Stockholm: Sweden’s Capital – the Top 10 Places of Interest
For many people, Sweden is a popular destination. Stockholm, the capital, extends over 14 islands while being surrounded by water, which is why people also call it “Venice of the North”.
The beauty of Sweden’s landscape, as well as the historical significance of the capital, are great reasons to travel to the Scandinavian metropolis.
In this article, we’ll tell you the most important facts about Stockholm and show you a list of our top 10 places of interest. Your trip will be anything but boring!
Stockholm in a Nutshell
Stockholm, in addition to being Sweden’s capital, is the country’s and Scandinavia’s most populous urban area. The city has about 1.6 million inhabitants, and 2.4 million live in the metropolitan area. It stretches across 14 islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Outside the city to the east and along the coast lies the Stockholm Archipelago. The area has been occupied since the Stone Age in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by the Swedish statesman, Birger Jarl. As Sweden’s capital, it’s also the cultural, political, and economic center of the country.
Stockholm’s climate, like that of the rest of Scandinavia, is continental, humid, and especially chilly in the winter, with heavy snowfall. However, because it’s located in the gulf of the Baltic Sea, temperatures aren’t as low as you might think. In winter, temperatures usually drop below 2 °C, while in the spring months, temperatures begin to climb and reach highs of around 20 °C during summer. The rainy season lasts from September through January, but the number of rainy days varies from year to year. Due to the city’s northern location, the days are particularly long in the summer! In the winter, on the other hand, the nights last about 18 hours and the day starts five hours later, so there’s significantly less light.
When you think of Swedish food, Ikea’s köttbullar immediately comes to mind. But Sweden’s cuisine offers much more. These meatballs are very popular either way.
Cinnamon buns deserve special attention as Kanelbullens Dag, or Cinnamon Bun Day, is celebrated every year on October 4. Falukorv is a round sausage named after the town of Falun and is used in many Swedish dishes. Then there’s the famous ostkaka, which is a delicious, traditional Swedish cheesecake that dates back to the Middle Ages, frequently served with cream and berries.
Stockholm’s metro system is quite extensive and easy to navigate. In addition, buses and ferries are also available. There’s an additional app for Storstockholms Lokaltrafik, Stockholm’s public transportation, that allows you to easily organize your trip around the city.
Subways arrive every five minutes on average and take you to your destination quickly and safely. A single ticket also covers all the city’s zones. This can save you a lot of unnecessary stress. If you want to do some sightseeing while going from one place to another, you can use the commuter ferries.
A little tip – the subway stations aren’t marked with an M, as they are in many other countries, but rather with a T. This stands for the word “tunnelbana.”
As a capital city, Stockholm hosts a number of annual events. The yearly Stockholm Marathon, for example, attracts large crowds every summer. Due to its great popularity, only 21,000 people may participate. So, if you really want to participate, make sure to register as early as possible.
Another yearly event is Allsång på Skansen, a music festival where you not only get to listen to great music, but also take part yourself! In the evening, you can sing Swedish songs alongside musicians and get a different view of Swedish culture. The event is very popular, with a daily predicted attendance of 10,000 to 25,000.
In the Old Town, there’s a traditional Christmas market that runs throughout Advent. If you want to come to Sweden during that time, check out the Christmas market and marvel at this snowy city and its Christmas decorations.
Stockholm’s Top 10 Places of Interest
Now that you know the most important facts about Stockholm and Sweden in general, it is time to look at the sights! We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favorite places of interest just for you. Have fun!
Vasa Museum in Stockholm
The Vasa Museum is famous around the world for housing the world’s only and nearly complete 17th-century ship. With roughly 25 million visitors per year, it’s now Scandinavia’s most popular museum.
The vessel on display was a warship named Vasa that sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. Its discoverers found the wreckage in the Baltic Sea only in 1956, and its restoration is almost complete. In addition to the ship exhibit, the history and the sinking are also on display.
Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm
The castle, also known as “Sweden’s Versailles,” was built in 1580 and is a must-see on every trip to Stockholm. It’s located on the island of Lovön and is the royal family’s private residence. The palace grounds from the 17th century include the palace, an English and a baroque garden, a Chinese pavilion, and the Palace Theatre. In 1991, the UNESCO added this sight to the list World Heritage Sites. Seeing the band’s musical accomplishments will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip. You may spend a beautiful day in the park among the numerous ponds, canals, and bridges.
