Sunset over Stockholm

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden - What To See

I headed into Stockholm on a whim from Copenhagen Denmark, not realizing I wasn’t going to have nearly enough time to really see it all. The beautiful medieval city with the seven different islands that make up Stockholm - make exploring a bit like opening a present with each island you explore. If it is your first time, and only have 24 hours in Stockholm Sweden I would suggest starting out at Museum Island, then head to the old City Center Gamal Stan. Eat at one of the oldest restaurants in the world, then stroll through Stockholms beautiful gardens. Then take either a sunset dinner cruise, relax in a sauna, or take a ghost tour through town. 

I’ll go into more detail of what to see in each of these areas below, how to get around town, and how to save money in this expensive but beautiful Scandinavian City of Stockholm. 

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Why Is It Called Stockholm? 

Stockholm means “log island” which there are several islands that make up this city. Sigtuna was what the city was named about 1000 years ago. According to legend the leaders of this city had trouble with armed gangs attacking the city, so they took a log, hollowed it out filled it with gold and said that wherever it landed would be their new city. The log allegedly landed where it is today and that is how Stockholm came about. You can find a statue commemorating this log inside city hall.

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Museum Island - or Djurgården

This particular island is home to MOST of the famous museums that tourists visit when in Stockholm to give visitors a thorough history from the age of the Vikings all the way to contemporary music artists that have hailed from Stockholm. There are over 70 different museums just on this island alone, so if you are only here for 24 hours I would pick 2 to see (at a leisurely pace) at the most 3 (at a hurried pace). 

On the island you will find Vasa Museum (the one with the 17th century ship), Skansen (outdoor museum), Junibacken (Children's Museum with Pippi Longstocking), Nordic Museum (cultural museum), Viking Museum (I'm obsessed with Viking history), Abba Museum (the band), Grona Lund (Amuseument Park), and Waldemarsudde (museum and art gallery) to name a few of the more popular museums here. 

Djurgården historically was a hunting ground for the king in 1579, and much of the island is still under the ownership of the crown. You can still get an idea of what the hunting grounds here must have looked like as part of the National City Park includes a very large part of this island in particular. Walking along the coast, seeing the boats bob in the water and hearing the distant screams of patrons at the amusement park, along with birds chittering with joy at the warmth of summer was very very peaceful. You really could spend at least 3 days exploring JUST this island and all it has to offer. 

From Stockholm main train station you can take bus 69 then walk to the island, or Tram 7 both are around $5, or jump in a taxi for around $10-$15 depending on the traffic. Museum Island is to the East of Gamal Stan (the old City) and south east from the mainland (where the train station is). 

You can save money if you are staying more than 5 days in Stockholm by getting the City Card, but if you are only there for 24 hours it may not be worth it. 

VASA Ship - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Visit VASA Museum 

Vasa Museum holds a 64-gun warship from 1628 that sank on her maiden voyage out of the harbor. They believe it was due to the cargo not being balanced properly - along with over weighting the ship.  The mere size of the ship is about a New York City Block in length and at least as tall as a 5 story building. It is quite breathtaking walking through the doors of the museum and seeing this nearly intact ship inside a building.

Around the museum you will find different displays showcasing how they recovered the ship - including the bell diving apparatus, the statues placed on the ship and the legends associated with it. Different paints they used on the ship and where they came from. It gives you a glimpse into both the royal pride, as well as legends of sailors associated with good luck and safe passages. 

Viking Home at the Viking Museum - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Viking Museum 

Within a 5 minute walk of VASA Museum you will find the Viking Museum, both on Museum Island. This Museum provides a look into who the Vikings really were, what they valued, legends and religions they believed how they were buried, and meeting of myth and fact. 

Make sure to take the smooth 11 minute ride through a story of a female Viking family. It tells a tale of a family putting pressure on their husband/father and a daughter not wanting to be sold off but a price needing to be paid for the land. Through conquests, successful earnings of silver, to thievery, destitution, and death - it gives a glimpse of the requirements of survival for a Viking. Many Vikings were farmers and valued working the land, violence and war weren’t always what was desired or sought after the most. 

