Stockholm is an amazing city for a city trip! It’s the capital city of Sweden and one of the most liberal, open-minded, and trendy cities we have ever visited. This Stockholm in 3 days itinerary is a complete guide to enjoy the city’s nature, must-see sights, cuisine, museums, and to get to know its history and culture. 3 days in Stockholm is enough time to experience the urban side of the city but also the calm (nature-)side of it.
Something we love about Stockholm is that there’s water everywhere. Perfect for a romantic walk along the waterside or for a refreshing dip in summer. Stockholm is spread over 14 islands, that are connected by 57 bridges. The Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren melt together in Stockholm. That’s why there is both fresh and saltwater in the city (separated by Gamla Stan).
Every island has its own vibes and character. The island Gamla Stan can’t be missed during your 3 days in Stockholm. It’s Stockholm’s original city center, which originates from the 13th century. Gamla Stan consists of the cutest cobbled streets, colorful houses, and unique alleys.
Continue reading for our Stockholm in 3 days itinerary including tips on how to get around, where to stay and where to go for food and drinks.
Stockholm in 3 Days: A Day by Day Stockholm Itinerary
Day 1: Get to Know the City
Wander Around Gamla Stan
Gamla Stan is the old town of Stockholm. In 1952, Stockholm was founded on this island! So it’s an important part of Stockholm you can’t miss. Gamla Stan is a beautiful part of Stockholm and very different than the rest of the city. We did a tour to explore Gamla Stan (join a free walking tour for example), but it’s also amazing to wander around yourself and stumble upon the cutest little alleyways with cobblestone streets. Make sure to bring your camera as Gamla Stan is very picturesque.
Västerlånggatan and Osterlånggatan are the main streets of Gamla Stan. Stortorget, located in the middle of Gamla Stan, is Stockholm’s oldest square. The square is the heart of Gamla Stan and is therefore often a busy place. There some cafes on the square, so it’s the perfect spot for fika (we will tell you all about fika in the next paragraph!) and to watch people passing by. We recommend the cafe Chokladkoppen for some hot chocolate and Swedish cinnamon buns. Chokladkoppen was the first place in Sweden to wave a rainbow flag!
On the square, you can also find the Stockholm exchange building which houses the Nobel Museum. Go inside to learn more about the Nobel Prize, its winners, and about the founder, Alfred Nobel.
There are also several churches and museums in Gamla Stan. Plus, here you can find the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet). If you are interested in the royal family, make sure to pay a visit to the Royal Palace. The palace is the official residence of the royal family and is one of the oldest palaces in Europe. The interior of the palace is beautiful. At the palace’s outer courtyard it’s possible to see the change of the guards. During summertime, it takes place once a day!
Do you like palaces and do you want to see more palaces, besides the Royal Palace? Head to the UNESCO World Heritage site Drottningholm Palace. This Royal castle is built in the 1600s and is a private residence of the Royal Swedish family. The palace is popular amongst tourists. Drottningholm Palace is located a bit out of the city, so you might want to skip other sights of this Stockholm in 3 days itinerary if you want to visit the palace!
A very important Swedish concept to learn: Fika. A translation of Fika is a coffee break with a cookie or pastry. But it’s much more than that. Swedish people say it’s a concept, a state of mind and so so so important in Swedish culture. During Fika, you need to slow down and enjoy time with your friends, family and/or colleagues. You don’t do Fika alone in front of your computer. It’s a must-do experience when visiting Sweden! What sweets to eat during Fika isn’t important, but we ate a lot of Swedish cinnamon buns (kanelbullar) – they’re SO GOOD.
Visit the Metro Stations
Don’t just ride the metro, visit the stations! You probably wonder ‘why would I go visit a metro station?’ Well, go there to admire the world’s largest art gallery! Every station in Stockholm is uniquely decorated with different art pieces. Therefore, it’s awesome to explore underground Stockholm as well. We tried to see most of them, but after five hours of underground exploration, we had to hurry to not miss the last metro at night.
Go after rush hour in the morning, or late at night, for fewer people at the stations (which makes for better pictures!). You can easily do a self-guided tour or if you would like to have more information, join a metro art tour! There are a few stations you absolutely cannot miss:
Stadion Station can be found on the red line and it’s our favorite art station of all. In our opinion, it can’t be missed during your 3 days in Stockholm!
It’s a station with a huge rainbow and cloud-like blue. Grab your camera and tripod and get ready to shoot! Since there’s no natural light in the station, we highly recommend using a tripod – otherwise, your shots might turn out blurry. Use a lower ISO to make sure your picture doesn’t get too grainy – but remember that slows down your shutter speed!
