How to Spend 3 Days in Stockholm, Sweden

by | Aug 20, 2021 | Live Work Play Travel, Scandinavia Live Work and Play | 44 comments

Stockholm is a stylish and dynamic city with a picturesque Old Town. According to studies, Sweden has one of the happiest citizens in the World. The capital of Sweden is a mix of 13th century colourful houses, open-minded people, and deep history. The city is located by the Baltic Sea and includes 14 islands and 57 bridges to connect them. For an active time in the capital of Sweden, here are the must-see, must-sense, and must-do things to experience on a 3 day visit to Stockholm.

 

Best time to visit Stockholm

 

Anytime is a good time to visit Stockholm in my opinion. However the weather can play a big part on your decision on when to visit Stockholm on your 3 day visit. Stockholm, and most of Sweden enjoys warm summers and very cold winters. And I mean very cold with plenty of snow. If you want to visit during the best weather I would suggest visit during the warmer months. However, if you are visiting while on a working holiday in Sweden you will experience all weathers and it doesn’t really matter when you visit.

I have visited Stockholm three times during my travels. The first was in May when Sweden was beginning to warm up, the weather was nice during the day, yet it was still cool at night. My next visit was during the summer months. I was on a tour and the weather was just beautiful. In fact, a little on the hot side which made being a tourist quite tiring walking around in the heat. My third visit was with a Swedish friend who invited me home to Sweden for Christmas with her family. I arrived with a temperature of -15 degrees Celsius. I can say I have never been so cold and it made being a tourist quite unbearable at times not just from the cold but from the ice on the ground that I slipped on many times. So when is the best time to visit Stockholm? I would say, it will depend on what activity you are heading to Sweden for.

 

Where to stay in Stockholm

 

If you’re wondering where to stay in Stockholm, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. The best areas to stay in Stockholm are in the inner city around Gamla Stan, Norrmalm, Östermalm and Södermalm. These areas house many of Stockholm’s main attractions, so they are the perfect base for your 3 days in Stockholm. Here are some options:

Hostel: Voted the best hostel in Stockholm by HostelWorld is City Backpackers Hostel, a popular choice for budget-minded travellers looking for some place close to the city centre. For more hostel options and to get pricing and to book, check out HostelWorld.
Budget: For a frugal, no-frills options near central Stockholm, Comfort Hotel Xpress Stockholm.
Mid-rangeScandic Sjöfartshotellet is a great choice if you are planning to stay in Södermalm – read about this suburb in this post.
Splurge: For some opulence check out Stockholm’s prestigious Grand Hôtel.

For more accommodation options in Stockholm have a look on the following map. 

 

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How to get around Stockholm

 

The best way to get around Stockholm is to walk as many of the popular sites are relatively close together. Stockholm is a very pedestrian-friendly city and you can truly appreciate what Stockholm has to offer when you walk. 

TIP: When walking around Gamla Stan, the Old City, ensure to wear a comfortable pair of flat shoes as heels can get stuck in the pavement. And if walking around during the winter when snow is about, have shoes with very good tread to help stop slips on any hidden ice.

To get to some of the attractions further afield from Gamla Stan, definitely make use of the public transport system. Stockholm’s T-Banan (the subway, metro, underground) and the trams, regional trains and buses and the boat shuttle services are all top notch and make getting around Stockholm very easy. To use the transport you will need an electronic smart card called the SL Access Card which you load credit for your trips on the transport. You can purchase one of these at Pressbyrån kiosks, tourist information offices, and Stockholm Public Transport (SL) centres. You can also purchase single-use travelcards with tickets valid for 75 minutes or 24 hours. It depends on your plans. You can get more information on the tickets and using the transport in Stockholm at the SL site.

Stockholm Metro Art

One of the best things about travelling on the public transport system in Sweden, in particular the Stockholm Metro is that it is akin to being a mobile art gallery. Stations can have mosaics, installations, murals and sculptures and you can appreciate them all for just the price of a train ticket. The Stockholm Metor has more than 100 stations with about 90 having intricate art displays. My favourite station is T-Centralen (All lines). T-Centralen is decorated by blue vines and floral motifs intended to create peace and serenity for commuters. My second favourite is Rådhuset on the Blue line T10 and T11 which has numerous archaeological findings and exposed bedrock – magical! I will leave you to discover your favourites as you use the Stockholm Metro to travel around Stockholm.

