Stockholm is a vibrant and colorful city where centuries-old buildings and top-notch design meet. With an interesting vibe, quaint cafés, amazing views, and nature within arms’ reach, Sweden’s capital is definitely worth exploring although travelers usually opt for more traditional locations such as Madrid, London, Paris or even Berlin.
Stockholm welcomes tourists with much more than a clean and pretty city. It is situated on 14 islands alongside the waters of Lake Malaren and the Baltic Sea and there are 57 bridges that link the different islands.
Whether you are planning to visit the city for the first time or if you want to give it a second try, this article summarizes some of the most important and tourist attractions and experiences that Stockholm has to offer.
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Move Around Wisely
Public transport in Stockholm is great, punctual and reliable. It’s really easy to get around almost everywhere via bus or metro. Metro stations are known for being spacious and astonishing art galleries and they definitely deserve a visit.
Renting a car can be an interesting option; especially if you want to visit nearby towns or if your trip to Stockholm is part of a major trip around Europe and there are other cities that you’re and will be visiting. In that case, you can easily combine the excellent public transport facilities with car driving. Whichever brand and model you choose, make sure you have a trouble-free experience by being fully covered against car rental damage.
Experience Fika and Feel Like a Swedish
Coffee is so much loved in Sweden that locals have developed a whole experience around it: Fika. It’s a cultural phenomenon in which you deliberately take a break from working to socialize over a mug of coffee and sweet pastries. Experience Fika as locals do! (psst! Cinnamon rolls are delicious! They are called kanelbulle in Swedish)
Enjoy The Different Flavors of The City
The different districts and neighborhoods in Stockholm offer a unique flavor of the city. Spend some time discovering their specificities. The most interesting and appealing for tourists are:
Djugarden: An attractive island home to several parks and museums as the one dedicated to ABBA. The Grona Lund amusement park can also be found there.
Norrmalm: It’s the commercial heart of the city and the place to go shopping. The main railway station is located here.
Östermalm: It’s a posh residential neighborhood and the place to see and be seen. There are plenty of pubs and bars and it’s Stockholm dancing scene par excellence.
Södermalm: It’s a pleasant and bohemian district where modern architecture and historic buildings live side by side. There are nice restaurants and bars and wonderful designer shopping opportunities.
Gamla Stan: It’s a historic island with many romantic cobbled streets and quaint old building. Some of the most important historic buildings can be found here as the Royal Palace or the Swedish Parliament.
Enjoy Stockholm and Its Museums
Skansen: An Open-Air Museum
If you’re traveling to Stockholm with children, then Skansen has to be in your travel bucket list. It’s a historic open-air museum, zoo, and park and it displays different ways of life and artifacts around Sweden.
You’ll be surprised with glassworks from the 16th century, bison, wolverines, an enclosed jungle where children and adults can hang out with lemurs and a small but well-developed terrarium that younger visitors will definitely enjoy! Real-life scenes are recreated to the detail and it’s a true journey to the past!
Many important national celebrations are held there such as Midsummer, Lucía, and Walpurgis Night.
Your stay in Stockholm won’t be complete unless you visit the iconic Vasa Museum. Located in Djugaren, it houses the wreck of the great Swedish warship: Vasa. It was a 64-gun warship that sank on its first voyage in 1628. It was lifted in 1961 and slowly and carefully restored. The vessel has almost of its original material and is the only XVII century vessel of that size at present.
Visiting this museum shows the importance that the naval industry had for Sweden back in time. And the valuable and precious artifacts found in the ship give visitors an interesting glimpse of what was life on the Vasa like.
The Medieval Museum
When in the 1970s some of Stockholm’s medieval city walls were discovered by accident, the Medieval Museum started. Located under the Norrbro bridge, that initial discovery is now one of the showpieces of the museum. It’s an interesting place where you can appreciate the history of the city from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
Spending some time at the Medieval Museum can be an interesting experience for children too! They are invited to dress up in armour and participate in games with fake swords!
Drottningholm Royal Palace and Gardens
It’s the King and Queen official residence and its extensive grounds and architecture are definitely worth a visit. It has more than 600 rooms and it’s one of the largest in Europe.
The Swedish Royal Palace is an XVIII century complex that is home of 5 museums and where most royal events are held. With over 600 rooms, it’s one of the largest in Europe. The must-sees include the elegant and plush reception rooms, the royal apartments, the Hall of State and the Halls of the Orders of Chivalry.
Museum of Science and Technology
It’s another family friendly museum that you can’t miss. Its latest exhibition, Megamind, is absolutely fantastic and it offers visitors of all ages a wonderful experience. It’s a fun and innovative museum for children where they are invited to explore and experiment with new and smart ideas.
The museum is great right from its design, based on a human brain. Visitors enter the museum through a gigantic ear and step into a large room where the brain’s hemispheres are represented.
With 50 interactive displays that challenge children to think differently and challenge their perceptions, they are invited to see what the world looks through cats’ eyes, or learn about balance by walking across the dizzy bridge. Get ready to paint with your eyes, drive a satellite, make music with your entire body and have lots and lots of fun!
Be A Child Again at Junibacken
Sweden’s capital is definitely a children-friendly city. If you are in Stockholm with your family, you’ll have a blast at Junibacken. It’s a museum dedicated to children’s book characters such as Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins.
Modern Art Museum
Located on the island of Skeppsholmen, the Museum of Modern Art is one of the most superb art institutions in the Baltic countries. There are works of art from world-famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Duchamp, Picasso or Salvador Dali. There’s a very nice restaurant there too. What a great opportunity to enjoy some fine art and then taste a delicious Swedish dish!
Explore Sweden’s History Museum
The Swedish History Museum revolves around the art collection of King Gustav Vasa and the subsequent monarchs. It offers visitors a valuable chance to appreciate the Swedish history from Prehistory to the present day, with a special focus on the Viking period.
The Gold Room will catch your attention for sure with its gold collars made from melted Roman coins amongst other gold artifacts. The collection of Viking artifacts is also splendid and includes the Mästermyr tool chest.
Fjällgatan or “Stockholm’s Balcony”
Located in Södermalm, Fjällgatan is a viewing platform high above the city, on the edge of a cliff that offers spectacular panoramic views. You’ll be able to appreciate the island of Djurgarden, Gamla Stan, Skeppsholmen and some of the taller buildings in the city.
There’s a charming café as well and the surrounding area is also beautiful with its preserved wooden buildings dating back to the XVIII century.
SkyView Elevator: An ideal trip for adrenaline seekers!
It is not only the most unusual lift in Sweden but probably one of the most unusual lifts in Europe. It is located on the southern side of the spherical building Globen Arena.
The SkyView Elevator is a complex of two glass gondolas that run along the southern wall of the spherical sports arena and lift the passengers to the roof.
Dating back to 1279, it is the oldest church in Gamla Stan. Its design is warm and charming, with its nice combination of brick design, wooden carvings, and sculptures. The carving of St George and the Dragon is absolutely remarkable!
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