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Stockholm itinerary

We are going to have 4 full days in Stockholm next year. There is so much to see there. I am trying to put together an itinerary and want to run it by you. I want the days to be full but not rushed. The order will be adjusted for sunny/rainy days for the outdoor activities if possible. Hopefully it will be all sunshine.

Day One - Vasa Museum (as early as possible), Nordic Museum, Skansen in late afternoon

Day Two - all day archipelago cruise on Cinderella boat to Sandhamm

Day Three - Cruise and visit to Drottningholm Palace (not sure how much time to allot for this) and RS Gamla Stan walk plus walk to Monteliusvagen

Day Four - Royal Armory, changing of the guards and City Hall tour.

Comments?

Posted by
1837 posts

I was in Stockholm in 2012, so it's possible that things have changed and my memory may be faulty. Nevertheless, here's my take:

Day One and Day Two are fine, but see below. Also, consider renting a bike while you're on Djurgården so you can enjoy the ambience there.

When I took the cruise to Drottningholm, it departed from right adjacent to City Hall. So you might want to do the City Hall tour before or after the Drottningholm visit, since you'll already be right there. And then I'd do one day for general exploration of the city (Gamla Stan, Armory, Changing of the Guard, and other sights. I'd also suggest wandering through Kungsträdgården and up toward Hötorget. RS has a nice walking tour through this area, or at least it is in the older version of the guidebook that I have. He also has an excellent walking tour of the Gamla Stan.

I wonder about the order of your days. Personally I'd want to start with exploring the city, so I'd do that on Day One and shift things around accordingly. Otherwise, I think you've got the main highlights covered well.

Posted by
2507 posts

Thanks, Lane for your thoughtful response. How much time do you think we need to get to and from and visit Drottningholm?

Posted by
1837 posts

The boat takes about an hour each way. I'd allow about 2-3 hours at Drottningholm. The guided tour inside the house takes 45 minutes, or you can explore on your own. You'll also want to allow time to wander the grounds, which are very lovely. And be sure to check out the palace theatre and other buildings on site while you're there.

https://www.kungligaslotten.se/english/royal-palaces-and-sites/drottningholm-palace.html has more detailed info.

Posted by
5688 posts

Your day 1 seems a little busy to me. The Vasa Museum can easily take several hours. Make sure you see the film which shows how the ship was raised in the 60s and take the guided tour.

For Skansen, check the calendar http://www.skansen.se/en/kalendarium
for the dates of your visit shortly before you arrive to see what buildings are open and what special activities are going on during your visit. If you are visiting in the offseason, weekdays can be a bit of a disappointment as not as many of the buildings are open. On Tuesday evenings in the summer, a very popular tv show is broadcast live from Skansen. It is called ”Allsång på Skansen” (Sing-along at Skansen) and features popular Swedish singers. If you like music, they do rehearsals in the afternoon on Tuesday, so you can sometimes stop and enjoy the music.

Posted by
2507 posts

Thanks, Laura. This is the help I was looking for. We will be there in early August 2019 with four full days and half a day when we fly from Oslo to Stockholm. I was going by the advice in the RS guidebook to allow at least an hour and a half for the Vasa. So I will revise that first full day to just the Vasa and Skansen. I don’t think our days in Stockholm will include weekend days. Does the following below sound more reasonable?

Day of arrival (half day) - Royal Armory
Day One - Vasa Museum and Skansen
Day Two - archipelago cruise
Day Three - City Hall tour, Drottningholm Palace, Gamla Stan and Monteliusvagen
Day Four - Nordic Museum (changing of the guards if we can squeeze it in)

Posted by
3262 posts

I'll begin with a statement: Everyone is different. That being said, I hope you have obtained a guide book in addition to Rick Steves' book. Rick admits to not liking Sweden particularly and I don't agree with all his recommendations so consider other opinions and I don't feel he gets into the spirit. It strikes me you are busy running around checking sites of the list, a lot of indoor sites, and not spending much time enjoying Stockholm. There are many interesting islands with different personalities, I'll touch on one of my favorites.

Vasa: Do you have an interest in old boats being raised from the sea or perhaps engineering? Make sure you know why you want to go to this museum, not just follow certain recommendations. The ship sank, many years later they raised and preserved it. Big deal. LOL. YMMV, take that with humor. I say this never having been there, and it will be a long time before I run out of more interesting things to do in Stockholm. But then I've lived on the coast my entire life. Do the Nordic Museum instead, if you have a rainy day.

