As the capital of Sweden and the largest city in the country, Stockholm is a must-see destination. While you’re in Stockholm, you can visit plenty of great museums to learn all about the city’s culture, history and art. You can also take boat tours to view the city from its canals, or you can check out the rides and fun at Gröna Lund, a bustling amusement park. There is plenty to see and do in here, but setting off on a few day trips from Stockholm like the ones outlined below will only add enjoyment to your Swedish getaway.
Map of day trips from Stockholm
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The small, rural island of Grinda is definitely a serious contrast from the big city atmosphere. Part of its charm is that you can’t get there by car. The biggest attraction on Grinda is the Wärdshus, a large stone building from the 20th century that now offers everything from accommodation to dining. You can walk across Grinda in under 20 minutes, making it safe and suitable for families.
Getting to Grinda
- Located to the east of the capital in the Stockholm Archipelago, Grinda is best accessed by a combination of bus and ferry. It takes from one and a half to two hours to get there, depending on whether the connection goes smoothly. One option is to take the 438 bus from Slussen in the south of the capital and take a 15-minute ferry ride from Boda brygga to Grinda.
- An alternative route is to take the 670 bus from Stockholm East Station to Vaxholm Soderhamnsplan, where you then take a ferry to Grinda. While this option is longer, it does mean that you get to take an hour-long scenic boat ride through a beautiful part of Sweden.
About 65 km (40 miles) north of Stockholm is Skokloster Castle. Built in the middle of the 17th century, this castle was the project of the very wealthy Count Carl Gustaf Wrangel. Skokloster Castle is Baroque in design, and a surprising amount of the interior is still in remarkable condition. On your visit, take a peek in the Unfinished Hall, which lets you see a genuine 17th century construction site for the hall that was never completed. Beyond just the architecture, the castle is packed with 17th century art and furnishings. You can admire the library, the Baroque paintings and even the extensive weapons collection on display.
Getting to Skokloster Castle
- In general, it takes about an hour to get to Skokloster Castle by public transport, although you will have to make one change on the way. From Stockholm central station, you can take a train heading northwest and get off at Balsta station 30 minutes later. Here, you want to get on the 311 bus taking you directly to Skokloster where you can hardly fail to find the castle.
- A more convenient way to visit the castle is to drive there, although the journey will again take around an hour. Once you’ve got out of the center of the capital, take the E4 heading north and follow it until exit 180, when you hop on the 263. Shortly after passing the ancient city of Sigtuna, you’ll see signs directing you to Skokloster Castle. There is a lot to see in the surrounding countryside, so it is well worth combining your visit to the castle with a stop at nearby Sigtuna.
An hour west of Stockholm is Mariefred, a small town within the Södermanland Province. The town was established around a Carthusian monastery called Pax Marie, but that was destroyed in the 16th century. Many of the bricks, however, were used in the construction of the Gripsholm Castle. The castle is from the 16th century, and it is a major attraction in the region. As you tour Gripsholm Castle, be on the lookout for the official Swedish portrait collection, the enormous stuffed lion and the complete 18th century theater. While the monastery is long gone, Mariefred is still home to a small 12th century church called Kärnbo.
Getting to Mariefred
- To get to Mariefred from Stockholm by public transport is pretty simple. It should only take you around an hour, and on the way, you’ll pass through some lovely woodland scenery. From Stockholm central station, hop on a train heading west and alight at Laggesta station. This stretch of the journey should take 40 minutes and trains depart very frequently. From here, it is only a ten-minute bus ride to Mariefred. Once you arrive, you’ll find everything within walking distance.
- If you rent a car, driving to Mariefred is just as easy, although you will have to pay a toll to use the road. Simply head south out of the capital and hop on the E20 heading west. Take exit 139, and in a few minutes, you’ll find yourself at the charming waterfront town.
Vaxholm is part of the greater Stockholm Archipelago, a collection of thousands of islands that are easily accessible from the Swedish capital. Vaxholm is just a 30-minute drive from Stockholm, or a short ferry ride. The small town of Vaxholm is perfectly preserved in the style of the 19th century, and there are lots of wooden homes in traditional, pastel colors. One of the top attractions in the town is the Vaxholm Fortress, which was built in the 16th century to defend against pirates. Today, you can tour the fortress and its exhibits, which form the Swedish National Museum of Coastal Defence.
Getting to Vaxholm
- There are a couple of ways to get to the picturesque town of Vaxholm from the center of Stockholm. In general, it should take no time at all, as it is one of the nearer islands of the Stockholm Archipelago. One option is to take the 670 bus, which will take you directly there. This departs from Stockholm East Station, taking around 35 minutes to reach Vaxholm.
- Another option is to take a ferry from Stromkajen in the city center to Vaxholm; the journey usually takes around 45 minutes. It is particularly worthwhile taking the ferry back to Stockholm from Vaxholm, as the city looks spectacular with the sun setting over the water.
