10 things you can’t miss in Stockholm

+ tips and tricks to stay on budget

We must confess we didn’t know much about the city before going… But after getting there we simply fell in love! With its beautiful archipelago islands, its amazing city centre and its unbelievable cultural centre, this city blow us away!

We stayed in the city for four days, but since there are already a ton of guides you can use to navigate around the city, we are going to give you the highlights of what we think you can’t miss and still stay on budget in this beautiful (but very expensive) city. They are not in any specific order!

1. The views

Enjoy the views of the city from these amazing (and free) sites – check out their location on the map below:

Monteliusvägen in Södermalm

Monteliusvägen

In the island of Södermalm, this viewing point gives you a 360º view of Gamla Stan and Kungsholmen and is surely one of our favourites! You also have a garden at the top and its close to our favourite neighbourhood of the city – Södermalm where you can check out historic Scandinavian architecture from the 1700 and 1800s and the artistic shops and cafés (cheapest in the city), and bohemian and vintage fashion stores and art galleries.

Kastellet

In the island of Kastellholmen, you can get there by foot from Skeppholmen (the museum bridge) through a beautiful bridge.
Kastellet consists of a round tower with red brick walls and a 20 meter high stair tower, with a swedish flag on top, that is hoisted and lowered every day, indicating the nation is at peace. From the front you have a bench and rocks where you can sit and enjoy views of Djurgarden island (with its amusement park Gröna Lund) and to Södermalm.
Also, don’t miss the view from the lower platform, if you turn directly left just after you pass the bridge in the direction of the boats, there is another platform (with no tourists) just directly opposite to the amusement park that you will also love.
Kastellet

Mosebacke Terrasse

After you get to the touristy Gondola view (there is a lot of construction underneath so the views to Gamla Stan are obstructed) you get out from the bridge and follow to a square and then you see on your left an arch way that says Mosebacke – follow it and you will find the best place to drink a beer with a view in the city! The views to Gamla Stan and the river are mesmerising. And if you fancy a drink after a long walk, there is no better place to stop!

Cafe Blockhusportena

At the very tip of Djurgården island you have a café called Blockhusportena that gives you amazing views of the entry of cruise ships is Stockholm. Its a different site seeing all those huge boats lining up to enter the city. Its far, yes… But the views from the shores at Djurgården are also worth it, so don’t miss it (and here you will also not see a bunch of tourists crazy to take pictures), and you can also get there by boat!

From a public boat

Which take us to our first TIPS and TRICKS – see below!! You can get a public boat from Djurgården (with guaranteed amazing views) back to Gamla Stan!

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • The transport system in Stockholm also includes the boats! So if you buy a one day ticket to the city for 143 SEK (about 15 euros/each/one day) – it will give you access to the trams, subway AND the public boats – not all, but most of them and you can hop on and off for a full day without paying a lot for a tour!
  • If you would like to know some islands by bike you can also rent relatively cheap! You can buy a card in 7 eleven or Pressbyran (most hotels/hostels also have it) to have a discounted fare for 3 days on a bike for only 165 SEK (about 17 euros/3 days/each). And its worth to see some islands, since they are so big, by bike. You can also take them with you on a boat if you want too!

2. Sunbathing in the City Hall

Located in Kungsholmen, the city hall is the most famous silhouette in the city and also where they hold the Nobel banquet. The views to Riddarholmen e Södermalm are amazing from its courtyard which has a nice garden and you can also go up on the tower (50 SEK). The 106 meter tall tower has the three crowns, which is the Swedish national coat of arms, at its apex.

City Hall in Stockholm

3. Take a Free Tour to Gamla Stan

There are several free tours around the city that you can choose. They allow you to see the city with a knowledgeable guide that you tell you about the history and funny stories about the most central places for the amount of money (tip) that you feel that you can give. Its a must in several cities in Europe, but especially important in such an expensive city. We chose the Free Walking Tour Stockholm because its the oldest running in the city and we had a great time, and great tips to see the city!

It takes you from the subway station of Gamla Stan to the old city (look up and check out the cool houses from different times) and the Parliament and it ends in Nybroviken bay, close to the boat terminals and the bridge to Skeppsholmen – which is a good topic to cover next!

4. Sightseeing and free museums in Skeppsholm

Skeppsholm island is east of Gamla Stan and to get there you cross Skeppsholmsbron bridge (the views of Gamla Stan are also beautiful) or go by boat. Its a quite calmer area compared to Gamla Stan and its most known for its 2 main museums – the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities and its Museum of Modern Art. They both have FREE exhibitions witch are worth seeing (and both of them are huge)! Its easy to pass an afternoon just checking out this beautiful island and get to the museums. Also, don’t forget to cross to Kastellet and see the views!

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • The city is huge, and walking or cycling is definitely the best way to see the city! So come prepared for some miles of walking if you want to cover the main attractions of the city… Comfortable shoes and plenty of water are a must.

5. Wandering in Djurgården

Djurgården (or as its called, the museum island) is home to a zoo, an amusement park (famous Gröna Lund), an Aquarium, the Nordic Museum, The ABBA Museum, Children’s Museum and the Vasa Museum. Even if you don’t want to pay to enter in all the museums, this island has so much to offer that its worth a visit. We will tell you about the places we visited and the ones we think are worth checking out.

