Stockholm was the city I was most looking forward to visiting on my recent Scandinavian Cruise. But as I had less than 12 hours in Stockholm, I knew there was only so much I’d be able to see. I decided to see it as a fun chance to ‘scratch the surface’ of Stockholm and didn’t put pressure on myself to get round all the sights (which would have been down right impossible). If like me, you only have a short time in Stockholm, I’ve put this post together to help you explore Stockholm in a day. To keep you on track, I’ve suggested a loose schedule to make sure you can fit everything in. Even if you have longer to spare (lucky you!) then this post would be great for Day 1 of your city break to Stockholm. Here is Stockholm in a Day…
Stockholm in A Day
9am: Start your day by exploring Gamla Stan
You cannot spend a day in Stockholm without visiting the colourful Gamla Stan. Otherwise known as The Old Town, Gamla Stan is a quaint labyrinth of medieval buildings, cobbled streets and (incredibly Instagrammable) terracotta walls. Enjoy an hour or so of strolling around the streets and taking in the atmosphere.
10.00am - Check out the Slottskyrkan Royal Chapel
Gamla Stan is also home to Stockholm’s Royal Palace, which is definitely one of the Top 10 things to do in Stockholm. If you've only got time to explore Stockholm in a day, I’d recommend saving the full Palace Tour for another visit but be sure to pop your head into the magnificent Slottskyrkan (Royal Chapel) which is free.
10.30am: Stop for a Fika Break
‘Fika’ is a Swedish term to describe a relaxed moment that involves coffee, cake and conversation. They value the concept of sitting down to enjoy something sociable and sweet, rather than grabbing coffee on the go. Do as the Swedes do and enjoy a mid-morning Fika break. I’d recommend stopping at the Cosy Cafe in Gamla Stan or at one of the quaint cafes in the nearby Kungsträdgården.
11.45am: Watch the Changing of the Guards at the Royal Palace
This iconic daily routine takes place outside the Royal Palace and is a way to see something traditional whist spending a day in Stockholm. I managed to catch the changing of the guards and loved seeing the cavalry on horseback in their royal blue uniforms.
12.00pm: Head underground to check out the famous Subway Street Art
Under the streets of Stockholm is a hidden gallery of art work and graffiti. There are more than 90 works of art across the cities’ 100 metro stations, and each one is totally unique. You could spend a whole day hopping around to see all the murals, but if you only have time to explore Stockholm in a day, I would recommend heading to some of the most famous ones including Kungstädgården, Rådhuset and Stadion. Visiting the subway street art is a great way to see a more contemporary side of the city.
Top Tip: If you’re visiting Stockholm in April or May be sure to cross the river from Gamla Stan into the nearby Kungsträdgården to see the pink cherry blossom trees in full bloom.
1.00pm: Sample Authentic Swedish Meatballs in trendy Södermalm
No trip to Stockholm would be complete without sampling some traditional Swedish meatballs. Your best bet is to find these away from the touristy Gamla Stan, where they’re likely to be twice as authentic and half the price. Head to the trendy area of Södermalm to dine on proper Swedish meatballs with the locals. Kalf & Hansen and Restaurant Pelikan are both in Södermalm and serve up some of the best Swedish meatballs in Stockholm.
3.00pm: Make time for a Museum or Attraction
Once you’ve fuelled up on meatballs and explored the hipster corners of Södermalm, spend a leisurely afternoon at a museum of your choice. I visited the ABBA Museum in Stockholm which was so much fun. The museum is really fun and interactive and definitely brings the ABBA story to live. I loved it, but realise it night not be everyone’s thing. Instead, you could visit one of these other top Stockholm museums;
- The Vasa Museum (the most visited museum in Scandinavia)
- Fotografiska (The Swedish Museum of Photography)
- GronaLund Amusement Park (great for kids, teenagers and adrenaline junkies)
- Museet Modern (great for modern art lovers)
- OR return to the Stockholm Palace and look around the interiors
Where to Eat
If you want to dine somewhere a bit special in Stockholm, head to Eriks Gondolen Restaurant. This refined white-table cloth establishment is suspended in a Gondola above the city and has spectacular panoramic views as well as s fantastic fine-dining menu. I stopped here for lunch during my time in Stockholm and it was a real treat.
Where to Stay
These hotels are all wonderfully central and there’s one to suit every budget;
Boutique - Hotel Kungsträdgården / Kings Garden
Opened in January 2015, this boutique hotel is housed in a fully-renovated 18th century building in central Stockholm and has 94 individually designed rooms. Read Reviews // Book Now
What do you think of this itinerary to see Stockholm in a day? Have you visited Stockholm or is it somewhere you're planning a trip to? Is there any extra advice you could give fellow travellers? If you enjoyed this post, please leave me a comment in the comment box below.
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I visited Stockholm in a day during an 11-day Scandinavia and Russia cruise with Princess Cruises. It departs from Copenhagen and is available from £999. All views are my own.