I visited Stockholm, Sweden in February 2017 after wanting to visit this Nordic city for some time now. This city, made of thousands of islands, delivers stunning views, weather and restaurants. You can easily get lost in the main area of Gamla Stan or going up and down the hills of the trendy Sodermalm area. Keep reading for what to do in Stockholm, Sweden.
Disclosure: This “What To Do In Stockholm, Sweden” guide may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As always, all opinions are my own and I would never post about something I have not personally used/verified.
HOW TO GET TO STOCKHOLM
The main airport you will fly into internationally is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. Most airlines fly here as it is a major hub. We took Norwegian Air from NYC and I really loved the airline. They were extremely nice and the seats had a large amount of leg space (compared to US airlines). We also had an empty middle seat between us so that was huge for the overnight flight!
Once arrived, there are 3 ways to get to the main area of Stockholm:
- High-Speed Train: 196 SEK ($21): Book this 30 days in advance for this price, if closer to date will be a little more. 20 minute ride, runs every 15 minutes from airport. Goes to Central Station in Norrmalm (T-Centralen). We took this route and highly suggest – train was clean and quick. Book Stockholm train here.
- Coach Bus: 99 SEK ($11): 35-45 minute ride, runs every 10-15 minutes. Goes to Central Station in Norrmalm (Cityterminalen). Most popular route due to price, but takes a longer time and is dependent on traffic. Book Stockholm bus here.
- Taxi. 675 SEK ($70). Around 45 minute drive.
WHAT TO DO IN STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN
Stockholm consists of thousands of islands with a few main ones to note and visit. Below I outline where to go and what to do in Stockholm popular neighborhoods!
The Old Town of Gamla Stan is a little island in the center of the city and is the main area of Stockholm. It includes the main square and the Royal Palace and is very touristy, however, this island is the cutest! You can get lost in the little winding streets for hours. What to do in Gamla Stan:
- Stotorget– The famous square with lines of colorful buildings. Just stand in here and admire the beauty and people. See picture at top!
- Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) – See the Changing of the Guards during the day and/or do a tour inside of the Palace.
- Swedish Parliament (Riksdag): Can do a tour inside if interested.
- Alley of Mårten Trotzig – smallest street in country – can touch both sides at once!
- Västerlånggatan Street is the main tourist/souvenir shop drag.
- Walk around the hundreds of winding tiny streets and get lost, eat and shop.
Sodermalm is the trendy/young area and is south of Gamla Stan. It was also voted the coolest neighborhood in Europe by Vogue.
- Fotografiska: really good contemporary photography exhibitions, along the waterfront. good cafe/coffee place on top floor w good views
- Monteliusvägen: Walk to this small walking path that starts on Mariatorget for the best view of Stockholm (best sunset viewing point).
- SoFo: Trendiest area of Sodermalm. Lots of cool restaurants/bar/clubs.
Djugarden is also known as the Museum Island and is a really pretty, green island to walk around (as well as visit all the museums).
- Vasa Museum: Must do, a massive ship that sank in 1628 and they resurrected in one piece.
- Skansen Museum: Open-air interactive museum that shows the Swedish way of life, architecture, zoo. A very kid-oriented, young tour.
- ABBA Museum: If you are into ABBA then it is a must-see.
- Grona Lund: Big amusement park. Fun in the summer.
Ostermalm & Norrmalm:
Ostermalm and Norrmalm are nice, popular areas north of Gamla Stan where a lot of Swedes live and are bustling with locals and tourists alike. This is generally the main, busiest area of the city and is on the mainland of Sweden.
- Strandvagen Boulevard: a popular upmarket street to shop on, especially the prestigious department store Svenskt Tenn.
- Ostermalms SoderHall: a classy historic food market, great for lunch.
- Sergel’s Torg (central Square): nice, bustling square in the middle
- T-Centralen: main metro stop with lots of art.
Other Activities Around Stockholm:
- Stockholm Archipelago (Skärgård): the name for all of the little islands around Stockholm. Take a boat tour (even in the winter!) operated by Stromma Boat Tours. This was a highlight of my time in Stockholm and highly recommended! It is a great way to see all the islands and the outsides of the city. It is also extremely picturesque in the winter. The tour is 1.5 hours and leaves from Stromkajen.
