If you google ‘things to do in Stockholm’, you’ll get a bunch of lists with the most visited museums/attractions in the city. Obivously, the website where you can buy a Stockholm Pass also has such a list.
Since Stockholm has somewhat become my second home, I thought I’d share my two cents on which Top 10 attractions are worth it:
- Vasa Museum.
YES!!! Oh Yes! This is an absolute must when visiting Stockholm. The museum features the almost fully intact warship Vasa, dating from the 17th century. The majestic Vasa is beautifully restored and was towed in a dry dock in Djurgården, where they started to build the building around the ship. But note, this is the most visited museum the city has to offer, so be there when it opens at 10 to avoid the lines. Make sure to bring your tripod for better pictures in the rather dark museum!
- The Royal Palace.
Solid Royal-Palace-type museum. I mean, you have one in every European capital. But I must say, I enjoyed it. You can do the complete package with the Royal Apartment, the Treasury, Tre Kronor Museum and the Museum of Antiquities. I particularly enjoyed the Treasury: beautiful jewels, crowns, swords… Fun fact is that the royals still actually live in the Royal Palace. The way of knowing whether the King and his family is ‘in’ is to look if there’s a flag on top of the Palace. If you’re into casually bumping into royals, Stockholm is definitely one for you as Swedish royalty has a penchant for going out in the city sans bodyguards.
- Nobel Museum.
Not worth it, in my opinion. It’s just a bunch of random objects from former Nobel Prize winners. But hey, if you wanna see Einstein’s toenailclippers, be my guest! It is frequently visited, but that has to do with its central location on Stortorget in the old town ‘Gamla Stan’. Last time we visited the museum was because it started to rain when we were in the area and after all, we did have the Stockholm Pass that gave us free entry. The only fun thing I experienced there was the powerful microscopes. You’re supposed to look at samples of mosquitoes with them but they’re quite mobile so you can stick whatever you want under there and let me tell you, seeing sweat drip out in tiny beads from my hands is positively mesmerizing.
- Nordic Museum.
Good one. It’s a great way to learn about the history of Sweden. You’ll see how those typical old Swedish houses looked like on the inside, and they have some great exhibitions on Swedish traditions and the Sami people. Some parts of the museum aren’t entirely worth it I’d say, there’s a whole area that focuses on Swedish pop-culture but it seems like they didn’t want to steal the shine from the ABBA museum and just got some cheap-o left overs.
- Drottningholm Palace & Boat Tour.
Best boat tour you can do. You cannot leave Stockholm unless you’ve done a boat tour! The boat takes you on Lake Mälaren and on the way to the Palace you’ll start to envy the owners of those beautiful lakeside summer houses you’ll pass by. Drottningholm is a absolutely beautiful and the palace and its gardens are UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in a quiet area, you can easily spend the day there. I prefer this day tour to other boat trips I’ve taken to e.g. Vaxholm and Grinda.
It’s an open-air museum that’ll teach you more about Swedish history by reconstructed buildings and live actors. I thought it was going to be super gimmicky but I was pleasantly surprised with how knowledgeable the live actors were; I chatted with a man representing a farmer from Skane from the 1600s and he knew quite a lot! There are also lots of animals, both farm animals and wild animals like bears and wolves. It’s not really my cup of tea, but I have to give them credit for how well made Skansen is. Great with kids!!!
- Royal Canal Tour.
As I’ve said before, if you visit Stockholm, it’s a must to go on the water but me personally I prefer to see more of the Swedish archipelago or Lake Mälaren than to go on the canals.
This is pretty cool! It’s a glass cabin on rails that takes you all the way up to the top of the famous Globen arena. From there, it gives you a great view of the event area around Globen, the Tele 2 arena and the red buildings in Stockholm’s meat packing district. It’s located a bit south of the city so you have to take public transportation to get there. Green subway line south to Hagsätra takes you there with the least hassle. However, if you don’t have the Stockholm Pass, it’s quite expensive (150 SEK) and that price is simply not worth it for the 20-minute ride.
Why is this so low in the top-10?! For me, this is the best museum Stockholm has to offer. Well, if you’re into photography, that is. I have visited the museum literally EVERY time I was in Stockholm. Multiple times, I’ve already seen a certain exhibition in Stockholm, and a few months later the exhibition makes its way down to other European photography museums. The way the museum curators have a knack for selecting the best of both up and coming artists and established ones is truly amazing. The museum shop has a solid collection of books and fun artsy tidbits. I’m positive you’ll find one you like. I lost count of all the Fotografiska umbrellas I’ve bought. Somehow it always starts to rain when I’m there. The cafeteria on top has amazing views over Stockholm. Get yourself a kaffe och kanelbulle and make sure you have a window seat!
- Storkyrkan Cathedral.
Normal price is 60 SEK. ‘60 SEK to visit a church?’ I hear you say. Actually it is a very beautiful cathedral dating back to the 1200s. They do have a nice statue of Sankt Erik the Dragon slayer but in all honesty it’s not a must-visit attraction. Riddarholmskyrkan with its iconic bell-tower rooftop is the perfect alternative. It’s where the Swedish monarchs, and other notable persons are buried. It also harbors some of the oldest archeological finds and gives you an exclusive look into some pretty awesome (or lugubrious, depending on what you’re in to) crypts.
Of course, this is just the top 10. There’s a lot more to do in Stockholm than just that. But if it’s your first time, then this is a good start. If you think this top 10 is all rubbish, of if you’re a returning visitor, keep an eye out on my blog. I’m planning to write about what else there is to do!
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