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4+ days in Stockholm

My family and I are traveling to Sweden next summer (kids are 19 & 21) and we will have 4 ½ days in Stockholm. This is tentatively how I've divided our time and I'm looking for any thoughts on if I've packed too much into a day and/or not allowed enough time for certain sights. Taking all our interests into account meant plenty of historical and cultural sights along with a few quirky ones. Obviously we can be flexible and move things around depending on weather and time.

Day 1: Arrive around noon (flying from Visby), check-in to hotel in Gamla Stan. City Hall tour and climb tower; follow Rick Steves Modern City walk.

Day 2: Follow Rick Steves Gamla Stan walking tour; Royal Armory; Changing of the Guard; and Museum of Medieval Stockholm; Dinner cruise in evening.

Day 3: Vasa Museum early since it opens at 8:30am; Skansen open-air museum; and ABBA: The Museum if time.

Day 4: Walk to Sodermalm and see Fotografiska; Swedish History Museum and/or the Nordic Museum. Icebar Stockholm in the evening.

Day 5: Cruise to Drottningholm Palace, see the palace, theater, grounds, and Chinese Pavilion. In late afternoon we sail for Tallinn.

Posted by
15539 posts

I think the only thing you left out is the Royal Palace.

The Vasa Museum is interesting and they offer free guided tours. Skansen is spread out and there is a lot to see. After those two, you might be tired and want to skip the Abba museum. Unless you are massive Abba fans, I'd suggest leaving it for last and even skipping it.

Your days are really packed. I hope you have a lot of energy because you have left no breathing room.

Posted by
5635 posts

I would change your trip to Drottningholm to a day other than the day you depart for Tallinn; I’d stick to sights in the city for your departure day. I’d also suggest that you take the boat to Drottningholm but take the bus/subway back to Stockholm. The bus from Drottningholm leaves about every 10 minutes but the boat only leaves hourly.

The Fotografiska Museum is open quite late (until 11 pm) so you may want to plan that at the end of one of your days. It has a nice outdoor veranda where you can get a light meal.

For Skansen, check the calendar shortly before you arrive to see if there are any special activities while you are there. That may influence the day you choose to visit.

If it were me, I’d choose the ferry from Visby over a flight, but I try to avoid flights any time I can due to the unpredictability of delays.

Posted by
6533 posts

You've packed in a lot during your stay. Are you happy with such a rushed visit? There are many other things you can see, but you can't see everything. The Abba museum though is often described as a place you either love or hate, depending on if you are a fan or not. You might also want to leave a bit of flexibility regarding the changing of the guards, there are some variations from day to day. On some days during the summer it is mounted, which is a bit more impressive in my opinon.

I'd also suggest the ferry from Visby. It also gives you great views of Visby as you depart.

And, what does the rest of the trip look like? It's easier to give advice when we know the full itinerary.

Posted by
8 posts

Great comments so far. Thank you Frank II, Laura and Badger! Our days in Stockholm are full; however, our trip is 24 days total with some days just for resting, doing laundry, etc (Odense, Denmark, and in Gothenburg, Sweden). Traveling from Iowa, our trips to Europe are often pretty busy. It's quite a chore and very expensive just to get to Europe, so we try to take advantage of our time there. This trip will start in Lubeck, Germany, then move through Denmark to Copenhagen before taking the train to Gothenburg. Then to Kalmar and Visby before Stockholm.

ABBA The Museum is a must for my wife and daughter, so I will make it fit somewhere - perhaps adding a day to slow down. I do think visiting Skansen could eat up a big chunk of the day as we love open-air folk museums. Thanks for the suggestion to take the bus back from Drottningholm as that makes sense. I'll consider moving the palace visit to a day other than our departure day and possibly taking the ferry from Visby. We are already doing the ferry to Visby and there seem to be frequent enough flights to Stockholm that I thought it might work best that way. Good point about going to Fotografiska in the evening since it's open late.

Posted by
27351 posts

I've been to Fotografiska twice within the last year, and I do enjoy it, but it's pretty expensive, rather crowded (commercial operation, heavily marketed) and not a quick visit. They seem good about booking exhibitions that will be popular, but take a look at the website to be sure what's running next summer will appeal to you. I'm not aware of any limit on the number of tickets sold, but there's a bit of a discount for buying adult tickets online rather than at the museum. There may be a student discount that applies to your kids.

The Slussen corner of Sodermalm is still under construction, and it's by no means obvious the best way to walk to Fotografiska once you cross the bridge from Gamla Stan. Perhaps Badger or Laura can put it into words for you. I cannot; I just followed the blue dot on my phone and concentrated on getting down to the water level on Sodermalm as soon as possible. There are very limited options for crossing the road near the Slussen end, so the sooner you can find your way to the north (Fotografiska) side, the better. It's a good thing Fotografiska is open late, because getting there is likely to take more time than you anticipate.

Our sightseeing interests are pretty much diametrically opposed (I'm an art and modern-history person), so I can't help with the rest of your sightseeing plans.

