Short trip to Stockholm: Travel Guide

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Sweden’s capital is a popular destination for a short trip – whether for a long weekend, as a stopover on a longer trip to Sweden or between or over the holidays. Here you will find all the tips for a short trip to Stockholm, including the most popular sights and the ideal journey for you.

Capital of Sweden

Stockholm is the capital of the Kingdom of Sweden. The city is located on a total of 14 islands at the outlet of Lake Mälaren into the Baltic Sea. Stockholm was first mentioned in a document dating back to 1252. The colourful city on Sweden’s east coast has been the country’s capital since 1634.


Area187 km²
TimezoneCentral European Time (CET)

What does Stockholm have to offer?

The Scandinavian metropolis offers an unforgettable city break at any time of year, combining nature with history and culture, as well as relaxation and enjoyment.

Discover the individual (island) districts of the so-called “Venice of the far north”, which are connected by countless bridges. Surrounded by the Baltic Sea, the archipelago, Sweden’s largest group of islands and a popular local recreation area, lies just outside the city gates.

Best time to travel there

Things to do and experiences in Stockholm depend on when you plan to visit. The city is most popular in summer, when temperatures of 20 degrees and above can be expected. Although it is not as warm as in the south, it is perfect for exploring the city on a weekend without breaking too much of a sweat. However, Stockholm is most crowded in summertime.

Stockholm Sunset Summer
The summer sunset over Stockholm

If you prefer things a little quieter and cosier, you should plan a short trip in the off-season. The city has a lot to offer in winter as well, more specifically during Advent and New Year’s Eve. There is hardly any other country where you can experience the Christmas season in such a traditional and cosy way. At this time of year, Sweden’s capital is transformed into a snow-covered and romantically illuminated Christmas fairy tale.

Stockholm in Winter
Snow-covered Stockholm in winter

Stockholmers go all out on New Year’s Eve: People gather in public squares to eat, drink and watch the fireworks together. Afterwards, the party continues in the bars. It generally rains a lot in Sweden, but even then there is still plenty to do in Stockholm, as you will find out below.

Getting to Stockholm

A flight to Stockholm is of course the best option for a short trip. This is by far the quickest way to get to the Swedish capital. Various airlines fly to the airports in Stockholm. While Stockholm-Skavsta is around 100 kilometres outside the city and can be reached in around 70 minutes by airport bus, Stockholm-Arlanda Airport is more centrally located. From here, there are various public transport options to get to the city centre in a relaxed manner.

Highlights & must-sees in Stockholm

Stockholm has many beautiful corners and sights that you should have seen on a short trip. Here are the best tips.

Gamla stan

Stockholm’s medieval-looking old town centre is called “Gamla stan” and is one of the absolute highlights. In the centre you will find the oldest square in the whole city, Stortoget, where colourful houses line up to form a postcard motif. The neighbourhood is ideal for shopping, strolling and drinking coffee. A special restaurant tip here is “Aifur Krog & Bar”, a Nordic restaurant with traditional dishes and Viking flair.

Stockholm Gamla Stan
Stortorget with its famous colourful row of houses

Gamla stan is also home to the royal castle (“Kungliga slottet”) of the Swedish nobility, in front of which the changing of the guard takes place daily at lunchtime in summer. The magnificent city palace with its collection of jewellery, many works of art and various museums can also be visited from the inside.

Djurgården: numerous museums

If its a rainy or snowy day in Stockholm, a visit to a museum is the perfect activity. On the city island and Djurgården National Park, which can be reached by boat from Skeppsholmen, you are spoilt for choice: there is one museum after another, all of which are well worth a visit. The Vasa Museum is named after its main exhibit: The ship Vasa, which sank off Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged in 1956. The oak warship has been largely preserved and can be marvelled at in various exhibitions.

Skansen Open-Air Museum
In the Skansen open-air museum you can visit traditional Swedish houses.

Skansen is an open-air museum on the island of Djurgården, which is best visited in summer and is very popular with children. Here you will find Swedish cultural history from the 16th century onwards as well as a petting zoo. The Junibacken Museum, which is dedicated to the famous Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren, is also ideal for families. Here you can meet her most famous characters in lovingly designed settings or in the children’s theatre.