-- I'd save the indoor museums for a rainy day or the last day, rather than being inside in the wonderful outdoorsy Stockholm and then having rain afterwards.
Gamla Stan: Do Rick's walk, but then don't leave. Spend time on the wharf, walk the alleys, ponder the windows. See the palace? Fika.
Sodermalm: has a lovely old neighborhood to walk with lovely views, and visit Katerina Kyrka. Then some more modern, more hip neighborhoods/market (at the top of the hill, Rick talks about it, I can't recall the name). There's also Monteliusvagen, a lovely walk; sit and gaze, or go later and have a picnic there like the residents of Sodermalm. Did you read Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy...take the tour (I didn't, but would have if I hadn't run out of time...kind of a fun way to see the island.) Fika! Fika!
--If you are in your 60's or any other age, the ABBA museum would be lighthearted and fun. Kind of a spirit of Sweden...they love their music. And then the Gröna Lund fair in the evening... And/or ride the ferry around the harbor. Fotografiska, perhaps depending on the exhibit and your interests.
Skansen: I loved it, but I really like social history and my grandmother's family was Swedish so perhaps I'm biased. I like outdoor museums.
Archipelago: by all means, but after you see some of Stockholm.
Drottningholm Palace. Spend time in Djurgården. And add some of your previously mentioned activities. Four days barely touches the surface.
In Sweden in general, I particularly enjoy sitting and watching people, assuming you are visiting May or later thru the summer. The sun comes out after the dark winter and Swedes know how to live. Catch the spirit!

Posted by
2507 posts

Thanks, Wray. In one of RS videos, he says Stockholm is one of us favorite cities. In my initial post, I listed the sights to see in order of my priorities. I really, really want to see the Vasa. It’s not based on RS recommendation. I think it is a beautiful creation. With respect to ABBA, I liked their music (my husband hates them after I dragged him to that movie with Meryl Streep) but not well enough to spend time at the museum. I plan on looking at the weather and adjusting the schedule accordingly. Obviously I don’t want to spend a beautiful day inside and a rainy day outside. I am hoping to see most of the things listed but we will take some time for Fika. No one does coffee and pastry like the Scandinavians. We grew up in the Fitchburg, MA area which has a large Finnish population and coffee and pastry was always the best at their homes. I know four and a half days is not enough to do all this but I am hoping to do most of it.

Posted by
5688 posts

Don’t knock the Vasa Museum before you have seen it; it is way more than some old boat; :) I LOVE the Vasa Museum. The whole story of how it was raised is just facinating. I think the exhibits in the museum are so well done and the museum is unique. I’ve been there at least 6 times over the years. I have also been to the Nordic Museum multiple times and while I also enjoy it, I’d take the Vasa Museum anyday.

Posted by
5688 posts

Then some more modern, more hip neighborhoods/market (at the top of the hill, Rick talks about it, I can't recall the name).

Wray, was it ”SoFo”? This stands for south of Folkungagatan (which is a street on Södermalm). There are lots of trendy shops in this neighborhood.

Posted by
3262 posts

Yes, Laura. I think that's it. I stayed on Hornsgatan, and I only could remember it was straight up the hill (past the Apple store, LOL) from Slussen, but looking at a map (duh), yes. Well, or slightly to the right actually? Anyway, on top of the hill from Slussen. I just don't remember specifically. I'm a mapless wanderer.

Posted by
2507 posts

Oh, Laura. That sounds fabulous. I will definitely do that. Thanks.

Posted by
5688 posts

Day Three - City Hall tour, Drottningholm Palace, Gamla Stan and Monteliusvagen

Now I think this day is too full but your day 4 is quite light. The City Hall is very close to the port where the boats to Drottningholm depart, so those two do work well together.

Monteliusvägen could be done easily on any evening.

I’d try to visi Gamla Stan your first day, but it is another place that you can wander around any evening.

Posted by
2507 posts

Laura,

I totally agree with you. Day Three is too busy and we probably won’t do all that. The evening of Day Four we are staying at an airport hotel so we have to eat dinner, retrieve our luggage from the Stockholm hotel and get ourselves to the airport so I have kept the itinerary light.

Posted by
3262 posts

I know, I know. Never knock somewhere you've never been. I just can't get myself into the Vasa Museum...but maybe I'll get to go to Stockholm so many times that I'll run out of things to do and then kick myself for waiting so long... :-) Rick has said he likes Norway better than Sweden...I guess it's a relations loyalty thing between us.

