Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is built on 14 islands connected by bridges and waterways, earning it the nickname “The Venice of the North”. Stockholm has something for everyone, whether you are interested in museums, art, architecture, nature, or nightlife. Here are 11 must-sees and do when you visit Stockholm.
This is the Old Town of Stockholm, dating back to the 13th century. It is one of Europe's largest and best-preserved medieval city centres and a popular tourist attraction. You can stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, admire the colourful buildings, visit the Royal Palace, the Stockholm Cathedral, and the Nobel Prize Museum, or enjoy the cafes, restaurants, and shops.
For more information, see www.visitstockholm.com/o/gamla-stan/
ABBA The Museum
This is an interactive museum where you can experience the music, costumes, and history of one of Sweden’s most famous pop groups. You can sing and dance on stage with ABBA, see their original outfits and memorabilia, and learn more about their lives and careers. You can also visit the Swedish Music Hall of Fame and Pop House Hotel nearby.
For tickets and opening hours, see https://abbathemuseum.com/en/
This cluster of about 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks stretches from Öregrund in the north to Landsort in the south. It is one of the most scenic areas in Sweden, with diverse nature, wildlife, and culture. You can explore the archipelago by boat, kayak, bike, or foot and visit charming villages, historic sites, and cosy cottages.
For inspiration and tips, see https://www.stockholmarchipelago.se/en/
Stockholm Subway Art
This is a unique feature of Stockholm’s metro system, often called the world’s longest art gallery. About 90 of the 100 subway stations are decorated with murals, sculptures, mosaics, and installations by various artists. The art reflects different themes, styles, and eras from the 1950s to today. You can explore the subway art by yourself or join a guided tour.
This is an open-air museum and zoo that showcases Swedish history and culture. It was founded in 1891 as the world's first museum. It has about 150 buildings from different regions and periods of Sweden, such as farms, cottages, churches, schools, and workshops. It also has animals native to Scandinavia, such as bears, wolves, moose, reindeer, and seals. You can also enjoy folk dancing, music, crafts, and seasonal events at Skansen.
For tickets and opening hours, see skansen.se/en/
Stockholm City Hall
This is one of the most iconic buildings in Stockholm, where the Nobel Prize banquet is held every year. It was built between 1911 and 1923 in the national romantic style. It features impressive halls, artworks, and a tower with a panoramic city view. You can visit the City Hall with a guided tour or climb the tower for a fee.
For more details, see stadshuset.stockholm/en/
This maritime museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th-century ship that has ever been salvaged. The Vasa was a 64-gun warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 in Stockholm harbour. It was raised in 1961 after 333 years underwater and restored to its former glory. The museum tells the story of the ship’s construction, sinking, recovery, and preservation. It also has exhibitions on life on board, naval warfare, and maritime archaeology.
For tickets and opening hours, see www.vasamuseet.se/en
This contemporary photography museum showcases works by Swedish and international photographers. It has four large exhibitions per year and about 20 smaller ones. It also has a restaurant with a stunning view of the waterfront, a cafe, a shop, and an event space. It aims to inspire, entertain, and challenge visitors with photography as a communication, expression, and art medium.
For tickets and opening hours, see www.fotografiska.com/sto/en/
Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde
This art museum was once the home of Prince Eugen, a Swedish painter and art collector. It is located in a beautiful parkland on the island of Djurgården. The museum displays Prince Eugen’s paintings, works from his collections, and temporary exhibitions. It also has a sculpture garden, a shop, and a cafe. It is one of Sweden's most popular art museums and one of the most visited royal residences.
For tickets and opening hours, see www.waldemarsudde.se/en/
This is an amusement park located on the island of Djurgården. It has 27 rides, ranging from roller coasters to carousels, games, restaurants, and concerts. It is one of the oldest amusement parks in Sweden, dating back to 1883. It is open from April to October and hosts special events like Halloween and Oktoberfest.
For tickets and opening hours, see https://www.gronalund.com/en
This children’s literature centre celebrates the works of Swedish authors such as Astrid Lindgren, Elsa Beskow, and Tove Jansson. It has exhibitions, a theatre, a bookstore, and a restaurant. The main attraction is the Story Train, which takes you on a journey through these authors' stories. You can also play in the Moomin Valley, Pippi Longstocking’s house, and other themed areas.
For tickets and opening hours, see www.junibacken.se/en/
When to visit
The summer months (June to August) are warm and sunny but also crowded and expensive. The winter months (December to February) are cold and dark but also festive and cosy. The spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are mild, less crowded, unpredictable, and rainy.