Sweden’s capital consisting of 14 islands connected by more than 50 bridges is a distinctive city. Attractive architecture combined with wonderful nature and plenty of water make Stockholm diverse and give the city uniqueness.
The city first appeared in the 12th century in a saga by the poet Snorri Sturluson and has had quite a busy past, with wars, changes of power as well as a growing trading economy playing crucial roles. The city’s history is very diverse and has contributed significantly to today’s cultural offerings.
Very pleasant in Stockholm is that you can make many trips in the city with its more than 850,000 inhabitants by foot.
Tip 1: Vasa Museum
One of the biggest tourist attractions and the most visited museum in Scandinavia is located in Sweden on the island of Djurgården. The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum in Stockholm that displays the world’s only remaining 17th century ship: the Vasa. The warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in 1628, but has been almost completely preserved to this day. Around 95 percent of the original parts can be seen in the Vasa Museum.
It is considered a unique artistic treasure from that time in the shipping industry. Hundreds of carved sculptures can be found on and inside the Vasa. On June 15, 1990, the Vasa Museum was opened in Stockholm on the island of Djurgården. Since then it has attracted around 1.2 million visitors a year, making the Vasa Museum the most visited museum in Scandinavia.
Tip 2: Skansen
Skansen is one of the most popular Swedish destinations. The open-air museum is visited by about 1.4 million people every year. They come not only from Stockholm, but from all over the world.
The open-air museum goes back to Dr. Artur Hazelius (1833 – 1901). He wanted to present Swedish cultural history in a new way. Instead of exhibiting his extensive collections from the lives of farmers, workers, townspeople and gentlemen in a conventional museum, he wanted to show the objects in their original context. Thus, the world’s first open-air museum, Skansen, was created in 1881.
Today in this museum you can experience numerous Swedish milieus from past times (from the 16th century onwards) and from different social classes: Farms, a church, a small Stockholm neighborhood, a manor house, several craftsmen’s workshops – in total almost 150 buildings from different Swedish landscapes from Skåne to Lapland.
The open-air museum also features Nordic animals, including wolverines, wolves, lynxes and bears. With the exception of the bears, however, they are not always easy to see – the best chances are before and during feeding time.
Tip 3: Stockholm Palace
Stockholm Palace is huge. It is said to have 605 rooms, one more than Buckingham Palace in London. The rooms are spread over seven floors. This makes it one of the largest castles in Europe.
The present Royal Palace was built on the foundation walls of an old castle. The new Royal Palace was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and is one of the most remarkable baroque buildings in Scandinavia. In Italian Baroque style, it is modeled like a Roman palace. The construction took 60 years.
Today, the Royal Palace is primarily the workplace of the Swedish royal family. For this purpose, it still serves as the official residence. On the occasion of state visits and other celebrations, the castle may therefore be closed to the general public.
At certain times the castle is open to visitors. There are five museums in total. In addition, you can visit the chambers of the royal family, as well as the Imperial Hall and the halls of the Order.
Spectacular are also the guard parade and the daily changing of the guard. In the summer months, the guard parade rides with music through the alleys of the city to the castle. If you are lucky, they play a medley of Abba songs.
Tip 4: ABBA the Museum
The ABBA Museum opened in 2013 on the island of Djurgården, right next to the Gröna Lund amusement park. Since then, the museum has been part of every “must-see in Stockholm” list. Next to IKEA, ABBA is probably one of the brands that foreign tourists associate most strongly with Sweden.
The ABBA Museum contains a wealth of period documents relating to the supergroup: costumes, golden records, fan mail, sound recordings, film footage, props and much more. In addition, entire scenes and backdrops are recreated, including the small vacation cottage in the archipelago where Björn and Benny composed songs during the summer months. Pop history comes alive here.
There is a lot to see and hear in the ABBA Museum. In addition, a lot of information and acoustic impressions come via the audio guide, which you can use to walk around. If this becomes too much at some point, you can also sing and dance yourself in the museum.
Tip 5: Drottningholm Palace
Drottningholm Castle is located on the island of Lovön in Lake Mälaren. Once a pleasure palace of the kings, it has been owned by the Swedish royal family since 1982. It is the residence of the Swedish royal family. It was the first Swedish cultural monument to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The castle is also called the Swedish Versailles.
While the west side of the palace opens to the west into a wonderful palace park, it stands with the east side in close proximity to the shore of Lake Mälaren. The royal guard has probably one of the most beautiful views during their work, which can be directed to the lake or to the park, to the Chinese castle or to the castle chapel. The palace theater is located as a separate building in the park, it is partly designed as an English garden or as a baroque garden according to the French models.