The ABBA Museum will not only delight fans. Here you can learn all about Sweden’s most successful pop group and be transported back to the 1970s. There are spatial reconstructions, but also original exhibits from the members’ possessions. But these are by no means all of Stockholm’s museums: there is also the Military Museum, the Nordic Museum, the Swedish National Museum, the Viking Museum and numerous art museums.


Stockholm’s trendy neighbourhood is very popular with both locals and tourists. There are lots of great cafés, restaurants and bars here: whether it’s classic köttbullar (meatballs) or a relaxed “fika“, the Swedish coffee break, with delicious kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) – you will definitely find something to suit your culinary tastes here.

Fika Södermalm Stockholm
You can enjoy the famous Swedish “fika” at Café Pascal in Södermalm, for example.

The cosy alleyways with their old buildings and parks are also perfect for a stroll. A large flea market with street food is held every weekend in Södermalm under the Liljeholmsbrücke bridge. The trendy“SoFo” (South of Folkungagatan) neighbourhood is lined with fashion boutiques, vintage stores, galleries, cafés and decoration shops.

City library

The interior of Stockholm City Library is known from many pictures and houses around 700,000 books. The library is located in the Vasastaden district and was opened in 1928. It is considered an architectural masterpiece in the style of Swedish classicism.

Even if you don’t want to borrow anything, it’s definitely worth a look inside. The curved, ceiling-high bookshelves will entice you to browse.

Stockholm City Library
The rotunda of the Stockholm City Library

Gröna Lund

If you want to enjoy the summer weather in Stockholm, you should visit Gröna Lund. The oldest amusement park in the country – located directly on the water – has been around since 1883. Although it is comparatively small, it offers everything you could wish for: three freefall towers, seven modern roller coasters, various food options and numerous carousels for the little ones.

Boat tour

Stockholm Boat tour
You can get a good view of the city from the water.

Stockholm’s infrastructure lends itself to viewing the city from the water. On a short trip, it is particularly practical as an initial overview.

Various boat tours of different durations are offered locally, including a sightseeing canal tour through the city and around Djurgården, hop-on hop-off tours to the various museums or even a guided tour of the archipelago, the group of islands and the natural area in the Baltic Sea, just outside the city.

In winter, there is a special winter tour through the archipelago and the icy waters.

Christmas markets

Anyone planning a short trip to Stockholm during the Advent season should not miss out on the many Christmas markets in and around the city. There is hardly any other place where the atmosphere is as cosy and atmospheric as here: The location by the water and the snow meet atmospheric lighting, the smell of mulled wine and arts and crafts.

The two traditional Christmas markets in Gamla Stan, the oldest Swedish market, and in the Skansen open-air museum, probably the most traditional in the country, are particularly worth a visit. That alone makes a winter holiday in Stockholm worthwhile!

Transportation in Stockholm

Stockholm Metro station
The colourful metro station “Stadion”

As a holidaymaker, especially for a short stay, you are well served by public transport in Stockholm. The “Tunnelbana”, as the underground or metro is called, stops at 110 stations, 90 of which are real sights. They were designed by local artists and are often bright and colourful – and therefore very different from the usual metro stops. The journey is worthwhile for this alone, but don’t forget to get off! If you want to explore the city by foot, you can find free walking tours offered in groups.

Public transport in Sweden’s capital is also well developed with buses, ferries and tram. If you are travelling a lot, you can consider buying a Stockholm Pass. The latter combines sightseeing tours with free entry to 60 museums and attractions and can be combined with a card for unlimited use of local transport if desired.

When the weather is nice, a bicycle is of course a practical alternative for exploring the city. You can get a bike from a hire shop or spontaneously use a city bike from one of the stations.

Accommodation & overnight stays in Stockholm

For a short trip to Sweden’s capital, hotels are a great place to stay. Airbnbs are also very popular and are particularly suitable for larger groups or families.

Of course, the location of the accommodation is particularly important for a short trip: if you don’t have much time, you don’t want to spend too much of it on public transport on the way to sightseeing. So it’s best to choose a hotel in a city centre location with an underground station nearby.

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