Travel Guide: Stockholm in 48 hours

There’s something about Stockholm that I like more than any other city I’ve travelled to. Yes, winters are cold and wet and daylight comes and goes before you can say köttbullar, but there is so much that makes up for that.

48 hours in Stockholm


There probably isn’t a place cooler than Stockholm. Whether you walk into a coffee shop for your afternoon fika or walk around the vivid city center, you can’t help but notice Swedes are refined, stylish and elegant in everything they do.

This is certainly noticeable around the city where the mix of art, design and fashion is all around you. Add some beautiful outdoor locations, surrounded by water and nature and you have plenty to explore.

This is how to spend 48 hours in Stockholm to the fullest.

The basics

  • Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)
  • Language: Swedish
  • Airports: Arlanda (largest, furthest from city center), Bromma (small, close by, our favorite). Both have good train and/or bus connections to the city.

Day 1

Stockholm City Hall

Stockholm City HallStockholm City Hall Stockholm City Hall Stockholm City Hall

Start your morning at the city hall, one of Stockholm’s most visited buildings. Take one of the guided tours and find yourself standing in the council chamber or in one of the impressive ceremonial halls where the Nobel Prize banquet is held.

When feeling energized, you can climb the 106 meter high City Hall tower (separate ticket) to witness a breathtaking view over Stockholm.

However, since groups are only allowed up every 40 minutes, we opted for a short stroll in the area between the building and the water. The morning sun rewarded us with a great view on Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s medieval city centre.

Gamla Stan

Stockholm Gamla Stan Stockholm Gamla Stan Stockholm Gamla Stan

Take a walk next to the water into the city towards Gamla Stan, or old town. Don’t take the first bridge but follow the water until you reach a smaller bridge, which will lead you straight into the island where it all began in Medieval times.

Its colourful houses and small cobbled roads create a unique setting and being one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe, it is no surprise that this is probably the most touristic area of Stockholm.

Explore the car-free streets and discover the cathedral, the city’s oldest square Stortoget and see if you can find Mårten Trotzigs grand, Stockholm’s narrowest street.

Stockholm Streets Stockholm Streets

Gamla Stan also houses the Royal Palace, and if you time your walk well, you are just in time to witness the Changing of the Royal Guard, which takes places around noon.

Seen the many shops, bars and restaurants, the old town is also a great place to spend lunch!

Boat Tour

Water surrounds the little islands of Stockholm. This makes it ideal to get a good view on the highlights from a boat.

The one-hour tours you find close to Gamla Stan and the city hall are ideal for some great sights from the water.

Shopping

Sweden has a reputation for fashion and style and Stockholm certainly lives up to those expectations. With shopping malls, fancy boutiques and luxury designer stores every shopper finds something to their likings.

Crossing Gamla Stan to the south will take you to Södermalm, one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world according to Vogue Magazine. This hipster hangout contains a great collection of small emerging brands, vintage boutiques and hip design stores.

If casual or common brands are more to your liking, just go north from Gamla Stan into Drottninggatan. This major pedestrian street stretches all the way to center-Stockholm and is lined-up with stores, shops and small malls as well as restaurants, bars and coffee houses.

Stockholm in the evening

However Stockholm has an excellent nightlife, we preferred to spend our evening participating in the many walking tours that are organized around the city. Stockholm’s Free Walking Tour has some excellent, passionate guides to reveal some of the city’s most interesting spots.

For those more adventurous, the Stockholm Ghost Walk might give you that little bit of extra excitement you need after a busy day around the city.

If the weather does not allow outdoor activities, the Fotografiska Museet stays open until at least 23h and provides a variety of photography exhibitions. Have a drink in the stylish café afterwards and enjoy a beautiful view on Stockholm’s skyline.

Day 2

Travel to the island of Djurgården either by bus or tram or by taking the ferry boat from Gamla Stan. This royal land is Stockholm’s green lung and home to many museums, a theme park, an open-air museum and other attractions.

The Vasa Museum

Vasa Stockholm Vasa Stockholm Vasa Stockholm

The story by itself is already worth visiting the Vasa Museum, Scandinavia’s most visited museum. A giant ship, built to impress, that sinks as soon as it leaves the harbour. Its wreck being unfindable for over 300 years… And there it stands…

Salvaged 50 years ago and restoration still in progress. A giant building built around it. The Vasa is impressive and definitely worth the queuing at the entrance.

Spirit Museum

This might become your next favourite museum! We loved the interactive approach that taught us everything on the history of the liquor, the process of making spirits, and particularly interesting: the effects on consuming it.

Skansen

Granted, you need to have a bit of luck with the Swedish weather when visiting Skansen. This open-air museum showcases 150 traditional Swedish houses and exhibits to give an insight into how Swedes lived.

Visit the bakery, the post office, see glass-blowers in action or walk through the mini-zoo with native Scandinavian animals. The park is huge and there are plenty of daily activities that keeps you busy for an entire afternoon.

Conclusion

What we liked

  • The healthy lifestyle of the Swedes allows great new food findings. We had some very healthy lunches that tasted delicious!
  • The wonderful parks around the city were perfect to escape the city scene.

What we disliked

  • Stockholm might not be the most affordable city trip. Food and drinks are rather expensive, not to mention alcoholic beverages.

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