Stockholm Sweden is a beautiful walkable city filled with gorgeous architecture, canals, and brightly colored buildings. I could easily have spent a week wandering around and soaking in the sites.
I’m not sure if it’s just a touristy thing, but my kids want me to tell you to definitely get waffles when you visit! Preferably smothered in Nutella.
Table of Contents
I’ve tried to cover all the important points of visiting the city, but if you just need some quick info, feel free to use the table of contents below to jump around!
What to do | What we did | What to pack | What is the weather | Where is Stockholm | What time is it | Shopping | Downtown | Where to eat | Local events | When is the best time to visit | What you should know before visiting | Fun Facts | Why you should visit | Major points of interest | Getting around town | Other ports on this trip | Where we’ve cruised | Recipes inspired by our travels | Must-read cruising tips
What to do in Stockholm, Sweden
- Gamla Stan – Gamla Stan is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe, boasting a wealth of pedestrian-friendly sites, such as Storkyrkan, the Cathedral of Stockholm.
- Vasa Museum – The Vasa Museum was built to house the Vasa, a 226-foot-long warship that sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628. Today, it’s the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
- Royal Palace – Once home to the King of Sweden, the Royal Palace is one of the largest palaces in Europe with over 600 rooms and several museums.
- Armoury – The Royal Armoury houses a collection of different items including clothes, horse carriages and more which has belonged to different royalties over the centuries.
- City Hall – Stockholm City Hall, with its spire featuring the golden Three Crowns, unique art treasures and magnificent banquettes, is one of the most famous silhouettes in the city and a popular tourist attraction.
- Stockholm Ice Bar – The world’s first permanent ice bar is kept at a crisp 23°F all year round. The interior, including the spectacular glasses, is made of pure, clear ice from the Torne River in northern Sweden.
- Sigtuna – Less than an hour outside of Stockholm is Sigtuna, Sweden’s first capital. Founded in the 10th century, Sigtuna is home to Skokloster Castle and charming wooden buildings by Lake Mälaren.
- Canal Cruise – Stockholm’s 14 islands are separated by sparkling waterways. A cruise along the waterways and canals takes in virtually every major venue, including City Hall, Stockholm’s National Museum, and the Royal Palace.
What we did in Stockholm, Sweden
We took the train in from the cruise port – there is a train station within walking distance or a short shuttle ride of the cruise port, and as with all the European public transportation we had encountered so far, it was easy to navigate, clean, and efficient. (Obviously check your own itinerary as cruise ports sometimes change!).
I was a little gun shy of doing a long day in Stockholm, since we nearly missed the boat the day before, so we spent about 4 hours walking around the town and seeing as much as we could. Just being outdoors and seeing all the beautiful architecture was my favorite part of this stop. The canals are especially lovely.
For lunch we ducked into a local place in Norrmalm and I had a delicious salami sandwich while the kids indulged in Nutella waffles! (We found that waffles were super popular in Stockholm!).
In the late afternoon the kids returned to the ship with my parents and Wesley and I were able to find a small coffee shop near the cruise port where we had a quick afternoon date. It was a really nice day – we kept saying that Stockholm felt like a place we could really settle in for a long visit.
What to pack
As with many of the Scaninavian and Baltic region locations, rain is a constant factor/possibility, so rain gear, weatherproof jackets/shoes, umbrellas, and extra socks.
Summer temps average in the low 70s, so shorts and a t-shirt or light sweater, any other comfortable and casual clothing are sufficient.
Harsher winter temperatures will require additional layers of warmth. Thermal undergarments, warm second layer or sweater or heavier shirt, and warm pants, paired with gloves, hat, scarf and heavy winter coat are a must.
*Make sure to check out our comprehensive cruise packing guide, complete with a free printable checklist!*
What is the weather in Stockholm, Sweden
The summer months of June – August are mild, with temperatures in the 70’s Fahrenheit and, on average, rainy.
November-March marks the long, cold winters, with temperatures averaging in the 30’s Fahrenheit, and in the evenings the low 20’s.
Where is Stockholm, Sweden
Situated on Sweden’s eastern coastline, where Lake Malaren meets the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is a series of 14 islands forming its own archipelago.
What time is it in Stockholm, Sweden
The city of Stockholm operates on CET (Central European Time) and CEST (Central European Summer Time) in the summer.
CET (Central European Time) is six hours ahead of EST (Eastern Standard time), ten hours ahead of Alaska Standard Time (AKST), nine hours ahead of PTD time zone (Pacific time zone), and eight hours ahead of MST (Mountain Standard Time).
It is important to note that Copenhagen does observe daylight savings time (DST) and switches to CEST (Central European Summer Time) between the last Sunday in March and last Sunday of October.
Shopping in Stockholm, Sweden
For the biggest shopping variety, head to Drottninggatan. Here you will find everything from small specialty shows to big European name brands such as H&M and Zara. Also keep an eye out for the unique designer shops.
Designtorget at Sergels Torg sells household, functional items by up and coming Nordic designers. If high end shopping is more your preference, seek out Biblioteksgatan (between Stureplan and Norrmalmstorg squares).
Gucci, Michel Kors, Prada and more have stores here, as well as big name Swedish labels such as Acne, Whyred, Home and Tiger of Sweden.
Downtown Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm city centre consists of 4 separate districts (Kungsholmen, Norrmalm, Sodermalm and Ostermalm). The primary and most closely defined as “downtown”, is Norrmalm.
