The Swedish capital city is the perfect introduction to Scandinavia. It’s set across 14 islands on an archipelago which extends into the Baltic Sea. A number of bridges and ferries connect these islands, making it easy to get around to see some of the best places to visit in Stockholm! The city is filled with exciting and interesting things to do – there are a number of cool museums, sprawling parks, and a couple of unusual attractions too!
In this post, we’ll take a look at the best places to visit in Stockholm. Hopefully, it will be a useful guide when planning your trip and show you some hidden corners of the city. Before we get to the best and coolest attractions in Stockholm though, let’s take a look at some places to stay!
Best Places to stay in Stockholm
If you’re backpacking Stockholm on a budget finding cheap digs can be hard. Not only is there a lot of choice, but it can be expensive too! So, if you’re travelling on a budget you have to search extra hard. Except, you don’t – because we’ve done it for you! We’ve perused the coolest neighbourhoods in Stockholm to find some top picks near to the attractions on our list. We have also thrown in a luxury option, so there’s sure to be somewhere for you on our mini list of the best places to stay in Stockholm!
Refer to our guide on where to stay in Stockholm to find the perfect home base for exploring this amazing destination.
Best Hostel in Stockholm: City Backpackers Hostel
Winner of multiple Hoscars every year since 2010, City Backpackers Hostel in Stockholm is by far the best place to stay in Stockholm if you’re wanting a hostel. There are regular events like bicycle tours and pub crawls, so it’s easy to make new friends on your trip. There are some lovely touches like free ice-skate rental, a year-round evening sauna, and free pasta nights too! It’s in a safe and quiet neighbourhood, and also within walking distance of the most popular neighbourhood in Stockholm for sightseeing – Gamla Stan!
Best Airbnb in Stockholm: Cute little studio
Right in the middle of the Old Town, super bright, clean and completely to yourself. This studio is the perfect home for your first stay in Stockholm. Be central and close to all of the hot spots while having the option to just chill inside and have a relaxed day – you can’t do anything wrong with booking this Airbnb.
If you want to see more homes, check out our Airbnb Stockholm Guide. There are some real hidden gems in the city!
Best Budget Hotel in Stockholm: Castle House Inn
This three star offering is one of the best places to stay in Stockholm if you’re travelling on a budget but want your own space and privacy. It’s right in the heart of one of the most popular neighbourhoods in Stockholm, Gamla Stan. Within walking distance, you have some of the coolest attractions on our list, including the Royal Palace and the Nobel Museum. It’s also where you’ll find some of the best places to eat in Stockholm!
Best Luxury Hotel in Stockholm: Bank Hotel
If you’re thinking about where to stay in Stockholm and have a little more cash to splash, let us present you with this: The Bank Hotel. This luxury five star offering is the perfect place if you zip through all the stuff to do on our list, as there’s plenty at the hotel for when you finish! There’s a gym, a bar, and a restaurant that serves European coastal cuisine. Rooms are exquisite too, and equipped with a coffee machine, TV, and minibar! If money’s no object, then welcome to one of the best hotels in Stockholm!
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Stockholm:
Located on the western side of the island of Sodermalm, Hornstull is a lively, vibrant and up-and-coming area. Once a dodgy neighbourhood to be avoided at all costs, Hornstull is today a happening ‘hood home to independent shops, cosy cafes, hip hangouts and one of the coolest markets in town.
- Excite your sense with savoury tapas at Ramblas.
- Hang out in the sunshine, go for a swim or enjoy a sauna at Tantolunden Park.
- Take in the views from the Skinnarviksberget scenic spot.
These are the BEST Places to Visit in Stockholm!