 

T-Centralin Stockholm Is My Favourite Train Station In Stockholm. It Is A Calming Blue Colour.

T-Centralin, Stockholm – my favourite station

 

Hop-on Hop-off Tourist Bus

If you would like to get to know Stockholm very quickly so you can go back to certain places hop aboard the Hop-on Hop-off bus. It will take you to many of the top tourist spots. You can stay on the bus and do the entire route to provide you with ideas of where you would like to visit. When you know, simply hop-off the bus. Once you have enjoyed the spot, hop back on the bus to be taken to your next spot. You can purchase a ticket here.

Go Stockholm Pass

The Go Stockholm Pass formerly the Stockholm Pass is a pass providing free admission to most of the city’s attractions. It is great to beat the hassle of waiting in lines to purchase tickets. And say goodbye to paper tickets as you can download the pass to your phone and just show your pass at each attraction to enter. Easy!

 

Your 3 Days in Stockholm Itinerary

 

Day 1 – Gamla Stan and The Centre

 

Kick your first day off in Stockholm by getting a real medieval feel at Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. It is located mainly on Stadsholmen – the beautiful island in the middle of the city. This area dated from the 13th century consists of colourful medieval houses, cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways. In addition to having some of the major attractions in Stockholm, it has many cafes, bars, boutiques and restaurants to enjoy. The best way to enjoy Gamla Stan is to get lost in the labyrinth of streets and alleys. Hopefully, strolling through the peaceful alleys, you will find your way to Stortorget square – the oldest square in the capital. It is a popular spot to meet and for concerts and shows, and the spot for the annual Christmas market. Stortorget’s most famous building is that of the former stock exchange. If you need a rest and a pick-me-up, enjoy fika (coffee accompanied by some pastries).

 

Gamla Stan Has Many Narrow Lane Ways. This Is A Typical One. Cobbled Walkway With Tall Building On Either Side Dating Back To The 13th Century.

One of the laneways in Gamla Stan, Stockholm

 

A stone’s throw away from the square sits the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Sweden. The Queen’s official residence lies elsewhere in the equally impressive Drottningholm Palace – which is on our list to see on day 3. The Royal Palace was designed by renowned architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and was built between 1697 and 1754. The Royals have their offices at the palace and host offical state ceremonies. As well, the Royal Palace is home to four museums which you can visit. A large chunk of the palace’s 600 rooms are open to the public for you to admire the sumptuous interiors and priceless works of art however, due to its sheer size, you can get ‘palace fatigue’ and may want to move on to experience other things Stockholm has to offer. However, I do recommend a visit the Royal Palace’s Royal Armory. This is the oldest museum in Sweden having been founded in 1628 the name is misleading since it is not so much about weapons as the ceremonial aspects.  It contains many Swedish artefacts pertaining to Sweden’s military history including ceremonial costumes and elaborate carriages. 

Other buildings you will see while out and about in Stockholm are the Swedish Parliament Building, Stockholm Cathedral and the Stockholm Town Hall which is one of Stockholm’s most recognisable buildings. It is made of a 8 million dark red bricks and its tower has three golden crowns with the Swedish coat of arms. Quite spectacular. Even more spectacular is the inside with the Viking themed Council Chamber, the Blue Hall and the Golden Hall. The Blue Hall is known as the venue of the Nobel Prize banquet that takes place every December. 

To end your day head to Östermalm aka the ‘Upper East Side’ or ‘Belgravia’ of Stockholm and is one of the largest and most populous areas of Stockholm. It is a big residential area but is also home tomany fashion boutiques and top restaurants and cozy cafes. To  relieve your hunger, check out Östermalms Saluhall, the world’s 7th best food hall. It was first opened in 1888 and has been loved by world-famous chefs and locals alike ever since. You will find all kinds of delectable Swedish food including seafood, vegetarian, meats and sweets. End your day with a hearty meal after a long day of walking.

 

Day 2 – Djurgården, The Island of Museums

 

Fun Fact: Stockholm is home to approximately 100 museums with remarkable collections. It is one of the most densely packed museum-cities in the world. Get ready to explore some of them on day 2 of this 3 day Stockholm itinerary.

