic of ABBA.
If you’re a die-hard ABBA fan, then the museum is a must-visit as you can immerse yourself in the world of ABBA through interactive exhibits, memorabilia, and a recreation of the famous Polar recording studio. You can even step onto the stage and perform with holographic band members. After exploring the museum, head to Pop House Hotel’s restaurant and bar, located within the same complex, to enjoy a meal with ABBA-themed decor and memorabilia.
The Nordic Museum offers a deep dive into Scandinavian culture and history with its impressive collection of clothing, textiles, and home interiors.
The Nordic Museum truly is a treasure trove of Scandinavian heritage, and as you wander through the museum’s various rooms, you can see how people lived, dressed, and celebrated throughout the centuries. The museum’s textile collection is particularly impressive, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and design, making it an excellent place to gain a deeper understanding of Sweden’s cultural roots and the evolution of Scandinavian traditions.
Södermalm, often called “Söder,” is Stockholm‘s trendy and bohemian district known for its hip cafes, vintage shops, and panoramic viewpoints.
Start your exploration at the Mariatorget Square and work your way through the charming streets, visiting the Fotografiska, a contemporary photography museum with stunning city views from its top-floor restaurant along the way. Södermalm comes alive at night with a vibrant nightlife scene, making it an ideal spot for evening entertainment.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Stockholm Archipelago, a vast network of over 30,000 islands and islets—a paradise for nature lovers, kayakers, and boaters.
Spend a day island-hopping, picnicking on rocky shores, and taking in the serene beauty of the Baltic Sea. You can rent a kayak or join a guided tour to explore the labyrinth of islands, with Vaxholm and Sandhamn being the most popular starting points. Be sure to try traditional Swedish dishes, like herring and gravlax, at local restaurants on the islands, and to fully appreciate the archipelago’s tranquility, consider spending a night in a cozy cabin on one of the islands, waking up to the sound of waves lapping the shore.
Nobel Prize Museum
Visit the Nobel Prize Museum, which pays tribute to the laureates of the Nobel Prize. Interactive exhibits and multimedia displays offer insights into the groundbreaking work of Nobel laureates, and you can explore their stories, their contributions to society, and the impact of their work. After your visit, take a stroll along the scenic waterfront promenade near the museum, which offers stunning views of the Stockholm Harbor and the Royal Palace.
Artipelag is a unique fusion of art gallery, cultural center, and natural paradise in the Stockholm Archipelago, offering art exhibitions, scenic trails, and waterfront dining.
Explore the art exhibitions and installations, which often draw from the surrounding natural beauty, before taking a peaceful stroll through the scenic trails, where you can enjoy the tranquil landscapes of the archipelago.
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