You’re smart, and so you’ve decided not only to cruise from Stockholm in 2012 but also to stay two nights before your cruise so that you can see the best of what this beautiful city has to offer. That’s why we’re happy to provide this quick and easy guide to help you decide what you want to see — and how to get there. For inspiration, see our video Two Perfect Days Stockholm.
Gamla Stan / The Old Town. This is truly the gem of Stockholm! Tourists could easily spend a day here, but they should spend at least a couple of hours. Gamla Stan is where the city was founded back in the 13th century, and many of the beautiful buildings date back to the 17th century. We advise tourists to take a stroll through the narrow, cobble-stoned alleys (they need not worry about getting lost — Gamla Stan is small and circular), see the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace (for a schedule in English, click here) or sit down in one of the beautiful squares for a homemade ice cream. Even if they do nothing more than stroll Gamla Stan, tourists are sure to enjoy the Old Town atmosphere. Not to miss! Subway stop Gamla Stan.
Kungliga Slottet / The Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is one of the world’s largest inhabited palaces — with more than 600 rooms! It was built primarily in the 18th century in Italian baroque style, on the site of the old Three Crowns castle, which burned in 1697. Tourists can visit the state suites and the various museums at the palace, including the Royal Armoury, featuring clothing and suits of armour worn by royals through the centuries. Click here for an English version of the Royal Palace website. Subway stop Gamla Stan.
Stadshuset / City Hall. The tower of the City Hall, with its three golden crowns on top, is the most significant building in the Stockholm skyline. We advise tourists to climb up for an amazing view over the city. City Hall is also the city’s administrative centre, and every day hundreds of people visit and work in the building. It is also the venue for the Nobel Banquet that takes place on the 10th of December every year. Tourists should not miss the Golden Hall, adorned with 18.5 million gold mosaic pieces! Upon exiting, they can also see the place settings for the Nobel Banquet ceremonies. Daily guided tours in different languages. For more information in English, click here. Subway to T-centralen or Rådhuset followed by a short walk or bus nr 3or 62.
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Vasamuseet. Every visitor to Stockholm should see the Vasa Museum, home to the 17th century regal war ship that sunk on its maiden voyage in 1628. After being submerged for 333 years, the ship was rescued from the seabed and is now presented in all its glory, complete with masts, ropes and tackle. The Vasa Museum is the only museum of its kind in the world. We recommend that visitors spend at least an hour here, two if possible. For more information in English, click here. Bus nr 44, 47 or 69 to Vasamuseet or the Djurgården ferries.
Skansen / Open-Air Museum. Situated in the lush island of Djurgården, Skansen is a favourite for most Stockholmers — and international visitors are sure to love it. Founded in 1891, Skansen is the world’s oldest open air museum. More than 150 historical buildings have been moved here from nearly every part of Sweden, which is why it is often referred to as “Sweden in Miniature.” Most of the buildings date from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Skansen is also the venue for traditional annual festivities, markets, folk dance displays and other celebrations. Visitors will learn about traditional Swedish handicraft and folklore. For tourists with kids — or for those who love animals, Skansen also features a zoo, home to many of the animals typical of the Nordic countries, such as elks, bears, moose, seals and foxes. For more information in English, click here. Bus nr 44 or 47 to Skansen or the Djurgården ferries.
Junibacken. Also for tourists with children, Junibacken is dedicated to Astrid Lindgren and all her wonderful books and characters as well as other famous children’s books authors. After walking through the Story Book Square, where some of Sweden’s most beloved story book characters live, visitors will board the Story Train. The train carriage will gently take them through some of Astrid Lindgren’s stories. They will visit Karlsson’s home on the roof tops, see as Emil hoists his little sister up the flag pole and watch the Lionheart brothers fight Katla the Dragon. When stepping off the train, they’ll find themselves right in the middle of Pippi Longstocking’s amazing house. For more information in English, click here. Bus 44, 47or 69 to Djurgårdsbron or the Djurgården ferries.
Moderna Museet / Museum of Modern Art. Designed by one of the world’s most distinguished contemporary architects, Rafael Moneo, the Museum of Modern Art is one of the world’s premier museums for international art from the 20th and 21st centuries. It is located on the beautiful museum island of Skeppsholmen and offers a superb program of temporary exhibitions, a children’s workshop and a charming restaurant with lovely views across to Djurgården and the grand waterfront esplanade of Strandvägen. This is a good place for visitors to have lunch. For more information in English, click here. Subway stop Kungsträdgården followed by a short walk.
Nationalmuseum / The National Museum of Fine Arts. Culture-lovers will want to visit Sweden’s largest art gallery with collections of paintings and sculptures, drawings, engravings and handicrafts. The museum also features a permanent exhibition of Swedish design. Visitors will see works by Sweden’s foremost painters as well as Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and Gauguin. For more information in English, click here. Subway stop Kungsträdgården followed by a short walk.
