My first visit to Stockholm was in December of 2005. And I have been traveling there ever since. It’s one of my favourite cities, but strangely in all these years I haven’t written anything about my travels to Stockholm. So, I finally decided to fix this mistake. Now is a perfect time for it because my memories are still fresh from our last trip that happened last week. And in this blog post I’ll share all the things I like to do when I am in Stockholm and tell about the places I like to go to.
I collected photos that we’ve made over the years, so don’t get confused when you see them. Some were made in summer, some in spring and some in winter. And yes, I haven’t been to Stockholm in the autumn. Yet.
Get to know
I think easiest way to see the city in a day is simply explore its streets without any specific plans. That’s what we did during one our visit. We took a metro to the centre of the city, chose the direction and started walking. That way we discovered many interesting places: bakeries, book stores, clothing shops, restaurants, etc.
* this church serves as the final resting place of most Swedish monarchs
And if you want to make the most of your short visit, then I’d suggest you stay in the charming Old Town (Gamla stan). It’s one of the largest and best-preserved medieval towns in Europe (even though Sweden is technically Scandinavia). Gamla Stan looks beautiful in every season! That is why most of the times I prefer to spend here whole day. I could walk its narrow cobblestoned streets for hours and not get bored. I guess you could call it my go-to place.
Stortorget is a historical medieval centre and it’s the oldest square in Stockholm.
Another thing that you could do is have a fika. Basically, fika translated as “a coffee break” or “to have a coffee break”. But in reality, it has much wider and deeper meaning and it’s an important part of Swedish culture. It’s the time that you spend with your friends or colleagues over a cup of coffee or tea with something small to eat. Like a cinnamon bun, for example. In other words, fika is a tradition and relaxing ritual.
My choice of fika drink is hot chocolate with or without Cointreau (an orange flavoured liqueur):
The Royal Palace, the official residence of the Swedish monarch. It also houses some attractions that are opened to public, such as the Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren), the Royal Treasury, museum of Antiquities and the Tre Kronor museum.
If you come to see the Royal Palace, make sure to check the timing for the guards’ change. It’s quite an exciting performance. I’ve seen it only once, back in May of 2006, but I remember it as if it was just yesterday.
Medieval church Storkyrkan, built in 1279, is the oldest church in Gamla stan. It is a home for unique historical objects, including a late medieval wooden sculpture “Saint George and the Dragon”.
If the weather is not favourable for a long walk, then one way you could learn about Swedish culture and history is through the museums. And great thing about Stockholm museums is that many them are free of charge.
Most famous are Abba museum, Nobel museum and Vasa museum. I’ve been only to Vasa from those three.
Vasa museum is a maritime museum that displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship in the world. The 64-gun warship sank in 1628 on its maiden voyage, and it stayed on the bottom of the Baltic sea for 333 years.
The Museum of Medieval Stockholm was constructed around the old monuments excavated in an archaeological dig in the late 1970s. When you enter this museum, it feels like you have travelled through time, and you have been transferred to a little medieval town. Brick houses, booths, workshops and chapel. What I love about it the most is that everything looks so real! And in my opinion, it is an interesting place not only for adults but for kids as well.
The Royal Armory is the oldest museum in Sweden. It was established in 1628 by King Gustavus Adolphus. Museum contains many artefacts of Swedish military history. Here you can also see the Royal Coaches:
The Hallwyl museum is a Swedish national museum located in the heart of Stockholm, on 4 Hamngatan. It was built for Count and Countess von Hallwyl, who were among the wealthiest people in Sweden in the end of the 19th century. The home and all its contents were donated to the Swedish state to become a museum. It was officially opened in 1938. Part of the house is opened for visitors, but some rooms (like bedroom, bathroom and kitchen) are possible to see only with the guided tour. Guided tour in English is available only on Saturdays and the price is 80 kronas (around 8 euro) per person.
The home was decorated in historical styles but equipped with all the latest technology of that time. And all the rooms are left untouched.
The Great Drawing Room was decorated in a lavish late Baroque style. The room was not used on a daily basis, but it provided a setting for musical evenings and balls.
The Small Drawing room:
In this room the ladies retired for drinks and conversation after a formal dinner.
And may I just say, the interior of this house blew my mind. I was walking from one room to another, I was looking around mesmerized by the beauty of the art, furniture, porcelain, curtains, and the precisions of every detail. My eyes and my mouth were wide opened from excitement. I bet at that moment I looked like a child who is witnessing the Christmas miracle for the very first time.
The Hallwyl was the first museum where I wanted to touch EVERYTHING. I wanted to rest on the antique sofa or have a fika with my husband using the 18th century tea set. And yes, I will definitely be back for a guided tour!
Hope you enjoyed it!