When people think of beautiful European cities, they often think of Florence, Paris, Vienna. But I think that Stockholm definitely deserves a place in the top 10 prettiest cities in Europe. From the old architecture of the Old Town to the hipster cafés, Stockholm manages to perfectly connect the old and the new. The city is both historic and modern, as well as painfully trendy.
Seriously, if you want to feel like you’ve died and gone to hipster heaven, Stockholm is the place to go. Between the tall, blond, gorgeous people and the beauty of the nature surrounding the city, there’s enough to feast your eyes on.
Unfortunately, all this comes with the typical hefty Scandinavian price tag. Because Stockholm is very, very expensive. A single fare metro ticket costs as much as 4 euros! And a beer easily 8 euro. I knew it wouldn’t be a cheap destination, but come on! Luckily, it’s not impossible to visit Stockholm on a budget. I Couchsurfed with a lovely local, cooked most of my own meals and only indulged in some street food, kept the drinking to a minimum and walked as much as possible. It’s merely a case of picking and choosing what to spend your money on. And sightseeing is free.
If you’re going to Europe and want to see different sides of the continent, I think Stockholm is a must-visit. It’s probably my favorite of the Nordic capitals. And when you do, here are the best things to do in Stockholm:
Stroll through Gamla Stan
Stockholm has a unique layout, divided over multiple islands. The oldest island and historic city center in Gamla Stan (Old Town). This small island houses the oldest and most impressive architecture. History buffs like me will love strolling around here!
The houses are super colorful and there are plenty of IG-worthy views to be had, especially Stortorget Square. But the best view is from the opposite bank at the stunning City Hall building. Make sure you pass by the Royal Palace, where the Swedish Royal House still resides, the Royal Cathedral and the Parliament building. If you’re into World History, the Nobel Museum is obviously a must.
Get cultural at the Museum Island
Stockholm boasts a lot of amazing museums. You can find several great ones all around the city, but most of them are concentrated in one place: Museum Island (Alberget). This island alone offers enough to entertain you for several days.
Here you find the Vasa museum, where you can see an old Viking ship, the Abba museum, all about one of the best popgroups of all time, and my personal favorite, the Nordic Museum. The Nordic Museum houses several interactive and engaging exhibitions on Nordic life and culture, great for both kids and adults. And there are several other fun, niche museums on the island.
Aside from museums, there’s also lots of beautiful nature. Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world and it lies in the middle of a stunning nature park. A great place to hike on sunny days. During the summer, you can also visit Gröna Lund, an old amusement park with tons of different rides.
Visit a beautiful library
I love visiting old libraries when I travel. For me, as a history buff and book lover, they’re on par with churches and palaces. There’s just something so magical about them. And there are lots of gorgeous old libraries all around Europe, including in Stockholm.
Kinglinga, the Royal Library, is definitely worth a visit. Note that you’ll have to put your bag in one of the free lockers as they’re super strict about preserving the antique books. The City Library is a bit more modern, but also very cool, especially the circular main room. Both libraries are completely free to visit and a great place to get some work done if you’re a digital nomad like me.
Check out the Östermalm disctrict
I would say that aside from Gamla Stan, Östermalm is the prettiest district in Stockholm. Most of Östermalm is graced by opulent Art Nouveau buildings, my favorite architectural style. This is definitely a place I would never be able to afford to live, but a girl can dream 😉
I recommend just strolling through the neighborhood as you go from Gamla Stan to the Museum Island. This is also where the Royal Library is located. Walk through the beautiful streets, do some window shopping in the high end designer boutiques and take lots and lots of pictures.
The Saluhall, the old market hall, is a must see for foodies. And check out Dramaten, the stunning old theater.
You can also find a really great old market hall in Helsinki!
Have a fika
With all that walking around will surely have worked up an appetite. Luckily, the Swedish have invented the perfect past-time: fika. Fika basically means coffee break, but is an integral part of Swedish culture. It’s a moment to sit back, relax and chat with your coworkers or friends.
The Swedish love coffee and you can get a great cup anywhere in the city. You can go for a trendy hipster bar or a fancy boutique, there are no wrong choices here. And a fika would not be complete without a Kanelbuller, a Swedish cinnamon bun. Honestly, I could eat these every single day, they are so good! Perfectly flaky yet sticky with cinnamon and sometimes cardamom. Absolutely delicious!
So, there you go, my top 5 things to do in Stockholm. Everything you need for a great weekend trip to this beautiful city. Obviously, the city has a lot more to offer, so add your own recommendations in the comments!
If you liked this post, please share it on social media
13 thoughts on “The Best Things to Do in Stockholm”
Wow! you have nicely described Stockholm, I love the Gamla Stan, Östermalm the most beautiful district famous for Nouveau buildings as you described in your blog and the second thing I love most is Fika and coffee. I would definitely be there.
I’m glad I found your blog post about things to do in Stockholm. As for Sweden, I was only in Gothenburg but I would also like to see the capital city one day. Gamla Stan looks really picture-perfect as well as a beautiful library.
It’s a lovely city, I highly recommend it
My wife asked me when we go to Scandinavia and I took the hint to start planning. I was thinking of exploring Sweden, Norway and FInland in about 3 weeks in August. How many days would you plan for Stockholm on such a trip?
What a great idea! It depends on how much time you want to spend in nature versus cities. Scandinavia has stunning nature, so I recommend spending a lot of time hiking, camping and exploring the countryside. Next to that I would say 2-3 days for Stockholm, that should give you enough time for a healthy dose of culture and city life as well
The library is incredible! I must admit that my knowledge of Stockholm is very limited, one being a syndrome and the other being from Money Heist, which is basically the same. Lol. But now I’m keen to explore that someday, especially with that library!
Haha, Stockholm is a beautiful city!
I must say Stockholm isn’t as high up on my list as Florence or Vienna, but you’ve totally changed my mind now. All the architecture is just beautiful and I loveeeee visiting libraries too when I travel! Also, a fika? Yes please and yes to the kanelbuller too!
I’d love to visit Stockholm! I really want to see the underground station art too. Also that first photo reminds me of Bratislava, which is a gorgeous city!
Bratislava is also gorgeous. If you liked it there, you would probably love Stockholm too
Very interesting to see what stood out to you in Stockholm. I would’ve guessed that it was an expensive city, but it does sound like the prices are a little ridiculous. Maybe comparable only with New York in the US? In any case, the buildings in the Östermalm District look quite distinct. I always love checking out unique architecture in new cities, so I’d definitely spend hours exploring on foot here. Also, one of my guest authors on my blog wrote about Stockholm and also mentioned fika! As a lover of coffee, I think I need to go sooner or later to experience that!
It’s definitely one of the most expensive places you can visit in Europe. But if you’re happy walking around like I am, you can do it on a budget