Stockholm is loaded with things to do but there are certain must-see attractions that should definitely be on your list of things to do when visiting the Swedish capital.
It’s the number one attraction in Stockholm and for good reason: not only is the interactive Abba section wildly fun and informative, the Swedish Music Hall of Fame is in the same building (and included in your ticket price) and is in and of itself beautifully presented. Abba was intimately involved in conceptualising the entire thing and it shows.
The Museum of Spirits isn’t focused on ghosts, it’s focused on booze. Housed in Stockholm’s only two remaining 18th century naval buildings, the museum looks at Sweden’s complicated history and relationship with alcohol. Sponsored by Absolut, the museum is home to some of the vodka-maker’s most known art works, as well as things like a room where you can experience what it feels like to be drunk. Unsurprisingly there’s a bar on the premises – and a very good restaurant.
It was called the mightiest warship of its time, yet after setting sail in front of hundreds of people, at around 4.30pm in the afternoon it sank just outside Stockholm harbour less than 30 minutes later. And there it lay for more than 300 years, finally being raised in the mid-20th century in what became a world-renowned salvage operation. The museum where it sits today is a fascinating look into Swedish history.
The Royal Palace
Stockholm’s Royal Palace is the official residence of His Majesty the King, but also houses a number of excellent attractions open to the public, such as the Royal Apartments, the Royal Treasury, and the Museum of Antiquities. It’s a wonderful place to spend the day (be sure to catch the Changing of the Guard) before heading over to Gamla Stan (The Old Town) next door.
Revisit your childhood at Junibacken, which takes you into the world of Astrid Lindgren, Sweden’s world-renowned children’s author. Pippi Longstocking is of course a integral part of the museum but you’ll also meet Emil, Karlsson on the Roof, The Brothers Lionhearted, and many more. The Story Train exhibitions were designed by the Royal Dramatic Theater, the bookshop is extremely well-stocked, and the restaurant offers not just great traditional Swedish food but also killer views.
With more than 150 buildings – homes, churches, schools, shops and workshops – transported from around the country, Skansen is a miniature historical Sweden. In addition to the buildings, the world’s first open-air museum also has native animals such as bears, wolves, and seals, a children’s zoo, and craftspeople creating things like blown glass and pottery on site. This is one for the whole family, with plenty of things to hold everyone’s attention for the entire day.
Stockholm’s amusement park overlooks the water. It is not just filled with the usual rides and games, it also has a number of great restaurants and bars and hosts a series of summer concerts that attract top international acts. Be warned, though: these shows are incredibly popular, so plan ahead.
One of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, Stockholm’s Gamla Stan is filled with award-winning restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, and a number of wonderful museums. The cobble-stoned streets are pedestrian-friendly and there you’ll find both the oldest street in Stockholm (Köpmangatan), and the narrowest (Mårten Trotzigs Gränd).
Located on the beautiful island of Skeppsholmen, Moderna is home to an excellent collection of Swedish (and international) modern and contemporary art – think Picasso and Giacometti. It also hosts numerous exhibitions, such as the recent visit by legendary performance artist Marina Abramović. Several excellent restaurants and an absolutely amazing gift shop round out the offering.
When it was opened by Annie Leibovitz in 2010, Stockholm’s Photography Museum immediately became one of the most popular attractions in the city. Each year, four major exhibitions are staged and those are complimented by roughly 20 smaller ones. The café on the top floor offers absolutely stunning views across the water to Djurgården, and the gift shop is a treasure trove.