In the far eastern portion of the Stockholm Archipelago is Sandhamn, which translates to Sand Harbor in English. The town of Sandhamn has become a popular resort destination for Swedes as well as international travelers. Historically a sea pilot station, Sandhamn is now a destination for those in search of fun. When you arrive, you can rent a bike or even a kayak to see the town from on the go. In the summer, bring along your bathing suit for a swim in the water off the pebble beaches.
Getting to Sandhamn
- Sandhamn is best visited using public transport. You can either take a lovely ferry ride part way or all the way. From Strandvagen in Stockholm, the ferry ride takes two hours and 15 minutes to Sandhamn. It’s a relaxing way to travel, and because you pass by some perfect picturesque scenery, a very pleasant journey. The other alternative is to take the 433 bus to Stavsnas vinterhamm; this should take around 50 minutes. After that, Sandhamn is an hour and 15-minute ferry ride away.
Drottningholm Palace is located just a few miles east of Stockholm, putting it in a convenient spot for a quick day trip outside the city. The palace, built in the 18th century, is situated on Lovö island in Lake Mälaren. Although the architecture is fascinating, the real appeal of the palace is that it is home to the Swedish Royal Family. Unlike many royal residences, parts of the palace is open to the public. Guided tours are offered every half hour in Swedish and English, and you’ll want to be on the lookout for spaces like the 18th century Chinese Pavilion and the gorgeous English gardens.
Getting to Drottningholm
- By public transport it should only take you half-an-hour to get there. Just hop on metro line 17 and get off at Brommaplan. From here, you can either take a five-minute bus or taxi ride to the palace. Bus lines 176 and 323 both depart very frequently from the station.
- Another option for visiting the palace is to combine it with a half-day sightseeing tour of Stockholm. As well as seeing many of the capital’s most prominent landmarks – such as Gamla Stan, Stockholm City Hall, and the Royal Palace – your guide will take you around Drottningholm Palace, explaining the history and architecture of the place as you go. See trip reviews & prices.
The very first capital of Sweden was Sigtuna, located north of Stockholm. When pirates attacked Sigtuna in the 12th century, the capital was relocated. However, Sigtuna is still a remarkable destination and a great day trip spot from the current capital. As the oldest city in Sweden, Sigtuna boasts a number of historic and even ancient attractions. You can spot artifacts like runestones that date from the Viking Age as well as the ruins of St. Olof’s Church. Of particular interest is the Mariakyrkan, or St. Mary’s Church, a Brick Gothic building that is likely the oldest church in all of Sweden.
Getting to Sigtuna
- Although you will need to take a train and then a bus to get to Sigtuna from Stockholm, the journey is quite simple and should only take you around an hour from the city center, depending on connections. Hop on a train from the central station and alight at Marsta station around 20 minutes later. From here, you then want to take bus 575 to Sigtuna; this again should only take about 20 minutes. Both the train and bus service run quite regularly.
- By car, Sigtuna is a 40-minute drive away, and you can combine your visit to the town with a trip to nearby Uppsala or Skokloster Castle. Hop on the E4 motorway heading north from Stockholm and take exit 180. You then want to follow the 263 all the way to Sigtuna.
- If you’re interested in history, it is well worth taking a Viking tour of Sigtuna. As well as visiting the town’s ancient sights, your guide will also take you to see the impressive Vada burial mounds and Vallentuna Church, which was built in 1190. Throughout the tour, your guide will regale you with myths and legends of times gone by and teach you about the Viking history and culture – a fascinating glimpse into a past you’ve only seen in movies. See trip reviews & prices.
Head 70 km (45 miles) north of Stockholm to Uppsala in order to see a thriving, youthful university city with a tremendous amount of history. The 15th century Uppsala University is the oldest university in Scandinavia, and it is a major attraction in the city. Also of interest is the Uppsala Cathedral, the largest church in Scandinavia, the seat of the Church of Sweden and a dominating presence in the city, thanks to its impressive spires. About 5 km north of Uppsala lies Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala). This was one of the most important pre-Viking sites in Scandinavia, hosting regular sacrifical rites and the fiery burials of royalty. There is an old church and the open-air museum Disagården with old Swedish houses.
Getting to Uppsala
- From the capital, it is very easy to visit Uppsala; direct trains frequently run between the two cities. From Stockholm central station, the journey takes about 40 minutes. When you arrive, you’ll find yourself within walking distance of all the main sights.
- It actually takes a bit longer to drive to Uppsala from Stockholm, but this does then mean you can visit some other wonderful sights on the way back to the city. If you take the toll roads, the journey takes an hour. It couldn’t be simpler; you just need to stay on the E4 which will bring you all the way there. After exploring Uppsala, it is well worth stopping by the former capital of Sigtuna on the drive back – or even Skokloster Castle if you have enough time.
- For visitors interested in learning more about Sweden’s fascinating history and Viking past, a guided tour is recommended, as this takes you to both Uppsala and Sigtuna. Both places have some fantastic Viking sites for you to explore. With your knowledgeable guide on hand, you’ll certainly come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the country’s Viking heritage. See trip reviews & prices.