#1 – Gamla Stan
One of the nicer places in Stockholm to sightsee
- Take a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets
- Be wowed by the colourful buildings
- Enjoy some of the best places to eat in Stockholm
Why it’s awesome: Gamla Stan is one of the best-preserved historical centres in the whole of Europe and it’s where Stockholm was founded all the way back in 1252! You could easily spend your whole break in Stockholm without leaving this area, as it’s full of historic attractions, great restaurants and bars, and some of the city’s top nightlife. Indeed, some of the places that feature on our list are actually in Gamla Stan! The Old Town is centred around a pretty main square called Stortorget.
What to do there: There’s plenty to keep even the shortest attention spans indulged in Gamla Stan! Get lost along the narrow and winding streets (the narrowest alley is just 90cm wide) and admire the colourful buildings that line them. In this district, you’ll find the national cathedral which is definitely worth a visit, and some other attractions which we’ll get to later in our list. Pick up some souvenirs or handicrafts for family and friends in the shops along Västerlånggattan and Österlånggattan or head over to Riddarholmen and its spectacular church!
#2 – Skansen Open Air Museum
Awesome place to visit in Stockholm with kids!
- Step into the past at this cool museum
- Celebrate typical Swedish traditions here
- Explore over 150 farms and dwellings from all over the country
Why it’s awesome: Skansen Open Air Museum is one of the most interactive attractions in Stockholm. On the island of Djurgården and one of many attractions within the Royal Park, it was opened at the end of the 19th century to show what life was like in pre-industrial Sweden. So, nowadays you can visit working farms and typical Swedish dwellings from all over the country. This is a great place to put on your Stockholm itinerary if you’re travelling with the family!
What to do there: Discover houses and farmsteads from every part of Stockholm in the oldest open-air museum. There are events on throughout the year, so if the cool exhibitions at the museum aren’t enough for you, the events will have you covered! In summer, there are singing, dancing, and concerts, while Winter means festive Christmas Markets! No matter what time of year, the wild animals that call the museum home are sure to have everyone smiling. You’ll find typical pets in the Children’s Zoo, but more exotic animals in the Our Africa section and aquarium!
#3 – Stadsbiblioteket (Stockholm Public Library)
One of the most incredible free things to do in Stockholm
- A beautiful example of Nordic classicism
- No entry fee!
- One of the most distinctive landmarks in Stockholm
Why it’s awesome: In a city with a fearsome reputation for being one of the most expensive in Europe (if not the world) any free activity is a bonus. One such activity is visiting the Stadsbiblioteket, or Stockholm’s Public Library. What makes the library so special? Well, the main rotunda of the building is an architectural marvel. It’s also packed with 360-degree shelves for books in over 100 languages. It’s a bookworm’s dream!
What to do there: If you’ve got plenty of time to spare, why not take a book and spend the afternoon reading in this welcoming and peaceful setting. Even if you’re not into reading, it’s definitely worth adding a visit to the library to your Stockholm itinerary. Climbing to the top of the rotunda and looking down on the stacks of books is certainly a mesmerising view! It’s also a great spot if you’re a digital nomad or visiting Stockholm on a working holiday, as you’ll be able to work here without being disturbed.
#4 – The Royal Palace
A great place to see in Stockholm if you love architecture
- One of the largest palaces in Europe
- The official residence of the Swedish Royal Family
- More than 600 rooms!
Why it’s awesome: So, the Royal Family’s living quarters aren’t open to the public but there’s still a large chunk of the Royal Palace you can visit and get to know Sweden’s history better! This incredible building is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Stockholm, as it’s one of the biggest palaces in Europe. It consists of 600 rooms set over 11 floors, built in the Baroque style. It’s a Stockholm must-see for those interested in architecture.
What to do there: If wandering around and learning about the Royal Palace isn’t enough for you, you’re in luck! There’s more than enough to spend at least half a day here with the palace alone, but there are also 3 museums attached. The first is the treasury – packed with regalia from Swedish Royalty. The other two are the Tre Kronor Museum and the Gustav III Museum of Antiquities. One of the best Stockholm vacation ideas if you’re visiting through the summer is to take a detour to the Royal Chapel!