Swedish design and fashion. Sweden has positioned itself as one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to design and fashion. For those would like to take a closer look for the reason behind this, we recommend that they visit the area called SoFo in Södermalm. Here, they’ll find galleries and art stores, furniture showrooms and boutiques that portray fashion and accessories from Swedish designers – both known and unknown. There are also lots of shops with ceramics, jewellery and vintage clothing, and of course coffee shops and restaurants where visitors can rest their tired feet. Use Google Translate to read information in English from this site: www.sofo.se Subway stop Medborgarplatsen followed by a short walk or bus nr 3 to Åsögatan.
Millesgården. Fans of Carl Milles — or those who enjoy sculpture — will want to visit a spectacular park built to portray the artist’s most famous sculptures. Original castings and tools are on display in the large studio, and in the small studio are paintings by Olga Milles. The park is built with a beautifully balanced stage design of terraces, fountains, stairways, sculptures and columns, coupled with a diversity of vegetation and an immense vista across the waters of Värtan from the rocky heights of Lidingö. For information in English, click here. Subway to Ropsten followed by bus one stop. Follow the signs.
Hallwylska Palatset / The Hallwyl Collection. This incredible palace was built in 1898 for the Count and Countess of Hallwyl. When visitors enter the building, they are instantly transported back to the turn of the century, as this former residence has been kept untouched since the Hallwyl era. While walking through the residence, visitors will admire valuable collections of art and handicraft as well as everyday household items. Everything from toothbrushes to Steinway pianos is on display. For information in English, click here. Subway to Östermalmstorg or Kungsträdgården followed by a short walk.
Nobel Museum / The Nobel Museum. Cutting edge design and technology present the history of the Nobel Prize. Visitors will learn about Alfred Nobel, the Laureates and their groundbreaking discoveries and ideas. The museum is located in the old stock exchange in the Old Town at Stortorget. For information in English, click here. Subway stop Gamla Stan.
Östermalmshallen. All visitors to Stockholm should drop in on one of Stockholm’s oldest food markets, located in a building that dates back to 1888. Here, visitors can wander between the different stalls and admire the abundant supply of fish and seafood, meat and poultry, cheese, chocolate and fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. Just the nice aroma in the market is worth the visit, but we recommend that visitors stick around to enjoy a delicious lunch. www.saluhallen.com Subway stop: Östermalmstorg, exit toward Östermalmstorg
Stockholm City Sightseeing. Joining a sightseeing tour might be the best and easiest way for visitors to explore Stockholm. There are a variety of tours to choose from that will take them around the city by bus or boat or a combination of the two. One good option is to take the panorama bus tour that shows visitors the entire city in less than two hours. As Stockholm is a city on water built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges, they might also enjoy taking one of the different boat tours to experience Stockholm from the water. For information in English, click here.
Drottningholms Slott och Slottsteater / Drottningholm Palace and Court Theatre. We recommend that tourists visit the current residence of the Royal Family. In 1991, Drottningholm became the first Swedish site to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Visitors should take time to enjoy the Palace, the surrounding Baroque Garden and English Park, the Chinese Pavilion and the Court Theatre. The court theatre is one of the oldest theatres in the world preserved in its original state and with the stage machinery still in use. Performances take place during the summer. For information in English, click here. We recommend traveling by the boats that depart regularly from the city. The journey to Drottningholm is beautiful.
Ekoparken / The National City Park. Active tourists will want to visit the National City Park, Ekoparken, which offers a unique mixture of nature and culture, including four Royal Palaces. A recreation area for city residents and visitors alike, it stretches right through the middle of the city. Guided tours are available by boat, bike or on foot. For information in English, click here.
Visit the Archipelago. The Stockholm archipelago comprises about 30,000 islands, islets and rocks, and is one of the more spectacular archipelagos in the world. Visitors should get out to see the archipelago, accessible from Stockholm city center. Many of the islands are settled and there are lots of hotels and hostels, restaurants, museums and country stores to visit. Whether visitors make it a day trip or stay overnight, the beautiful scenery and calmness away from the city will take their breath away. A trip to the archipelago in the typical white ferry boats makes the journey an attraction in itself.
Fotografiska. Visitors who are photography buffs will enjoy Fotografiska, which opened in Stockholm in May 2010, and is one of the world’s largest meeting places for contemporary photography. Fotografiska presents four unique major exhibitions and about 20 smaller exhibitions annually. In addition to the large exhibition space, Fotografiska houses a book and souvenir shop, a restaurant and a photo gallery. In the bar on the top floor visitors will find one of Stockholm’s very best vantage points.
An avid traveler and an award-winning journalist, Ralph Grizzle produces articles, video and photos that are inspiring and informative, personal and passionate. A journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ralph has specialized in travel writing for more than two decades. To read more cruise and port reviews by Ralph Grizzle, visit his website at www.avidcruiser.com