ABBA Museum - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

ABBA Museum 

Pop into this museum about the pop sensation group called Abba. If you aren’t familiar with their songs, they are the musical sensation that is responsible for the songs in Mama Mia. Inside the museum you can see their different clothes, sing Karoke, see what their lives before, during and after fame hit them looked like. 

A unique feature in the museum is called “Benny’s Piano”, it is connected to Benny’s piano in his home - so when he plays it, it plays on the piano in the museum as well. 

Skansen Open Air Museum - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Skansen Open Air Museum 

Take a tour through one of the world’s oldest open air museums in Skansen, opened in 1891 by Arthur Hazelius. Here you will find animals of Sweden from top to bottom of the ecosystem here. You will also take a walk through history, how the people here survived, the land is worked, how homes were built and set up to be used in the rural parts of Sweden to the big cities. There are over 150 homesteads set up here you can explore, each with a unique feature or historical value to them. 

Each season the park changes just a bit to provide an in depth look into what life would look like for both animals and humans here. 

You could really spend an entire day JUST in Skansen. It is a great place for kids too, as many of the exhibits are interactive. I visited in September and there were craftsmen and women there like tanners, shoemakers, silversmiths, bakers and glass-blowers. 

Royal Apartments - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Royal Palace of Stockholm & Royal Treasury 

Visit the Palace of Stockholm, where the King of Sweden still stays. While the entire palace isn’t available for visitors, you can visit the former royal apartments of Swedish Kings and Queens. See where government officials have their meetings, and see the ornate hallways inspired by Versailles. 

You can also see the Royal Treasury on the same ticket at the Royal Apartments. Here you will see the regalia, crowns, swords, orbs used by Kings and Queens of Sweden. It isn’t a huge area, but very interesting to see the ornate and bejeweled things used to crown the famous historical figures. 

To be honest visiting this Palace was really confusing. The entrance is right near Gamla Stan, the old city, you can get your tickets on a computer in the lobby next to where there are humans that can issue you your tickets. I would recommend getting your ticket from an actual human, because the computer doesn’t tell you that there is a different ticket for each area of the Palace. 

To help make it less confusing, here are a list of different areas of the palace you can ask to see: 

  • The Royal Apartments: See the State rooms used during royal representation by the Swedish King and Queen for official state functions and special ceremonies. The royal apartments consist of the Bernadotte Apartments, State Apartments, Guest Apartments, the Hall of State and the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry. 
  • The Treasury: Cellar vaults below the Royal Palace, where the symbols of the Swedish Monarchy Regalia are kept. The items keep here are used for enthronements, royal christenings, weddings and funerals. 
  • The Royal Chapel: Since the time of King Magnus III Ladlas in the 13th Century there has been a chapel at this Palace. The present chapel is the 3rd one built. You can even attend services here that are open to the public and held year round. 
  • Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities: This is one of Europe’s oldest public museums, it was opened in 1794. Most of the items inside were purchased by Gustav III on his journey to Italy in 1780. 
  • Museum Of Three Crowns: This area is dedicated to the old Tre Kronos Castle, from the 13th century fortress to the renaissance castle destroyed in the fire of 1687. This is one of the best surviving areas that wasn’t completely destroyed in that fire. 
Gamal Stan - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Gamla Stan SquAre

This is the oldest area in Sweden, the square with 13th century former merchant homes surrounding this famous square. While the first mention and dating of the homes goes back over 700 years, the historians have said that due to Viking history that the history here dates back well over 1000 years. 

The original streets were paved with wood, there has even been some evidence of this found about 6 feet below where the streets today stand. It was noted that citizens were discouraged from littering in the streets, that the sloped alleyways helped keep the stench out of the center of the city. Animals were also discouraged from being kept in the city and cess pools next to your neighbors also discouraged. 

This square was also the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath, where the Danish King Christian II brought all the nobles of Stockholm together and had a big party. For three days they celebrated, each day with a bit of a theme, and by the end of the 3rd day 80nobles were killed by beheading. Not all the nobles attended though, so a civil war ensued and a resulting election of King Gustav I. 