Vasa Museum

Vasa Museum

When what was to be the most powerful ship of the Baltic sailed for the first time in 1628 Stockholm no one expected that it was to sunk in its maiden voyage… But that is exactly what happened, and it was known that the boat was close to Stockholm bay since then.

But when it was discovered its exact location in 1956, what did the Swedes do? Lift up the boat from the depth of the Baltic Sea, conserve it and built a museum around it! The boat was preserved by the mud in the bottom of the sea, so the preservation of the wood and the embroidery was perfect. The exterior of the museum was built around the ship, forming a ship enclosing the true treasure.

The ship is huge, and quite impressive, and for 13,5 euros/person you can get to see the story of the ship and its discovery and preservation in video, a guided tour around the boat explaining you the most important features and a visit to the actual museum (witch is very interactive) and to several explanations about the life of the people in the 17th century.

Its quite a view, and with so much included its worth your money. If its one museum you need to see in Stockholm, this is the one.

The Rosendals Garden

If you follow along the north coast of the island, you will find the entrance to the Djurgården Park trough a blue gate. Just follow the garden and the sign posts to Rosendals Garden (about a 30-40 minute walk).

When you get there you will know! Its a hidden gem of the city! You start to see beautiful flowers gardens and an orchard that boasts over 50 different kinds of apples, a pre-school teaching greenhouse and garden, vineyard, green houses, a garden center, vegetable gardens and even beehives! They actually custom grow and supply vegetables to some of Stockholm’s best restaurants.

The place is beautiful and a good place to relax and imagine you are in a village and not in the city. Also, follow the gardens and cross to the south shore of the island to see amazing views of the city and a calm harbour. See the view in the east point of the island!

6. Seeing the world’s longest art exhibit in… Stockholm Subway

Yeah, its strange… Such a beautiful city and we are telling you to get underground? Well you will soon find out why: the subway is an underground Art Centre! Each station has its own theme and colours and is an amazing spectacle! There are even tours that specifically only show you the subway!

The Stockholm subway system is said to be the world’s longest art exhibit – 110 kilometers long. Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs by over 150 artists. One of the most amazing ones – Kungsträdgården subway station – even looks like an archaeological excavation, with the remains of the old Stockholm Makalös palace.

But most of the stations are in the blue, green and red lines,  and you can visit them on your own. You can buy a ticket and for 90 minutes explore all the subway stations on these lines (or buy a day ticket if you plan to catch a boat or a tram). Check out some of our photos! Its definitely worth a visit!

7. Sleeping on a boat!

Sleeping on a boat is not an experience you get to do everyday! And in Stockholm is a relatively cheap option. You have several boat hostels, mainly on Södermalm, that you can book on bookings, there are even some private boats listed in AirBnB.

Its a cool experience to feel the waves rocking you to sleep and being so close to the water with those beautiful sunsets its amazing! So try it here, but don’t forget to get one with a kitchen, witch gets us to another TIPS and TRICKS:

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Stay in a hotel/ hostel with a kitchen! Cooking your meals is the easiest and cheapest way to save in Sweden! You can even have lunch in some affordable places, but at dinner the prices go up astronomically! So be prepared for a lot of cooking!
  • Go to the supermarket and plan your week! If you come from a cheaper country (that includes almost all of you) you will find the supermarket expensive – a bread average cost is 3 euros, just to give you an idea. Coop and Lidl are the cheapest, and if you buy in bulk (breakfast cereals for 5 days, milk for 5 days, cheese for 5 days, pre cooked bread for 5 days, vegetables and fruits for 5 days and quick snacks for several days) it gets even cheaper.
  • Stay longer! If you can, staying at least 4 days in the city will give you cheapest fares in hotels and hostels and will allow you to get to know the city better, and also the cheapest places where you can go!

8. Touch the HOT statue of Margaret Krook

Have you ever seen a HOT statue in the world? Well, Stockholm has one! Its the statue of Margaret Krook, one of Sweden most beloved actresses of the 20th century! Its told that she was against a statue of herself, because she thought that statues were cold and uninviting. So they made a heated statue of her in her honor. Cool no? Make sure to touch this statue right outside Stockholm Drama Theatre.

Margaret Krook Statue

9. Enjoy a Swedish Fika

What is a Swedish Fika? Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden; it means having a break, most often a coffee break, with one’s colleagues, friends, date or family. Its a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning “to have coffee”, often accompanied with pastries, cookies (often cinnamon roles) or pie.

You can find in several pastries around the city this concept and they offer discounts in the cinnamon buns if you have a coffee with them. Its a good excuse to stop for a while and enjoy a treat!

Swedish Fika

10. Catch the sunsets

I do not know if its because its northern position, the clear skies or the Baltic Sea horizon, but definitely the sunsets here are amazing!

We came in the Summer, late August, and the fact that the sunset its late (about 9-10PM) its also inviting to take a stroll after dinner and thats what we did every day. The amazing pink colour just fills the sky as the sun sets in the horizon – its truly perfect.

So just choose a place by the sea (or even a boat) and enjoy the sunsets in this amazing city!

Sunset in Stockholm

And this wraps it up! We hope you enjoy your stay in this amazing city like we did! And if you have more tips, more things you think it should be added, please feel free to comment!

Check our video Stockholm in 1 minute

Liked it? PIN IT!

10 things you can not miss in Stockholm - PIN IT!