The Swedish capital Stockholm also goes by the name “Beauty on water”. It’s easy to understand why when you visit the largest city in Scandinavia for the first time. Actually, Stockholm is built on a handful of islands, but getting around using the local transport system is a breeze. However, the city offers more to the visitor than pure beauty. Stockholm is the perfect city for a weekend visit, offering the best mix you can find for sight-seeing, shopping, culture and incredible dining. Hang on and I’ll guide you to the best and most interesting things to do in Stockholm when going there for the first time!
A Guest Post by Per Brogevik of Resrutt.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is the main site to visit in the old town of Stockholm. The grand halls of the palace can be visited daily for a small fee. There are arranged tours to join and audio guides in several languages.
Every day at noon, there is a shifting of guards (Högvakten) in the palace court with music and a parade. Don’t miss Skattkammaren (the royal jewelry on display) in the cellar of the palace. The Swedish parliament is located just beside the palace.
The City Hall of Stockholm is probably the most famous building in the city. This is where the Nobel Prize official banquet is held every year. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece and well worth a visit.
There are guided tours here daily that you can join if you like. The northern promenade along the waterside starts here and can also be recommended for an afternoon stroll. The City Hall is located west of the central train station in the very center of the city.
Drottningholm is the official residence of the royal family since 1981. The beautiful castle is located just a short boat trip away from the central parts of the city. The palace park is one of Sweden’s most beautiful parks and is free to visit.
There is a small fee visiting the limited public parts of the palace, but most parts of the palace are closed to the public. The boat to Drottningholm departs several times a day from the pier next to City Hall.
The Old Town
The old town of Stockholm is by far the most visited place in Stockholm. With its narrow alleys and a thousand years of history, it’s a place well worth a visit. Unfortunately, though, the old town has turned into something of a tourist trap with expensive restaurants and hundreds of souvenir shops side by side.
You should definitely go here, but save your dining for better places elsewhere in Stockholm. The hotels in the old town also seem to be a bit overpriced and there are better options for instance in Sodermalm.
All the locals go to the marketplace in Hötorget for organic vegetables, flowers, and other shopping. Here, you should bargain every time! Situated in the central part of Stockholm, it’s easy to find. If you like, you can also visit the shopping streets around Hötorget as well, Drottninggatan being the most known.
The Concert Hall, where the Nobel Prize winners receive their prizes every year, is also located at Hotorget. The Nobel Prize banquet is held in the City Hall though.
The island Djurgarden is the city oasis where the locals go for their Sunday picnic or to go jogging in the evening after work. It’s the perfect place for a romantic promenade. There are several good restaurants located on Djurgarden, many of them focusing on dining based on sustainable and local ingredients. The amusement park Grona Lund and the open air museum Skansen are also located here together with the Vasa Museum.
This would be the perfect place to visit together with Skansen when visiting Stockholm with kids. Gröna Lund is a small but genuine amusement park from the good old days. Here you can ride roller-coasters, the merry-go-rounds or just stroll around together with the local families visiting here on the weekends.
Don’t miss the concerts here in summertime hosting the world’s best artists. Gröna Lund is located on the island Djurgården together with Skansen.
Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museums and one of Stockholm’s most popular sites. Old houses have been moved here from all over the country to give you an idea of all the different geographical parts of Sweden from now and from the past. The park is situated with an amazing view overlooking the city.
Together with Gröna Lund (next door neighbor by the way), it’s the perfect place to visit with kids. Both Skansen and Gröna Lund is located on the island Djurgarden.
The Vasa Museum
One of Stockholm’s more unusual museums is the Vasa Museum, dedicated to an old salvaged 17th-century warship. The ship sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was located on the bottom of the sea in 1961. Since then, you can visit the museum holding the almost intact ship.
This is a fascinating place to visit over and over again. There is a strange smell all over the place though as the wooden ship rots slowly. The Vasa Museum is located in the island Djurgården.
If you’re looking for the best place for photographing the Stockholm skyline, Södermalm is the place to go. Look up the street Fjällgatan on google maps for the absolute best place. Be prepared though to join many other tourists on the same mission.
The best recommendation is to go here early in the morning or late at night to beat the crowds. Södermalm is also a very popular place to go for shopping and dining in the evening.
Of course, there are more interesting places to visit in Stockholm, but these tips will have you fully occupied for an entire weekend at least.