3 DAYS IN STOCKHOLM: YOUR ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE
This week Scotland is officially out of lockdown, and while I won’t be travelling internationally for a while, it’s feeling like travel is on the horizon! Which means it’s the perfect time to start thinking and planning upcoming adventures – first stop, Stockholm!
As many of you may know, I lived in Malmö Sweden for about 2 years, and during that time I was lucky enough to visit Stockholm on multiple occasions. Stockholm is definitely a city that’s easy to fall in love with from the moment your train pulls into the central station. With no shortage of picturesque buildings, breathtaking views, luxurious palaces, and charming cultural venues, you could easily spend multiple days in Stockholm soaking in all the city has to offer. As someone who has spent time in Stockholm at various times of year, I usually recommend 3 days in the city. It gives you substantial time to experience the city’s classic attractions and plenty of time for fika breaks.
So whether you’re planning a trip to Sweden soon or just looking to virtually escape, keep scrolling for what to go, where to eat, and things to see in Stockholm!
WHEN TO GO
Stockholm is amazing in all four seasons, but my favourite times to visit are summer and autumn. Even though Stockholm has amazing public transit, I love being able to see a city primarily on foot – and to do that I’d prefer to have nice weather!
HOW LONG TO VISIT
There are so many fun things to do an experience in Stockholm, but I think 3-4 days is definitely enough to see most of the highlights.
WHERE TO STAY
Downtown Camper by Scandic – With amazing chic – camping vibes, the Downtown Camper is just minutes away from Stockholm’s iconic Galma Stan. Cozy rooms, amazing interior, and the best breakfast buffet, all make this hotel my fave place to stay in Stockholm!
Elite Hotell Stockholm Plaza – A lovely hotel centrally located in Norrmalm, you’re only steps away from shopping, tasty restaurants, and entertainment. We loved the location, cozy rooms, yummy breakfast buffet, and the fun bar scene in the evenings!
Generator Hostel – If you’re looking to save a bit of money (Stockholm can be expensive!), the Generator is a great choice! We’ve stayed here a few times, and usually opt for a private room. We’ve stayed in Generator Hostels around the world, and always love the great service, central locations, and fun and unique vibes!
HOW TO GET AROUND
As I mentioned, I love walking around a city to get the full experience. However, Stockholm is pretty big, and it’s not realistic to walk everywhere! Luckily the city has amazing public transportation. The tunnelbana (metro) or bus can take you pretty much anywhere! Stockholm’s tunnelbana has actually been dubbed the world’s longest art gallery with more than 90 of the network’s 100 stations decorated with sculptures, rock formations, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 different artists! I love discovering new station art every time we ride – I wish more cities did this!
WHAT TO DO IN STOCKHOLM
There are so many amazing things to do in Stockholm! Here are my top picks:
VISIT THE MUSEUMS
It’s well known that Stockholm has some amazing museums, and for good reason! As a museum lover, I always enjoy wandering around the wide variety that this city holds. If you’re visiting the city when the weather is cold or unpredictable, these museums are the perfect place to duck into for a bit. Whether you’re an ABBA fan, love history, or just want to see some Nordic animals, Stockholm’s got you covered! These are my faves:
ABBA Museum: “Walk in, dance out” is their motto, and for good reason! This is such a fun museum, and a must-see for any fan of Sweden’s most famous band! Learn about the band before their iconic Eurovision performance, admire the amazing collection of costumes, and even try out your singing and dancing skills on stage! This is such an entertaining and interactive museum, you don’t want to miss it!
VASA Museum: In 1628 the Vasa ship capsized and sank in Stockholm. After 333 years on the sea bed, this incredible warship was salvaged and brought to the surface. Today Vasa is the world’s best preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia. This is such an interesting museum, because the Vasa is basically a time capsule of how life was in the 1600s. It’s pretty amazing to see how well everything was preserved, and to see what life was like aboard a ship!
