Tourist attractions in Stockholm

Attraction Guide for Stockholm

Attraction

Notes

Details & rating

Gamla Stan

Why go?

This is the old part of the city, (Gamla Stan means Old Town) winding streets, little shops, cafes, bars and restaurants.

How to make the best of it?

This is where the royal palace, cathedral and other important medieval buildings. Gamla Stan is an island, so work out which sights you want to see and the plan your route – it’s easy to make it a circle.

We found this part of Stockholm to be very pretty and hugely atmospheric. If you’ve read the Millennium trilogy books, you’ll identify some of the places mentioned. Easy to navigate, lots of places to stop – top rating from both of us.

Skansen

Why go?

Good question!! This was the world’s first open-air museum designed to show city dwellers how people used to live. It’s huge and there are some great bits – but probably best if you’ve been to Stockholm before & are looking for something different.

How to make the best of it?

As you enter, bear left and head for the Town Quarter which is where there are original wooden houses that replicate a medium sized Swedish 19th century town. There are shops – particularly the glassblower and bakery that function traditionally and sell their wares. Also this is where the living history people are – and always willing to chat. Continue on to the Rose Garden and then head across the park to find the native animals – you are promised ear cubs in the spring!

Difficult one this – we enjoyed the Town Quarter and the gardens – Sue liked the lovely herb garden which has a shop near it selling a great range of gardening and cookery books. Russell preferred the baker – great pastries and not hugely expensive.

We looked for bears & wolves for ages and didn’t spot any – perhaps we were unlucky. Sue also enjoyed the Runes that are dotted about the park. A mid rating overall, but we wouldn’t be rushing back – possibly felt a bit too educational?

Vasa Museum

Why go?

The Vasa was a royal warship that capsized on its maiden voyage in 1628. It had traveled less than a mile. The ship was salvaged in 1973 and after a 17 year conservation programme it became accessible to the public via this museum. The people working on the English Mary Rose have taken lots of advice from the team that salvaged the Vasa.

How to make the best of it?

Look at everything!! At first glance, it seems there’s just this huge ship to walk round the outside of, but make sure you see the film of the find and the rescue (subtitled), and go upstairs where you’ll find a well presented exhibition.

Russell loved this – quite a lot of technical stuff and ‘boys own’ tales of rescue etc. Could have spent a good hour in here. Sue was bowled over b the site of the ship – so fabulously restored, but frankly 20 minutes was long enough!

Seemed relatively expensive to us at 110SEK (18 and under free) but Russell would give it a top rating, Sue a mid rating.

Open every day.

Storkykan

(Stockholm Cathedral)

Why go?

700 years old, Stockholm’s Cathedral is full of wonderful treasures to look at. This is where the Lutheran movement started from in the early 16th century, so it has great historical and religious significance.

How to make the best of it?

Take your time – it’s big and dark in there, very ornate and very atmospheric. Look out for the George and the Dragon sculpture – carved from oak and elk horn in 1489. The bronze candelabra in front of the altar has been there for 600 years and the silver altar has been there since 1650. Remember that church services will be going on & that as an operating church you need to be respectful of worshippers.

We both rather like a church, and this one is very impressive.

Storkyrkan is packed with important paintings, sculptures and artefacts, it has a quiet and serene atmosphere and is a lovely place to sit and think.

Top rating from both of us.

Stadhuset

(City Hall)

Why go?

Stockholm’s Stadhuset is where the Nobel Prize dinner takes place annually on the evening before the awards. It also contains the Council Chamber and offices for the city administrative staff.

How to make the best of it?

It’s only possible to visit the inside of the building as part of a guided tour. In the Summer, these happen hourly between 10 and 3pm. Make sure that you are close to the guide so that you can hear – big groups!

Check that it’s open – depending on the events happening, the tours can stop early – this happened to us on our first visit.

Sue loved this! Fabulous building – bizarre collection of rooms – architects were given a free hand in the room that they were ‘doing’, but the guides are informative and interesting. Loads to look at. Tour lasts 45 minutes. Top rating from Sue, mid from Russell (– never very keen on guided tours)

80Kr per person

Nobel Museum

Why go?

Alfred Nobel, born in Stockholm, considered himself to be a global citizen. The story is that after a French newspaper mistakenly printed his obituary, which condemned him for the invention of dynamite, he drew up the will that would leave his fortune to fund a series of annual prizes. He didn’t talk to anyone about it, so the organisations that he chose had to interpret his wishes form the notes he left. The fund was equivalent to $250 million in today’s money.

How to make the best of it?

Make sure that you see the permanent exhibition about Nobel and then have a look at the temporary exhibitions that celebrate human achievement.

We wanted to enjoy this! The bit about Nobel himself was interesting – but small!

We found the rest a bit confusing – it is dual labeled in English, but perhaps we were having a bad day! The exhibitions that were on when we visited were quite cerebral.

This one is strictly for Nobel prize enthusiasts. We’re not – so low ratings from us.

70SEK (ch free)

Open every day

Royal Palace

Why go?

This is the official residence of the King of Sweden, and is used for many state occasions. It’s actually made up of several museums and exhibitions and gives a good insight into the current monarchy as well as of the history.

How to make the best of it?

Choose which sections to visit or decide that you’ll spend all day here! If you’re unsure, ask the people at the desk about any special exhibitions on – they’re very helpful. We’d recommend the Hall of State and the Royal Armoury – audio guide for this was good.

