After spending a week in Copenhagen last spring, I knew I want to see more of Scandinavia. So I’ve chosen its capital, Stockholm, to be my next destination!
Stockholm was a city I knew I’ll fell in love with immediately. Combination of beautiful historical architecture and a city on a sea (located on 14 islands) was a winning combination for me. I’ve enjoyed so much in my four days in Stockholm! And well, here’s my travel diary.
Four days in Stockholm
We came to Stockholm in the afternoon, and during our ride from the airport to the hotel, I was just amazed by all the nature and forests we saw on our way. It was such a difference after a quite urbanized the Netherlands.
Since I was there with my husband and our 2.5-year-old son, we booked a suite in an aparthotel in Bromma neighbourhood. It was located next to the metro station and a square with many stores, so it was a perfect location for us.
After we’ve checked in, we went to the city centre, had dinner in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s Old Town and went for a walk around its cobbled streets and a harbour later on.
Plan for a day was to go to the Djurgården, one of Stockholm’s islands and see some of its museums. Stockholm is the greenest city I’ve ever seen, trees and flowers are everywhere. It almost looks like the whole city was built in a forest.
Djurgården Island, although placed right in the city centre, feels more like a nature resort. It’s also called the Island of museums because most of them are placed there. It’s home to the Tivoli amusement park and many restaurants, so it became my favourite part of Stockholm.
The most famous of Stockholm’s museums is without doubt the Vasa Museum. It’s a home to the 17th century ship that sunken on its maiden voyage just in front of the shore of Stockholm.
There was quite a queue in front of it, but once we were inside it, it really felt like it was worth it. It’s impressive to see such a large ship, and it’s beautiful decorations from a close.
Walking tour around Gamla Stan
After lunch in a museum restaurant (I’ve found museum restaurants in Stockholm to be really good) we went to Gamla Stan once again. It’s the oldest part of the city and a home to the Royal Palace. We had a Stockholm Old town walk with OURWAY Tours scheduled in the afternoon. We’ve seen some of its most beautiful buildings, the narrowest street in the city and learn about its intriguing history, as well.
I always love to take this kind of tours at the beginning of my trip, because you really get to know the city. And it’s still good to get some tips about the restaurants and places to go, from a local guide.
It was such nice weather outside it would be a shame not to spend it in one of Stockholm’s parks. We went to King’s kitchen garden, a huge green area composed of a few parks. And it looked like a lot of people had the same thought in their mind. It was filled with people having picnics and chatting together.
That’s one of my favourite ways of exploring the new cities, by meeting its locals. Karlo was playing with some children there, I was talking with their parents, and Marijan was watching a chess game. It was definitely the best way to feel Stockholm!
Swedes are famous for their design and it’s a part of their culture I wanted to learn more about.
However, we took a different approach here and instead of going to the museum, we went to NK department store in the evening to see some of their latest releases. I am so in love with Scandinavian design and its simplicity, and the collection of interior design they have over there is just so beautiful. I felt so sorry we travelled with our backpacks only so I couldn’t buy anything to take home with us.
Having daylight all night long…
That evening I also realized I haven’t really seen the night there. I went to bed around 11:30 PM and it was still daylight outside and woke up at 3 AM during the night, and, you’re guessing, it was still light outside. It was the first time I experienced something like that and to be honest, wasn’t really thrilled with it. After four nights, I felt almost jet-lagged when I came back home.
Change of guard in Royal Palace
I love waking up early (well my early bird Karlo waking up at 5 AM really helps with it) when I’m travelling and stroll around the city during the morning when it’s so empty and calm. It usually looks so different than during the day.
On our way to Skansen next morning we were passing next to the Royal Palace and saw the guard change on our way. It was very different than how it looks like in some other cities. Soldiers in the blue uniforms weren’t looking the same (like for example in London or Prague) and were almost a bit too relaxed. Well, maybe they were just thrilled because of the beautiful weather outside.
Located on the Djurgården Island as well, the world’s oldest open-air museum was opened at the end of the 19th century. It was founded as a place where people from Stockholm could see how Swedes used to live. It has preserved the old village from the 19th century with actors dressed in historical clothes that will explain you their professions or the life from that time.
It also has a small zoo with animals from Sweden. I have divided feelings about the zoos, but this one was really amazing. Animals weren’t in cages, but they had massive space in the forest for themselves. There was a fence of course, but their area was so large it was impossible to see the end of their habitats. That’s why it was sometimes also unlikely to see the animals, but in this way, they weren’t disturbed by the visitors either. I truly loved that concept and felt like all zoos should look like the one in Skansen.
Lunch time – meatballs
After the whole morning walking around Skansen, we were so tired and hungry, that we felt so happy when founded a beautiful restaurant with a wonderful terrace next to it. We continued to learn about traditional Sweden and ordered one of the most popular Swedish meals – meatballs!
And although I’m not really a fan of them, those meatballs with some fresh cucumbers and a cranberry sauce were really delicious!
After the lunch, we went to my new favourite children museum – Junibacken.
If you’re visiting Stockholm with a child, this place should definitely be on your list. They’ve created a story train that will take you to a truly magical journey through some of the stories Astrid Lindgren has created (like Pippi Longstocking and Emil of Lönneberga). During your ride, you’ll be flying above a model of Stockholm or facing a terrifying dragon. It was a real fairytale!
Museum has a beautiful indoor and outdoor playground and a restaurant with the most beautiful view.
Get your ticket for the Junibacken Museum at a link here.
It looks like lately every single city has its famous local hipster neighbourhood. Södermalm is that kind of a neighbourhood in Stockholm, a place with many nice local restaurants and bars and surprisingly no street art at all. I usually love to explore street art in those areas but haven’t seen any in Stockholm.
However, it does have some of the best views of Stockholm!
Vikings in the Historiska Museum
Historiska, the Swedish history museum, is maybe not among the sights on everyone’s Stockholm bucket list, but with a great collection of Viking art, children workshops, free admission and a daily free guided tours it definitely has something to offer.
I went to the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde last year and this was just a nice extension of the story I’ve got there.
In Croatia, my home country, we have a concept of ‘going to have a coffee’, which is basically a time in a day you’re spending with your friends by sipping a coffee and chatting (ok, rather gossiping). I don’t have to say I was thrilled when I learned Swedes have the same concept. They just added some delicious desserts to it.
Well, I was having fika every single day in Stockholm, because, you know, you should respect local customs…
I’m so lucky with the weather whenever in Scandinavia, I haven’t really seen rain over there. Since we had such beautiful sunny days, we wanted to spend as much of our time outside.
We had a morning flight back home, so we woke up quite early and went to the airport. It was so nice to have the last look to Stockholm from the above, to a beautiful green city on so many islands.
Well, Stockholm, I hope I’ll visit you again!
*Thanks to OURWAY Tours for providing the ‘Stockholm old town walk’ to us for free! However, as always, all opinions are my own.
**This post contains some affiliate links.