T-Centralen is located on the blue line and is the main subway station in Stockholm. Therefore, many people visit this station, often in a hurry. The artist who created the art in T-Centralen tried to create a calming atmosphere in the station with blue colors and flowery motifs.
The new City line (Citybanan) connects T-Centralen directly with Odenplan, with the green line. Go to Odenplan’s western entrance hallway to see a stunning piece of art called Life Line. The lights on the ceiling are inspired by the heartbeat of the artist’s son. How meaningful is that!?
Solna Centrum is located on the blue line and is amazing to see. This station is super red and makes for great pictures (it’s a popular station on Instagram ?).
At the end of the red line, is Mörby Centrum station. We absolutely love this station. At first, you might think, what’s so special here, but once you look further it’s pretty cool. It feels like a cotton candy colorful heaven. Fun fact: the colors of the walls change depending on where you stand! Try it out!
Other great stations
Multiple stations have rainbow escalators, which are awesome to see! You can find them at Hallonberger for example. Rådhuset, Thorildsplan, and Tekniska Hogskola are also great stations to see if you have more time.
Good to know: you can get a 75-minute ticket for SEK 45 ($5) or a 24 hours ticket. So if you don’t go out, you can do the entire “art gallery” for just $5!
Day 2: Museums and Nature
Visit the ABBA and Vasa Museum
The ABBA and the Vasa Museum are both great museums, though very different from each other. They are both located on the island Djurgården, also known as the museum island. On the island, you will find many museums (surprise!).
The ABBA museum is obviously about the world-famous Swedish pop group ABBA from the 70s and 80s. In 2013, the ABBA museum opened its doors in Stockholm. It’s an interactive museum which guarantees fun, you can do karaoke for example! Please make sure not to visit the museum during the weekend, as it can get crowded inside.
The Vasa Museum is a spectacular museum and it’s one of the most visited attractions in Scandinavia. The museum can’t be missed on this Stockholm itinerary! The Vasa is a ship that sank in 1628 and is the only 17th-century ship that’s still intact. The ship had been in the water for 333 years before it was salvaged. It’s very impressive to see such a big ship in a building. We highly recommend watching the video about the history of the ship in the museum first, before exploring the rest.
Looking for more fun? On the island Djurgården, there’s an amusement park! Gröna Lund is small but definitely fun for a couple of hours. And on the island, you can also find Skansen, the oldest open-air museum in the world. In the museum, you can discover the history of Sweden and you can see how Swedes used to live. Skansen showcases houses en farms from all around Sweden.
Stroll Along the Waterside
You see water everywhere in Stockholm! Stockholm is spread over 14 islands, and the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren melt together in Stockholm. That’s why there is both fresh and saltwater in the city (separated by Gamla Stan). The waters are very clean and clear, so during a hot summer day people jump in the water to cool off. 57 bridges connect the islands in Stockholm and you can hop on a ferry between some islands. Strolling along the waterside of Stockholm is wonderful and there are quite some nice spots to sit down and enjoy the Swedish capital. Don’t forget to visit the iconic bridge Skeppsholmsbron with its iconic crown.
More Time? Visit Millesgården or the Photography Museum
Millesgården is an oasis 20 minutes away from the city center of Stockholm. It’s a museum, art gallery and sculpture garden set on the grounds of the artists’ Carl and Olga Milles. The sculpture garden is amazing and besides beautiful sculptures and statues, the views are great too. Explore Carl and Olga’s former home, paintings, an antique collection, and wander around the garden. It’s a beautiful, peaceful and inspiring place to go to.
Fotografksi is the most interesting photography museum we ever visited. With regularly changing exhibitions, there’s always something new to see. If you like photography we highly recommend going here! It’s located on the island of Södermalm.
Day 3: Trendy Stockholm
Explore Hipster Södermalm
Södermalm is Stockholm’s southern island and is the trendy – hipster – district of the city. There are many fika spots in Södermalm, as well as many bars, restaurants, and hotels. A go-to spot on the island is Monteliusvägen. We absolutely love the view from up there! Also, on the island, you can find locations from the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson, for example, Mikael Blomkvist’s apartment! If you are into it, there are tours you can do to visit all the Millennium spots.
Södermalm is the perfect island to wander around, enjoy delicious food, drinks, and views of the city. Our favorite mural in Stockholm is located on the island, head to Luthens gränd for a cool piece of street art by artist YASH!
Shop till you Drop at Drottninggatan and Bibliotekstan
Bibliotekstan is a shopping district home to Swedish fashion. Visit Hope, ACNE Studios, Filippa K and join the Swedish fashion trends. The whole area has a vibrant atmosphere and has beautiful architecture. In this district, you can also get high-end international fashion, like Prada and Gucci.
