9 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Stockholm
Home to breathtaking natural beauty and stunning medieval architecture, Sweden's capital is a small, dynamic city with something to see and do for everyone.
This thriving and eclectic metropolis has the kind of wealth of cultural and historical attractions that will keep you coming back for more. The dynamic cultural life of Stockholm is right here in the center, from world-class museums to multiple theaters, nightclubs and some of the best restaurants in the country.
Today, Sweden has moved away from the closed society of the past, yet Stockholm remains one of the world's great cosmopolitan cities. Learn more about its history, culture, and people with our list of the top attractions in Stockholm, Sweden.
One of the world's best-preserved ships, Vasa Museum was the pride of the crown in its day and the pride of a nation for a very long time. It is Stockholm's oldest public building, dating back to 1631, and its design was inspired by the newly founded Dutch Republic, where the first Vasa originated. Originally christened the Republic and later Sweden, the ship has served at various times as a national warship, a prison and a royal barge. The ship currently is a museum, and it is a museum of maritime history, showing how the Vasa was fitted out and how it was used in the 16th and 17th centuries. The museum has found many of its most valuable artifacts in and around the ship, including pieces of gun and artillery that were either fired from or thrown from the ship and are now on display. These are linked together with numerous impressive chronicles that narrate the life of the ship, starting with its construction.
The 13th century royal residence built on Slottsbacken, the State Bargeet of Stockholm, the Palace has been used by Sweden's kings and queens and is now one of Europe's leading art museums, with a permanent exhibition of Swedish culture. Its treasures include furniture by Böcklin and classic paintings by Gustav Vasa (1596-1632). The Tapestry Museum (Tapestrymuseet) features some of the finest tapestries in the world.
Although it's not one of Stockholm's most famous landmarks, City Hall (Stockholmhus) is easily Sweden's largest city hall, and a must-see if you are interested in architecture and ancient Sweden. Built in 1868, this huge building is a marvel of 19th century Swedish construction and craftsmanship. There are many free events here, ranging from film screenings to food festivals. On the roof you can look over the city and admire Sweden's impressive natural beauty.
Gamla Stan (Old Town)
Gamla Stan is the historic heart of Stockholm. Although there are other neighborhoods to visit, the old section of the city is where Stockholm first began as a trading post and city during the 1100s. There are plenty of places to visit on a walking tour of Gamla Stan, with Stockholm's numerous churches and museums, the sights of the Nobel's Museum (where the Nobel prizes are awarded each year), the Royal Palace, and the Water Palace in the pretty square around Norrmalmstorg. The main square is Norrmalmstorg, while the main street is Kungsträdgården, and the district is closed to traffic and pedestrian-only from the evening of New Year's Eve to New Year's Day.
Södermalm is the neighborhood of the most creative, well-to-do inhabitants of Stockholm, Sweden, a vibrant area that is home to beautiful public gardens, many artists' studios, hip cafés and restaurants, and a small but stylish international art-house cinema. The neighborhood also has some very interesting museums and is filled with boutiques, studios and galleries. Things to do in Södermalm include wandering among its botanical gardens, dining on its outdoor cafés, listening to live music in the open-air cafés in Biblioteksgatan, a pleasant outdoor boulevard lined with book shops and cafés, or admiring works of art in its galleries.
With more than 1.4 million objects, this fantastic museum has everything you need to learn about Swedish history, from Viking Age to industrialization, as well as about the wider world. Highlights include the fantastic Viking Ship, the largest intact iron Viking ship in the world, and a Viking Age house with its own gym and sauna, the only house of its kind in the world. Also interesting are displays on famous local artists and designers, as well as quirky items including a car made from a wardrobe and models showing what a Swedish house would look like in the future.
Riddarhuset is the world's oldest royal parliament building, housing Sweden's House of Nobles and, since 1872, the Nobel Foundation. At the end of the 14th century, it was constructed as a fortress to prevent the Swedish king from being attacked by Norway, and was set on fire by invaders several times. A new building was erected in 1589, this time made of limestone, to the design of architect Magnus Stenbock. The current red-brick building was designed by Carl von Varnbüler in 1856 and incorporates some of the original elements from Stenbock's earlier design, creating a harmonious blend of the two styles.
Overlooking the water, Djurgården is a huge park in the south of Stockholm. If you stay on the other side of the water, right in the center of the city, you will be within a stone's throw of Stockholm's central squares, with easy access to the downtown area. As a consequence, this side of Djurgården is much busier than the one on the water. One of the few drawbacks of the park is that there is not as much to do as in other parts of Stockholm.
Royal Dramatic Theatre
One of the world's oldest, most prestigious theatres, the Royal Dramatic Theatre (Riksdagsoperan) dates back to 1867 and remains a major attraction of Stockholm. Its most prestigious season, held each summer, is the full-scale production of Handel's opera Belshazzar's Feast, performed in the elegant auditorium. The Neo-Gothic structure was originally designed by architect H.M. Witting as a concert hall and opera house; after it had been taken over by the Royal Dramatic Theatre in 1910, the architectural design was updated to a more classicist style. The theatre also plays host to a number of famous international music festivals each year, including the Swedish Music Festival and the Dag Höjder Music Festival.