Stockholm: 10 things to do and see

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Stockholm is a lovely city. Neat, trendy, hospitable and full of things to do, see and … enjoy! I suggest 10 in this post.

Stockholm is one of those cities I have long courted. So far away, so different, so neat. Stockholm represented my baptism with the Scandinavian countries and I knew that it would definitely wake my curiosity towards this corner of the world.

Stockholm is a city to say the least wonderful, albeit very expensive. Suffice it to say that in about 5 days I spent almost the equivalent of what I spent 15 days in Cuba (the dependence on Kanelbulle is not simple to manage!). Stockholm has been the source of many reflections but in this post I will include some information and advice on 10 things to do and see in the Capital of Sweden!

1. Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is the heart of Stockholm, the old city made of ups and downs between stone-paved alleys and yellow and red houses. The most iconic ones can be found in the small square called Stortorget, which is lined with several cafes and the scent of Kanelbulle (a typical cinnamon cake) becomes irresistible. On the small square of Stortorget stands the Nobel Museum while with a few minutes walk you can reach both the Cathedral and the Royal Palace with its inevitable Changing of the Guard at 12.10 o’clock (in winter, however, it happens only 3 times a week). I challenge you then to find the alley … narrower than the city!

2. Skansen

I don’t know about you but personally I had never visited an outdoor museum, especially a museum of this type! The Skansen is in my opinion one of the most beautiful things ever seen: its creator, Arthur Hazelius, personally bought hundreds of ancient dwellings located throughout Sweden and brought them here to the Skansen, to keep alive the memory of what was. Old post offices, small houses with exhibitors who wear period clothes, shops, gardens and even an area where you can watch bears, moose, seals and wolves. Located on the small island called Djurgården, the Skansen also offers wonderful views of the city. It’s really unmissable!

3. Vasa Museum

Also on the island of Djurgården, not far from the Skansen, is one of the most famous museums. One of those that in addition to precious objects holds something priceless: a wonderful story. This is the Vasa Museum and I recommend you visit it with a guide or with the audio guide as I did. It is not possible not to know the story behind the discovery of the Vasa vessel, incredibly kept inside the museum. A few numbers to give you an idea: 64 cannons, 10 sails, 69 meters long and only 120 meters of navigation before sinking into the sea with about 40 crew members unfortunately died. The Vasa was recovered in 1961 and exhibited at the museum in 1990, becoming “The only vessel in the world that has reached the present day since the seventeenth century.”

4. Skogskyrkogarden

Located in the Enskede district, this Skogskyrkogården from the rather unpronounceable name and what you would least expect to visit in Stockholm: it is in fact a cemetery. But it’s certainly not a cemetery like everyone else. Renamed The Cemetery of the Woods, within the Skogskyrkogården the fusion between man and nature is strongly perceived. A forest of marvelous and imposing trees surrounds and cradles the rest of the dead, including Greta Garbo. Many small tombstones, without photos, all discreet. All similar, to symbolize equality. All immersed in the silence of Nature. A nature that makes you feel small, that lets you breathe and that reminds us that we are passing through.

5. Photographiska

Located in the most hipster district of Stockholm, the Södermalm district, the Fotografiska is a unique museum of its kind as it is one of the largest museums dedicated to photography in the world. It is located inside a fully restored former red brick warehouse and the view of Gamla Stan from its cafe is very beautiful indeed. I recommend you stop for lunch or dinner in the nearby Hermans vegetarian restaurant: the price is fixed and you can draw from the rich and healthy buffet whenever you want.

6. Tunnelbana

Another unusual activity dedicated to adults and children is undoubtedly the tour of the Tunnelbana, the Stockholm metro. It may seem absurd, I know, but most of the Tunnelbana stops are real works of art and during the tour it will seem to you that you are in effect in an underground museum. There are three lines, the red is green and blue, and you only need one ticket to discover them all. I have dedicated a whole post to the various noteworthy stops, they are really a lot and for each one I have entered the main information. However, there are some to put in the wishlist absolutely:

  • Green line: Hötorget – Thorildsplan – Bagarmossen
  • Blue line: Kungsträdgården – T-centralen – Rådhuset – Solna Centrum – Tensta
  • Red line: Tekniska Högskolan – Stadion

7. Stadshuset

The Stockholm City Hall is famous for several reasons: the first is the view of the city from the top of its tower and the second is the appointment in December to celebrate the Nobel Prize. I also loved it for its gardens that overlook the water and its relaxed atmosphere. If you decide to visit it, remember that you can only enter accompanied by a guide and with a fixed schedule.

8. Sky View Ericsson Globe

I’ve never been a big fan of this kind of attraction, but the Ericsson Globe SkyView has changed my mind. On the external façade of this spherical and decidedly modern building, for about 8 years there have been two transparent spheres leading to the summit with the guarantee of a 360 ° view of the city to say the least, spectacular.

9. Fika

The Swedish fika is adorable. But don’t misunderstand. In Sweden the fika is the time when you relax in an atmosphere with the right atmosphere, sipping tea or coffee and enjoying a delicious dessert. In Stockholm everything is so relaxing and livable that it will not seem real to you and also for you the moment of fika will become very sweet and indispensable. The most famous dolcino in Stockholm is undoubtedly the Kanelbulle, a classic spiral with cinnamon or in other tasty variants like almonds or walnuts. All the Kanelbullars tasted walking here and there were really very good but if I really have to choose my absolute favorite, I choose the one by Le Violon Dingue, a small oven that can be found at Olof Palmes gata 12. You will not regret it!

10. Archipelago Tour

To understand the context in which the city of Stockholm is located, I think a tour of the Archipelago is inevitable.  A boat will take you for a walk through most of the islets, where the richest inhabitants (soooo rich) have a summer residence. When they told me the cost of an average home on one of the little islands I really couldn’t believe it. In any case, prepare yourself for truly beautiful landscapes and do not forget to cover yourself well because to better observe the shores it is better to stay on the outside deck of the boat and it can be really cold!

These are just some of the many things you can do and see in Stockholm, a city that is undoubtedly a paradise for museum lovers. There are also the Moderna Museet, the Nordiska Museet, the fun Abba Museum dedicated to the famous musical group and the brand new Artipelag . For the little ones there is the Grona Lund, the city amusement park open only in summer, or the Junibacken, a beautiful theme park. My advice to save money in such an expensive city is to buy the Stockholm Pass upon arrival so that you then have free access to all these attractions and much, much more. In short, enjoy Stockholm and … eat a Kanelbulle for me too!

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