Stockholm Travel Guide
At first glance it might seem to be on the cold or even bland side one might say, but in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth, for soon after you settle into this city, you will start discovering its hidden secrets. Stockholm is in fact a treasure trove of culture, history, museums, fashion and style, spread over an archipelago of 14 well connected islands which are all easy to explore and within reach.
There’s certainly no shortage of sites, attractions and things to do here. This city boasts a huge amount of particular and specialized museums alongside the traditional ones of course, as well as an established alternative scene, complimented by a wide array of super trendy restaurants and bars. Let’s just say that Stockholm is both a hip city and a working city at the same time. A delicate and rare mix to find.
Like all Scandinavian cities, Stockholm is in general quite pricey, notably when it comes to alcohol and to a certain extent even transportation. And the local administration is working towards turning it into a cashless city, so be prepared to exchange cash for plastic and to take on a healthier lifestyle by drinking less and walking or cycling more. I would also recommend getting the Stockholm Pass since it’s super useful and it gives you free access to all of the city’s attractions and sites that are otherwise quite expensive to get into, including Hop-On Hop-Off boats and buses, which could potentially become an alternative to public transport.
I must admit that this city won me over soon after I arrived, and I honestly thought that it was actually worth every penny, since some of the things to experience are really unique!
Things to do and see
Explore the narrow streets of Gamla Stan: Stockholm’s Old City center. It’s the main touristic area and a historic picturesque island with many cobble stone streets and medieval ancient buildings forming the epicenter of the old city, including the Royal Palace, the Swedish Parliament, and Stockholm’s Cathedral as well as the Nobel Museum.
Discover Södermalm/SoFo: What used to be a working class suburb is now Stockholm’s hipster neighborhood. An eclectic mix of modern architecture and historical buildings, featuring the bohemian SoFo district with all of its bars. The area is dotted with fashion boutiques, vintage stores, barbershops and concept restaurants n bars. Here you’ll find cafes that sell clothes or furniture, and vintage clothing stores with quirky barber shops.
Enjoy Djurgarden Island: Located right in the middle of the city, this island is home to several museums including the ABBA Museum and the Spirits Museum, among others. Chill out by the waterfront and find a relaxing restaurant to hang out in, or hit ‘Gröna Lund’, the oldest amusement park in Sweden dating back to the 1800s, and visit Scansen, Sweden’s oldest open air museum.
Island hopping on the archipelago: If you happen to be in Stockholm during summer (which would be the reasonable thing to do), one of the must do things to do is take a full-day boat tour to explore the beautiful picturesque islands to get a feel of the quiet Swedish island life since most of them are actually inhabited.
Take a crash course in Swedish history at the Medieval Museum: One of the city’s gems if you’re into medieval history (like me). Located below the Royal Palace, this time machine is where you’ll get to learn about medieval Sweden and the local life in Stockholm.
Dive into the world of Photography at Fotografiska: The place to be if you’re passionate about the art of photography, with its rotating exhibition programs of both local and international artists. There’s also a cool bar on the top floor that also offers some great views of the city and harbor area.
Spend an hour with booze at the Spirits Museum: With a focus on the Swedish people’s bittersweet relationship with alcohol, the museum exhibitions will take you on a fun journey starting from the basic process of alcohol fermentation and production while experiencing firsthand the smells of all the related herbs, spices and ingredients, and ending in the hangover room with a video simulation of the different stages of a hangover.
Top recommended things to do
The Vasa Museum: This superb museum houses the only 95% intact 17th century war ship that has ever been salvaged; The 64 gun Swedish warship Vasa that sank just 20 minutes through her maiden voyage in 1628. Inside the museum you’ll find a replica of the captain’s cabin as well as the gun deck which is a fascinating experience that will take you back in time.
Stockholm Ghost Walk: A fantastic two hour walk exploring the dark side of Stockholm’s old town with lots of laughter, gruesome tales from the past, legends and historical facts.
Scansen open air museum: Spend the day in Sweden’s oldest open air museum which is packed with different sorts of attractions ranging from old traditional Nordic houses to people with authentic traditional costumes demonstrating traditional work, such as weaving and glass blowing, all highlighting traditional life in Sweden and other Nordic countries. It also features a small wildlife reserve with all sorts of Nordic animals such as the buffalo, bear, lynx, wolverine, moose, wolf, reindeer, seal and others.
Stockholm Pub Crawl: A fun and affordable way to meet locals and other travelers while exploring the local night life, running through several spots and ending at a nightclub, with free shots and discounted drinks all the way through.
Top recommended places to eat
Linje Tio: A continental bar and restaurant with its roots in southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Seafood, poultry, meat and plenty of vegetarian options as well, coupled with European wine, beer and cocktails. Here everything is prepared from scratch or not at all.
Top recommended places to stay
City Backpackers Hostel: Great location, in-house tours, bike rentals, skates, a sauna, a couple of cozy common areas, and a massive fully equipped guest kitchen make this a great place to stay in the city.