The former Stock exchange is resided in the now Nobel Prize Museum for 200 years. It wasn’t until 1990 that it was changed into the Museum, a great marketing scheme for how many tour groups pass through this square. 

Oldest Street in Stockholm - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

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Oldest Street In Stockholm 

As you wander through the old city, stop by the oldest street in Stockholm Köpmangatan.  Along the oldest street you will fittingly find multiple antique shops with costumes, glass, decorations, clocks, figures, china and more. 

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Narrowest Street In Stockholm 

Mårten Trotzigs Gränd is named after a rich copper merchant that bought the area around the most narrow street in Stockholm. The street is only about 35 inches (90 cm) wide, and you can only pass through it one person at a time. The street is located near Södermalm via Prästgatan, right across from Burger King when I went. Several people looking for it stopped and said ‘is this it?’ If you aren’t actively looking for it you may miss it as it looks like the entrance to some apartments. 

The iron gate that guards the area closes every evening to help prevent nefarious things from happening in this alleyway. If you want to take a great picture, you will need to be patient, but if you are, you can get a great Instagram photo walking up the stairs without anyone in it. 

Shopping in Stockholm - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Best Shopping In Gamal Stan 

Vasterlanggatan is the best street to go shopping on, with boutique shops, Christmas shops, and many many many classic souvenir shops (think cheap souvenirs for friends kind of thing). I found an amazing designer boutique shop that had velvet embroidered boots, flower  print dresses for fall that even gave me and my box shaped torso some shape. While the clothes weren’t cheap I reveled in the fact that I could walk in and buy myself a great Birthday gift & celebrate paying off my student loans. 

To give you an idea, I hardly EVER buy souvenirs anymore, after traveling to so many different countries you house gets a little crowded if you continue to collect things. I’m also not the type to sift through the store for hours on end. That being said, I really really enjoyed the shopping along this street. 

Ghost tour in Stockholm -  24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Ghost Tour in Stockholm 

If you have the time, I suggest going on an evening ghost tour through Stockholm. I used get your guide tours to book my ghost tour, and it was fabulous. They take you through the city and tell you the old wives tales, a bit of history and stories from shop owners and locals that have heard monks sing in sorry at an old Monastery, underground pick axes digging for buried treasure, and seeing the blood soaked square from the nobles being beheaded. It is a great way to get the spooky vibes, especially if you are visiting during the Fall. 

Cruises in Stockholm - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Sunset Cruise and Island Hopping 

There are several dinner or evening cruises you can take from Stockholm. Start along the pier, eat a freshly made meal, then watch the sunset and the stars glittering on the shores. There are several islands you can choose to visit, and many different themes to the cruises. I highly suggest doing this as the pier is so peaceful, the colors of the sunsets here are unreal, and being so far north - the stars really are other worldly. 

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

The Longest Art Installation In the World 

Underneath Stockholm you will find the longest art installation in the world, as you take the metro. Each art installation has a meaning behind it, so here are the ones I suggest visiting if you have the time or the weather keeps you indoors. 

  • Kungsträdgården: Find the green and red motifs of the former garden palace that once resided here but burned down in a fire. There are also statues carved from the rock bed. There are also pictures of birds, animals, people and even old gas lamps from the former palace that survived. 
  • Radhuset: If you head to the blue line area, you can see the red rock like color with different lines and textures painted and put together with this art installation. 
  • Rissne: Head to the Blue Line and discover the entire world’s history on the walls in colorful text. It is quite impressive to see it all laid out in such a unique installation. 
  • Thorildsplan: Head to the Green Line and you will find a theme of video games. With subway tiles make up different scenes from Super Mario brothers, Pac-Man and Space Invaders. 
  • Stadion Station: Along the Red Line it features the Rainbow colored walls with a cloud above the rainbow, this is the one you will most often see on Instagram. 
24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Kungstanten Park 

I love getting lost in the city, just wandering the streets and meandering along with locals til I find something interesting. Kungstanten Park is one of those picturesque places surrounded by trees and flowers that provide a bit of a natural sound barrier against the bustling city. 