Skansen: Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum, showcasing the whole of Sweden with houses and farmsteads from every part of the country (similar to the one I talked about in my Odense post!). In addition to the houses, apothecary, glass blowing studio, bakery, etc. there are a wide variety of Nordic animals to visit. You know I love animals, and it’s always fun to get up close and personal to reindeer and moose!
Moderna Museet: This museum is free, and a great way to spend a few hours! We went a few months ago and were so interested to visit their exhibition on ASMR. Guests were invited to listen and watch various intentional and unintentional ASMR video that can be found on the internet. Two of the videos featured Bob Ross painting, and they even had a few of his original paintings!
Nordiska Museet: This museum of Nordic cultural history located in the most beautiful building, is the largest in Sweden. With exhibitions telling the stories of life and people around the Nordic region – this is the place for any history buff. There is also an incredible exhibition about the indigenous people of Sweden, the Sami.
TAKE A BOAT TOUR OF THE ARCHIPELAGO
Did you know that a cluster of over 30,000 islands make up Stockholm’s archipelago? Sprinkled with red, traditional Swedish summer homes and stunning views, a boat tour is the perfect way to experience it. I’ve taken the tour in autumn and summer, and both times the views were stunning! This boat tour by Stromma is three hours long, and is the perfect way to see the best and most beautiful parts of the Stockholm archipelago in a short period of time. Bring a snack or buy food on board, and get ready for a cozy trip on the water.
BROWSE THE SHOPS
From interior design to fashion, Stockholm is the perfect place to revamp your home or wardrobe. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it on one of Stockholm’s many shops. But be warned: while Sweden tends to be the least expensive of the Scandinavian countries, Stockholm prices may make you feel a bit more like window shopping. These are some of the most popular shopping streets:
Popular with tourists and locals alike, Drottninggatan is located right near the central station. You could spend days browsing the shops, restaurants, and cafes that line this busy street.
If you’re looking for a more hipster vibe, Götgata is your place. Located in Södermalm (my personal fave neighbourhood), cool cafes, record shops, and clothing boutiques line this fun street. Be sure to check out the little side streets along the way for even more great shops!
If designer is more your thing, then Biblioteksgatan is a must see. This street literally rolls out the red carpet during Christmas time, and is filled with nearly all high end designer wear, with both Swedish and international brands and designers represented.
FIND THE BEST CITY VIEWS
A city built on 14 islands, Stockholm has no shortage of scenic views. Whether you’re looking to hike to see the sunrise or have a romantic picnic at sunset, these are a few of my fave spots:
A 500-meter long (quarter-mile) walking path with a magnificent view of Lake Mälaren, Stockholm City Hall, and Riddarholmen, especially at sunrise and sunset. The path is lined with charming houses on one side and a beautiful view on the other. There is, of course, a safety rail on the path, but be careful in the wintertime when parts of the path might be a bit slippery.
The highest natural point in central Stockholm is a favorite place among the locals for picnics and parties under the open sky. The views are stunning – across Kungsholmen, Gamla Stan (Old Town), the Stockholm City Hall, among others. The park beneath the hill has a small playground and an open-air café where you can enjoy a light lunch or an ice cream in one of the hammocks.
Fjällgatan is a road built into the cliffs that tower over Slussen in Södermalm, Stockholm’s southern island. There is a pedestrian area where you can take in the stunning view as well as a designated viewing point. Fjällgatan offers one of the best panoramic views of Stockholm and is picture-perfect year round!
WHERE TO EAT
The amazing thing about Stockholm is the fantastic variety of cafes and restaurants there are to choose from! From cozy fika to a nice night out, there is something for everyone. Below are my top choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and fika. I’ve included typical Swedish places as well as quite a few international restaurants – I love the variety!
Café Pom och Flora – My absolute favourite place for brunch! Between the avocado toast, matcha lattes, and smoothie bowls this is the cutest café with the tastiest food. This cozy restaurant is pretty popular, so get there early or visit on a weekday to avoid the queue!
