Spread across 14 islands, Stockholm features magnificent waterfront and equally stunning architecture. But those visiting Stockholm rarely do it for the lazy strolls and calm exploration – deep down, Stockholm is a city that’s teeming with life, with the avant-garde art scene and a strong passion for cutting-edge technology. While the Stockholm’s old town, Gamla Stan, is perfect for admiring the city’s roots, visible through the architecture and layout, places like Moderna Museet are there to show you the second face of the city. The transition between different parts of Stockholm is made easy by the surprisingly efficient public transportation system consisting of ferries and the tunnelbana (metro). Those who appreciate good food will be delighted by what Stockholm has to offer in that department, as the open-minded character of the city is reflected in this matter as well. Simply put, Stockholm has every cuisine in the world – and it’s no exaggeration. Whether you’re after the traditional fried herring, or avant-garde fusion cuisine, it’s all here. Finally – the design, which is what Stockholm is famous for – will captivate even the most fashion-negative tourists with rich textures, natural-looking fabrics and minimalism.
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Stockholm
Stockholm Bridges Cruise
This tour shows you through the waterways and bridges of Stockholm, as well as some of the islands surrounding the city. The tour takes two hours and will show you fifteen of the most beautiful bridges, located in the Old Town of Stockholm, and the islands of Sodermalm, Lilla and Stora Essingen.
The Original Stockholm Ghost Walk
Taking place during the night, this unique tour will show you along the medieval streets of Stockholm with only a lantern guiding you through. A local guide will show you some hidden places which most tourists miss on their stay, while you discover a different, mysterious side of Stockholm.
ABBA The Museum
This ticket allows you to pre-book your entrance to Abba The Museum in Stockholm, alleviating the need to wait in long lines. You can freely explore the museum at your own pace, and nobody will rush you as you learn of the history of one of the world’s most famous pop groups, and you can even participate in a karaoke contest.
Best of Stockholm City Bike Tour
If you tire easily while walking, or simply prefer cycling, this tour will provide you with a bike to explore the city with. An experienced guide will make sure that everyone stays safe during the tour, and will show you around the different islands of the archipelago where you will be able to see their most famous attractions.
Stockholm Hop-on-Hop-off Tour
Not only does this tour provide you with the ability to use a range of bus routes to explore the city, but it also allows you to use a range of boats and ferries to traverse the city by water. The stops of both the boats and the buses are strategically placed around the most attended attractions, limiting the need to travel on foot.
If you want to actively spend your vacation and see as much of Stockholm as possible, the Stockholm Pass may be just what you are looking for. The Pass grants you free entry to over sixty different attractions and sites in Stockholm, as well as a hop-on-hop-off bus and boat service at your disposal.
Stockholm Food Tour
This four-hour tour will show you through the city of Stockholm, as a local guide takes you the best food markets, stalls, and eateries in the town. The guide will tell you about the national cuisine of Sweden, as you taste such delicacies as cured elk, seafood, smoked reindeer, and even some chocolate sweets.
Stockholm Grand Tour by Coach and Boat
Taking only three and a half hour of your time, this tour aims to show you as much of Stockholm as possible in a short amount of time. The condensed tour will take you aboard both a boat and a comfortable coach, as you travel with a guide through the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan, Djurgarden and more.
Gamla Stan Walking Tour
Dedicated to showing you the Old Town district of Stockholm, this guided walking tour will take you through the narrows streets of the aged area. The guide will provide you with a lesson on the history of the city, with interesting facts and trivia, as you travel along the monuments and attractions of the district.
Royal Canal Tour
This tour will take you aboard a luxurious ferry which navigates through the Royal Canal. You will be able to see some of the picturesque islands of the Stockholm archipelago, along with some landmarks that can be seen only from the water, including the Djurgarden and Sodermalm.
Other Things to See and Do
The Old Town district of Stockholm can be easily traversed on your own, so if you want to save some money on a guided tour, feel free to do so. The district is filled with the narrowest streets in the city, where many of the locals set up their stalls and shops to sell local cuisine or handmade curiosities.
Located right in the middle of the Gamla Stan, the Stortorget is the old town’s main square. The square has a bloody history, as in 1520, a massacre took place after the Danish invasion. Today, however, the square is a frequently attended tourist spot, where you can find cosy cafés with good and cheap coffee.