- Metro Stations: All of the metro stations have awesome art in them. It is known as the largest art exhibit in world. I suggest getting on the subway and just getting on and off at random stops to walk around underground. There are also metro art official tours to do.
Activities A Short Metro Ride Away from Stockholm:
- Drottningholm Palace: Massive gorgeous palace inspired by Versailles. Have to take steamer boat here which runs from Stockholm. A UNESCO world heritage site.
- Millesgarden: Sculptors museum/park, really pretty site. Better in summertime.
WHAT TO EAT IN STOCKHOLM
Swede’s love their Fika break, which is just coffee break during the day! Take advantage!
If you go in the winter (November-February) you must try Semla. This is their signature pastry only available during this time period and it is delicious. Every main restaurant/cafe/bakery serves it! The Semla in Stockholm is delicious and can’t be missed in-season!
Big Lunch/Dinner Restaurants:
- Sturehof: Amazing culinary destination, famous and expensive.
- Brasserie Le Rouge: Very good, famous, expensive restaurant.
- Koh Phangan: Popular Pan Asian food. Really cool atmosphere and decorations. Amazing Pad Thai.
- Pelikan: Award-winning menu, restaurant decorated like Ikea.
- Herman’s: Mostly a local’s spot. Vegetarian buffet with amazing views and food. Unlimited food for cheap. Student discount with ID also. There is also live music Saturday nights from 7-9pm.
- Fem Små Hus: Speciality Swedish food, next to royal palace.
- Sjätte Tunnan: Fun medieval-themed restaurant.
- Smak: Creative multi-dish dinner. Good deal; 3 dishes for $40.
- Urban Deli: Really good trendy mediterranean food.
- Grill: 8 different themed rooms, very cool and good food.
- Babette: Trendy pizza/wine place, casual, Michelin star.
- Un Poco: Owned by Swedish House Mafia. Also good Italian food.
- Drop Coffee Roasters: Stockholm coffee staple, good small plates.
- Kaffekoppen: Famous, cozy coffee hangout in Stotorget. Must go. The bottom floor is a cave/cellar and the food, drinks and hot chocolate (served in a bowl) are amazing.
- Greasy Spoon: Brunch of all brunch spots.
- Pom & Flora: Another must-visit brunch spot.
- Riche: Fancy very good brunch spot.
- Café String: Cozy popular weekend brunch. Great prices.
- Barobao: Amazing trendy lunch spot.
- STHLM Brunch Club: Good staple brunch food, sick milkshakes.
- Ostermalm Saluhall: Food market in Ostermalm.
Click all the restaurant links above to find out more/make reservations!
WHERE TO PARTY
- Morfar Ginko: Trendy big club.
- Marie Laveau: New Orleans inspired club.
- Indigo: Cozy colorful bar on the main street in Sodermalm with fun drinks.
- Tweed Bar: Good trendy cocktail bar.
- Pharmarium: Themed cocktail bar & good light food in Gamla Stan.
- Cocktailbaren Hotel Diplomat: Elegant cocktail bar in fancy hotel. Good drinks.
- Corvina Enoteca: Extensive wine bar in Gamla Stan.
- Aifur Krog & Bar: Viking-like traditional bar.
- Snaps Bar and Bistro: Trendy Sodermalm bar.
- Stampen: live music, great cocktails, jazz bar.
- Orangeriet Bar: view over the lake and great cocktails.
- Cafe Opera: Popular bar in back of an opera house.
Click the bar links above to find out more!
WHERE TO STAY IN STOCKHOLM
I stayed with my cousin who is in grad school there but we stayed near the Norrmalm area and it was perfect. I suggest staying in Norrmalm or Sodermalm depending on your interests. Check out Stockholm hotel availabilities here! areas! Everything is walking distance and very close. I would also check out some hotels that are on boats on the water – there are many and seem amazing!
AIRBNB Stockholm: There are also so many cute apartments in Stockholm with extra nice hosts. They are generally cheaper than hotels so if you like the Airbnb route instead of hotels I definitely recommend it. Also, if you use my Airbnb link you get $40 off your first stay!
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Did I miss something in Stockholm that you loved? Let me know in the comments for my next visit! See the rest of my Sweden country travel guide here!