Stockholm takes the cake when it comes to beautiful cities. Sitting on a sprawling archipelago within the Baltic Sea, the capital of Sweden comprises 14 different islands. All linked by 50 bridges, it is renowned for its quaint cobblestoned streets and enchanting old town.
One-third of the area within the city limits is made up of water, while another third comprises parks and woodlands. As a result, Stockholm is one of Europe’s healthiest cities and a great place in which to spend time.
The Old Town of Stockholm, known as Gamla Stan, features a stunning collection of ochre-colored, Instagram-worthy buildings. It also boasts iconic tourist attractions like the impressive Kungliga Slottet Royal Palace, the masterful Storkyrkan Cathedral and the Nobel Museum.
Most of the things to do in Stockholm are easy to explore thanks to the ferries and sightseeing boats that take passengers between the islands.
See also: Where to Stay in Stockholm
Map of Things to do in Stockholm
23. Rosendals Garden
If you are a fan of the farm-to-fork movement, you should visit Rosendals Garden.
Located on Djurgården island, it has been a champion of sustainability and biodynamic farming practices for over four decades. Harvesting a fabulous selection of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers, which they showcase in their farm shop, cafe/ restaurant and stone-oven, wood-fired bakery.
Locally known as Rosendals Trädgård, it has an orchard that grows more than 50 types of apples. It also has separate vegetable and flower gardens, a rose garden, a vineyard, a garden center and greenhouses. All organically grown, the cafe presents a delicious menu of sandwiches, soups, salads and pastries. The best way to get there is to stroll along the canal from the Djurgårdsbron bridge.
22. Moderna Museet
For those into art and culture, a visit to the Moderna Museet should be high on your agenda.
Situated on the picturesque island of Skeppsholmen, within the central Stockholm district of the city, the museum first opened in 1958. State-run, it features one of the world’s most celebrated contemporary and modern art collections. Hosting works from luminaries like Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Meret Oppenheim, Wassily Kandinsky and Henri Matisse.
Overall, it presents 6,000 paintings, 25,000 graphical prints and 400 art videos. It also exhibits 100,000 photos which date from 1840 to the present. Entrance to the museum’s permanent collection is free. Whilst there, be sure to check out its fantastic restaurant that serves an excellent range of meals.
21. Nobel Prize Museum
Over in the Gamla Stan, you will find the Nobel Prize Museum. Despite only opening to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the prestigious award in 2001, it has quickly become one of Stockholm’s most treasured landmarks.
Residing within the former Stock Exchange Building, just a three-minute walk from Stockholm Palace, it exhibits information about how the awarding of the Nobel Prize came to be. It also presents exhibits about notable former award winners and the life of Alfred Nobel, who founded the prize. Some of its permanent displays include items donated by previous Nobel Laureates and portrayals of their life stories.
Whilst visiting the museum, be sure to stop by the souvenir shop, where you can pick up your own Nobel prize – a gold medal made of fair-trade dark chocolate.
20. Nordic Museum
Those who want to discover what life has been like for those living in Scandinavia over the last 500 years should pencil in a trip to the Nordic Museum.
Presenting an anthology of Sweden’s ethnographical and cultural history, the Nordiska Museet provides a fascinating insight into how the region has developed. Taking you from the early part of the modern period to the present, it showcases the traditions, artifacts, furniture and homes of the Nordic people since the 16th century.
You will also gain an understanding of the fashion of the time from the clothes, jewellery and textiles on display. Its major exhibition, ‘While the Ice is Melting’, even introduces you to folk who lived in some of the world’s coldest places.
19. SkyView at Ericsson Globe
The Stockholm Globe Arena is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. Officially named the ‘Ericsson Globe’ after its sponsor, it is renowned for being the world’s largest spherical building. It is also a fabulous place to enjoy extraordinary views of the surrounding cityscape.
