If you only have time to visit one museum in stockholm, make it the Vasa Museum. The Vasa has somewhat of an embarrassing but now cherished history. Although built as a warship it sank before even leaving Stockholm's harbour, and was later raised from the seabed 333 years later. It’s now the only preserved 17th century ship in the entire world, so it’s no wonder it’s the most visited museum in the whole of Scandinavia.
Stockholm City Hall
For the best view of Stockholm, it’s worth going to the top of the 106 metre tall tower of the City Hall for a panoramic view of Stockholm. It's possible to miss with its gilded three crowns – the Swedish national coat of arms – the tower is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city. With your feet back on firm ground, take a guided tour of the red-brick building to get a glimpse of the impressive interior, including the Blue Hall, where the Nobel banquet is held, and the Golden Hall, which is covered in 18 million gold mosaic tiles.
Scenically located by the waterside, Fotografiska has made a name for itself as one of the go-to art spots in Stockholm. Swedish artists and famous names including Annie Lebowitz have exhibited here, with the gallery space being re-designed and invented around each artist ensuring a unique experience each time. After you’re conked out on art head we suggest the short walk up to Hermans for a delicious selection of vegetarian food.
Spend time with Sweden’s most famous band in history at the ABBA Museum. Based inside POP HOUSE, the exhibition follows the group’s history from folk singers to international icons and includes interactive elements including performing on stage with the band and mixing a studio recording. Even the hardiest of visitor won’t be able to resist its charm, fun and impossible to shake catchiness - just be prepared to have ‘Dancing Queen’ stuck in your head for the rest of the trip.
The tiny island of Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s ‘Old Town’, where you’ll wander around centuries of history nestled among picturesque architecture painted in a variety of strikingly bright colours. Here the Swedish royal family’s palace, Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan) and the Nobel Museum are all within a few minutes walk of each other. Stop for coffee and cake, also known as 'fika' in Swedish before attempting to squeeze into Mårten Trotzigs gränd - Stockholm’s narrowest street at only 90cm wide!
Beneath the Swedish capital lies an intricate web of underground train lines. More than 90 of the 100 stations in the 110km tunnel system, sometimes referred to as “the world’s longest art gallery”, have been decorated with paintings, installations, mosaics and sculptures by 150 artists since the 1950s. Our favourite is Stadion station for its rainbow inspired mural which will surely put a smile on your face.
Stockholm Public Library
Designed by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund in 1922 and completed in 1928, the Stockholm Public Library is one of the city's most notable structures and is replete with a majestic rotunda that provides a unique cylindrical hall. This monument to modern functional design is home to more than 2 million printed volumes and 2.4 million audiotapes, CDs and audio books. For those of you on Instagram a snap inside here will surely gardner a lot of likes!
Hötorgshallen Food Market
The stall owners bellowing out the deal of the day, cured meats swinging from ceiling, the smell of coffee lingering in the air. This fantastic food market is a melting pot of food, people and fresh produce, which makes Hötorgshallen so appealing to visitors.
Skansen Outdoor Museum
Visit the world’s first outdoor museum and see what life used to be like in Sweden’s towns and farmsteads. Set in a large park with over 150 buildings – the oldest of which dates back to the 14th century – Skansen lets you experience how people lived in times gone by. Children love this museum, where actors dressed in historical costumes show you around the farm settlements and the town quarter with its glassworks, pottery and shoe-maker’s house.
The Moderna Museet houses a permanent collection of Swedish and international modern art, including significant works by Picasso, Matisse, Dardel and Hjertén. The museum is located on the beautiful islands of Skeppsholmen which offers stunning views of the Stockholm archepelago. Not to be missed!
Want to visit Stockholm yourself?
For inspiration see our summer tour, Stockholm to Arctic Sweden on the Polar Express.