STHLM Brunch Club – Another fantastic place for brunch with a great menu. From BLTs (my personal fave – the sourdough is amaze) to eggs Benedict and fluffy pancakes, this place has it all. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to order one of their freakshakes – my personal favourite is the blueberry pie. Again, this place can get pretty crowded on the weekends so get there early or visit on a weekday if you can!
Tennstopet – This historical Swedish restaurant is over 150 years old and is well known for their classic dishes and cozy atmosphere. If you’re interested in trying herring, meatballs, or (my personal fave) pea soup & pancakes this is definitely the place to go.
Eatnam I used to have Vietnamese food pretty often when I lived in Seattle, and was so excited when we found this restaurant in Stockholm! They have pretty typical Vietnamese dishes, sometimes with a Swedish twist. The interior is modern, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy a hot bowl of pho.
Meat On a Stick – This might be MacKenzie’s favourite place in Stockholm! Known for their take on kebab, MOAS is definitely a place to try in a city where it seems everyone specialises in kebab (our fave order is the Saigon!). I’ve tried the falafel bowl as well, and absolutely loved it. Don’t miss this place for lunch or dinner!
Mahalo – If you’re in the mood for a lighter or healthier meal, Mahalo is the place to go! Specialising in fresh, colourful vegan food, Mahalo doesn’t disappoint. Try the yogi smoothie bowl for a tasty treat!
Barrels Burgers & Beer – In a city that’s filled with burger joints, it’s hard to stand out, but Barrels definitely manages to do so. With good vibes in the heart of the city, Barrels is a great place to grab a burger and drink on a Friday night with friends. Last time we went, we also tried the chili cheese fries (usually nonexistent in Sweden) and were pleasantly surprised. Sometimes you need those types of food to remind you of home!
La Neta – If you’re on the hunt for tacos, look no further! Mexican food that has not been swedified (meaning: spice reduced and the occasional strange flavours added) is SO hard to find in Sweden. La Neta stays true to their roots and delivers on tasty tacos, quesadillas, chips, and salsa – a yes from me!
Omnipollos hatt – In the mood for pizza? This cozy restaurant is a popular place to go for drinks, but the pizza they serve is the real star in my opinion! They have a rotating seasonal menu that always includes fun and fresh ingredients. It’s hard to stand out with pizza, but Omnipollos hatt is definitely a place worth trying!
Mowglis kök – Super yummy food, and not to mention the interior of this restaurant makes you feel like you’re eating in a jungle in Bangladesh. Check this place out for incredible food and the best atmosphere!
Beijing8 – Casual, quick, and located right in the city centre, Beijing8 is a great place to stop in for dumplings. We love the variety and casual atmosphere!
Drop Coffee – Known for their award-winning coffee, Drop is definitely a place you need to stop for your morning latte or afternoon fika. Located in the trendy Södermalm (just Söder if you’re local), one of my favourite things to do is grab a coffee and walk around the eclectic neighbourhood and browse the shops. There are always new and interesting things to see in this area for sure!
Bageri Petrus – This is my all-time favourite place for fika. Whether you’re looking for the classic kardamumbullar, or more seasonal pastries like solbullar (the best!) and lussekatter, Bageri Petrus is the place to be! If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to check online if they’re open – MacKenzie and I were heartbroken when we arrived one August afternoon to see that they were on summer break!
Mr. Cake – And finally, if you’re feeling like something sweet and over the top, Mr. Cake is the place to go for an American-infused fika. Created by one of Sweden’s most famous confectioners, this café has everything you could want from red velvet croissants (super popular but not my fave) to Cinnabon-like rolls to traditional buns. This is definitely a fun place to visit, if not just to try out some of their crazy treats!
Have you visited or are planning on visiting beautiful Stockholm? Drop any questions or recommendations in the comments!