Stockholm travel guide: the must visit places
Stockholm is a totally awesome city and has become one of the must visit destinations on the European circuit. From its fine dining, fantastic music scene, nice attractions and calm atmosphere, Stockholm has it all. From its 100 museums covering everything visitors can think of (even the recently opened ABBA museum) as well as buildings of architectural and historical interest as well as swimming in the waters in the summer months, Stockholm is the place which has to be visited. Did I mention the shopping here is fantastic as well? This post is about the places which have to be explored when planning a visit to this Scandinavian city.
The heart of the city is the island of Stadsholmen (Stockholm has thousands of islands) and this is where the Gamla Stan is located (the old town). Many of the sights to see are located here, all close together and some of the buildings are dating back to the 13th century. Take a walk around the cobble streets as well as the passageways and there is something new to see around each corner. Take in the city’s narrowest street at Marten Trotzigs Grand which is 3ft wide. The popular shopping street of Västerlånggatan is an excellent place to go souvenir hunting and to pick up a cuddly moose! There are so many amazing churches to check out as well as the post office museum.
Also in the Gamla Stan is the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) which is a beautiful building worth noting. Walking down the corridors I got to see many amazing museum antiques, where part of the exhibition is a collection of statues brought to Stockholm by Gustav III when he visited Rome (not sure if it was a battle or a state visit, who knows!) and the Western Staircase is worth a viewing too. Outside the Changing of the Guard is a great event to watch but don’t get too close to the guards who are on duty and try to get a photo standing next to them! They will push you out of the way! Nearby is the Tre Kronor Museum (three crowns museum) which describes the palace’s 1000 year old history which houses a massive 12th century defensive wall and brick vaults. There is even a glass bowl saved from the 1697 fire when the palace burnt down to the ground.
Stockholm City Centre
This area of the city may look a bit boring and dull as most buildings were built after the Second World War. The 1960’s architecture is so boring, seriously but there are amazing places to check out. Walking around there is a bustling shopping street, amazing parks, restaurants and bars to check out. The centrepiece is the horrible looking Sergels Torg (located next to the Kulturhuset), which is a modern day obelisk which really needs to be demolished. It’s an eyesore but the locals seem to like it.
Between the Gamla Stan and the city is a small island where the Swedish parliament is located. If visitors are lucky enough they can go inside for free and see a government debate.
Outside the centre is the amazing Vasamuseet. Housing a huge boat called the Vasa, her maiden voyage of just 1,300 meters in calm waters, the warship capsized in the nearby harbour and went down on 10th August 1628. Fifty people drowned with the boat. It wasn’t until the late 1950’s that it was salvaged and after seventeen years of restoration, the boat and its museum was opened in the 1990s. Here visitors can walk around the boat at ground level, mid-level and a viewing platform from above the boat.
On the walk from the Vasa Museum back towards the Gamla Stan, there is also a park known as Djurgarden. I just loved walking around here checking out the architecture of some of the buildings located here and in the winter months, I just love the peace and quietness of the area. This area is just great to get away from the hustle and bustle for a few moments.
The Stadshuset (city hall) is probably Sweden’s biggest architectural project of the last century. Even though I didn’t get the chance to go inside and check out its chamber which also hosts the annual Nobel Prize festivities, the views of Stockholm from here are amazing, especially at night.
The arena hosts concerts and ice hockey events, the Globen also offers a ride in a gondola which runs up the side of the building and at the top visitors will get views of around the area. Just make sure it’s a clear day.
Crazy thing to do in Stockholm?
Check out the Ice Bar located in the Nordic Hotel near the central train station. Pre-book in advance and have a cocktail in a room which is full of ice sculptures and a bar. The ice itself is transported down from the Arctic region every year and the sculptures are different every time.
One of my favourite areas of bars has to be Och Himlen Därtill (also known as Himlen Restaurant) located at Götgatan 78, on the 26th floor offers a great bar with excellent views. Look north and visitors can see the Gamla Stan and south is the Globen arena. The music by the live DJs on the Friday and Saturday nights is excellent. One of my favourite bars in northern Europe.