Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a vibrant and beautiful city that is worth exploring for any traveler. Across 14 islands, Stockholm is famous to be as the “Venice of the North“. Due to its intricate network of waterways and canals. It is a city that seamlessly blends its rich cultural heritage with modern architecture and design. Making it a fascinating destination for visitors. From world-class museums and galleries to charming neighborhoods, scenic parks, and stunning waterways, Stockholm has something to offer everyone. In this article, we will take a closer look at why Stockholm should be on every traveler’s bucket list. And explore some of the top things to see and do in this captivating city.
History of Stockholm
Stockholm has a long and fascinating history that stretches back over 800 years. The foundation of the city dates back to 1252 by Birger Jarl. A Swedish statesman and military leader, who built a fortress on the island of Gamla Stan. The name Stockholm is coming from the words “stock” (meaning log) and “holm” (meaning islet). As the area was famous for its abundant supply of timber.
Over the centuries, Stockholm grew in importance as a trading center. Moreover it became the capital of Sweden in the 17th century. During this time, the city prospered and developed into a major cultural center. With world-renowned artists, writers, and thinkers calling Stockholm home.
Stockholm in the modern times
In the 20th century, Stockholm became a hub for innovation and design. With the establishment of world-class universities, research centers, and companies. The city also played an important role in shaping international relations. By hosting major peace talks and negotiations, including the historic Vietnam peace talks in the 1970s.
Today, Stockholm is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that retains its rich cultural heritage while embracing modernity and innovation. Its picturesque streets, historic buildings, and scenic waterways continue to attract millions of visitors each year. Making it one of Europe’s most popular destinations.
Things to do in Stockholm
There are plenty of things to see and do in Stockholm, no matter what your interests are. Here are some of the top attractions and experiences that should be on your list:
Explore Gamla Stan
The Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town. It is a charming and historic district filled with narrow streets, colorful buildings, and medieval architecture. Be sure to visit the Royal Palace and the Storkyrkan Cathedral. Gamla Stan is dating back to the 13th century. It is located on the central island of Stockholm, and is one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Here are some highlights of Gamla Stan:
- Royal Palace: The Royal Palace is the official residence of the Swedish monarch. It is located on the western side of Gamla Stan. Visitors can take a guided tour of the palace and see the royal apartments, state rooms, and the treasury.
- Storkyrkan Cathedral: Storkyrkan Cathedral is the oldest church in Stockholm, dating back to the 13th century. It is known for its stunning medieval architecture and the famous statue of St. George and the Dragon.
- Stortorget: Stortorget is the main square in Gamla Stan and is surrounded by colorful buildings and cafes. This is a great place to relax and soak up the atmosphere of the old town.
- Nobel Museum: The Nobel Museum is located in a 18th-century building in Gamla Stan. It showcases the history of the Nobel Prize and the achievements of the prize winners.
- Riddarholmen Church: Riddarholmen Church is a medieval church located on the island of Riddarholmen, just west of Gamla Stan. It is the final resting place of many Swedish monarchs and is known for its stunning Gothic architecture.
Visit the Vasa Museum
This museum houses the world’s only surviving 17th-century ship, the Vasa, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. And was salvaged over 300 years later. The museum was built around the ship to display and preserve it. It is now one of Stockholm’s most popular tourist attractions. Here are some highlights of the Vasa Museum.
The centerpiece of the museum is the Vasa ship itself, which is over 98 feet tall and over 200 feet long. It is one of the most well-preserved 17th-century ships in the world and is decorated with over 700 sculptures and carvings. The museum has several exhibitions that explain the history and context of the Vasa ship, including its construction, sinking, and salvage. There are also exhibits on life in 17th-century Sweden, as well as interactive displays and activities for children.
Go to Skansen
The world’s first open-air museum, Skansen showcases Swedish life and culture through exhibits, events, and demonstrations. It’s a great place to learn about traditional crafts, customs, and cuisine. It is one of the world’s oldest open-air museums and showcases the country’s cultural heritage and history. Here are some highlights of Skansen:
- Traditional Swedish Houses: Skansen features over 150 traditional Swedish houses and buildings that have been moved to the museum from all over the country. Visitors can explore these buildings, which range from farmhouses and cottages to manor houses and churches.