#5 – Vasa Museum
- One of the best-preserved 17th century ships in the world
- Spent 333 years on the seabed
- The most visited museum in Scandinavia
Why it’s awesome: In the 17th century, a ship befitting a nation that wanted to create an empire was commissioned by the King at the time. That ship was Vasa. The giant floating fortress was always too ambitious, and problems began even while it was still in construction. Less than one nautical mile from Stockholm on its maiden voyage, the boat capsized and sank. Although there were many salvage attempts, none were successful until 1961. Now, you can see the ship in all its glory at the Vasa Museum, one of the most popular attractions in Stockholm!
What to do there: You don’t only see the painstakingly restored Vasa ship, but there are 10 other exhibitions at the museum. They deal with life on the ship (or what it was expected to be like – no-one ever really found out) and a film about the ship itself. If you want to get into the gory details, it’s a good idea to take a tour of the museum with a friendly and knowledgeable guide. After you’ve finished, head to the restaurant which serves tasty food! This truly is a Stockholm must see!
#6 – The Nobel Museum
- Take a guided tour of the Nobel Prize Museum
- Relax afterwards with a coffee or an ice cream
- Another of the most important landmarks in Stockholm
Why it’s awesome: The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award in the world when it comes to academic, scientific, or cultural advances. This fascinating museum should be high up on your Stockholm itinerary if you want to learn more about the ideas which have previously won this prestigious Prize. There have been almost 600 prizes given out (at the time of writing) and every single one is detailed in this museum!
What to do there: As well as learning all about the previous laureates of Nobel Prizes, there are a number of things on offer. To get a really in-depth perspective of the importance of the museum’s work, take a tour with a knowledgeable guide, who will really make the exhibits come alive! Once you’ve tired of the museum, there’s a great bistro where you can enjoy a spot of lunch or refuel with a coffee. And don’t miss the shop where you can pick up some cool mementos of one of the most important attractions in Stockholm!
#7 – Abba: The Museum
Easily one of the most fun places to check out in Stockholm
- See memorabilia from most successful Swedish band of all time
- Sing, dance, and try on outfits
- Record your own performance and download it!
Why it’s awesome: To some people, the Eurovision prize is just as important as the Nobel Prize (don’t ask us who) but winning was what really established Abba as one of the most successful pop bands on all time. This cool interactive museum allows you not only to find out more about the fantastic foursome’s greatest hits and journey to superstardom but also to try your hand at some of the band’s greatest songs! So, take a chance on Abba: The Museum and we’re sure you’ll have a great day out!
What to do there: If you’re not careful, you can easily spend a lot longer than you intended to at Abba: The Museum. Easily one of the most fun attractions in Stockholm, it’s an interactive experience that will win over the heart of even the most pop music sceptic person out there! Everything you do at the museum is recorded on your ticket: think photos, dancing, even recording your own version of Dancing Queen, and available to download online for 30 days after your visit. So, you’ll definitely make some unforgettable memories here – we’ll leave it to you decide if they’re good or bad!
Quick Note – Staying Safe in Stockholm
The quality of life in Sweden is extremely high, and the safety statistics reflect that. Stockholm is safer than the majority of European capitals and American cities. Of course, it is a capital city so you should take the usual precautions when it comes to being aware of your belongings, but for the most part, you can relax and just enjoy your holiday!
Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
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You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
#8 – Drottningholm Palace
- One of Stockholm’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites
- Palace and park open to visitors all year round
- One of the most famous places in Stockholm
Why it’s awesome: You’ve already seen the Royal Palace, the Royal Family’s official residence. So, let’s move on to Drottningholm Palace, which is the private residence (also known as the queen’s palace). Although it’s their private residence, the palace and the gardens are still open to the public, who can enjoy a Baroque Garden, Chinese Pavilion, and theatre! As well as that, the rooms and salons inside the palace are stunning, with different influences from the 17th century until now!