Abba Museum in Stockholm
Abba is one of the most well-known bands in music history, and almost everyone has heard of them. Whether you’re a fan or not, a trip to the Abba Museum is a must! It was built on one of Stockholm’s islands because the band members are from Sweden and began their careers there.
What can you expect from your visit to the museum? Because it’s an interactive museum, you’ll surely have a great time. Stage sets, memorabilia, and interviews are among the exhibitions. In support of the museum, the members donated the majority of items from their own personal collections. Additionally, you can project the outfits of the members unto yourself to take pictures. Seeing the band’s musical achievements will undoubtedly be a highlight of your trip!
Drottninggatan, or “Queen Street” in English, is a pedestrian street or shopping mile in the middle of Stockholm. Many visitors, as well as locals, like spending time here. The street was built in 1640 and is now one of Stockholm’s landmarks. It’s also the perfect place to take a stroll, do some shopping, or eat in a restaurant.
Globe Arena (Avicii Arena)
This arena is one of the capital’s landmarks. Originally called Globe Arena (or Globen in Swedish), it was renamed after the late Swedish DJ, Avicii, in May 2021. The multipurpose arena, which seats roughly 16,000 people, hosts various events. The hemispherical exterior of the arena is what makes it unique – in fact, it’s the world’s largest half-circle structure! It’s especially beautiful at night, when it glows in bright colors.
Another castle worth visiting is Gripsholm Castle. This magnificent Renaissance building is located on Lake Mälaren in south-central Sweden, in the municipality of Strängnäs, about 60 kilometers west of Stockholm. Gripsholm has belonged to the Swedish royal family since Gustav Vasa and was used as one of their residences until the 18th century. People still think of it as a palace, even though it is now a museum.
The castle has around 60 rooms that are open to the public, and the approximately 4,500 magnificent paintings are a highlight as well.
If you decide you want to come here, you can combine the trip with a visit to the small town of Gripsholm.
Långholmenis one of Stockholm’s islands and is a recreational area. The island, in contrast to the big city, has many green areas as well as parks, making it a favorite local hangout.
Historically, it wasn’t so popular until 1989, as it was a prison island. Today, the majority of the prison has been demolished, and the remaining parts house a college, a hotel, a youth hostel, and several restaurants.
Fjällgatan, a.k.a. Stockholm’s Balcony
Fjällgatan is one of the capital’s most beautiful streets. People refer toi t as “Stockholm’s balcony” because it offers a great view of the city’s skyline. From up there, you see the buildings from a completely different perspective and realize how diverse the architecture is. Fjällgatan’s surroundings are also a lot of fun because of the surrounding alleys and streets.
At the northwest end of the viewpoint is a café with a glass veranda. Here you can enjoy the view in peace, even in bad weather.
Södermalm, often abbreviated to just “Söder”, is a district and an island in central Stockholm. The district includes the large island of the same name.
Although Södermalm is an island, water does not flow freely in both the north and south, but rather passes through locks. The island was once considered Stockholm’s “slum” district. Today, however, bohemian and alternative culture has found its home here. What was once a working-class area is now something of a neighborhood of the privileged. Here you can expect small secondhand stores as well as lots of retro and vintage.
Stockholm’s old town of Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s old town and historic city. There are many beautiful, colorful houses on the small island. Although it can be relatively noisy due to the many restaurants and cafes, you can always find a quiet place in the small streets. Gamla Stan is home to the Stockholm Cathedral, the Nobel Museum, Riddarholmen Church, and Kungliga Slottet, Sweden’s baroque royal palace, built in the 18th century after the previous one burned down. The royal residence is located in Gamla Stan’s northwest corner. We recommend you check out the cultural centers when you’re there!
Stockholm, as you can see from this article, has a lot to offer. For example, there’s the well-known Abba Museum, as well as several historic buildings and museums. Throughout the year, there are a wide range of events to choose from, with something for everyone! Despite its cool Scandinavian climate, Stockholm has beautiful weather in the summer, and you can enjoy the city without feeling cold.
Have we piqued your interest? Then let’s travel to Stockholm, shall we?