Stockholm: Main Sights
Venice of the North
Stockholm is a great place for walking around and taking in the city’s beautiful views and architecture. Gamla Stan and the northern part of Södermalm are wonderful spots for strolling and sight seeing. Stockholm has over 70 museeums, several art galleries and many old churches and buildings to see. Visits to the Skansen and Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum) are a must. The Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset), Stockholm City Library (Stadsbiblioteket) and the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) are important and impressive architectural sights. For nature within and close to the Swedish capital, a visit to Djurgården (a natural park with an impressive array of Nordic fauna) and visits to the Stockholm Archipelago are encouraged. All museums should feature considerable discounts for children, youths, students and pensioners.
Kungliga Djurgården, literally “The Royal Animal Park”, is an island in east-central Stockholm consisting of museums, parks, monuments and leisure areas. This oasis in Stockholm city was originally a 14th century game reserve of King John III and is now home to several museums, including the world famous Vasa Museet (entrance 7.50€), which contains a perfectly preserved 17th century warship. Skansen is the world’s oldest open air museum with displays of traditional Swedish architecture and a collection of local fauna including wolves, lynxes, moose, reindeer, bison and polar bears. Skansen’s traditional Christmas market is a popular annual event. Other museums on Djurgården include the Nordic Museum, which houses the largest collection of socially historical items in Sweden, and Waldemarsudde, a beautiful mansion and art museum. Additional sights include Rosendal Palace and park, Junibacken, an amusement park based on the novels of Astrid Lindgren and Gröna Lund, an amusement park dating from 1883, which is a popular site for concerts. Djurgården is traversed by a local touristic tramline running from Norrmalmstorg to Waldemarsudde and is the only tram in Stockholm.
Located about an hour outside of central Stockholm, Drottningholm Palace is located in Drottningholm, on the island of Lovön, in the Ekerö Municipality of Stockholm County. Originally built in 1580 for Queen Katarina Jagellonica by her husband John III of Sweden, son of Gustav Vasa, the castle is similar in style to the Palace of Versailles and features both baroque and English gardens. It is the residence of the Swedish royal family. The palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has on its grounds the famous Chinese Pavilion, the Drottningholm Palace Theatre and the Palace Church. The nearby Viking town Birka, another UNESCO Site also located in Ekerö, is worth a visit if you are in Drottningholm.
Gamla Stan, literally “Old City” is the most picturesque and captivating part of Stockholm, with its cobbled streets and mysterious winding alleys, charming Germanic buildings and grand Royal Palace. Stockholm’s historical center is naturally the most touristic part of the city and also home to the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag), the Nobel Museum (entry 6€), the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) and its attached museums. Notable churches in Gamla Stan include the Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), which dates from the 11th century, the beautiful Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan), a medieval church on the island of Riddarholmen, and the elaborately decorated German Church (Tyska Kyrkan).
“The Globe” or officially Ericsson’s Globe is a large, architecturally distinct arena and landmark just south of Södermalm. A popular sports and concert venue, tours of Globen are also given for around 7.50€ during the summer months.
Kungliga Slottet (Swedish Royal Palace)
Located in Gamla Stan, the Royal Palace dates from the end of the 15th century and is the official residence of the Swedish monarchy, though their private residence is in Drottningholm. A grand, rectangular-facaded brick and sandstone structure built in the baroque style, Kungliga Slottet’s main draw are its lavish Royal Apartments. Also on site are the Tre Kronor Museum, the Treasury, and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Entry to each is about 6.50€, or a combined ticket of 10€ for all museums.
Stadshuset (City Hall)
Stockholm’s City Hall is the site of the annual Nobel Prize Banquet. Stadshuset is situated on the water in Kungsholmen, just over the bridges from Norrmalm and Gamla Stan, near Rådhuset and T-Centralen Tun-nelbana (metro) stops. Guided tours are given daily.
The Stockholm Archipelago, or “Stockholms skärgård” is a group of over 30,000 islands, which stretches 80 km to the east of the city. An area known for its stunning natural beauty, the Stockholm Archipelago is home to beaches, cliffs, deserted islands and a vast array of indigenous, flora, fauna and scenic geographical features. Package tours are offered by several ferry lines and trips of 11 hours are around 70€, including lunch and dinner, or a 2.5 hour boat trip for around 17€. 16 day passes are available for ferry traffic at about 44€.
The district of Södermalm lies to the south over the water from the other main parts of central Stockholm, with the islet of Gamla Stan functioning as a bridge between them. Södermalm is surrounded on 3 sides by water and by a system of locks or a sluice called “Slussen” to its south. Traditionally a working class area, Södermalm, often referred to as simply “Söder”, is a fashionable, bohemian district with charming architecture, trendy cafes and boutiques. Landmarks include the nightlife and cinemas of Medborgarplatsen, Söder Torn (an attractive modern tower standing 86 meters tall) and Södra Teatern, a historic private theater.
Other Stockholm Museums
Besides the museeums of Skansen, Vasa Museet and Nobel, Stockholm is home to over 70 museums. Notable museums include Stockholm City Museum at Slussen in Södermalm for art, history and photography, the Royal Coin Cabinet in Gamla Stan, which is dedicated to the history of money, and the Museum of National Antiquities (Historiska Museet) near Karlaplan T-ban (metro). For fine and modern art, visit the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna Museet) and the National Museum (Nationalmuseum) both near Kungsträdgården metro stop, and The House of Culture near T-Centralen. Additional museums in Stockholm are the Swedish Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriska riksmuseet), the Museum of Science and Technology (Tekniska Museet) and the Transport Museum (Spårvägsmuseet). Museum prices in Stockholm normally range from 6-10€, with significant discounts for children, students and pensioners.