This is your free Stockholm travel guide! Many cities in the world are based on a river of some kind, but Stockholm takes that principle much further. The city is made up of a series of 14 islands linked by bridges and it’s a fascinating place to visit. There’s also the opportunity now to walk in the footsteps of the characters of the Millennium trilogy. Here are our personal recommendations of what to see…
WHAT TO DO IN STOCKHOLM
Gamla Stan – Without doubt, this is the most attractive part of Stockholm. A great place to shop, eat and sleep! Colourful buildings line the island’s edges and there are quaint cobbled footpaths snaking through the centre. There’s character by the bucket load! This is where Stockholm actually began in the 1200s and it’s described as one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe. Today, Gamla Stan is known for its craft shops but you’ll find a little bit of everything here. Look out for Stockholm Cathedral, the Royal Palace (see below) and Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm. We’d recommend that you stay in Gamla Stan too.
Stockholm Gamla Stan: Read more, pictures & map…
The Vasa Museum – In 1628, a new kind of warship set sail on its maiden voyage from Stockholm harbour and promptly sank! 333 years later it was salvaged and brought to the surface. The properties of the water in the harbour had preserved it and today you can see The Vasa in all its original glory in a specially constructed museum. This is the most visited museum in Scandanavia and once you’ve been you’ll understand why. To see a vessel like this preserved as it was when it sank is truly amazing. We were totally blown away by it. If you have kids who like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, they’ll love seeing a real life original warship. You can’t go on board, but the walkways all around the museum give you ample chance to get up close. The Vasa is on the island of Djurgården.
Vasa Museum: Full review, ticket prices, opening times & map…
The Royal Palace – This is the official residence of the King of Sweden and is one of the largest palaces in Europe. Although a palace has existed on this site in Gamla Stan since 1697, this one is 18th century in design. Inside, you’ll visit the reception rooms, the Hall of State, the Treasury, the Armoury and the stables. There are many museum areas inside and a range of tickets available depending on what you want to see. Outside, look out for the changing of the guard which occurs daily.
Stockholm Royal Palace: Full review, ticket prices, opening times & map…
Skansen Open Air Museum – On the island of Djurgården, you’ll find the world’s oldest open-air museum combined with Stockholm Zoo. The museum brings together buildings from all over Sweden and has re-created small communities. You’ll find a bakery, a manor house, a wooden church and a tinsmith’s workshop here but there’s also a feel for how Sweden’s arts, crafts and traditional industries emerged. It takes quite a while to see it all as the museum site is quite large but there are restaurants and café’s along the way. It felt to us like the whole of Sweden – and its history – condensed onto one island.
Skansen: Full review, admission prices, opening times & map…
Skyview – The Ericsson Globe is a Stockholm landmark and is technically the world’s largest spherical building. Now you experience the globe in a new way by riding Skyview – two pods which travel to the top and back. The journey is over quite quickly, but the view is stunning. Make sure you go on a clear day though to get the best out of your trip.
Skyview: Full review, tiket prices, booking ahead & map…
Fotografiska – If you like photography, you’ll love this gallery and meeting place which opened in 2010. As you’d expect there are lots of photos to see in the exhibitions which change every so often, but it’s worth visiting the bar too for a lovely view of Stockholm. Fotografiska is at Stadsgårdshamnen 22, near to the bridge to Gamla Stan.
Fotografiska: Full review, opening times, admission prices & map…
Östermalm Food Hall – If you thought Swedish food was mainly the things you can get in IKEA, you need to take a trip to this indoor food market. The counters and stalls here are jam packed with produce. The colours are vivid, the atmosphere is friendly and the smells are superb! The building itself is quite a star too dating back to the 1880s and there are café’s and restaurants where you can sit down to try some of Sweden’s best dishes. The food hall opens at lunchtime and though the afternoon.
Östermalm Food Hall: Full review, opening times, pics & map…
City Hall – It’s from the tower on this imposing building on the waters edge that you get that terrific view of Stockholm pictured at the top of the page. The building itself is interesting though and is apparently constructed with 8 million bricks! This is still the seat of power in Stockholm and the daily tours will take you to see the areas where council business takes place, like the council chamber but you’ll also see the ceremonial halls – the Blue Hall and the Golden Hall which we found particularly impressive. The mosaics in the Golden Hall are stunning!
Stockholm City Hall: Full review, tour times, & map…
Boat Tours – One of the best ways to get a feel for Stockholm is to take a boat tour. There are lots of options, but we went for an hour long tour that took in most of the highlights in central Stockholm. It was December when we took our tour and the ice prevented access to some areas but there was still plenty to see. If the weather is better, you may prefer to go for one of the longer trips that include most of the 14 islands. There is also a Hop-on, Hop-off Boat & Bus Tour.
OUR TOP TIP IN STOCKHOLM
Explore on Foot – There are lots of sights to look out for whilst walking round Stockholm. There are a number of walking tours you can now take too. If you’re a fan of the Millennium Trilogy of books, you can now walk in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson’s characters Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander. This walking tour takes in some of the areas mentioned in the books. There’s also an ABBA tour, a walking tour with focus on Stockholm during the 70s and ABBA. Then there’s the Old Town Walking Tour which takes you to all the significant locations in Gamla Stan.
MORE THINGS TO DO IN STOCKHOLM
We stayed at the First Hotel Reisen in the Old Town (Gamla Stan) and loved every minute of our stay. There’s no doubt that this is a ‘luxury’ hotel but compared to many major cities in the world we thought it was very reasonable. Our room was stylish, comfortable and snug – particularly welcome as the temperature outside was well below zero. The hotel’s location is perfect with all the sights of Gamla Stan in easy walking distance, but the main shopping area was easy to walk to as well. Even if you don’t choose this hotel, we’d certainly recommend that you stay in Gamla Stan to be in the beautiful heart of old Stockholm. Click this link to see a range of hotels with a lowest price guarantee: Gamla Stan Hotels from Hotels.com
GETTING AROUND STOCKHOLM
As we were staying in Gamla Stan, we found that most of the sights of Stockholm were easy to walk to. However, a great way to get around and learn about Stockholm along the way is to take the Hop-on, Hop-off Tour. Click the link to read reviews and see latest prices in US Dollars.
Stockholm is served by two main airports – Arlanda and Skavsta. We found that getting from the airport was simple using the direct coach services but there are a range of other transfer options especially if you’d prefer being taken straight to your hotel. Click the Airport Transfers button to find out more.
MORE ON STOCKHOLM
More Things To Do In Stockholm – The full list of tours and activities
Hotels in Stockholm – Lowest Prices guaranteed at Hotels.com
Current Scandanavian Hotel Deals – Hotels.com
Stockholm City Pass – Free admission to most of the city’s main attractions