Also called the Venice of the North, Stockholm is Sweden’s capital city. With the integration of land and water (since Stockholm lies on a number of islands and peninsulas) is what creates the unique charm of this city. Boasting 3 unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Birka, Drottningholm and the Woodland Cemetery), world class museums, theatres and galleries, Stockholm requires an extended stay to explore all it has on offer.
Top Attractions in Stockholm
The Royal Palace
Make sure you dedicate an entire day for exploring the Royal Palace located by the water’s edge at Gamla Stan. This is the official residence of the King of Sweden, and you’ll find the Queen’s Island located at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Drottningholm on Lovö Island. The King’s palace is one of Europe’s largest and comprises of a whopping 600 rooms and no less than 5 museums inside. Among the most popular sights are the Museum of Antiquities, the Armoury, the Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) Museum, and Treasury.
Stockholm’s Old Town dates back to the 1200’s and is a sightseeing paradise. The Gamla Stan is a living, breathing museum in its own right and is one of the best ways to understand Stockholm’s culture. Meander through the labyrinth of winding streets with their mysterious vaults and ancient frescoes that lurk behind gripping facades. Winter time is great for experiencing the Julmarknad (Christmas Market), but any time of the year is good for seeing the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum and the Royal Palace.
The impressive Vasa battleship (which was intended to be the pride of the Swedish Imperial Fleet) sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, but thanks to the salvage operation back in 1961, visitors have the opportunity to see the ship in all its glory, boasting 95% of its original materials. This is undeniably one of Sweden’s most visited museums with more than 1 million visitors flocking here annually to see the 10 different exhibitions.
In the heart of the bustling Stockholm lies the tranquil Djurgården Island as the perfect place to kick back and relax for a while. Although a stroll and perhaps a picnic is never a bad idea (except for winter time), the area is home to several museums and amazing attractions. Here and there you’ll find quaint cafés, restaurants, snack-bars, and hotels. There are also forest trails and the waterways which are great for canoeing excursions. Some of the top attractions include Abba the Museum, the open-air museum Skansen and Gröna Lund amusement park.
Skansen Open Air Museum
As the oldest open-air museum in the world, Skansen makes for a great family-friendly destination in Stockholm. Aside from offering a look into Stockholm’s past, the area is also home to the Stockholm Zoo, the Seglora timber church and an opportunity to feast on delicious Swedish Smörgåsbord at the Solliden Restaurant.
The Stadshuset (city hall) is nestled at the water’s edge and topped with its three golden crowns; this is one of Stockholm’s most iconic landmarks. The building dates back to 1923 and it’s now host to the prestigious annual Nobel Banquets. A view over the city from the building’s tower is unique in every sense of the word, but you might also want to check out the Blå hallen (The Blue Hall) and the Gyllene salen (The Golden Hall).
Royal National City Park
La Citta Vita is a 6 mile long green space that surrounds and snakes into Stockholm. It’s the world’s first national urban park and it’s the go-to spot to just unwind. The forest is home to moose, foxes, deer and countless bird species and attractions include museums, castles, theatres and hotels to keep visitors more than entertained. The wilderness area is really a nature lover’s paradise with its ancient oak trees, lakes, streams, bays, marshes, canals and rocky hilltops that peacefully exist in the center of a thriving metropolis.
The Ericson Globe is the world’s largest spherical building, and the SkyView is just what you need to get to its top peak. At a whopping 130 feet above sea level, the views over the city cannot be beat. There are gondolas that take visitors up every 30 minutes and a great restaurant and souvenir shop to indulge at once you’ve seen the city in all its glory.
Östermalm is Stockholm’s most exclusive district filled to the brim with international labels and top-end Scandinavian design. Designer chic is what this area is all about. Some of the best spots to shop at include Biblioteksgatan, Stureplan, Strandvägen and the Kommendörsgatan neighborhood.