If you're looking for a quick lunch one weekday on Gamla Stan, I can recommend City Sallad near the NE tip of the island. It caters to the local worker population, opening at 7 or 7:30 and closing I think at 2 PM. It has 9 salad options, all of them interesting. They'll be packaged and ready to grab out of the chilled case at opening time. They're all the same price and come with a roll and your choice of beverage (limited selection). The counter is likely to be unstaffed; you ring up your purchase on a terminal (there's only one product choice, so no complications) and tap your credit card. The cost is a very reasonable-for-Stockholm SEK 130. The machine translation of the menu sometimes lacks clarity ("ginger oumph"??), but I believe the printed version on site is better. You may be stuck with eco-friendly wooden forks; I'm not sure, because I always carry a spork in my purse in case a food opportunity presents itself.

CitySallad Gamla Stan menu

For baked goodies, Skeppsbro Bageri, a bit farther south on the same street, seems a good option. It does salads, sandwiches and coffee as well. The only thing I can personally vouch for is the cardamom buns, which are very tasty but not cheap at SEK 42.

City transit is Stockholm is very good but rather expensive (SEK 39) if you buy single tickets. I'd suggest figuring out your best option ahead of time. I used the SL smart card and loaded tickets on it, but I qualify for the senior rate and don't use transit enough to justify use of any pass. For a much longer stay last year, I scrunched all distant destinations into my last 7 days and bought a one-week pass, which was a comparatively good deal--but I bet that was at a discounted senior rate. Your situation may be different. It appears your youngest also qualifies for a discount.

Stockholm city transit

Posted by
546 posts

On Day 3, be aware that if there’s a cruise ship in, Vasa will be extremely busy. When I went, I planned to get there at opening time. There was a cruise ship (or more than one) in, and the queue to enter went right around the block. I chose to go the Skansen first thing, which was delightful, and then went back to Vasa in the afternoon - by which time the crowd had gone and I just breezed straight in.

Those two attractions make up a pretty full day.

Posted by
6533 posts

Thanks for the additional information. I really hope you have some time for rest as well, because this pace would not be enjoyable to me. But if it works for you, then go ahead. It is certainly not impossible. But if you can add an extra day in Stockholm, it's not a bad idea. It would mean a slower pace during your visit and the ability to be spontaneous. Or do a day trip somewhere.

It sounds like the ABBA museum needs to be in the plan. But, Vasa, Skansen and Abba all in one day sounds very intense. They are close to each other though and an easy ferry ride away from Gamla stan. It also depends a bit on how much time you want to spend at each place. You can visit Skansen in an hour, but you can also spend the entire day there. It should also be noted that there are often concerts at Skansen in the summer, so if there are during your day there it might be a good idea to not stay too late. Or stay late and listen to the concert if you prefer that.

Taking the bus back from Drottningholm is a good idea. It also saves a bit of time. Although there is one change needed, you take the bus from Drottningholm to Brommaplan and change to the metro there. Based on your plan it seems like single tickets would work for you. Most of what you plan is within walking distance.

You also mention history, is there any particular historical era you are interested in?

The reason I suggest the ferry is not because it is some magical experience that you can't miss, but a better way to travel to Stockholm in my opinion. Yes, there are frequent flights, but also frequent ferries. A flight will be a bit faster, but the times it takes is time wasted. The ferry trip is time you can use for something, have lunch e.g. (or breakfast or dinner), take a break and watch a movie, or make some final adjustments to your plan for Stockhoom. And, the ferry to Stockholm offers great views of Visby as you depart.

Navigating Slussen is not easy. I won't bother putting it in words, because it will most likely be different next year. But here is a map of the current situation for pedestrians: https://vaxer.stockholm/globalassets/projekt/sodermalm-sdo/sodermalm/slussen/slussen-under-byggtiden/trafik-slussen-gaende.jpg And to be honest it might be easier to take the metro from Gamla stan to Slussen than trying to navigate the area. Although it has been easier since the new bridge opened.

The machine translation of the menu sometimes lacks clarity ("ginger
oumph"??)

Oumph is a soybased vegetarian meat substitute.

Posted by
68 posts

You may to consider a day trip to the archipelago if the weather is nice.
Also, there are lots of parks and walking trails in Stockholm so you want to spend some time walking around enjoying some nature.

Posted by
6533 posts

An archipelago trip is not a bad idea, but going by ferry to Tallinn means you get a pretty good view of the archipelago.

Posted by
787 posts

Charles, you've gotten some excellent advice here. I will just add that I infinitely prefer the Swedish History Museum over the Nordic Museum, the latter of which is also on Djurgården but I can't imagine you'd add that to your already packed day at Skansen, et all! However, it does have a very nice lunch, is within easy walking distance of the Vasa Museum. I just tell the person at ticket counter I'm only going in to eat lunch, no need to buy a ticket for the museum. Since you like folk museums, note that while Skansen can be done in an hour, but I've spent hours there.