What to do there: Take a tour of this stunning palace to get an idea of how the Swedish Royal families of the past have lived. The best part of a guided tour is undoubtedly the Drottningholms Slottsteater (the Drottningholm Palace Theatre). It’s said to be the best-preserved 18th century theatre in Europe and it does still use the original stage machinery which is over 200 years old! After visiting the palace and the theatre, take a stroll in the beautiful Baroque gardens or the peaceful park.
#9 – Royal Djurgården
A beautiful and scenic place to check out in Stockholm
- An oasis in the middle of the city
- Several other attractions on this list are in the park
- One of the most famous places in Stockholm
Why it’s awesome: The Royal Djurgården is an island in the centre of Stockholm, and the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. In days gone by, it was a park for gaming and hunting for the Royal Family, but now it’s open to the public. Many attractions that have already come up on this list are in the park, such as Abba: The Museum, Skansen Open Air Museum and the Vasa Museum. In addition, you can head to the Gröna Lund Amusement Park for a fun time!
What to do there: You’d think after all the stuff we’d already mentioned, we’d have run out of stuff to do, right? Well, there’s so much going on in the Royal Djurgården that we’ve hardly got started. If you’re on a budget, then this is the perfect place to stroll around or go for a jog. If you’re feeling a little lazier, you can always just take a picnic and lay down in the afternoon sun! There are a couple of museums that we haven’t mentioned above, and even a lake which is great for birdwatching!
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#10 – Stockholm Metro Art Gallery
- Witness incredible works of art on the city’s public transport system
- 90 out of 100 stations are elaborately decorated
- Stockholm vacation idea for budget travellers!
Why it’s awesome: If you travel to Stockholm, you’ll probably be getting around on the metro at some point. After all, there are over 100 stations which connect even the hardest to reach parts of the cities. But you probably weren’t expecting that these journeys would be so beautiful! The metro stations are adorned in sculpture, mosaics, paintings, and installations. The price of admission is just your train ticket, so get ready to be amazed!
What to do there: Sometimes when you’re in a new city, you don’t want to travel on the underground systems. That’s because you’d rather be a street level, discovering new and unusual things to see – however with Stockholm, it’s the other way round! Well… it isn’t as it’s pretty out of the Subway too, but you get our point! The incredible preservation of the stations is loved by tourists and locals alike, and it means that there’s very little graffiti, unlike some other major European capital metro systems!
#11 – Colour by Numbers
- Control the colours of the Telefonplantower
- A cool interactive exhibit
- One of the more unusual things to do in Stockholm
Why it’s awesome: Long ago, skyscrapers were just grey blocks that made the skyline impressive, but a little colourless. All that has changed in recent years, but Colour by Numbers is something really special. At the time of writing, this is the only tower in the world where the colours can be customised from a passer by’s mobile phone. All you need to do is download an app to paint the tower in whatever colours you desire. This is without a doubt one of the coolest and most interactive landmarks in Stockholm!
What to do there: Download the app and customise your own building! What’s that though, you don’t have a smartphone? No problem! You can also just call a number which enables you to change the colours using the numbered buttons on your phone. If you’re travelling from outside of the EU and you’re worried about roaming charges, fair enough. But ask yourself this, how many chances are you going to get to see your own design on a skyscraper?!
Don’t forget to pack a good book! Top 10 Stockholm (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide) is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.
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So, that concludes our list of the best places to visit in Stockholm. We hope that you’ve found our list useful and informative and it’s beefed up your Stockholm itinerary! You should also have a better idea of the coolest neighbourhoods in town and be thinking about where to stay close to some of the best attractions on our list.
You’ll hopefully also see that the Swedish capital is a wonderful place for a city break. With a rich selection of attractions in Stockholm, you’ll never be bored. There’s also a great food and drink scene as well as some pretty exciting nightlife!
We think our comprehensive guide probably has shown you not only how the best places to visit in Stockholm, but also how to see the city like a local. All that’s left for us now, is to wish you a fantastic holiday!
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