The garden is called the King’s Garden, and really feels like once medieval nobles would take a walk about with fun fountains, flowers. In modern times you can find the fountains and flowers as well, but also life sized chess and picnics tables with chess boards on them (giving New York Chess in the Park Vibes). There are also quaint coffee shops with cozy chairs and blankets, wine bars with glass for walls, and lots and lots of burger joints. 

In the summer you can catch live theatre and summer concerts, in the summer you will find ice rinks and Christmas lights galore tinkling in the giant trees. 

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Eden Park and Library

If you are like me and get a bit overwhelmed with all the auditory and visual input that can happen while traveling, then may I suggest going over to Eden Park and the Library. This is a park that locals relax, walk their dogs, ride bikes, study, catch a local musician or show at the Library. It is about a 10 minute walk from the old town and you can puruse the shopping, small eateries, coffee shops, and the unique architecture along the way. 

If you have a blanket/towel or even a large shawl to sit on - make a little sack lunch for yourself and soak in the serene nature that is really cherished by the people of Sweden. 

Swedish Cuisine - 24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Try Some Swedish Cuisine

You could try some Swedish Cuisine not just at a great restaurant but also the oldest restaurant in the world that has been in the same location since 1722. While I wasn't able to go, it does have some excellent reviews on google - but can be a bit on the pricey side - give Den Gyldene Freden a shot if you are near Gamal Stan. I would highly recommend reserving a table if you plan to go though which can be done through their website. 

I personally ate at the delicious and quiet Osterlangatten 17 which had a lovely patio with blankets yo can be memorized by the adjacent statue above and fountain below. The food was good, and there was a large selection of both mocktails and cocktails. I stopped here early for dinner, but by the time I left it was filled with locals who came here to grab a quiet drink. The reviews on Google are around 4 stars just slightly lower than Den Gyldene Freden, but the prices here are much kinder to the wallet. 

If you want to try some local dishes - then try going with the Swedish meatballs, smoked salmon, moose, or meatballs with lingonberry jam. Lingonberry is one of my new favorite berries - ever since I tried the sweet and tangy taste with the salty reindeer meet in Finland - so make sure to order at least one thing on the menu that has it. 

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

Getting Around Stockholm 

Taxi from the station is about $14 for a 15 min ride, Bolt is about $9 for a 15 min ride, Uber will cost more than Bolt. 

You can also rent bikes or scooters from Bolt and they charge per minute of the ride. You will need to download the app prior to leaving home as they do need to send a text message for security purposes.

If you rent a scooter or a bike, then make sure you follow all traffic laws. Bike lanes have specific lanes AS WELL AS lights you must follow just like cars. Review hand signals for turning and stopping so you don’t get hit by other bikers. Also, if you don’t park your bike and scooters in designated areas for them, you can get a fine. 

There are also buses and trains that are really easy to use and navigate. Get an SRS card for the day or week, and just make sure you check in and out if you just get a few tickets. If you are staying longer than 24 hours then getting the Stockholm City Card is worth it as it includes the buses, trams, and water taxis as well (similar to what Copenhagen Card offers). 

24 Hours In Stockholm Sweden

My Takeaway of Stockholm Sweden

If I was to do this trip all over again, I would plan on spending at least five days in Stockholm to properly see everything and do it at a leisurely pace. I only saw a fraction of what I wanted to see and really would have loved to do the sunset dinner cruise, but walking along the pier was also really fun to see the different eateries and sunset set over the old buildings. 

The history of this place is palpable, the colorful buildings visually delight the eye, it was so fun to see the Viking Rune in the wall of the streets. If you haven’t followed by blog for long - surprise I’m obsessed with medieval times and Viking anything. Walking where Viking’s walked, seeing the VASA ship and learning about fact and fiction of Vikings was a highlight for me personally. 

The Swedish Meatballs were SO GOOD and trying a Fika (Swedish sweet roll/cinnamon bun) was delicious, as well as the tantalizing taste of Swedish cuisine. 

I hope you found this article useful, let me know in the comments below. Make sure to subscribe to my email list so you don’t miss any adventures. See ya in the next one and have a fabulous time in Sweden (no really just go book the ticket - trust me, it’s worth it). 

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