As mentioned Stockholm is spread over 14 islands and is often referred to as ‘The Venice of the North’ and so a tour of the canals is a must. So for day 2 on this day 3 day visit to Stockholm discover the Stockholm’s waterways. Only available during the warmer months as the canals freeze over during winter, a tour of the waterways of about 50 minutes will give a great insight into Stockholm. After this tour head to Djurgården, an island in the middle of Stockholm, famous for its amusement parks, museums, and galleries. There are plenty of places to visit including Swedish History Museum, National Museum and the Modern Art Museum however, my choice for today are these following. Another day to wear good walking shoes as you will be on you feet a lot!

 

Vasa In The Vasa Museum Is A Must-See When In Stockholm. This Viking Ship Sunk Right After Setting Sail. It Sat In Mud For 300 Years But Was Salvaged And Restored And Sits Lovingly In The Vasa Museum.

Vasa sits waiting for a visit in the Vasa Museum

 

No visit to Stockholm would be complete without visiting the Vasa Museum. It is one of the most popular museums in Scandinavia. The maritime museum is home to the immaculately restored 17th-century warship, the Vasa, which sank in Stockholm harbour on her maiden voyage in 1628. Three hundred years later she was recovered and her restoration begun and completed. And believe me, she is impressive. The ship is massive, its length is about 69 metres with its main base more than 52 metres tall. What makes the ship so impressive is its decoration – some 500 sculptures and 200 ornaments. Yes, impressive. As well as seeing the ship there are some 12,000 objects that were pulled up with the ship that you can see. Plus, there are plenty of interactive exhibits allowing you to understand how the ship was built, what life was like in Stockholm during the ship’s building plus loads more. The Vasa Museum is open daily and you can easily spend hours here.

If feeling hungry, head to Ulla Windbladh, a fabulous restaurant known for serving traditional and modern Swedish cuisine. It is very popular with locals on  Djurgården and you can enjoy the food too!

Next museum on the list could be the ABBA Museum, no matter whether you’re a fan or not. The museum tells the story of one of the most successful Swedish pop bands in the world. The band’s stage clothes, concert footage, interviews, and much more are gathered in one place for you to see. There’s even a possibility to dance and sing with the holograms of ABBA. The achievements of the group are showcased from a historical perspective, helping you to understand the phenomenon of the legendary band.

If you can fit it in, head to Skansen to see how Swedes lived many centuries back. It opened in 1891 and is the oldest open-air museum in the world, allowing you to discover the history of the country and the people. Wild animals, country houses, and farmlands make you feel like one of the locals. Some 150 historical farms and dwellings from over Sweden were transported to Skansen for their museum to showcase the life of Swedish peoples. Step back in time with glass-blowers, bakers and other craftsmen to discover their skills. 

If you are in Stockholm between May to September you could visit Gröna Lund. This is Sweden’s oldest amusement park and has been around since the 1880s. With over 30 rides including a wooden roller coaster, there is plenty of food and amusements to enjoy – what a great place to end your day on Djurgården. 

 

Day 3 – Another Palace, then shop till you drop with a beer or two

 

For the morning of day 3 on this 3 day Stockholm visit I suggest you head out to the beautiful Drottningholm Palace. It dates from the 17th century and is based on French and Italian architecture and Sweden’s royal family has been using part of the palace as a private residence since 1981. On your visit to the palace there are a number of areas to take in. The Court Theatre is the oldest in the world. There is the Chinese Pavilion, the surrounding English style gardens with a maze, and my favourite part, the Great Staircase dominating the centre of palace. Second favourite is Queen Hedvig Eleonora’s State Bedroom – very glitzy! The Palace was added to the World Heritage Site list by UNESCO in 1991.

 

Drottingham Palace in Stockholm.

Drottningholm Palace

 

After time at the Drottningholm Palace head back into Stockholm to enjoy some shopping. Sweden is known for products such as glassware, stainless-steel, ceramics, silver, furniture and textiles. Just north of Gamla Stan is Norrmalm, the commercial heart of Stockholm. It is well known for its department stores, shopping malls, exclusive boutiques, and nightspots. And some of the best streets for shopping in Stockholm are Drottninggatan and Hamngatan where you will find major department stores like Åhlens City, Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) and Biblioteksgatan which is like America’s Fifth Avenue of Stockholm and is home to luxury brand-name boutiques. There are also plenty of shops to pick up souvenirs like the Dala wooden horse. Can I say, I love using my treasured glass serving plate from ‘Boda’ that I purchased in Sweden.

