Stockholm, the sophisticated Swedish capital

December 31, 2010 (Last Updated: October 12, 2021)
by Carolyn

Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, offers an abundance of things for the visitor to see and do. Among the most popular stops on the Stockholm tourist trail are Drottningholm Palace, Skansen Open Air Museum, the Vasa Museum, Gamla Stan (the old town) and cruising the beautiful archipelago.

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Drottningholm Palace, a beautifully preserved 17th-century royal residence is home to the present royal family of Sweden and has been called ‘Sweden’s Versailles’.  Visitors can tour one half of the Palace (the royals live in the other half) and wander or picnic in the beautiful gardens. The Palace is on the UNESCO world heritage list and is easily accessed from central Stockholm by public transport.

Europe’s original open-air folk museum, Skansen, was built in 1891. A huge park, it contains over 150 historic buildings (homes, churches, shops, schools, etc) that were moved in from all over Sweden.  There’s even a zoo featuring Nordic animals, including the massive Moose.

The Vasa Museum holds the wonderfully preserved Vasa, a Viking ship which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628, just 20 minutes after leaving the port!  Languishing on the bottom of Stockholm harbour for 333 years, she was raised in 1961 with the help of marine archaeologists and has been painstakingly restored. 

The Museum not only allows you to take a close up look at the ship, but also gives you an insight into the life of a sailor back in the 1600s with many old artefacts on display.

Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town
Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town

Gamla Stan, the Old Town, is the medieval centre of Stockholm. Its winding, cobblestone streets are now home to shops, cafes and restaurants, but the area also houses the Kungliga Slottet, winter home of the royal family and site of the daily changing of the guard. 

It’s easy to spend a few hours wandering the streets, shopping for souvenirs and stopping for a coffee or bite to eat. Escorted walking and bike tours are also available.

Surrounded by no less than 24,000 islands, Stockholm offers both tourists and locals the chance to get out on the water.  The harbour is home to many a boat offering day and half-day cruises. Vaxholm is one of the most popular destinations, but 2.5 hour archipelago cruises are also available.

A free archipelago guide book is available from the Tourist Office to help you choose your destination.

Drottningholm Palace, home of Sweden's Royal family
Drottningholm Palace, home of Sweden’s Royal family

If you plan to see the sights and make the most of your stay in Stockholm, the Stockholm Card is excellent value. The Stockholm Card gives you free entry to 75 museums and attractions, free travel by public transport, free sightseeing by boat as well as several other bonus offers. You decide whether you want a card that is valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours.

If you don’t have long to spend in this beautiful city, a Hop On Hop Off bus tour is a great way to see the sights in a short space of time.

I have visited Stockholm twice and definitely plan to return again in the future as it is a beautiful city with lots to see and do.  Should you decide to visit Stockholm, you’ll receive a friendly welcome from the locals.