We’re never quite sure about visiting royal palaces. However, we liked the guards outside and saw the changing of the guard, which was a nice bit of tradition. We also really liked the armoury – quite a lot like going to the Tower of London except darker and in Swedish! Given that this palace dominate Gamla Stan, it seemed a good place to spend some time. Top rating from us because of the choice.

100SEK

Nordiska Museum

Why go?

A huge, ornate building that was designed as a museum to showcase everyday Swedish life from the mid 16th century. Fascinating and somewhat eclectic collection of exhibits – masses to see and learn about!

How to make the best of it?

There is an audio guide which is useful. If you have a particular area of interest head straight for there eg textiles, dolls houses; but otherwise, go for the section on traditions and the one on the Sami – to explain the roots of the Swedish.

Sue could have stayed in here all day! The exhibition on the traditions was just fabulous – she wanted to read every single thing! The Sami origins was interesting and the textiles!! – who knew they could be interesting??

Russell liked it too – but Sue liked it best! Top marks from both of us.

Open every day, 80SEK for adults, free under 18s

Canal Tour

Why go?

This is a city built on 14 islands, so it makes sense to have a look at it from the water. You’ll also get to hear about the high degree of importance that the Swedes put on their countryside and cottages.

How to make the best of it?

Make sure that you have a view out of both sides of the boat and are in a place where you can hear the guide – you’ll be sitting down for a long time, so put this at the end of a busy day!

We’re just as divided over canal tours as we are over open top buses! Sue loves them (quite a lazy tourist she admits) where as Russell is a bit too hyperactive to sit down for that long.

This isn’t the best canal tour – you don’t really get right into the various islands – just go round the edge, so you don’t get a different perspective. Wouldn’t do this again – low rating from Russell, mid from Sue

The Royal Coin Cabinet Museum

Why go?

Surprisingly interesting history of coins & money! Very close to the Royal Palace, over 3 floors with lots to discover.

How to make the best of it?

You’ll need the audio guide as there is very little information English – luckily it’s included in the entry fee. Start on the ground floor and bear right – that will ensure that the audio guide makes sense!

To be honest, we went in here because it was raining and we had a free entry ticket! BUT it was fab! Really interesting, great range of displays and anorak-ish, but strangely compelling information about the origins of florins, pieces of eight and dollars amongst others.

Top rating from us!

60SEK, under 18s free

The City Museum of Stockholm

Why go?

The history of the city from the original fishing village to huge capital city. Also where you can now get the self guided Millennium tour based on the Steig Larsson books.

How to make the best of it?

Have a good look at the maps on eth walls and the large model of old Stockholm. Then decide which bit of the city’s history you are most interested in.

Regular Savvy followers will know that we generally rave about City museums – but not this one! Seemed tired and disjointed, not giving enough information about anything for us to really understand.

Low rating from us – better things to do!

Free entry.

Architecture Museum

Why go?

A great history of how people in Sweden have lived throughout the ages, plus the famous buildings of Stockholm explained.

How to make the best of it?

Stick with the permanent exhibition as there is loads here. Good signage, but audio guide helps enormously. This is half of the building that also houses the modern art museum – buy a double ticket for good value and see both.

We liked this! It felt like we were able to access quite a complex bit of history of buildings and planning very easily & so learned something about current Sweden as well as just history.

Top rating from both of us.

50SEK, under 19s free

Closed Monday

Modern Art museum

Why go?

Good accessible collection of modern art, including many of the masters; Kandinsky, Picasso, Warhol, Munch, Matisse, Miro and some Swedish artists. Shares a building with the architecture museum.

How to make the best of it?

Take the audio guide, because although here is some information in English on the walls, this will help to guide you. The museum is well laid out, so follow the flow and have a look in the gift shop at the end – it’s well stocked.

We really liked this – not as crazy as Kiasma in Helsinki, but a great range of media. The audio guide gives some good information about the artists as well as the art, and the section on surrealism finally helped Sue to understand what this is all about!

Top rating from us.

80SEK, under 18s free

Closed Mondays

Historika Museum

Why go?

Vikings!! This museum has a huge section on the story of the vikings, it also has the Gold Room, which is the Viking treasure that has been discovered all over Sweden.

How to make the best of it?

Take the audio guide which is free – and ask the desk people to help decide where to start. She advised us to go chronologically so we started with prehistoric times. If you just want to focus on Vikings, ask where to start – we started at the end – it got very confusing!!

We LOVED this! The pre-historic stuff was well laid out and interesting, but the Viking exhibition was very informative and engaging – and would have been even better had we started from the right end! The gold room is very lovely – interesting stories about farmers digging up treasure hoards!

Top top rating!

70SEK, under 18s free

Closed Mondays

National Museum

Why go?

This is the collection of traditional art, along with exhibitions of applied art, design and industrial art.

How to make the best of it?

As you enter, you are likely to see very long queues at one or two desks. All desks in the atrium sell tickets, so look out for the short queues! Use the audio guide with caution – explanations can be very long winded. Beautiful building, so head for the top and work your way down. Have a coffee and cake in the café – very lovely.

This is a lovely building with a great café and shop! We enjoyed the exhibitions, and the art is very impressive – but probably not really our sort of thing. Mid rating from both of us.

100SEK, under 19s free

Closed Monday