Why vacation in Stockholm, Sweden?
Book tickets to Stockholm, Sweden’s beautiful capital, for an unforgettable city break. Discover a city built on an archipelago, with 14 islands joined by 57 bridges. Explore how each island in this Scandinavian jewel has its own identity, from Gamla Stan, the city’s Old Town, to Södermalm, AKA Stockholm’s cool quarter and home to the boutique Hotel Rival. In fact, there is a wealth of accommodation options in Stockholm to suit all budgets. Being so close to the water, Stockholmers love to sail and swim, especially in the summer when the city’s numerous beaches come alive. Back on dry land, stroll the beautiful cobbled streets of Gamla Stan on your way to must-see places in Stockholm, like the Royal Palace and the Nobel Prize Museum, just a couple of minutes’ walk away. Then, take a break Swedish-style by enjoying coffee and a delicious cinnamon bun. Book a flight to Stockholm now and discover a city where old world charm meets contemporary Scandinavian cool.
Fun facts for a Stockholm vacation
- Did you know Stockholm has close to 100 beaches? In the summer these are idyllic places to spend long lazy days with the locals.
- Stockholm is home to the world’s first airplane hostel. Jumbo Stay is a converted Boeing 747 at Arlanda Airport, with 33 rooms.
Stockholm airport information
Getting from Stockholm Arlanda Airport Terminal 5 to the city center
The Arlanda Express train to Stockholm Central Station departs from Arlanda North station at Terminal 5 every 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the time of day, and takes around 20 minutes to reach the city center. Local commuter trains from Arlanda Central Station
depart every half hour (stopping from 12.45–4.45am) and take around 40 minutes.
Flygbussarna coaches depart from bus stop one at Terminal 5 every 10 minutes and arrive at the Cityterminalen (Central Bus Station) next to Stockholm Central Station in around 45 minutes. FlixBus also runs direct services from Terminal 5.
A taxi should take around 40 minutes to travel the 40km from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm city center. Licensed taxis are available outside the terminal building.
- CAR OR MOTORCYCLE
Motorists should take the E4 freeway all the way from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to the city center. The journey takes around 40 minutes.
Things to do in Stockholm
Stop for fika
Taking a break for coffee and cake is a Swedish tradition and there’s even a special word for the ritual, fika. In fact, Swedes are some of the world’s most fervent coffee consumers. For Swedes, fika is all about relaxing and taking stock, rather than grabbing a quick coffee on the go to refuel. There are thousands of places to enjoy fika in Stockholm and a wealth of different cakes and pastries to try. We recommend enjoying a delicious cinnamon bun, or a marzipan-covered pastry known as a dammsugare (vacuum cleaner) with your coffee or tea if you prefer.
Sail through the archipelago
The Stockholm archipelago consists of some 24,000 islands and islets, making it one of the largest archipelagos in the world by number of islands. Many Stockholmers have summer houses there, which they retreat to during the warmer months. As a visitor, the best way to explore the archipelago is to take an organized boat tour. A cruise from Stockholm harbor to some of the closer islands can take around three hours. That’s more than enough time to get a sense of the fabled Swedish outdoor life and why this beautiful region is so important to Stockholmers.
Stroll Gamla Stan
Literally “Old Town” in Swedish, pretty Gamla Stan should be top of your list of must-see places in Stockholm. Home to historic attractions such as the Royal Palace and Stockholm Cathedral, as well as the Nobel Prize Museum, it’s where the city was founded in the mid-13th century, making it a great place to learn about Swedish history. After a stroll around Gamla Stan’s charming cobbled streets don’t forget to stop for fika at a local cafe.
Ride the art metro
Stockholm’s metro system, which stretches for 110km, is sometimes referred to as the world’s longest art gallery. Over 90 metro stations feature works of art and installations from over 150 artists, as part of a project that started in the 1950s. One option is to simply buy a metro ticket (valid for one hour) and hop on and off at the metro stations of your choice. Or, for the same price you could embark on a guided tour that takes in four to five stations. The choice is yours
Drop in on City Hall
Stockholm’s Stadhus (City Hall) is the venue for the annual Nobel banquet each year, where laureates and foundation members dine and dance the night away following the awards ceremony. Completed in 1923, its 348-foot-high tower, topped with the Swedish emblem of tre kronor (three crowns), is an integral part of the Stockholm skyline. Its most stunning feature, however, is the Golden Hall, lined with 19 million gold mosaic tiles. Visitors are welcome, but only as part of a guided tour.