If you still want more shopping head to Södermalm which is south of Gamla Stan. Södermalm is characterised by its dramatic landscape of craggy cliffs, turrets and towers. Once known as the ‘slum’ of Stockholm, this area has transformed itself after industry left and creative types moved in. Södermalm now features is most ‘hipster’ neighbourhood lists in the world. And you will see why when you walk around the streets where there are plenty of unique shops, vintage stores and galleries. Hornsgatan and Götgatan in particular are full of small shops selling bric-a-brac. Other hip streets of note to explore are Åsögatan, Bondegatan, and Skånegatan. The prettiest street, I thought, n Södermalm is Fjällgatan, an old-fashioned cobblestone street with old wooden cottages. 

While ambling around Södermalm, check out Mariaberget, with its stone buildings, alleys and winding streets – so don’t forget to wear those good walking shoes you have worn for the last couple of days! While wondering around Mariaberget go to the Monteliusvägen Viewpoint. It is a narrow path on the shore of Söderalm. From there you can see the church Riddarholmskyrka, the royal palace, and Gamla Stan. 

If you’ve read the bestseller books of the Millenium Trilogy from Stieg Larsson’s, you can join the Millenium Tour that takes you to the main spots of the novel. Mikael Blomqvist and Lisbeth Salander reside in Södermalm. Blomqvist lives in a penthouse at Bellmansgatan 1 just beside Monteliusvägen, while Salander lives in an apartment at Fiskargatan 9. Book your trip on the Millennium tour here.

With all the walking, sightseeing and shopping, why not cap off this 3 day Stockholm itinerary with a drink and a meal in one of the many pubs in Södermalm. There are a number of craft brews available in places such as Omnipollos hatt or Nostrano where you can also get great traditional, or not so traditional Swedish meals. What a great way to end your visit to Stockholm.

 

Final Words

 

This is an action packed 3 day itinerary for Stockholm with lots of walking involved. But I’m sure, when you follow it – or choose which parts to follow – you will experience a lot of what Stockholm has to offer and the Swedish way of life. I’d love to hear if you have been, or are planning to go to Stockholm in the comments following. And if you want to extend your time in Stockholm or another part of Sweden find out how you could spend a year there on a working holiday.

Stockholm 3 Day Itinerary PIN. Visit Gamla Stan, Vasa Museum And Ride T-Centralin.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from raileurope. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

 

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Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.

 

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44 Comments

  1. Linda Jane

    Stockholm looks like a really interesting city to visit. Thanks so much for sharing your itinerary and tips!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Stockholm is a wonderful city to visit. There is so much interesting history in this very modern city.

      Reply
  2. Terri

    I have visited Stockholm several times and the city is glorious to explore. I felt like I was walking through history. Great post!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      You do feel like you are walking through history a lot of the time, particularly in Gamla Stan and when you visit the Vasa Museum. Glad you enjoyed Stockholm.

      Reply
  3. Brittany

    Stokholm sounds like a great place to visit! I’d love to check out the palaces, and the scenery is so beautiful, too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. sue

    I went to Stockholm in winter & agree it was one of the coldest places I had ever been. But I did really enjoy the ABBA museum – loads of fun!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      It is very cold in winter, something I haven’t experience having grown up in Australia. But yes, it still was loads of fun.

      Reply
  5. Krista

    Stockholm is the only major Scandinavian city that I haven’t had the chance to visit yet, so it’s high on my list. Your post is making me want to plan a trip there this autumn – hopefully I can find some cheap flights!

    Reply
  6. cass

    I would love to visit Stockholm one day. The mix of characterful laneways and grand palaces would be fun to visit.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Definitely try to visit Stockholm. I’m sure you will love the many laneways and the palaces.

      Reply
  7. Bliss

    Such an informative guide! I love the sound of the old town and 100 museums!!!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Glad you liked the guide. Just remember to wear good walking shoes so you can walk around the old town and the 100 museums.

