20 Things To Do In Stockholm, Sweden

Home » Scandinavia » 20 Things To Do In Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is a popular city break from Norway and a must-do city on all Scandinavian travel itineraries. Here's how to spend your time in Sweden's capital city.

Stockholm is not only renowned for its innovative design and cultural offerings but also for its picturesque archipelago setting. Comprising 14 islands connected by over 50 bridges, this Nordic gem is a delightful blend of historic charm and modern sophistication.

Cityscape of Stockholm in Sweden.

A haven for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers, Stockholm seamlessly weaves its rich heritage with avant-garde trends.

Whether you're exploring Gamla Stan's cobblestoned streets or indulging in world-class Swedish design, Stockholm promises an enriching experience at every corner. Here are the best things to do in Stockholm, Sweden.

Top attractions in Stockholm

Let's start with the places and experiences that no-one should miss when visiting the Swedish capital.

1. Gamla Stan (The Old Town)

The heart and soul of Stockholm, Gamla Stan transports visitors through time with its cobblestone streets, rust-coloured buildings, and medieval charm.

Established in the 13th century, this labyrinth of narrow alleyways and picturesque squares is one of Europe's best-preserved medieval city centres.

The undeniable centerpiece is the majestic Royal Palace, a grand Baroque edifice that stands testament to Sweden's regal history. It's not just about grandeur, though. The quieter corners of Gamla Stan reveal artisan boutiques, atmospheric cafes, and hidden courtyards.

Backpacker in Gamla Stan, Stockholm.

As twilight falls, the district's history shines through, with ancient façades and stories of Vikings, nobles, and merchants whispering in the breeze.

Whether you're tracing the footsteps of history or simply enjoying a fika (Swedish coffee break) in a quaint cafe, Gamla Stan promises a journey back in time.

2. Stockholm Archipelago

A vast expanse of shimmering waterways, dotted with over 30,000 islands, the Stockholm Archipelago is a natural wonder that encapsulates the essence of Scandinavian beauty.

Each island, from rugged wilderness outposts to manicured retreats, offers a unique experience. With ferries crisscrossing the serene waters, explorers can island-hop, discovering hidden beaches, age-old fishing villages, and dense forests.

Whether you're kayaking amidst the isles, indulging in local seafood delicacies, or simply gazing at the horizon from a traditional wooden cottage, the Stockholm Archipelago beckons all.

A myriad of boat trip options are available from Stockholm harbour that give you so almost endless choice. Our recommendations include:

  • Grinda: A nature lover's paradise, Grinda boasts lush meadows, dense forests, and pristine swimming spots, making it a popular summer getaway.
  • Sandhamn: The island's picturesque village, vibrant sailing scene, and beautiful sandy beaches make it a favorite destination among both locals and tourists.
  • Vaxholm: Often referred to as the “gateway to the archipelago,” Vaxholm combines historic fortifications, a lively harbor, and charming wooden buildings, offering visitors a blend of history and scenic beauty.

3. Djurgården Island

An emerald gem amidst Stockholm's urban sprawl, Djurgården is where nature and culture intertwine. Originally the Royal Hunting Grounds, today it's a beloved sanctuary for both locals and tourists.

Djurgården in Stockholm, Sweden.

Gröna Lund, the island's storied amusement park, offers thrill-seekers an array of rides, while the various museums, including the Vasa and Skansen, narrate tales of Swedish heritage.

Amidst these attractions lie sprawling gardens, meandering trails, and serene lakes, providing tranquil retreats.

Whether you're taking a leisurely bike ride, picnicking under the canopy of ancient trees, or attending a summer concert, Djurgården offers an escape from the busy city.

4. Kungsträdgården

Nestled in the heart of the city, Kungsträdgården, or “the King's Garden,” is Stockholm's beloved urban oasis. Established in the 15th century as a royal garden, it's now a vibrant hub for recreation and relaxation.

Fountains dance, children play, and live performances fill the air with melodies. Seasonal events, from ice-skating in winter to outdoor concerts in summer, ensure there's always a reason to visit.

5. Södermalm District

Once a working-class district, Södermalm has evolved into an epicentre of creativity and trendsetting in Stockholm. Vintage boutiques, avant-garde galleries, and bohemian cafes line its streets, each with its unique story and style.

Public square in Södermalm, Stockholm. Photo: Jaz_Online / Shutterstock.com.
Public square in Södermalm, Stockholm. Photo: Jaz_Online / Shutterstock.com.

The district buzzes with an energy, fuelled by artists, musicians, and designers who call it home. As night descends, Södermalm's eclectic bars and music venues come alive.

6. Fjällgatan Viewpoint

High above the city, Fjällgatan viewpoint offers a perspective that captures Stockholm's majestic sprawl. From historic Gamla Stan to the modern skyscrapers, from the tranquil waters of Lake Mälaren to the bustling harbor, the panoramic view covers it all.

Historic wooden cottages, preserved from bygone eras, flank the viewpoint, offering a stark contrast to the modern metropolis below.

As the sun sets, casting a golden hue over Stockholm's spires and bridges, Fjällgatan becomes a favourite spot for photographers.

Museums in Stockholm

Fans of art and history will find no shortage of things to do in Stockholm.

7. Vasa Museum

Anchored in history and mystery, the Vasa Museum is home to the world's only preserved 17th-century ship. The majestic warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and remained submerged for 333 years.

Inside the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Alexander Tolstykh / Shutterstock.com.
Inside the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: Alexander Tolstykh / Shutterstock.com.

Today, it stands in its full glory, offering visitors a window into maritime history and the intricacies of shipbuilding of that era. Accompanied by detailed exhibits and multimedia displays, the ship's story unfolds – from its ambitious construction to its tragic sinking and eventual recovery.