- Zoo and Aquarium: Skansen is also home to a zoo and aquarium, where visitors can see native Swedish animals such as elk, reindeer, and wolves, as well as exotic animals from other parts of the world. The aquarium has over 200 species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
- Craftspeople and Demonstrations: Skansen has a number of craftspeople and performers who demonstrate traditional Swedish handicrafts such as weaving, glassblowing, and blacksmithing. There are also traditional folk dance and music performances throughout the year.
- Seasonal Events: Skansen hosts a number of seasonal events throughout the year, such as the popular Christmas market and midsummer celebrations.
Visiting Skansen is a great way to experience traditional Swedish culture and history, as well as to see a variety of animals and wildlife. It’s a must-visit for anyone traveling to Stockholm, especially those interested in cultural heritage and history.
Take a boat tour
Stockholm is built on 14 islands, so one of the best ways to see the city is from the water. There are many boat tours available that offer a unique perspective on the city’s architecture and landmarks. Taking a boat tour around Stockholm is a relaxing and enjoyable way to see the city’s landmarks, architecture, and surrounding nature. There are several tour operators offering different types of boat tours, and it’s recommended to book in advance to ensure availability:
- Royal Canal Tour: This boat tour takes you through the heart of Stockholm’s city center, passing by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as the Royal Palace, City Hall, and Gamla Stan. You will also cruise through the canal locks that connect Lake Mälaren to the Baltic Sea.
- Archipelago Tour: This boat tour takes you out into the Stockholm archipelago, a cluster of over 30,000 islands and islets just outside the city. You will see picturesque fishing villages, rugged coastlines, and stunning scenery along the way.
- Under the Bridges of Stockholm: This boat tour takes you under the bridges of Stockholm and showcases the city’s waterfront architecture and landmarks, including the Stockholm Opera House and the Vasa Museum.
- Fjäderholmarna Tour: This boat tour takes you to the closest island in the Stockholm archipelago, Fjäderholmarna. Here you can explore the island’s craft shops, cafes, and scenic trails.
Visit the ABBA Museum
The ABBA Museum is a popular museum in Stockholm, Sweden that is dedicated to the music and history of the Swedish pop group ABBA. The museum is located on the island of Djurgården, and is a must-visit destination for fans of the band and anyone interested in the music of the 1970s and 1980s.
The museum features a range of interactive exhibits and displays that allow visitors to learn about the history of the band, their music, and their cultural impact.
Explore the Djurgården
This beautiful island is home to several museums, amusement parks, and outdoor attractions, including the Gröna Lund theme park, the Skansen open-air museum, and the Rosendal Palace.
Djurgården is home to many of Stockholm’s most popular museums, including the ABBA Museum, the Vasa Museum, and the Skansen Open-Air Museum. Each museum offers a unique experience and insight into different aspects of Swedish culture and history. Also it is a great place to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the scenery. The island has several parks and nature reserves, including Djurgårdsbrunnsparken and the Royal Djurgården Park, which offer plenty of green space and tranquil spots to relax.
Stroll through the Stockholm Palace
The Stockholm Palace, also known as the Royal Palace of Stockholm, is a majestic landmark located in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden. This impressive palace has served as the official residence of the Swedish monarchs since the 17th century and is one of the largest royal palaces in Europe. With over 600 rooms, the palace is home to several museums, state rooms, and galleries that showcase Swedish history, culture, and art.
Visitors can take guided tours of the palace to learn about its rich history and view its impressive architecture and interiors. The palace is also the site of several important ceremonies and events, including royal weddings and state visits, making it an integral part of Swedish history and culture.
Visit the Moderna Museet
The Moderna Museet is a contemporary art museum in Stockholm, Sweden that is dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary art from around the world. The museum has a rich history and was founded in 1958. Today, it is one of Sweden’s most important cultural institutions and attracts visitors from all over the world. The museum has an extensive collection of modern and contemporary art, featuring works by some of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection includes paintings, sculptures, installations, and photography. Some of the most famous artists whose works are featured in the collection include Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, and Salvador Dali.
In addition to its permanent collection, Moderna Museet also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These exhibitions showcase contemporary artists from Sweden and around the world and cover a variety of themes and mediums, from painting and sculpture to film and performance art.