One of the most popular things to do in Stockholm, the SkyView comprises a glass elevator structure that travels on the globe’s outer surface, taking you to its very top.
You will take in breath-taking views of the Stockholm cityscape from this vantage point of 130 meters above the street level. Two gondolas leave every 10 minutes, with a visit taking about half an hour to complete. If you can time yours to take place at sunset, the experience is even better.
If you are traveling to Stockholm with children, you should take them to Junibacken.
Located in Galärvarvsvägen, about a three-minute walk from the Vasa Museum, it is a brilliant park that brings children’s stories to life. Dedicated to literature, it introduces youngsters to famous characters from Nordic fairytales and children’s books.
As well as providing plenty of space to run around, the park boasts a playhouse, exhibitions and a theater. It even has a fabulous Story Train, which takes you through the world of Astrid Lindgren.
Complimenting this is the biggest children’s bookstore in the country. It offers hundreds of hardbacks and paperbacks written in Swedish and several foreign languages. It also has an open terrace that showcases fabulous views of the water.
17. Hallwyl Museum
There are about 50 museums in Stockholm. One of the most fascinating of them is the Hallwyl Museum.
Facing Berzelii Park, you will find this cultural attraction within the iconic Hallwyl Palace. Formerly the residence of the Count and Countess von Hallwyl, it was donated in the 1920s to the state to become a national museum.
Built between 1893-1898, the impressive palace (aka Hallwylska palatset) now presents over 300 ceramic, glass and metal displays that showcase different Art Nouveau variations and expressions. The countess collected many of these artworks during her travels abroad.
In addition to the artworks, the museum also features rooms preserved from the late Swedish Victorian period. They give visitors a fascinating insight into how the nobility lived at the time.
Nestled within the heart of medieval Stockholm, between Stortorget and the Royal Palace, resides the beautiful cathedral of the Old Town.
Known as Storkyrkan, Sankt Nikolai kyrka or Stockholms domkyrka, it is the city’s oldest church. Dating back to the 1300s, it is Lutheran by nature. It is also the mother church of the Sweden Diocese of Stockholm and has been at the center of some of the country’s major historical events. These include royal weddings and the parliament’s opening ceremony, which takes place every autumn.
Welcoming people of all faiths and congregations, visitors can undertake an audio tour of this impressive cathedral. They will also see several well-known artifacts, including the famous Parhelion painting and an iconic wooden sculpture of St George and the Dragon.
15. Museum of Medieval
The Museum of Medieval is another prominent cultural institution in Stockholm. Just a stone’s throw from the Stockholm Palace, it was constructed around ancient monuments discovered during an archaeological excavation in the 1970s.
Featuring part of the city wall, which dates to the 16th century, the museum provides visitors with a fascinating insight into what life in medieval Stockholm was like then. It showcases booths, brick houses, a harbour, gallows and workshops. All of which regale the history of the city from the period of the 1250s to the 1520s.
In addition to its exhibitions, the museum also presents symposia, lectures and several interactive programs. It also has a well-stocked shop selling various books and souvenirs about the Middle Ages.
Possibly the most famous museum in Sweden, the Nationalmuseum is the country’s national gallery.
Also known as the National Museum of Fine Arts, it sits on the Blasieholmen peninsula within central Stockholm. Founded in 1792 as the ‘Royal Museum’ (Kungliga Museet), it features a fantastic collection of sculptures, drawings, paintings and graphic art. These predominantly date from the 16th century to the early 1900s, although they include some pieces from modern times.
Overall, there are about 5,000 objects on display. These are presented chronologically via an undisplayed timeline that guides you through the premises. The museum is free to enter and features an adjacent presentation of art, design and craft. Each era has a collection of its own within the main exhibition hall.
For those who want to experience the city’s beauty, one of the best ways to do this is via the Monteliusvägen.