Nicknamed the Great Church, the Church of Saint Nicholas is one of the most gorgeous churches in all of Sweden. The church is located in Gamla Stan district and is the oldest church in the city. While entering the church does cost you money, you can still look at the beautiful architecture from the outside.
Also known as the German Church, the church belongs to the German Saint Gertrude Parish of the Church of Sweden, and is located in the Old Town district. The church is named the German Church because it once stood in the centre of a district dominated by Germans during the Middle Ages.
Change of the Guard Ceremony
If you happen to be visiting the Gamla Stan, make sure to check the time of the change of the guard ceremony. During summer, there is a daily parade which accompanies the event, and it takes place at least three times a week during the winter, but the time of the parade changes often, so you will have to find it out yourself.
If you want to try doing parkour for yourself, visit the first purpose-built training park. The park is located in Nydalsparken and is free to visit, filled with a wide arrangement of obstacles to jump over. Even you if you do not feel like trying it out yourself, you can still watch the professionals train.
Located on the island of Kungsholmen, the park is a great space to go for an evening walk, but the real attraction of the park is quite different. In August, the Stockholm Film Festival takes place there, and you can come to watch free films under the open sky, but make sure to come early to find a good spot.
The trend of geocaching has gotten quite popular in Stockholm over the recent years, with hundreds upon hundreds of hidden caches all over the city. If you feel like going for a treasure hunt, make sure to download a geocaching app on your phone and explore some areas which tourists usually don’t attend.
Located on the island of Kungsholmen, the skatepark is one of the best places to come to if you’re looking for a spot to have some fun on a skateboard. Even if you don’t own a skateboard and don’t know how to ride, it is still fun to come to the park to see experienced skaters perform difficult tricks.
While the King's Garden is a place worth visiting during the whole year, filled with greenery and some modern architecture, the garden really shines during the winter time. If you have your own ice skates, you can come to the huge octagonal ice rink, which opens during winter, and ride for free.
A great way to get some entertainment for free is to go pub crawling in Stockholm. While most places expect you to get a drink while there, you technically do not have to. Inside, there are often pub games played, such as dartboard, but even curling, bowling, and mini-golf in some of the pubs.
Free stand-up comedy
If you like stand-up comedy, make sure to come to the Big Ben Pub, located in Sodermalm, which hosts free stand-up shows three times a week. The shows take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 8 p.m. and the acts are both in English and Swedish, so you are sure to understand at least some of it.
Sankt Gorans Kyrka
The church of Saint George in Stockholm is a beautiful place to visit. This Protestant church was built in 1910 as a small chapel, but was destroyed in 1955 with the exception of its tower, which is now a part of the new church. Make sure to visit the church in the afternoon on Wednesdays, and you may happen to get a free shoulder and back massage.
There are some free rock climbing spots located in the Ralambshovsparken, which you can use at any time if you have your own climbing gear. If you do not, however, you can still rent some equipment for a small fee, and the experience is definitely worth the relatively low price.
Located in the centre of Stockholm, the Parkteatern hosts the Stockholm House of Culture and the City Theatre. With a range of libraries and art exhibitions taking place at the culture centre, the place is free to visit. Make sure to see the outdoor concerts and shows if you happen to visit during the summer.
The Medieval Museum of Stockholm is a great place to visit on a budget, as it is free to enter. The museum is located in the Gamla Stan district, and shows artifacts from the Middle Age Stockholm, along with recreated buildings and medieval alleyways, as well as a part of the genuine defense wall of the city.
With a wide collection of letters and diaries from across the centuries, the Sjohistoriska museum focuses on the history of conquering the sea by Swedes. Not only is the maritime museum free to enter at all times, but there is a wide variety of rotating exhibitions dedicated to explorers and voyagers of Sweden.
Built in a gorgeous national romantic architectural style, the Stockholm’s courthouse is a wonderful building to look at from the outside. Moreover, you can go inside the courthouse for free and explore it on your own, but you will have to pass through security gates on your way in.
The Money Museum of Stockholm, or the Myntkabinettet, is a museum dedicated to the history of money and economy. Not only does the museum provide a collection of different coins and notes from all over the world, but you can also see the world’s biggest coin, which weighs almost twenty kilogrammes.
This museum shows the discoveries and inventions of the Nobel Prize winners, along with Alfred Nobel himself. The museum shows the achievements of all Nobel Prize winners since 1901 and can be visited for free on Tuesdays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.