How To Explore Stockholm in a Day

Stockholm was the city I was most looking forward to visiting on my 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…

Gamla Stan - 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.

Gamla Stan - Stockholm in a day

Bicycle - Stockholm in a day

Gamla Stan - Stockholm in a day
The Travelista - Stockholm In a Day

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.

Royal Palace Chapel Stockholm

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.

Fika - Stockholm In a Day - Gamla Stan

The Travelista - Stockholm

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.

 

Stockholm In a Day

Royal Palace Stockholm in a Day

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.

Stadion Subway Stockholm - Stockholm in a day

Photo Credit danflyingsolo.com

Cherry Blososm - Stockholm in a Day

Cherry Trees Kungsträdgården Stockholm - The Travelista
Cherry Trees Kungsträdgården Stockholm - The Travelista

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.

Stockholm Rooftops - in a Day

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;

Budget - Hotel Söder
A budget B&B located in central Sodermalm. Read Reviews // Book Now

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 

Luxury - Grand Hotel Stockholm - A Grand Dame hotel in the heart of Stockholm. Situated on the waterfront opposite the Royal Palace and the Old Town.  Read Reviews // Book Now

Browse other hotels in Stockholm

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.

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

9 Comments

  • The Subway Street Art really looks like a must do. Amazing things to cover in a day. Thanks for the article.

  • what itinerary would you recommend if only at port for 6.5 hours.9:30-4.Really would love to see Gamla Stan.the royal palace,changing of the guard,Djurgarden,Vasa museum,and Skansen.Plus try a Fika.Do not know if time will allow this and get back to the ship.What recommendations do you have for transportation?

  • Thanks for the insights and really nice places in Stockholm. Not many people know about this city yet it’s one of the oldest in Europe. So there are many famous landmarks from here too? Nice to note.

  • Sophie Howard

    I was only in Stockholm less than a week ago and after reading this post and looking through your pictures, I can still picture it vividly and can smell the streets! We stayed in Gamla Stan and we were located only around the corner from Stortorget. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been to and I was so reluctant to come home. You’ve pictured Stockholm beautifully and suggested the top things to do in just a few short hours. You should have had a hot chocolate and caramel and pecan pie from Chokoladkoppen in Stortorget!

    Thank you for a beautiful post which has brought back some fantastic memories for me. I was just wondering, do you have a post on Prague? That’s my next destination!

    Sophie.

  • Stockholm is high up on my wish list. The Royal Palace is gorgeous!

  • It just shows if you plan well, you can see so much of somewhere in a day!

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