It might not be on the top of your vacation list, but it should be! Stockholm, Sweden is a capital city that spans over a dozen islands (and plenty of picturesque bridges). It's a unique destination that has old-world charm while offering up modern amenities and adventures for travelers.
Not sure where to go or what to see in Stockholm? Or maybe you're not sure you want to go at all. Here's everything you need to know to plan the best trip possible to this dreamy Swedish destination.
There's A Ton Of History To Explore In Sweden
Whether you're a history buff or not, the historical attractions in Stockholm will draw you in. There's no shortage of (free) museums and scenic paths to explore. There's Skansen, for example, which is the world's first open-air museum. There, you can check out historical Stockholm farmsteads and homes and even a zoo!
There's also Gamla Stan, Old Town, circa 1252, with jaw-dropping architecture and medieval vibes. You could spend the entire day here, or see the sights in some more modern locales, too.
For example, Monteliusvagen, a lakeside pathway, shows off the epic Stockholm skyline. The cobblestones make it feel quaint, but the view is stunning. Also in the area are trendy shops, restaurants, bars, and other gastronomic attractions.
Seeing Stockholm In Spring Is A Must
Like other European tourist destinations, Stockholm tends to be most popular in the summer months. However, springtime trips earlier in May could help you avoid the crowds without freezing your tush off (and you'll catch the beautiful cherry blossoms blooming!).
Temperatures become frigid in the winter months, which is ideal for winter sports and snuggling by the fire, but not so great for going out on foot to see the sights. You can also venture farther up in the mountains for below-freezing temperatures just about any time of year, if that's your thing!
Mid- to late-summer is the height of the tourist season, so keep that in mind. But if you're a more modest beachgoer, keep in mind that swimsuits are optional at a lot of places in Stockholm.
Unique Hotels Make Staying In Stockholm A Diverse Experience
Want to stay in an old jumbo jet? Stockholm offers that. Want to stay in a 17th-century villa? They've got that, too.
The Jumbo Stay is a budget-friendly hotel inside a 747 jumbo jet. Bonus? It's near the airport, so it's convenient as well as easy on your wallet. If water is more to your liking, consider the Rygerfjord Hotel & Hostel, where you'll stay in one of 90 cabins on one of three docked ships!
Want a more curated hotel experience? Then try Stallmastaregarden, a 17th-century property with waterfront views and historic vibes. Either way, you're sure to be charmed.
Deciding Where To Stay In Stockholm
So Stockholm is a single city, but its multiple districts can make picking a home base a challenge. There's Gamla Stan, the Old Town, with cobblestones and scenic buildings. There's also Norrmalm, where all the business centers and shopping are.
You'll also find accommodations on Djugarden, where the Rosendal Palace and Grona Lund Amusement Park reside. For upscale shopping, dining, and canoodling with the elite, check out Ostermalm.
There's So Much More Than Meatballs
While Ikea may have made Sweden famous for its meatballs, there's so much more to the dining options in Stockholm. While yes, meatballs and lingonberry jam are a thing, you can also find more couture dishes and lots of seafood like pickled herring on restaurant menus.
Try out the famous pickled herring at Stockholms Gastabud, which is near the Royal Palace. Being near a bustling tourist spot, they don't take reservations, but the over 1,800 excellent reviews can't lie. Other menu options include Gravlax (cured and pickled salmon), herb-marinated fillet of moose (moose!), and those omnipresent Swedish meatballs. There are veggie dishes, too, say reviewers on Google.
Want the best coffee in Stockholm? Try Johan & Nystrom, a sidewalk cafe with espresso, pastries, and light dining options. They even have vegan dishes, and they allow dogs!
Tricks For Getting Around In Stockholm
With all its bridges and connected islands, navigating Stockholm can be tricky. It's very walkable, but you'll need a good map and maybe some local help. Fortunately, a lot of locals speak English, so you might not need a strong grasp of Swedish after all.
One great way to get around is with a Metro Pass, though taxis are a doable (yet more expensive) option, too. A Metro Pass lets you take the bus or subway, and you won't want to miss the subway—there's a ton of art to see there!
Stockholm's Landmarks Are So Insta-Ready
From the cobblestone streets to the long list of free places you can pose at, Stockholm is the place to be for Insta snaps. You can check out tons of free attractions in Stockholm, like the iconic Royal Palace (AKA Kungliga Slottet).
Kungliga Slottet is a bit over half a mile from the center of the city and you can tour the Royal Apartments, Treasury, and even a Museum on-site.
The Rosendals Garden (Rosendals Tradgard) is another highlight, with gorgeous flowers (including a rose garden), vineyards, greenhouses, and more. As US News notes, the best part might be the stark lack of tourists. Locals tend to flock here more than anyone else.
Get A Little Cash Money In Krona
In Sweden, the currency is krona, but you might not need pocketfuls of it, says The Blonde Abroad. Lots of places in Stockholm have switched to card-only transactions, she notes because Swedish banks don't charge fees like other nations' institutions.
So while you may want some krona on hand (the value is currently 9.52 krona to one US dollar or 10.55 to a euro), bringing a credit card and your ID will be vital.
Flight Deals On Trips To Sweden
Getting to Stockholm, Sweden could cost you, but there are also great deals to be found. For a traveler leaving LAX in California, flights don't tend to dip below $500 any time of year.
That said, The Blonde Abroad recommends Norwegian Air for US to Stockholm travel, noting that they typically offer the cheapest flights.
Study Up On Your Swedish History
Sweden is the home of nordic Vikings, and one group of Vikings is credited with establishing Stockholm. In the Middle Ages, the iconic brick buildings began to spring up, and though a fire in 1625 decimated must of the original town, it grew back even bigger afterward.
Today, Stockholm is quite advanced and very diverse. Many immigrants are welcomed there, and the city continues to grow.
Stockholm's Beaches Are Free... In Multiple Ways
Beaches in Stockholm aren't tropical year-round, but they do offer excellent opportunities for boating and relaxation. Public beaches like Lappis, Hokarangsbadet, and Tantolunden (complete with its own minigolf and an open-air gym) are enticing options.
Just remember, not everyone dons a bathing suit on Stockholm beaches—so bring plenty of sunscreen!