Gaze on the perfect shot at Fotografiska
With multiple exhibitions on at any one time, this adored contemporary photography museum on the waterfront in trendy Södermalm is a must-see place in Stockholm. It also opens later than many other museums, meaning you can make an evening of it with an exhibition followed by dinner in the Michelin-rated restaurant upstairs. Conclude your visit with a stroll along the waterfront taking in the splendid views of the Stockholm panorama.
Learn about the Nobel Prize
How much do you know about the world’s most prestigious literature, science and peace prizes? Head to the Nobel Prize Museum in the former Stock Exchange building in Gamla Stan to brush up on the late, great Alfred Nobel, his foundation, and the lives of famous Nobel laureates such as Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Nelson Mandela. Explore the ideas of hundreds of creative minds that have helped to shape the 20th century. The museum is open daily June–August, Tues–Sun September–May (free entry Fridays 5–8pm).
Explore the Royal Palace
Stockholm’s Royal Palace, which is still used by Sweden’s royal family for official receptions, is one of Europe’s largest, with over 600 rooms. You can’t visit all of them, but highlights include the Royal Apartments, the Treasury, with its ceremonial crowns and swords, and the Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) museum. Guided tours are available where you’ll soon discover that the Royal Palace is as grand as it is huge. It’s also worth trying to catch the changing of the guard in the outer courtyard, which happens daily at 12.15pm (1.15pm on Sundays) and lasts around 40 minutes. Make sure to visit the Royal Palace, regardless of how many days you plan to spend in Stockholm.
Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum, dating back to 1891. Located on the lush island of Djurgården, it guides the visitor through four centuries of Swedish life, from pre-industrial times to the 1960s, with many historical homes and farmsteads. There’s also a zoo and an aquarium on site, and plenty of green space to explore on the wider island, making this a great day out for the entire family. The nearby Nordic Museum, which tells the story of Nordic lifestyles and traditions from the 16th century onwards, is worth a visit too.
Strandvägen is one of the most recognizable boulevards in the city of Stockholm. Stretching between two green spaces, Berzelii Park and Nobelparken, on the island of Östermalm, it’s lined with grand houses and is one of the most prestigious addresses in Stockholm. Wondering where to stay in Stockholm? You can get a taste of what it would be like to live in Strandvägen by checking in to the nearby Hotel Diplomat or other local accommodation options. Strandvägen also makes a great route when traveling on foot from Gamla Stan to Djurgården, or vice versa.
Eat Swedish meatballs
Wondering what to eat in Stockholm? If you eat one thing it has to be the famous Swedish meatball. This delicious Swedish staple is usually served with mashed potato and lingonberry sauce and is a hearty, warming dish at any time of year. In fact, you may have already tried a version of the dish at Ikea! Stockholm is also renowned for its seafood: make sure you try flavorsome cured salmon, pickled herring or, in August, sweet crayfish at a boisterous Swedish crayfish party.
Learn about seafaring at the Vasa Museum
The Vasa is a giant warship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. Salvaged from Stockholm harbor and restored hundreds of years later it now sits in the Vasa Museum – which also happens to be the most visited museum in Scandinavia – on Djurgården island. You’ll marvel at the scale of this artfully revived 17th-century warship on a visit to the Vasa Museum, but there’s plenty more to see, including exhibitions focusing on shipbuilding and the seafaring life, and some of the more than 40,000 objects found in or around the sunken ship.
Best time to travel to Stockholm
June to August is the high season in Stockholm, with pleasant temperatures around 68–77°F and long sunny days. This is also the perfect time to visit the Stockholm archipelago. However, pack warm clothes too, as the temperature can drop in the evenings. Though the city is busy with tourists at this time, many locals head to their summer houses, especially at weekends. The summer is a great time to experience Stockholm and its abundant nature, but hotel prices can be high.
The winter is extremely cold in Stockholm and the days are short, but this is also a great time for a winter sports holiday or magical Christmas break. The city’s oldest square, Stortorget in Gamla Stan, hosts a brilliant Christmas market, for example. You may also be able to pick up a great hotel offer too. The spring and fall are beautiful in Stockholm, with average temperatures in the 40s–50s, and though the evenings can be chilly, long walks around the city, or a boat tour are still a must.
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