Here you will find the highest concentration of business and shopping forums. Norrmalm centers around the town square Sergels torg, host to planned and spontaneous events alike.
Where to eat in Stockholm, Sweden
- Lilla Ego
- Woodstockholm AB
- Oaxen Krog
- Den Gyldene Freden
- Stockholms Gastabud
- Mom’s Kitchen Nybrogatan
- See more highly rated eateries in Stockholm!
Events in Stockholm, Sweden
- Midsummer – As the city prepares for summer holidays, the season is kicked off in late June with a day of parties throughout the city. Maypoles, dancing and drinking are just some of the highlights.
- Stockholm Culture Festival – For just under a week in August, the city celebrates another culture’s music, art, food and more. Each year the event has a different country/culture selected as its theme.
- Stockholm Early Music Festival – A celebration of early music styles from the middle ages, renaissance and baroque periods, this festival presents international stars and newcomers on stages in multiple forums (German Church, Finnish Church, and the Royal Coin Cabinet) in historic Old Town in March.
- Stockholm Folk Festival – For 4 days in August, the city fills with the sounds of folk and world music from professionals and up and comers alike. Folk music is celebrated in a grand and vivid way.
- Lucia Festival – An advent tradition, Sweden celebrates St. Lucia with candlelight processionals across the country. Usually taking place on December 13th, as the darkest night of the year, but you will see them frequently around this time in general, the processions consist of boys and girls in white, holding candles and singing songs, many reflecting the theme of bringing light into the darkness.
- Midnattsloppet – What do you get when you combine a 10k race, live concerts and a masquerade competition? Midnattsloppet. This event not only draws 40,000 participants, but over 4 times that in spectators in mid August.
- Stockholm Beer and Whisky Festival – The Scandinavian answer to the German Oktoberfest, this late September, early October festival spends two weekends allowing participants to sample over 500 beers, ciders and whiskies, both international and domestic. The tastings are paired with seminars, food offerings and competitions.
When is the best time to visit
Summertime, though usually more crowded and expensive, is the best time to visit Stockholm. It is during summer when you can take advantage of the pleasant weather and myriad of festivals celebrated throughout the city.
What you should know before visiting
- Bring plastic. Have at least one bank or credit card open for international travel. Paying with cash is so uncommon here, some places only take credit card.
- Swedish Krona. If you are able, and want to use local currency, Stockholm uses Swedish Krona (SEK). Conversion is approximately 1 USD to 9.5 SEK.
- Beware of pickpockets. Avoid keeping phones or wallets in your pockets and keep your bags/belongings close, visible and secured.
- Equality for all. Race, religion, sexual preference, financial status, they have moved far beyond. Everyone is equal and respected. So much so that they have moved on to animal rights. It’s illegal for a dog to be left home alone for longer than 6 hours.
- Art in everyday life. Their subway system is considered one long art gallery. Artwork can be found in 90 of the 100 stations in the city.
- Move over Reno. Stockholm is known as the World’s Smallest Big City or the World’s Biggest Small Town.
- b Happy Hour in Sweden is called “After Work”. Seems appropriately named.
- Trick or When? On Easter, children dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating.
Why you should visit Stockholm, Sweden
The Venice of the north, its coastal and water views give an amazing backdrop to the rich history and culture.
Visit the museums or galleries, people watch in Sergels torg, or if visiting in summer, partake in one of the festivals that fill the city with music, food and entertainment.
Major Points of Interest
Built specifically to house and display the Vasa ship itself. Vasa museum is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgarden. The 64-gun Vasa warship, the main exhibit, is an almost completely intact 17th century ship that was salvaged in almost perfect condition after it sank on its maiden voyage in 1628.
The world’s first and oldest open-air museum allows you to travel through centuries of Swedish history while touring historic homes, farmsteads, churches and more. Period clad employees showcase traditional roles and activities. Skansen also houses a zoo featuring 75 species and breeds of Scandinavian animals.
Getting Around Stockholm
As with most of the other places we visited in Europe, The best way to get around Stockholm is via the public transportation system. Bus lines, metro, commuter rails, trams and ferries cover the city.
Biking is another good option for getting around, as the city maintains numerous bike lanes and paths, though not nearly as many as Copenhagen!
If you prefer a private vehicle, Uber does run in Stockholm.
Ports on this trip
- Copenhagen, Denmark – Copenhagen was the starting point on our Baltic Sea cruise, and what a fabulous way to start. The capital of Denmark totally stole our hearts!
- Berlin, Germany – Berlin is a city rich with history and culture and was my 12 year-old’s absolute favorite stop on our trip. Definitely worth the drive in from port!
- Tallinn, Estonia – If you’re looking for a cobble-stoned storybook style European town, Tallinn is where you want to set your sights. I left thoroughly enamored with this magical town.
- St. Petersburg, Russia – St. Petersburg was a wonderful surprise to me! I had no idea how beautiful and rich with history the city is, and the food was so delicious too!
- Helsinki, Finland – We love Helsinki! The bright and vibrant colors along with the fun and quirky building shapes and super friendly people in Finland made it an absolute joy to tour!
- Stockholm, Sweden – Stockholm is a beautiful walkable city filled with gorgeous architecture, canals, and brightly colored buildings. I could easily have spent a week wandering around and soaking in the sites.