Posted by
1837 posts

Not to pile on, Wray, but here I go piling on!

;)

The Vasa Museum is without a doubt my favorite non-art museum I have ever been to anywhere.

I am not a boat person. I was totally bored by the Kon-Tiki Museum and the Fram Museum in Oslo (which many others rave about). I liked the Viking Ship Museums in Oslo and in Roskilde, Denmark, but neither of them holds a candle to the Vasa Museum. And there are many very fine museums that cover various historical subjects, The Vasa ranks above them all for me.

But, chacun a son gout!

Now, Mary, I think your itinerary as it currently stands is almost worse than the original.

The Royal Armory is in the Gamla Stan. If you go there on your first day, you will be in the Gamla Stan. You will not be able to resist or avoid seeing it! So do it. I think you can easily enjoy the Gamla Stan on your arrival day. And while you're there, if you feel like going into the Royal Armory, or into the Nobel Museum, or the Post Museum, or any other things, do them as time and energy allow. After that, you will have a good idea of whether you want to come back and explore the Gamla Stan more on another day.

Then Day One, you have two museums that are in the Djurgården. Rather than committing yourself to those specific museums and specific amounts of time in each, I suggest you just make Day One your Djurgården day, and do as much there as you want. Whichever museums, whichever outdoor activities (biking, walking, Rosendals Trädgård) appeal to you. The Nordic Museum is right next door to the Vasa Museum on Djurgården, so I don't know why you have moved it to a separate day.

I should have given you a disclaimer right from the start, though. I'm not a careful planner, and I don't really think making careful plans is a good way to discover the joys of a city like Stockholm. I just woke up each morning I was there and over breakfast I planned out the day. On the spur of the moment one day I decided to take the train up to Uppsala. I also took a lovely ferry ride to the delightful little island of Fjäderholmarna at the suggestion of a very friendly local woman I met on the train. I'm not suggesting you should do any of these things; only that you should allow yourself the freedom to explore as the spirit moves you.

One place I didn't get to and wish I had, not mentioned by anyone on this thread so far, is Millesgården. (I was going to go the day I decided to go to Uppsala. No regrets -- Uppsala was great -- but a reason to go back!

Posted by
2507 posts

Lane, your are right. The Armory is on Gamla Stan. For some reason I had it in my head that it and the palace was off the island. My bad.

Laura and Lane, thanks for concurring with me about the Vasa. I think it looks fabulous. I also loved touring Old Ironsides/USS Constitution in Boston. It was so fascinating hearing the stories of what life was like below decks during battle. I know we won’t be going onboard the Vasa but the details on that ship are beautiful. And the story of how they brought it up from the bottom of the ocean. Amazing!

So here is what I have for a plan now (yes, Lane, I am a planner) with adjustments for the weather factoring in on the days planned for outdoor activities.

First half Day - Gamla Stan (wander and enjoy)
First Day - Vasa and Skansen with the restaurant that Laura recommended in the apple orchard
Second Day - archipelago cruise
Third Day - Drottningholm and City Hall tour
Fourth Day - Royal Armory and Nordic Museum

Thanks for helping me refine my itinerary

Posted by
4351 posts

And adding my two cents, but after a great archipelago cruise, the boat to and from Drottningham was a nightmare. There were more people than places to sit, even though they limited the number of people. This seemed to be due to empty seats in a dining area that couldn’t be used unless you had reserved a meal. While I love boat rides in general and I liked the palace itself a lot, the ride to and from (and the LONG lines to board for return) was definitely somewhat unpleasant. Can’t even blame cruise groups - so maybe there was something else unusual that day.

Posted by
5688 posts

With regard to Drottningholm by boat ...

I’ve visited Drottningholm several times and when I’ve visited, I’ve only take the boat one way. You can use your SL card to take the bus from Drottningholm to Brommaplan (less than 10 minutes) where you change to the tunnelbana (green line). The trip from Drottningholm to T-Centralen is only about 30 minutes, so you save both money and time over the boat.

Posted by
4351 posts

Good thought, Laura. We used a Stockholm card, which had the boat and palace included. Never even considered alternate transportation possibilities!

Posted by
1265 posts

Adding my 2 cents. If you have the time, I would suggest the Nobel Museum. I found it extremely interesting and enjoyable.