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Stockholm over Christmas

We will be in Stockholm for 4 full days from December 22-25 as part of our larger Scandinavian trip. We will be staying with family, spending the Christmas Eve holiday celebrating with them. That leaves us 2-3 days to explore the city. We know that isn't much time to fully appreciate everything it has to offer, so we may need help narrowing things down. We plan to return in the summer in the next few years, so we don't need to cram everything in this trip.

What are some things we shouldn't miss? We know about Gamla Stan and I'm sure our family will give us some ideas of what to see, but we are looking for other opinions also. We will be doing a lot of Christmas markets in Copenhagen and Göteborg, so we don't feel the need to do them in Stockholm, unless there are any that are quite remarkable.

Is this a bad time to try to cram in a visit to Uppsala? We really want to see it, but maybe it would be better to add that to our return trip agenda in the summer?

Also, we are well aware of the weather potential and short daylight hours. We aren't afraid of being outdoors, no matter what the weather throws at us.

Posted by
25587 posts

These comments are based on my August 2022 trip to Sweden. I have no winter experience there.

Trains to Uppsala are very frequent, so that's an option you can leave open until you get to Stockholm and have accurate weather info.

The city has lots of good museums; check possibilities and build a list of top priorities in case you want or need indoor time.

The city has lots of attractive architecture. It would probably take more than a full day to walk all the streets of Gamla Stan, the oldest area and the most touristy. That area would be my top priority.

There are some small pockets of old wooden houses on Sodermalm, but that island is hilly, and I don't know what walking conditions would be like in the winter.

There are some striking Art Nouveau/Jugendstil buildings scattered about; one good area is along Strandvagen at the southern edge of Ostermalm. That's along the walking route from the Vasa Museum back toward the center of the city. (There's public transportation as well, of course.)

The Vasa Museum is the consensus vote for best museum in the city. I'm more an art person and didn't find it all that interesting, but I agree that it is brilliantly done. If you don't see it, people will consider you odd!

Posted by
273 posts

It is bad time a year to go further north to Uppsala in practice it is just too dark and cold to be walking around for long. We had a similar positive posture with the naysayers but it turned out as pure misery for us and we live near Lake Michigan.

Posted by
111 posts

Thanks, acraven - these are some great ideas.

As I stated in the original post, we aren't afraid of the weather, and will be spending a week up north where it is much darker and colder than Uppsala, so we are prepared. The only thing that would deter us from trying to visit Uppsala in the winter would be if do not miss exhibits or attractions are closed this time of year, and if it would be a waste of time and a day missing Stockholm to try to do it during this trip.

Posted by
5577 posts

Visiting Uppsala is usually a good idea, but if you only have 4 days around Christmas it might not be the best idea. You can certainly do it and have a great day, and if you do you should visit Uppsala on the 22nd or 23rd. It also depends a bit a bit on where your family lives. It is a quick train ride from central Stockholm to Uppsala. But if your family lives far south of the centre it will be a longer trip.

If you are planning to return, you don't need to see everything on your first trip. On the other hand, if the weather is nice, Uppsala can look amazing covered in snow.

Also, you have asked a lot of detailed questions, what does the trip look like in general? And where is "up north"?

Posted by
111 posts

Thanks, Badger. That helps. My family lives in Bromma, so I'll talk to them to see if Uppsala makes sense this time, depending on what else we decide to see.

We spend a couple days each in Copenhagen and Göteborg before Stockholm, then spend a week up north, split between Abisko and Tromsø, ending with one day in Oslo. Trying to sort out the agenda for the cities first, since that will be more involved than our time up north, which will be focused on trying to catch the Northern Lights, and outdoor activities.

Posted by
5577 posts

Bromma is a rather large by area so it will vary a bit depending on where exactly they live. And even if it is very close to central Stockholm that will add a bit of extra travel time. I'm not sure I can give a recommendation. Uppsala will be a nice trip, but for such a short visit over Christmas I don't think it should be on the top of the list. Especially since you plan to be back I see no reason to rush through this trip.

Also, the Christmas train tickets went on sale recently, so if you haven't bought them yet you really need to do that.

Posted by
52 posts

Christmas is lovely in Stockholm. In the winter it's nice to mix long walks with cozy indoor activities.

If you like art and photography, there is a beautiful exhibit of paintings by Hilma af Klint (a pioneer in abstract art), as well as photos by Nan Goldin, at the Moderna Museet. Great cafe and people watching too. You can stroll the waterside paths in Djurgården afterwards if it's not too icy.

A trip to Fotografiska photography museum and an amazing vegan buffet at Herman's is a good way to start or end the day after a walk in trendy Gotgatan in Södermalm.

A julbord is also nice to experience this time of the year. These can be a bit expensive but your relatives may have their favorites to suggest.

God Jul!