8. Skansen Open-Air Museum

Skansen, the world's oldest open-air museum, paints a vivid picture of Swedish living across centuries. Sprawling over vast acres on Djurgården Island, the museum features historic buildings, traditional workshops, and live demonstrations.

From glass-blowing to bread-baking, visitors can immerse themselves in Sweden's rich heritage, observing craftsmen at work and even partaking in hands-on activities.

Folk music, dance performances, and seasonal festivals further enhance the authentic experience, making Skansen a living, breathing chronicle of Swedish traditions.

9. Moderna Museet

Nestled on Skeppsholmen Island, Moderna is dedicated to modern, contemporary art. Within its minimalist walls, the museum houses an impressive collection of works by iconic artists like Picasso, Dali, and Matisse.

From surrealism to pop art, the exhibits span diverse genres, capturing the evolution of art over the 20th and 21st centuries.

10. ABBA: The Museum

A melodic journey awaits at ABBA: The Museum, an interactive homage to the legendary Swedish pop band. Fans can walk in the footsteps of Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid, exploring the band's history, costumes, and timeless hits.

Inside ABBA Museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: dotmiller1986 / Shutterstock.com.
The ABBA Museum has quickly become a major attraction in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: dotmiller1986 / Shutterstock.com.

With immersive exhibits, visitors can virtually try on ABBA's iconic costumes, step into their recording studio, and even join them on stage. This experience that celebrates the magic and music of ABBA is a popular one, so book in advance.

11. Fotografiska

In a historic customs house by the water, Fotografiska is a celebration of contemporary photography. The museum showcases rotating exhibitions from renowned photographers worldwide, spanning genres from portraiture to landscape.

Beyond the visual delights, Fotografiska prides itself on being a space for reflection, discussion, and inspiration.

12. The Nobel Museum

Sweden is the home of the prestigious Nobel Prizes. In the heart of Gamla Stan, the Nobel Museum honours the legacies of Nobel laureates and the history of the awards.

Through interactive displays, original artifacts, and multimedia presentations, visitors can delve into the groundbreaking contributions of these luminaries in diverse fields from physics to literature.

13. Nordic Museum

Housed in a stunning Renaissance-style building, the Nordic Museum narrates 500 years of Scandinavian lifestyle, traditions, and fashion.

Each exhibit, whether showcasing festive costumes, traditional crafts, or everyday household items, offers a tangible link to the region's past.

14. The Hallwyl Museum

Once the residence of Count and Countess von Hallwyl, this palace-turned-museum showcases their vast collection of art, antiques, and curiosities.

Hallwyl Museum in Stockholm. Photo: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com.
Hallwyl Museum in Stockholm. Photo: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock.com.

Each room, meticulously preserved, reflects the tastes and lifestyles of the Swedish elite in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

From ornate drawing rooms to the weaponry gallery, the Hallwyl Museum provides an intimate glimpse into the grandeur of bygone days.

15. Swedish History Museum

Tracing the narrative of Sweden from its Viking roots to its medieval majesties, the Swedish History Museum is a must for history buffs. Highlights include the extensive Viking exhibit, showcasing weapons, jewellery, and a recreated Viking ship.

The Gold Room, glittering with gold and silver artefacts, is another crowd-puller, offering insights into the nation's affluence and artistry across ages.

Royal Residences

Stockholm's regal history and heritage is told through some of the most magnificent palaces in Europe.

16. Royal Palace

With a majestic position in Gamla Stan, the baroque Royal Palace is considered one of Europe's largest and most opulent palaces.

As the official residence of the Swedish monarch, it houses several intricacies that depict royal life, including the lavish State Apartments, the Hall of State, and the Royal Treasury which safeguards the Swedish crown jewels. The daily changing of the guards ceremony is popular with visitors.

17. Drottningholm Palace

Set against the serene backdrop of Lake Mälaren, Drottningholm Palace is a harmonious blend of architecture, landscaping, and artistry. As the private home of the Swedish Royal Family, its lived-in luxury contrasts with its majestic facade.

Drottningholm Palace exterior.
Drottningholm Palace exterior.

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the palace boasts a well-preserved theatre, fascinating Chinese Pavilion, and meticulously landscaped gardens.

Cultural Landmarks

Looking for some more destinations to add to your itinerary? Read on for a few more suggestions.

18. Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral)

Nestled in the heart of Gamla Stan, Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral) is an architectural marvel that has witnessed the passage of time since the 13th century.

Its exterior is a curious blend of Gothic and Baroque architecture, whereas inside, visitors are greeted by a dramatic Baroque altar, depicting the story of St. George and the Dragon.

19. Stockholm Metro Art

While metros are generally perceived as simply a means of transport, Stockholm challenges this notion by transforming its subway stations into an expansive canvas.

Dubbed the ‘world's longest art exhibition,' over 90 Stockholm metro stations are adorned with paintings, mosaics, sculptures, and installations, courtesy of over 150 artists.

This unique initiative not only makes public transport more engaging, but also reinforces Stockholm's commitment to integrating art into everyday life.

20. Ostermalms Saluhall

Cuisine is undeniably a reflection of culture. In Stockholm, Ostermalms Saluhall is the place to dive into the details. Established in the 1880s, this historic food hall teems with stalls offering Swedish delicacies, gourmet dishes, and fresh produce.

From savouring traditional meatballs and pickled herring to indulging in artisanal cheeses and salted caramel chocolates, visitors can embark on a culinary adventure whenever they visit.

Have you ever been to Stockholm? Let us know your favourite things to do in the city in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, why not share it on Pinterest or Facebook so others can find and enjoy it too? Just hit those social sharing buttons.

About Life in Norway

Sometimes, more than one person in the Life in Norway team works on a story. This was one of those times!

Norway Weekly Subscribe Banner

Leave a Comment