Drottninggatan street is a long street with many shops close to Bibliotekstan. While there are many H&M’s here (did you know H&M is Swedish?), you can also find boutique shops and department stores here. The street is a car-free zone and perfect for some shopping. Looking for gender-neutral clothing? Head to Hope! For Swedes, shops with gender-neutral clothing are absolutely normal. That’s something we love!
If you don’t like shopping you can decide to not include it in your Stockholm in 3 days itinerary, though the whole area is nice to wander around and see yourself. Especially as it’s so different than other areas in Stockholm, like Gamla Stan and Södermalm.
End the day and your Stockholm visit with drinks at Mälarpaviljongen
Mälarpaviljongen is a floating restaurant and is our absolute favorite place to go to for a drink in Stockholm. It’s truly a paradise located in the city center of Stockholm. The restaurant overlooks the water and it’s a perfect place to go and escape the bustle of the city and enjoy Stockholm’s nature.
Mälarpaviljongen is only open from the beginning of April until the end of September. So if you go to Stockholm during the winter and autumn months, you can’t visit the floating restaurant. More reason to come back to Stockholm!
Best Time to Visit Stockholm
Stockholm is a great city to visit all year round. Every season has its advantages and disadvantages. Summer is a great time to visit Stockholm, the temperatures are higher and the days are much longer. Though, it’s busier in the city and therefore also more expensive. In winter, days are shorter, the sun is only up for a couple of hours, and it’s a lot colder. But snow makes for picturesque cozy fairytale scenes. Plus, there are fewer tourists in the city!
How to Get Around?
It’s very easy to travel around Stockholm by public transport: by bus, boat, metro, or tram for example. Good to know: you can’t buy tickets on most public transportation. Make sure to buy an electronic SL Access card or a single journey card when you hop on a bus, boat, tram, or metro. You can put money on the SL Acces card, so you can use it every time you use public transportation. It’s also possible to tickets that are valid for a longer period on the travel card.
Another idea is to get a Stockholm pass. The Stockholm pass might seem expensive at first. But the Stockholm pass includes many attractions plus boat and bus tours, which saves a lot when you want to see and do many things!
It’s also doable to see a lot of the city on foot. Renting a bicycle is also an option! The way we loved getting around Stockholm was by electric scooter! We had the best time ever riding a Lime-scooter. You can find Lime and Voi scooters all around the city.
Where to Stay in Stockholm?
Stockholm has some fantastic hotels and hostels! We will share our favorites in different price ranges:
- Hotel Rival is located on hipster island Södermalm and it’s a wonderful hotel to stay at. It’s Stockholm’s first boutique hotel. And it’s not only a hotel, but it’s also a cafe, restaurant, theatre, and bar! Fun fact: Hotel Rival is owned by Benny Andersson from ABBA.
- Hotel Skeppsholmen is an entirely different hotel and perfect if you are looking for a peaceful and stylish place to stay. Located on the island Skeppsholmen, it’s close to the city center but at the same time, it feels like you are far away from the city! It’s an eco-friendly spot in the city.
- Looking for something cheaper? The STF af Chapman & Skeppsholmen is a hostel and unique place to stay. The hostel is located on board of a late 1800s ship!
- Hotel Diplomat is a gorgeous hotel. Perfect if you are looking for a fancy stay in the city. The building is stunning and located perfectly close to everything!
- Are you a true ABBA fan? Then stay at Pop House Hotel, located in the same building as the ABBA Museum. The rooms of Pop House Hotel are all stylish Swedish decorated.
- Another great hostel in the city is Generator Stockholm. Generally, Generator hostels are great to stay at. Generator Stockholm is located close to the central station and to the Drottninggatan shopping street.
Want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ spots in the city?! Head to our Lesbian Stockholm blog to learn more!
Where to Eat the Best Food?
From fancy restaurants to the McDonald’s of Sweden, we tried it all. Enjoy the delicious food Stockholm has to offer:
- Taverna Brillo: we absolutely love the food and vibes here! The restaurant offers different kinds of foods, from traditional Swedish food to Italian pasta. Our recommendation: their pizza with caviar!
- Mälarpaviljongen: this floating restaurant is a paradise! Located in the city center of Stockholm, with beautiful views overlooking the water, it’s the perfect spot to have a drink and food enjoying Stockholm’s nature. Mälarpaviljongen is open from the beginning of April until the end of September and is gay-owned!
- Södra Teatern: located on Södermalm with great views of the city. Södra Teatern has a lot to offer: multiple stages, bars, terraces (perfect for those views!), and a restaurant.
- Max: Okay, this recommendation is not as classy as the others, but the hamburgers of Max are so delicious! Max is the Swedish version of McDonald’s but even better. They have AMAZING sauces too!
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