Stockholm is a short cruise or a plane ride away from Helsinki. I visited Sweden a lot when I was growing up. We usually went to Stockholm or Umeå. After moving to Helsinki I think I visit Stockholm at least twice a year. I booked a cruise from Tallink but Viking Line also offers cheap cruises. Instead of just doing a trip post, I decided to do a city guide to Stockholm to give you some tips on what to do and see.
Typically what ends up happening with us, at least, is that we stroll up and down the long shopping street Drottninggatan among the rest of the tourists. This is an ok way to spend the day, but after doing it for so many times, you start to crave for more. Especially since Drottninggatan pretty much has the same chainstores that we do. The only reason I wander to Drottninggatan anymore is to visit Lägerhaus.
I encourage visitors to explore outside Stockholm’s city centre. Make sure you check Stockholm Event Calendar to see what is happening in Stockholm.
If you are into Royals and castles, you should head to Gamlastan. It is a wonderful old part of the city where you can see the Castle. Especially during the summer months the nearby gardens are a good place to rest for a while and eat some ice cream. Also if you are short on time, a sightseeing cruise is a good way to see some of the sights a bit faster.
If shopping is on your agenda, then I would recommend the shops along Drottninggatan (Zara, H&M, Mango, Lindex, Esprit, Vila, Vero Moda) or pop into one of the malls like Gallerian (Topshop, River Island), MooD (has a bit more expensive brands like Club Monaco, Day, Ralph Lauren, Scotch & Soda, Samsøe & Samsøe), NK (super expensive and has luxury brands like Chanel, Prada, Mulberry and Givenchy) or Mall of Scandinavia (if the weather is horrible and you want to shop without getting drenched, this mall has a good selection of shops, but you need to head out of the city centre to get there, the nearest station is Solna station).
MooD has Leila’s General Store (that only accepts card payments), that sells “the Swedish Nigella Lawson” Leila Lindholm’s dreamy pastel coloured kitchen and baking things.
Depending on how much time you have, don’t miss the city’s museums. Stockholm even has an Abba Museum! Last time I ended up visiting the Vasa ship museum which is well worth the visit (make sure you watch the short film about the ship in the auditorium).
Stockholm has a good public transport system that is super easy to use. With a ticket you get 75 minutes of travelling time which allows you cover more ground and see more of Stockholm. The metrocarts are new-ish and clean-ish, but the metro (tunnelbana) runs often and a lot of the sights are located near a metro stop.
Swedish people “fika”, meaning that they have coffee and pastries or sandwiches. There are a lot of good cafés in Stockholm. My two favourites are John Chris (Drottninggatan 29) that has a pecanpie to die for and Gilda’s Rum (this is in Södermalm at Skånegatan 79).
I can’t even count the times I have been to Stockholm. Even though the city is so familiar, it still has something new to offer for me every time. It’s nice to visit Stockholm during different seasons. During the winter or autumn I usually end up going to museums or the malls. In the summer, I like to walk around the gardens and the cooler streets at Gamla Stan. By doing some of the old things I’m used to doing and doing something new every time (a new café or lunch place,a new museum) I don’t thin I’ll ever get tired of visiting Stockholm. I already have my next trip’s plans ready (a visit to Fotografiska and tea at Chaikhana)!