      Reply
  8. Neha

    Sweden is so high on my list to visit. Your itinerary seems great who wants to experience the most of the city. I didn’t know that Stockholm had 100 museums, what a treat.

    Reply
  9. Chirasree Banerjee

    Your post reminded me of my visit to this beautiful city. I especially loved my visit to the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Stockholm was so much more than I expected. I loved many of the museums. Glad you loved the Nobel Museum – it is very unique.

      Reply
  10. Anita

    Stockholm is awesome and your itinerary is too. I am still longing to visit Drottningholm Palace. I hope I will be back to Stockholm someday. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thanks. Drottningholm Palace was wonderful to visit. I got my photo taken with one of the Palace Guards! I hope you get there one day.

      Reply
  11. Helen Story

    Brilliant post, the metro stations are something else! We are planning a trip to Sweden when restrictions allow, i’m hoping we’ll either begin or end in Stockholm.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Stockholm is a great place to begin or end your journey in Sweden. I hope you have the best time no matter when you visit Stockholm.

      Reply
  12. Krysten Quiles

    I’ve always wanted to go to Sweden, Stockholm looks like a great place to visit.

    Reply
  13. Rosie

    This makes me want to visit Stockholm. Great post!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I’m glad my post has been so inspirational to make you want to visit Stockholm. I’m sure you will enjoy it.

      Reply
  14. Kathryn

    What a wonderfully comprehensive guide for this short itinerary! Sweden is on our short list in the coming years. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Kristen Cummings

    The art at the metro station is INSANE! You really take great pictures. Makes me want to go!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      It is worth going to Stockholm to only ride the metro trains to visit all the stations. They are all unique and as you say, some are INSANE. I hope you get there.

      Reply
  16. aparna sisodia

    Wow! This is such a detailed post on 3 days to Sweden. The itinerary is well-crafted and covers all the important places. Thank you for putting this information together. Sweden is such an awesome destination..I would like to visit it someday.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Sweden is a wonderful place to visit. I have a friend there who I visit often. We often walk around the streets of Gamla Stan, popping into cafes.

      Reply
  17. Megan

    Seeing the warship at the Vasa museum would be amazing! And I love hop-on hop-off tours. That and walking is just the best way to see a city! I love that the hop-on/off takes you to places that you maybe wouldn’t have thought of on your own

    Reply
  18. Christina

    I love Museums so I’m sure I could spend a few weeks in all the museums (more than 100 – WOW!).

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Museums can be really interesting – a lot of us don’t appreciate them! Sad really.

      Reply
  19. Nina

    Berlin has an island of museums too! So cool that Stolkholm down as well

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I did not know that Berlin has an island of museums too. I will need to investigate this.

      Reply
  20. Missy

    So many great suggestions! I’ve wanted to visit Stockholm for the longest time. There really seems like so much to see and do, and it sure is pretty!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Yes, there is so much to see and do. I am lucky I have a girlfriend who lives there to show me around.

      Reply
  21. Destiny

    What a fabulous list! I also heard they’re working on the Avicii Experience! I really want to experience that so Stockholm is pretty high on my list of places to explore.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I haven’t heard of that. Maybe you could let me know about it and how you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  22. Aireona

    I went to Stockholm several years ago and I just fell in love with the city. I was only able to spend a day or so there, and I think a 3-5 day itinerary would be just perfect. Did you do any hiking in or around the city?

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      No, I just walk – you could call it hiking. You need to go further out of the city for hiking.

      Reply
  23. Elyse

    This guide is full of so much helpful information, will definitely be saving for future trips. Thanks so much for sharing

    Reply
  24. Yanitza

    This is a great guide for a 3-day trip! I think the Go Stockholm Pass is such a great way to explore the city and its main attractions.

    Reply
  25. Erin

    I didn’t realize until your article that Stockholm is referred to as “Venice of the North” or that it had over 100+ museums. Very interesting read! I would love to visit one day and stroll the streets of Gamla Stan.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      It is amazing what you learn when you travel. I hope you get to stroll the streets of Gamla Stan.

      Reply
  26. Chelsea Messina

    Ok, how cool is the Stockholm Metro Art? I would just take the train to/from different stations just to see all the different artwork We need more of this in the U.S!

    Reply

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