The capital city of Sweden, Stockholm is a city of history, innovation, and culture. It is the largest city in Scandanavia, and also made up of 14 surrounding islands. If you are visiting Stockholm for the first time, here are the best highlights for an ultimate trip with all the highlights.
When arriving to Stockholm, you will land in the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, which is located in the city. Because Sweden has such an extensive and efficient public transport system, don’t even bother getting a cab, as the train is much cheaper and faster. Catch the Arland express train from the airport, which takes you directly to Stockholm Central Station downtown, with easy access to all parts of the city. It takes about 18 minutes to get downtown, and the fare for one-way costs about $30 USD.
If you plan on hitting almost all of the tourist attractions while visiting Stockholm, it is a good idea to invest in the Stockholm Pass, an all-inclusive pass which grants you entry to the major attractions in the city, such as the museums and city tours.
Prices of the pass vary by the time you want them for. A 1-day pass starts at 444 SEK ($43) and a 5-day pass starts at 1199 SEK ($116). Overall, you will save money with buying the pass than paying separate admission for all the attractions.
Day 1: The Royal Palace, Drottningholm Palace, and Kungsträdgården
See where the King of Sweden lives and catch some great views at a local park.
The Royal Palace
Your first stop on your Stockholm itinerary is the Royal Palace. The Palace is open to visitors all year round. It consists of traditional baroque-style architecture, with over 600 rooms and 11 floors. The palace also houses three museums inside, and during the summer, the Royal Chapel is open, which is a royal burial site. Exhibits within the palace include an armory, royal costumes, and old horse coaches.
The best way to explore the palace is through a tour, where you can see the rooms and belongings of former kings and queens of Sweden. For a general tour of the palace, adult tickets start at 160 SEK ($15 USD).
After seeing the Royal Palace, your palace tour has not ended yet. Your next stop is the UNESCO World Heritage site, Drottningholm Palace. It is a royal castle built in the 1600s and is the most well-preserved castle in Sweden. This is the official residence of “Their Majesties” the King and the Queen of Sweden. Visitors can enter the palace by themselves with a self-guided tour, but a guided tour is recommended to learn about the history of the palace. Tickets start at 130 SEK for adults ($16 USD).
Your day ends at one of Stockholm’s most popular hangout places, Kungsträdgården. It’s name translates directly to “King’s Garden” in Swedish, and is known colloquially by locals as Kungsan. The park is a wonderful attraction year round – during the summer it is home to live music performances, and during the winter, it opens a large ice rink for skating.
One of the best times to visit Kungsträdgården is undoubtedly during the spring in Sweden, in the peak month of April. During this time, the city lights up with incredible pink colors due to the blossoming of the cherry blossom trees. Kungsträdgården is one of the best spots to see this, as it is lined with countless trees overlooking the water. Make sure to bring your camera if you have to opportunity to see it.
Where to eat
Where to stay in Stockholm?
Day 2: Museum Day
Soak up culture, history, science, and art by visiting some of Stockholm’s museums. This can easily take up an entire day. Here are some of the best museums you must see.
To learn about ancient Scandanavian history, do not miss the Vasa Museum. It is one of Scandanavia’s most visited museums, which is dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of the Vasa viking warship from 1628. The museum has over 40,000 artifacts from the ship, as well as information about its history. The Vasa ship is one of the most well-preserved viking ships in the world.
Admission: 170 SEK low season ($16.50), 190 SEK high season ($18)
ABBA The Museum
One of Stockholm’s most unique museums, this museum is an ode to the Swedish pop group that originated in Stockholm in the 1970s. The museum has exhibits with costumes, footage, and other artifacts from the famous band. The most popular part of the museum is its interactive exhibit, where you can enter a simulation of a real ABBA set and be a part of the band.
Admission: Combination tickets start at 379 SEK ($37)
Fotografiska is a global photography museum with branches all over the world, like New York, Berlin, and Shanghai. It is a vibrant and eclectic museum, with collections of photography that depict history and culture. If you aren’t into photography, the museum is also home to a sustainably-sourced restaurant which was awarded a Green Star by Michelin.
Admission: 165 SEK ($16) or free with Stockholm Pass
Swedish History Museum
For the history buffs, you can’t miss the Swedish History Museum. The museum has exhibits which follow the history of Sweden from the ice age to modern day. It is home to over 10 million artifacts which span over the course of 10,000 years. The museum is also a great place to learn more about the country’s viking history, as it contains exhibits of over 2,500 viking relics.
