There are so many great things to do in Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm, the country’s capital, is located on the eastern coast of Sweden along the Baltic Sea.
Perhaps best known for meatballs, stylish yet inexpensive furniture and their love of house music, Sweden is a country that offers travelers a unique peek into Scandinavian culture.
If you picture the other Scandinavian capitals of Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki as a giant European Bermuda Triangle, you’ll find Stockholm located smack dab in the middle.
In this guide we’ll cover a number of useful tips and activities you should know about before traveling to Stockholm, Sweden!
When you’re finished reading this guide be sure to pop over to my YouTube channel where I’ve published a Stockholm video guide. That guide showcases a bunch of my favorite footage from our time in the Swedish capital.
Table of Contents
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What is the best way to reach Stockholm Sweden?
Most visitors will reach Stockholm Sweden by flying into Arlanda Airport which is located north of the city. If you haven’t booked your flights yet, be sure to check out my favorite hacks for booking cheaper airfare.
There are tons of useful tips and tricks in that post that I use to pay less for airfare (and you should use them too).
Hands down the best way to go from the airport into downtown Stockholm is to take the Arlanda Express train which departs from inside the airport.
Buy your ticket in the airport or online and enjoy a super fast 18 minute train ride to Stockholm Central Station.
You’ll see signs plastered throughout the airport to answer the question that many new visitors might be asking “Is the train faster?” to that their response is “Yes, the train is faster.”
If you’re traveling on from neighboring Scandinavian cities like Oslo or Copenhagen, you might also consider taking a train.
Expect to spend about four hours traveling to Stockholm from either capital city by train.
Also be sure to buy your tickets online in advance because these trains can sell out. You can book tickets online at Rail Europe.
Lastly, Stockholm is a major cruise ship port. If that’s your vibe consider booking a Scandinavian cruise that includes Stockholm as a stop!
Is Stockholm Sweden an expensive city to visit?
I am sorry to report that like many other major Scandinavian cities, Stockholm Sweden is on the expensive side. Be sure to budget extra money for food, lodging and entertainment expenses.
Expect to pay New York City prices for a cocktail in Stockholm.
One saving grace is that the public transportation here is really great so you should be able to get by without a rental car.
If you haven’t booked your room yet, you can compare deals on Stockholm hotels here. Try to book something near a subway station so you can make the most of the city’s cheap public transit.
Is the public transit in Stockholm Sweden easy to use?
The public transportation system is affordable and easy to navigate which makes getting around Stockholm Sweden a breeze.
You’ll get your first taste of this if you take the Arlanda Express Train from the airport into town.
Also be sure to check out Stockholm’s subways system while you’re visiting.
Not only are the subways a fast and effective means for navigating Stockholm. But most of Stockholm’s underground has an artistic flare unlike any other major city I’ve visited.
Stockholm also boasts an easy to use public bus system.
To utilize the buses I would recommend downloading the “SL” app ahead of time. The will allow you to purchase bus fare and map out your routes.
Be sure to rent a bike
Stockholm Sweden is a city built for bikers. So at some point you should be sure to rent a bike and see what it feels like to get around like a local!
There’s a great place to rent a bike across from Bla Porten located on the island of Djurgarden. This is the one of the best areas in all of Stockholm to rent a bike and ride around!
You’ll find the island of Djurgarden busy with tourists and locals alike.
Djurgarden is home to many popular areas of Stockholm Sweden including the open air museum of Skansen, The Nordic Museum, Grona Lund amusement park, restaurants and tons of park space.
Check out Tabbouli Lebanese Restaurant in Djurgarden
Located in the northern central park area of Djurgarden you’ll discover one of the most beautifully designed restaurants you’ll ever experience.
Tabbouli is crawling with beautiful flowers and foliage.
Almost every surface that could be home to some form of vegetation has a plant living on it!
Even though we weren’t planning on eating before our upcoming dinner reservations, this place was too incredible to pass up.
We weren’t looking for a full meal so we split a couple of their hummus dishes which were some of the best I’ve ever had.
Since you’ll have the advantage of knowing about Tabbouli in advance be sure to book a dinner reservation in advance!
Like many restaurants in Stockholm, seasonality will likely affect operating hours, be sure to plan accordingly.
Explore Stockholm Sweden from the water
One of the best ways to experience Stockholm Sweden is from the archipelago it inhabits.
This means you’ll need to get yourself onto the water!
For a leisurely afternoon consider booking a boat tour that will allow you to explore the many islands that make up Stockholm’s surrounding archipelago.
Along the way you’ll learn about many of the historical buildings dotting the water and the general history of Sweden’s capital city.
If you’re seeking something more adventurous, then consider renting a kayak.
You’ll cover less ground this way but it ensures you’ll get to experience the archipelago on an intimate level.
Kayak rentals and archipelago tours can be booked easily through GetYourGuide.
When is the best time of year to visit Stockholm Sweden
Generally speaking you’ll want to visit Stockholm Sweden in the summer to enjoy the best weather and highest amount of activity throughout the city.
Some bars and restaurants shut down seasonally so if you visit during the off season you’ll have limited options for entertainment.
Stockholm also has a great reputation when it comes to music events.