Stretching for 500 meters on the Södermalm island, this scenic walking path provides terrific views of Lake Mälaren, Riddarholmen and Stockholm City Hall, especially during sunrise or sunset. Along the way, quaint, colourful houses flank the path. There are also several benches you can sit on to admire them.
The path begins at Bastugatan 16, which is east of the city and runs a course towards Kattgränd. If you are visiting during the colder months of winter, wear appropriate walking shoes, as the path can get slippery due to ice. Should you happen to be in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve, this is a spot to watch the fireworks.
12. Fotografiska Stockholm
Love art and gourmet food? Then Fotografiska should be one of your first ports of call. You will have to go to Stadsgårdshamnen to visit it. But once you reach the former customs house, you should enjoy an outstanding cultural and culinary experience.
Fotografiska is a bit of an enigma, not a traditional museum or a gallery. It also doesn’t have a permanent exhibition or even artwork for sale. Instead, it presents temporary and modern photography exhibitions and upscale dining that rivals anything in the city.
The venue is an impressive waterside building and features exhibitions from renowned Swedish and international photographers. The food is served by a team awarded a Michelin green star and is just as eye-catching as the photography.
11. Grona Lund
One of Stockholm’s most family-friendly attractions is the Gröna Lund.
Locally known as Grönan, this fantastic amusement park promises the most laughs in the city per square metre! You will find it on the waterside of Djurgården Island. While it is small compared to other city amusement parks, it has enough high-octane attractions to keep thrill seekers to entertained.
Boasting eight roller coasters and a fun house, it even has an old-fashioned Tunnel of Love, which should bring back nostalgia for some. They also have 5-a-side football pitches and lots of food stalls.
As well as the amusement park, Grönan is a noted venue for pop and rock concerts. Bob Marley once played here in 1980 to a record audience of over 32,000 attendees.
10. Ostermalm Saluhall
Another place foodies should venture to is the impressive Östermalms Saluhall.
Often referred to as just Östermalmshallen or shortened to Hallen, this fabulous food hall contains one of Sweden’s most celebrated markets.
First opened in 1888, while the prices do not match this period, the antique stalls do. Offering everything from seafood and cheeses to gourmet preserves and meats, it remains the best place in the city for fresh produce.
The hall can be entered through five different gates and provides an excellent breakfast, brunch or lunch option if you want a quick snack in an ambient Victorian-style food hall.
In addition to the food stalls, several cafes within the marketplace offer a range of hearty and elevated local delicacies.
Stadshuset (City Hall) is more than just government offices. It’s one of Stockholm’s major tourist attractions. It’s home to an upscale restaurant, Stadshuskällaren, and is where the Nobel Prize banquet takes place.
As far as history buildings go, it’s not, having been constructed in the late 20th century. City hall is made several halls, including the Blue Hall, home to Scandinavia’s largest organ with 10,270 pipes, and the Golden Hall with its 18 million mosaic tiles that depict Swedish history. Visitor access to the hall is by guided tour.
8. ABBA The Museum
ABBA need no introduction. But if you are a fan of their music, you will want to check out the museum dedicated to them.
Located not far from the Gröna Lund, the museum opened in Djurgården in 2013. Housed within a modern and interactive space, it presents the supergroup’s collective works, memorabilia and other cool features.
One of them is Benny’s Piano. A self-playing piano linked to the piano Benny has in his home. What is great about this is that when he plays the piano at his residence, the one in the exhibition automatically plays the same tune!
Other exhibitions include a recreation of The Polar Studio, where they recorded much of their music and a collection of times that relate to their 1974 performance of Waterloo at the Eurovision Song Contest.
7. Royal Palace
The Stockholm Palace (Kungliga Slottet) is one of the city’s premier tourist attractions. No visit to Stockholm is complete without at least taking an admiring glance at it.
Construction of the lavish palace finished in 1754. Made from sandstone, brick and dimension stone in a baroque style, it resides within Stadsholmen in the Gamla Stan district of the city.
