The Bare Traveller

Discover the top 26 things to do in Stockholm

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Discover the best things to do and see during your stay in the Swedish capital.

Stockholm Sweden

As often in Northern Europe, Stockholm is a peaceful and human-sized city. Its singularity is that the Swedish capital is a constellation of islands covered by desires and atmospheres.

Indeed, the city of Stockholm consists of fourteen small islands and is at the mouth of Malar Lake, the third-largest lake of Sweden, and the Baltic Sea. Additionally, Stockholm has many buildings and museums to visit, nice quarters with pretty small shops, and pleasant walks.

So, it was not easy for me to choose what activities to do in Stockholm; there are many things to do.

Best activities to do in Stockholm and places to visit

1. The Royal Palace

Gilded-Crown-on Skeppsholmsbron-Stockholm

The Royal Palace in Stockholm is a huge building located on Gamla Stan island. It is still the official residence of the King of Sweden and is therefore still used for important events related to the monarchy. Also, the King no longer lives there daily because he has another palace.

The visit to the Royal Palace is worth it; the place is impressive. You will be amazed like me by the royal apartments, the treasury, the museums, and the Royal Palace chapel.

2. Fotografiska

I was genuinely looking forward to visiting Fotografiska, Stockholm’s photo museum located in Sodermalm. In my opinion, it is undoubtedly one of the main activities to do in Stockholm.

Fotografiska-Stockholm

Opened in 2010 in a 20th-century brick building, it is one of the largest venues dedicated to contemporary photography. This museum offers several temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

If you are keen on photography, I recommend you go. Fotografiska is a beautiful place and has some exciting collections. Each exhibition has its scenography. It is what struck me the most, and the sound adds emotions to the contemplation of the photographs.

However, since the exhibits are temporary, you probably won’t see the same photos twice. Nevertheless, I think I can safely recommend that you visit Fotografiska. Additionally, the museum has a superb cafe with a panoramic view.

3. Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron

One of my favorites walks for the views it offers over Stockholm is the Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron. On a beautiful summer day, it is a real treat. Also, if you want to go to the Museum of Modern Art, you’ll cross the Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron because it connects the Blasieholmen district to the island of Skeppsholmen.

Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron Stockholm

One of my favorites walks for the views it offers over Stockholm is the Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron. On a beautiful summer day, it is a real treat. Also, if you want to go to the Museum of Modern Art, you’ll cross the Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron because it connects the Blasieholmen district to the island of Skeppsholmen.

The Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron consists of a golden crown set in the middle of a steel structure. It is located in the foreground of the Royal Palace. I advise you to take a photo of the bridge at sunset and enjoy the reflections on the Gilded Crown.

4. Vaza Museum

The Vasa Museum is located on the island of Djurgarden; this island is an absolute singularity for a European capital. Indeed, most of Djurgarden is a vast park with woods and meadows interspersed with paths and walks.

Boat at Vasa Museum Stockholm

Concerning the Vasa Museum, it is dedicated to the Vasa, a vast Viking vessel dating from the 17th century and remarkably well preserved. Seeing the Vasa boat is one of the activities to do in Stockholm without hesitation. I also recommend that you watch the film shown in the museum, which explains Vasa’s exit from the water and all the restoration work that has been carried out.

5. Gamla Stan streets

Gamla Stan highstreet Stockholm

Gamla Stan is the name of the island home to the historic center of Stockholm. It is a charming tourist place to stroll and which has a crazy charm. Gamla Stan is made up of pretty old buildings as well as minor streets.

To avoid the crowds, I recommend going early in the morning. Thus, you will thus have the alleys almost to yourself. Later, the atmosphere changes and becomes vibrant with the many bars, shops, and restaurants.

6. Gamla Stan Christmas Market

If you have the chance to visit the Swedish capital between November 24 and December 23, don’t hesitate to explore the Christmas market.

During this period, Stockholm’s climate is harsh; however, the local mulled wine and the hospitality of the Swedes will make you forget the bad weather. Moreover, many festivities are organized during this period. 

Gamla Stan Christmas Market Stockholm

So don’t hesitate to take a stroll at the Christmas market in Gamla Stan, buy your best gifts, and make the most of your stay. There are several Christmas markets in Stockholm, but the best is arguably Gamla Stan.