I’d recommend planning a trip to the city around the concert of your favorite artist. The city often hosts the best musical talent in the world but these events are skewed towards the warmer months.
Seasonality can have a big impact on business hours
I can’t emphasize enough that seasonality will have a huge impact on your travels to Stockholm Sweden.
Summers in Stockholm are mild and during much of June you’ll only experience a few hours (if that) of real darkness.
Stockholm’s northern location on the globe means you’ll have long hours of summer sunlight as well as winter darkness.
Because of this the city is generally less active and certain tourist activities will be closed.
This is another reason why I recommend visiting Stockholm during the summer to enjoy the best weather. This will make dining outside or visiting roof top bars much more enjoyable!
Experience Stockholm nightlife
Stockholm Sweden has a reputation for excellent nightlife and high end cocktail bars.
Before I highlight a few places we visited during our trip, there are a few bits of general advice you should be aware of when heading to Stockholm for the party scene.
Outdoor concerts and live music events are more common during the summer.
This goes back to my prior comments emphasizing how you need to factor in seasonality when visiting Stockholm.
It also may come as a surprise but despite how rowdy Stockholm can be on Friday and Saturday nights, it’s relatively quiet here during the week.
Meanwhile Stockholm Under Stjarnorna is one of the liveliest rooftop bars in town.
Bar tenders are a great source of information so be sure to ask around to find out a venue that speaks to your style!
Fotografiska is a world class photography museum with a rooftop bar
Did you know that Stockholm Sweden is home to a world renown photography exhibit?
Casual observers and photography enthusiasts alike are sure to enjoy the exhibits at Fotografiska.
The average exhibit will take up to 90 minutes to thoroughly explore.
Be sure to plan your visit around a meal to enjoy the on site restaurant. A well timed visit will also allow you to enjoy Fotografiska’s seasonal rooftop bar.
Check out Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan is known as the Old Town area of Stockholm Sweden.
The cobblestone lined streets of Gamla Stan are located on a tiny island that sits centrally within Stockholm’s archipelago.
Perhaps the most recognizable part of Gamla Stan is the Stortorget Square shown here.
Historic Scandinavian architecture dots the streets where you’ll find a number of Nordic style restaurants and high end cocktail bars.
Not only is this a great area to grab a fancy cocktail or traditional Nordic meal but there are also a number of boutique shops in this area.
Gamla Stan is home to Stockholms Royal Palace which is our next can’t miss stop on this guide.
Visit Stockholm Sweden’s Royal Palace
One of Stockholm’s most impressive cultural sites is the Royal Palace.
The palace is located centrally within Stockholm Sweden on the island of Gamla Stan.
Visitors can walk through the interior of the palace which highlights the history and artifacts of past Royals who once ruled over the city.
Guided tours are an option if you’re looking for a more immersive option.
Otherwise you’re free to explore the palace grounds at your own pace.
Grona Lund is an amusement park on the water
If you’re visiting Stockholm during the summer (seriously, take the hint) another entertainment option at your disposal will be the Grona Lund amusement park.
Grona Lund is located on the southwest corner of Djurgarden.
If you end up doing an archipelago tour by boat chances are you’ll float past the park and catch a view of it from the water.
This is a great way to spend an afternoon. Some rides, such as the giant swings, offer incredible views of the Stockholm skyline.
Day trip to Gothenburg
If you’re trying to see more of Sweden during your stay why not consider taking a day trip to the country’s second largest city, Gothenburg.
Gothenburg is a cozy little big town located on Sweden’s Western coast near Denmark.
Gothenburg is best accessed by taking the 3.5 hour train ride between cities. You can compare different train routes easily with RailEurope.
When planning our trip to Scandinavia we were set on visiting Stockholm and then traveling on to Copenhagen by train.
If you’re following a similar itinerary Gothenburg serves as a great midpoint to lay over for the night.
There isn’t a ton to do and see in Gothenburg but you can certainly fill out a day here.
We enjoyed exploring the Haga area, renting a boat, walking the parks near the canal and checking out different restaurant during out stay.
Is English commonly spoken in Stockholm Sweden?
Sweden is widely considered one of the best English speaking countries in the world outside of the USA or UK.
Rest assured you won’t have any issues navigating Stockholm if you don’t speak Swedish!
Check out these activities available in the area
Looking for more ways to fill out your trip itinerary? Be sure to check out the list of activities below from GetYourGuide.
Alcohol is heavily regulated in Sweden
Another important thing to know when visiting Stockholm is that alcohol sales are heavily regulated throughout Sweden.
Generally speaking you can only purchase spirits, wine and beer at stores called Systembolaget.
You’ll find low ABV beer (around 3%) in some convenience stores but if you want anything stronger you’ll have to locate a Systembolaget.
In Stockholm you shouldn’t have too hard of a time finding one near your accommodations, but you may have to venture out a few blocks or more to find the nearest location.
For a city with a great night life reputation, we were surprised at how difficult it was to purchase alcohol!
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Stockholm Sweden and I look forward to visiting again. It was super easy to work remotely and the long days meant we had plenty of sunlight for exploring.
Hopefully this guide covering great things to do in Stockholm Sweden serves you well when planning your trip!