Undoubtedly one of the largest, most ornate and most vibrant palaces in Europe, it is the official home of the Swedish royal family.
All told, there are 600 rooms within the palace. While most are off-limits to the general public, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of parts of it. Some of the main attractions you see include three fabulous museums and a grand library.
6. Skansen Open-Air Museum
Build in 1891, the world’s oldest open air museum, Skansen, is a good place to learn more about Sweden.
It houses Stockholm’s only zoo, which features animals native to Sweden. You’ll also find a traditional pre-industrial mini-Sweden, with 150 farms and buildings relocated from other parts of the country.
You’ll see costumed staff demonstrating crafts and other facets of 19th century life. Located on pretty Djurgarden island, it’s where many traditional Swedish festivals, such as Lucia and Midsummer, are celebrated. Enjoy, too, the views of Stockholm from here.
5. Drottningholm Palace
Sweden has several palaces, but Drottningholm Palace is where the royal family lives. Located on Lovon island, the name of this late 16th century palace means “queen’s islet.”
The original palace burned in 1661 but was rebuilt. It was used as a summer residence for a couple of centuries, but fell into disuse and decay in the 19th century. It has since been modernized and restored.
Palace grounds include a 1736 church used by locals the last Sunday of every month and an eclectic mix of gardens dating back to the 17th century. The gardens are the main tourist attraction here.
Barcelona has Park Güell, and while it is not directly comparable, Millesgården may be a Swedish version.
Nestled on the charming island of Lidingö, this attraction takes the form of a sculpture garden and art museum. It is on the grounds of a home once owned by acclaimed sculptor Carl Milles, who lived there along with Olga, his artist wife.
Finished in 1908, Millesgården is just 20 minutes from downtown Stockholm, so it is easy to reach. The museum showcases the artist’s home and antique collection. It also features an impressive art gallery and several of his sculptural works dotted around the gardens.
As well as the artwork, there is a good restaurant, and a quaint museum shop is onsite.
3. Stockholm Boat Tour
As Stockholm comprises 14 different islands, the best way to visit it is on a sightseeing boat tour.
Two reputable boat tour providers in Stockholm are Red Sightseeing and Strömma, who operate several brunch or dinner cruises throughout the city.
These provide an excellent way to get your bearings around Sweden’s capital, as you will see most of the main attractions. They will also take you to the archipelago, where you can explore the other islands.
The Red Sightseeing is particularly good for tourists as it is a hop-on, hop-off tour, which visitors can use as they please.
If you would prefer to head straight to the Stockholm archipelago, either as part of regular ferry traffic or a guided tour, you can draw upon the services of Blidösundsbolaget and Waxholmsbolaget.
2. Vasa Museum
The Vasa was an early 17th century war ship that, like the Titanic, sunk on its maiden voyage. After 300 years on the ocean floor, the ship was salvaged to become the only 17th century almost-intact sailing ship ever preserved. Today it stars in the Vasa Museum, a maritime museum that is the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
The museum building itself is unique; 384 architects submitted designs, with the winning one featuring a copper roof with stylized masts the height of Vasa’s. The Vasa can be viewed from six levels. Other exhibits center on Sweden’s maritime history and include four other ships.
1. Gamla Stan
The Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town, so you will want to immerse yourself in its unique charm and beauty. Officially named Staden mellan broama, which means “the town between the bridges,” it is situated on the island Stadsholmen.
Small and bustling, the island is notable for its fabulous, cobbled streets and comely 17th- and 18th-century architecture that is resplendent with vibrant colors.
Many of Stockholm’s best attractions are here, such as the Royal Palace and the Storkyrkan cathedral. There are also several excellent restaurants, cafes, and bistros that offer top-notch Nordic cuisine.
After a busy day of sightseeing, this is a great place for nightlife, as many of the best bars, traditional pubs and clubs are located here.
At any time of the day, it is also a wonderful place to sit and people-watch the locals.