There, you will find about forty small colorful chalets with many Swedish specialties such as smoked sausages, smoked reindeer, etc. With the exception of the years 1907 and 1914, the Christmas market went uninterrupted. It makes the Gamla Stan Christmas market the oldest in Sweden.

7. The Lucia Tradition

In Sweden, in the early morning hours of December 13, girls, wearing a wreath of candles on their heads and dressed in white, often wake up their whole families. They represent Lucia, a symbol of hope, and are meant to bring back the light after the long darkness of winter. 

The Lucia Tradition performance Stockholm

Saint Lucia is celebrated everywhere, with music and songs. According to the Swedish tradition, the saint died as a martyr in 304. The story of the saint gradually became confused with a famous legend telling that a young woman from who knows where crossed the whole lake in a large boat loaded with food and distributed food to all the inhabitants who were dying of hunger.

One of the best places to see Saint Lucia is Skansen, on the island of Djurgården. Skansen has hosted the festival since 1903. Even today, the atmosphere remains intact, and for many witnessing Saint Lucia in Skansen, this event marks the official start of the Christmas season.

8. The Medieval Museum (Medeltidsmuseet)

At the Medieval Museum in Stockholm

One of the exciting activities to do in Stockholm is a visit to the Medieval Museum. The Medieval Museum is located just below the Royal Palace. It was built around ancient monuments found during excavations in 1970 when the place was to be turned into an underground car park.

Here you will also find a small part of the 16th century Stockholm city walls and a beautiful recreation of medieval times. Additionally, entry to the Medieval Museum in Stockholm is free.

9. Changing of the Royal Guard

For those who love soldiers and guards, take a walk in Yttre borggården, the outer courtyard to the southwest of the Royal Palace. The Yttre borggården is the place of surveillance of the royal guards.

Changing of the Guard Stockholm

Every day at 12:15 PM, you can attend the change of the Royal Guard. The opportunity to watch the Swedish guard pass on foot and horseback and witness a somewhat anachronistic but fascinating spectacle. The change of the Royal Guard is a fantastic show, and you can freely take pictures and videos of the soldiers.

Assuming their taste for the folkloric spectacular, the changing of the Guard is by no means confidential and is done with fanfare. Additionally, it is free and open to all!

10. Stockholm City Hall

If you are not afraid of heights, then a visit to the Town Hall Tower is a must. At 106 meters high, Stockholm City Hall offers a panoramic view of the Swedish capital. It is one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in the Swedish capital.

Stockholm-City-Hall

Stockholm City Hall is also the place that houses the famous Blue Hall where the Nobel award ceremony takes place. Simultaneously, do not hesitate to explore the golden room, adorned with some 18 million gold mosaic tiles. To discover the building’s history and the meaning and details of each of its paintings, I suggest you opt for a guide.

Additionally, do not hesitate to climb the stairs that lead to the tower’s top floor to admire the magnificent view of the capital and the different islands that makeup Stockholm. Just bear in mind that the prices to access the city hall vary according to the season. During November and March, the visit cost 90 SEK or £6.80, while between April and October, it cost 120 SEK or £9.40.

11. Millesgården

Another activity not to be missed in Stockholm is the discovery of Millesgården, the garden of the famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles who died in 1955. I advise you to go there in good weather because many exhibitions are outside, including beautiful terraced gardens.

Millesgarden_Stockholm

These are punctuated by sculptures more astonishing such as the Hand of God (1953) or the Angel Musicians (1950). If you want to go to Millesgarden from Stockholm, there are numerous ways. You can either take the subway, bus or taxi.

The best transportation option is the subway, it will only take you 30 min to arrive at Millesgården, and the price is reasonable.

12. Katarinavägen

Watch Sunset from Katarinavagen Stockholm

If you want to enjoy a great panorama of the Swedish capital while watching the sunset or sunrise, go to Katarinavägen. This bridge is probably one of the most underrated places in Stockholm. Katarinavägen provides an excellent vantage point of the Swedish capital.

Forget the massive tourism and traffic of Stockholm. In Katarinavägen, time seems to stand still. Additionally, for those who dare to cross it in its entirety, you’ll find a great spot to grab a beer and make new friends.