Nobel Prize Museum
Interested in human advancements in science, culture, and knowledge? Stockholm is home to the world’s only museum dedicated to the Nobel Prize and its laureates. The founder of the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, was a Swedish chemist, which is why the museum is based in his home country. The museum hosts pieces, work, and ideas from more than 900 innovate and influential people in the world.
Admission: 130 SEK ($13); Card only
Where to eat
Day 3: Östermalm Market Hall, Södermalm, Gröna Lund
Munch on some traditional Swedish food, head to a hip neighborhood, and awaken your inner child at an amusement park.
Östermalm Market Hall
A trip to Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without trying the array of traditional food that Sweden has to offer. For the most authentic Swedish experience, visit Östermalm Market Hall, a market selling fresh food and traditional delicacies. Treat your tastebuds to some delicious Swedish street food, such as halv (a Swedish hotdog), stekt strömming (fried herring), and tunnbrödsrulle (a meat wrap). The market dates back to 1880 and is a popular spot for locals to eat lunch.
Your last stop on your Stockholm itinerary is Södermalm, a hip, trendy neighborhood in one of the city’s many islands. It is most recognized for its cozy cafes and restaurants as well as its abundance of vintage and fashion shops. Locals ofter refer to it as Söder, and it is the perfect attraction for young travelers or couples.
The neighborhood underwent a massive transformation, as it used to be a slum in the 18th century, but today, it has become famous from being the setting in Stieg Larsson’s best-selling book, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” If you are looking for a part of the city that is less conformist and more arts, then Södermalm is perfect for you.
Gröna Lund amusement park
If you are looking for a good time, head over to Gröna Lund amusement park, which is located centrally in Stockholm. The park features rides such as roller coasters, bumper cars, and ferris wheels. It is a great attraction if you are visiting with a family or children.
It is also a great attraction year-round. If visiting during the winter, check out the parks “Winter Wonderland” experience, with a larger-than-life ice dragon, winter food, and winter-themed attractions.
Where to eat
Useful tips for traveling in Stockholm
The best time to visit Stockholm
In terms of weather, summer is the best time to visit Stockholm (June-August), as it is the season with the warmest and most pleasant weather, ranging between 68-71° F (20-22°C). This is also Stockholm’s busiest tourist season, however, so be prepared to face a lot of crowds.
If you want to experience some of the most unique views in the city that only occur once a year, you must visit during Sweden’s spring, between April and May. This is because spring marks the blooming of Stockholm’s cherry blossom trees, and the entire city becomes bathed in pink. It’s also a great time to see the city’s annual cherry blossom festivals, which are held during this time.
What is the currency of Stockholm?
The currency of Stockholm is the Swedish Krona (SEK). Currently, $1 USD equates to about 10 SEK. Don’t confuse Sweden to use Euros – the country is not part of the European Union, thus it does not use Euros.
Can you drink tap water in Stockholm?
Yes! The tap water in Stockholm and Sweden in general is very safe to drink and is considered one of the cleanest tap water sources in the world.
The language of Stockholm:
The national language of Sweden is Swedish, which is widely spoken in Stockholm. If you don’t speak Swedish (which is very likely), not to worry, as the Swedish people have some of the highest English proficiencies in the world. It is estimated that over 80% of Swedes speak English, so it is very likely you will encounter someone who speaks English on your travels. Here are some common phrases in Swedish to help cover the basics:
How are you?: Hur mår du?
How much does this cost?: hur mycket kostar den här?
Where is the bathroom?: vart är badrummet?
Can you help me?: kan du hjälpa mig?
Is Stockholm safe?
Yes! Scandanavia in general, is one of the safest regions in the world. Sweden and Stockholm enjoy a very low crime rate, one of the lowest in the world. This means that the city is very safe for tourists. Walking at night in groups is generally safe, and locals are very friendly. There is still risk for petty theft or pickpocketing for any city you visit, so still stay vigilant while traveling in Stockholm.
If you are looking for a city with personality, hospitality, and interesting experiences, Stockholm will make you fall in love. Three days in Stockholm, Sweden is more than enough time to experience the highlights. Visit the many museums of history, culture, and science that the city has to offer, explore the immaculate palaces, and sample authentic Swedish food in one of the city’s main markets. You won’t get bored in Stockholm!