Stockholm is a great destination for shopping, with plenty of options for both luxury and budget shoppers. Here are some places to go shopping in Stockholm:
- Drottninggatan: This pedestrian street is one of Stockholm’s busiest shopping districts, with a range of high-street stores, fashion boutiques, and department stores.
- Östermalm Saluhall: This indoor market is the perfect place to sample and buy local Swedish delicacies, including smoked fish, cheese, and charcuterie.
- Biblioteksgatan: This street is known for its luxury boutiques and high-end fashion stores, including brands like Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci.
- Södermalm: This trendy district is home to several independent boutiques and vintage stores, as well as flea markets and street markets.
- Mall of Scandinavia: This large shopping mall is located in Solna, just outside Stockholm, and features over 200 stores, restaurants, and entertainment options.
Overall, Stockholm offers a diverse shopping experience with something for every taste and budget, whether you’re looking for high-end luxury goods or unique local finds.
Enjoy the nightlife
Sweden is known for its vibrant nightlife, and Stockholm is no exception. Here are some ways to enjoy the nightlife in Sweden:
- Visit a Nightclub: Stockholm has a lively nightclub scene, with many popular venues offering a range of music and themes. Some popular clubs include Berns, Trädgården, and Sturecompagniet.
- Go to a Bar: Stockholm has plenty of bars and pubs, ranging from traditional Swedish taverns to trendy cocktail bars. Some popular options include Mosebacke Etablissement, The Flying Elk, and Tjoget.
- Take a Nighttime Tour: Stockholm offers several guided tours that take place after dark, offering a unique perspective on the city and its history. Some popular tours include the Stockholm Ghost Walk and the Stockholm by Night Bike Tour.
- Enjoy a Concert: Stockholm has a thriving live music scene, with many venues hosting concerts and gigs throughout the year. Some popular venues include Debaser Medis, Gröna Lund, and Tele2 Arena.
Overall, Stockholm has something to offer for everyone when it comes to nightlife, whether you’re looking for a wild night out at a nightclub or a cozy evening at a local pub. Just remember to drink responsibly and stay safe while enjoying the city’s vibrant nightlife.
How to get to Stockholm
Stockholm is easily accessible by air, train, bus, and car, depending on where you are traveling from.
Stockholm is served by several airports, including Arlanda Airport, which is the largest and most well-connected. Other airports include Bromma Airport, which mainly serves domestic flights, and Skavsta Airport, which is used by some low-cost carriers.
Stockholm train system connects to other major cities in Sweden and Europe, with several daily services running to cities like Gothenburg, Malmö, and Copenhagen.
There are many bus companies that operate services to Stockholm from other cities in Sweden and neighboring countries, such as Denmark and Norway.
Stockholm is easily accessable by car via the E4 motorway, which connects the city with other major cities in Sweden and Europe.
Once you arrive in Stockholm, you can get around the city by public transport, including buses, trains, and the metro. The city also has an extensive network of bike paths and rental services, which is a great way to explore the city at your own pace.
Enjoy our discounts in Stockholm
Useful information about Stockholm
Where to find Stockholm?
Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and is located in the eastern part of the country, on the east coast of Sweden, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is laying on 14 islands, and has plenty of bridges and causeways, and the city is above a vast archipelago, that has more than 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks.
Is Stockholm safe?
Stockholm is generally a safe city for both residents and visitors. Crime rates in Stockholm are relatively low, and the city is famous for its high standard of living and quality of life. Overall, Stockholm has a strong reputation for safety and is a great destination for travelers looking for a peaceful and enjoyable trip.
When is the best time to visit Stockholm?
Overall, the best time to visit Stockholm is during the summer months, when the weather is mild and the city is in full bloom. However, each season has its own charm and unique experiences to offer.
Best experiences in Stockholm
Stockholm has everything a visitor needs to have a great experience. Its natural beauty draws visitors from around the world- along with its numerous important sites and cultural heritage. As far as things to do in Stockholm go, there are plenty of activities available for visitors.
Dear Traveller! Thank you for reading the latest article from Besides the Obvious. Please do not hesitate to subscribe to our newsletter, if you don’t want to miss our next travel story.