13. Djurgården

Among the activities to do in Stockholm that I won’t forget, I can mention my visit to the island of Djurgården. It is an oasis of tranquility in central Stockholm, an island that attracts tourists and locals alike, especially during the summer months when the days are long and the nights short.

Djurgarden Stockholm

It is also the home to the Abba Museum, the Vasa Museum, and Skansen Park. The island of Djurgården is also ideal for family visits. For example, you can have fun at Gröna Lund Tivoli and explore the Nordic Museum.

Djurgården is also known for its famous district Djurgårdsstaden. It is an adorable collection of colorful and picturesque tiny houses built in the 17th century for the workers of the Gälarvarvet shipyard and the Beckholmen tar warehouses.

14. Skansen

If you like to learn a little more about the history of the places you visit, then head to the Skansen Open-air Museum. Founded in 1891, Skansen is known to be the oldest open-air museum in the world. The exterior of this museum gives the impression of stepping back in time, and it is a great place to explore.

Skansen-Zoo-Stockholm

Moreover, the museum offers visitors a glimpse of Sweden through 5 centuries of history. In this museum, you’ll find more than 150 different buildings and houses collected from all over the country and brought together here; moreover, the oldest dates back to the 14th century.

Skansen Zoo Lemurs Stockholm

Additionally, distinct neighborhoods are on display, including mansions, a bakery, the beautiful wooden church of Seglora, and pottery hosted by costumed staff. At the zoo, you will find moose, bears, lynxes, wolves, and seals. Additionally, I invite you to explore the aquarium for an additional fee and see over 200 different animals worldwide, including many species of monkeys.

Christmas Market in Skansen Stockholm

Lastly, between October and December, Skansen transforms into a Christmas market with its 150 old houses. It gives visitors the feel of the Swedish life of yesteryear and offers many handicrafts and culinary specialties to whoever wants it.

15. Stadsgården

Hanging out in Stadsgarden in Stockholm

Stadsgården is one of Stockholm’s four cruise ports and one of the best viewpoints of the Swedish capital. This cruise port is located northeast of Södermalm Island. In this place, the big cruise ships depart and come as it is located not too far from the capital’s city center. Additionally, Stadsgården offers a mesmerizing view of Stockholm and overlooks Fotografiska, the photography museum.

16. Archipelago tour

In case you didn’t know, Stockholm is located in an archipelago of around 30,000 islands; it is the largest archipelago in Sweden. While some are just small reefs, rocky islets, others are vast forested islands that invite adventure and hiking. Thus, an archipelago tour is one of the best activities to do in Stockholm.

Archipelago tour Stockholm

 The tour lasted 2.5- to 3-hour and you have an experienced guide that explains the historical, cultural, and natural sights. Additionally, I had the chance to enjoy a cooked lunch in a beautiful old boat built in the XX century while listening to the guide’s anecdotes.

17. Klara Mälarstrand

Klara Malastrand Stockholm

Klara Mälarstrand, an absolute beauty while hanging out during your stay in Stockholm. Klara Mälarstrand is a departure point for buses and boats and a fantastic place to discover due to its proximity to the City Hall and numerous other incredible touristic sites in Stockholm.

I advise you to walk around the river, especially when it’s sunny. It’s undoubtedly worth your effort and time.

19. Monteliusvagen

View from Monteliusvagen Stockholm

Monteliusvagen is an ideal place to contemplate the city, easy to reach, and a romantic road. Indeed, Monteliusvagen offers a spectacular point of view on the most beautiful panoramic views of the Swedish capital.

I reached it by a paved road running alongside traditional houses. In addition, this place is ideal for watching a sunset or taking photos.

 

19. The National Museum

Located on Sergels Torg, the National Museum is the Swedish Museum of Art and Design. These collections include paintings, sculptures, drawings, and graphic arts from the 16th century to the early 20th century and a collection of Applied Art and Design to the present day.

The National Museum also exhibits more than 16,000 paintings. The collection of paintings emphasizes 18th and 19th-century Swedish painting.

What makes the national museum one of the best activities in Stockholm is that it also hosts 17th-century Dutch painting and 18th-century French collections. The works of artists such as Goya, Boucher, Degas, Carl Larsson, and Carl Fredrik Hill are presented.

Additionally, the cultural center offers a reading room with many books from around the world. In addition, debates, art exhibitions, theatrical performances, or dance performances are also presented.

20. Ferry to Finland or Baltic countries

One of the activities to do in Stockholm that I was looking forward to is the ferry crossing from the Swedish capital to Helsinki via the Baltic Sea.

Ferry Stockholm

Although there are flights between the two destinations, I must admit that the ferry is a more attractive way to travel between the Baltic countries. The price includes transport, accommodation, and a nautical tour of the Baltic Sea.

The trip lasted approximately 17 hours; I left in the afternoon and arrived the following day. Viking Line and Tallink Silja Line ferries both cover the Stockholm-Helsinki route.

The ferries provide on-board services such as bars, restaurants, different types of cabins, and duty-free shops. Additionally, you can bring cars, motorcycles, and bicycles to the ferries. There are also other routes connecting Sweden to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

21. Swedish History Museum

The Swedish History Museum is dedicated to the history of Sweden. It offers unique collections grouped around five major themes: prehistory, Vikings, medieval art, textiles, and gold.

The most visited section is dedicated to the Viking people, where there is a vast model of the fortified town of Birka, one of the oldest in Sweden. Additionally, you’ll find ship remains, an abundant collection of jewelry, weapons, and tools used by brilliant Nordic navigators. An essential part of the collection offers to learn about the Scandinavian culture architecture during the middle ages.

At the end of your visit, I invite you to rest in the museum’s cafe and taste delicious Swedish pastries; the average cost is 10 euros.

22. Folkets Kebab Hornsgatan Restaurant

If you’re looking for a great restaurant in Stockholm with affordable prices, I highly recommend you to pay a visit to Folkets Kebab Hornsgatan Restaurant, located in Sodermalm. Folkets staff is incredibly friendly and easy to deal with.

Concerning the food, it is fresh, tasty and the portions are very generous to the point where you will have a hard time finishing your plate.

It’s also one of the few places where you can eat for 129 SEK. It’s a miracle in Sweden! Apart from red meat, you can also opt for fish. Even if the interior design is simple, the quality/price ratio is well worth it!

23. Sturecompagniet Bar / Night Club.

For lovers of nightlife and parties, I suggest you take a little trip to Sturecompagniet Bar / NightClub. It is one of the biggest nightclubs in the Swedish capital. Partying in Sturecompagniet Bar is undoubtedly one of the primary and best activities to do in Stockholm.

Sturecompagniet has 8 large rooms where different rhythms are offered for dancing. Additionally, Sturecompagniet Bar / NightClub is often frequented by Swedish celebrities. Bear in mind that the entrance is very selective, and the price is high.

24. Golden Hits NightClub

Another great place to experience the nightlife in Stockholm is the Golden Hits NightClub. One of the Swedish capital’s most fun and entertaining places. Golden Hits NightClub has several floors; each one plays a different music style ranging from the 80s to the modern one.

Additionally, Golden Hits NightClub is famous for its stage shows, and the performers speak English. I also highly invite you to try a meal in this nightclub. The menu includes vegetarian food, and it’s truly a treat!

25. Have a Fika

Fika Swedish Breakfast

The Fika is a proper societal ritual, a moment of conviviality, taking a break over coffee and a pastry during a working day with friends or family. One of the small pleasures of Swedish life in Stockholm is to submit to this custom.

At 3 or 4 p.m., head to one of the capital’s many cafes to enjoy a good hot drink and Swedish pastry. I advise you to have an Irish coffee and a delicious chocolate meringue. You will not regret it!

26. Night Walk

The list of the best activities to do in Stockholm cannot be complete without mentioning the Night Walk. There is no specific itinerary; however, I can advise you to start your own by exploring the surroundings of Gamla Stan, the old town.

Night walk in Stockholm

While walking, admire the surroundings of Lake Mälaren and the sea and the heights of the Swedish capital. From the pretty alleys of the ancient city, continue to Fotografiska.

Along the way, you will pass by various brief views on the heights. Additionally, you will enjoy the nocturnal charm with the moonlight, the calm of Stockholm, and the peaceful atmosphere away from the hustle and bustle.

Conclusion

Stockholm is a city like no other! I honestly cannot decide which of the activities to do in Stockholm is my favorite.

So let me know what you think about this list and your experiences in the Swedish capital. I look forward to reading your comments!

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