Google ‘Stockholm sightseeing’ and you’ll see the familiar guidebook territory: Vasa Museum, ABBA Museum, Gamla Stan, Skansen, Djurgården. Maybe the Royal Palace. But what if you’ve seen all that already? You’re in Stockholm for a few more days, but you’ve checked everything off the bucket list. Or maybe it’s your second time ’round. What to do now?
Stockholm city stretches over 14 islands, so there’s loads to do and see! Here are our quick tips on alternative sightseeing in Stockholm that’s more than just the Hop on/Hop off:
The subway (‘Tunnelbanan’)
Stockholms’s subway system is the world’s longest art gallery
At 110 km, the tunnel network of Stockholm’s Metro has long been prized as ‘the longest art museum in the world.’ Since 1950, artists have been contributing to an impressive collection of surreal murals, broken sculptures, and ship displays you’ll find strewn about.
For the price of a metro ticket, you can treat yourself to an hour or two visiting your favorite creative displays: the red splash at Solna Centrum, the mosaics at Hötorget, or the archaeological remains of Makalös palace at Kungsträdgården station.
Pionen Data Center
Pionen Data Center – Photo credit: © Holger Ellgaard/Wikimedia Commons
Hats off to tech geeks and data nerds, the Bahnhof-owned Pionen Data Center was once a civil defense bunker during the Cold War — but now, it keeps the servers of major world corporations. Tucked deep in a mountain on Södermalm, the unit could notoriously withstand a nuclear attack. Bragging rights include a 40-cm-thick steel door at the entrance, extremely efficient energy and cooling systems, and high-end cables, fiber and routers galore.
With state-of-the-art technology, glass meeting rooms, a self-contained rainforest and a shocking lack of windows, it’s been likened to a ‘Bond villain’s lair.’
Renstiernas gata 35-37, Södermalm
The Millennium Trilogy tour
Follow in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson’s famous characters on a Millennium Trilogy tour
Book-lovers, get your literary kicks on Södermalm island, where Stieg Larsson wrote and set his international bestseller ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.’ You can join a Millennium Trilogy tour or take a morning to makeup your own.
Follow in the footsteps of his famous characters with a stop at Bellmansgatan 1, where his main protagonist Mikael Blomqvist is said to have lived, and drop by Lisbeth Salander’s apartment at Fiskargatan 9 near Mosebacke Torg. Stop by Stockholm City Museum for their Millennium exhibition — and end it all with a fika at Mellqvist café, where, in the early 2000s, Larsson apparently could be seen typing away the whole story.
Outside the restaurant Aifur in Old Town – Photo credit: © RPBaiao / Shutterstock.com
Though smack-dab in tourist center of Old Town (‘Gamla Stan’), Aifur Bar & Restaurant tends to go overlooked. For a curious eye and a fun-loving spirit, however, Aifur guarantees you a thrilling night out! Billed as ‘Sweden’s first and only restaurant with a total focus on the gastronomic heritage from the Viking Age,’ it’s sure to leave you stuffed with hearty food. Eat by candlelight and sit on wooden benches, with groups piled together onto long tables as was customary way back when.
Dishes include crawfish and prawn soup, Varangian roasted dwarf chicken, venison with creamy mushroom sauce, and lamb racks with honey-tossed vegetables. There’s also something called the ‘Indulgence of the Raven Lord’ — wine-marinated flap steak, served with parsnip cake and juniper-smoked pig’s side.
If that doesn’t get you salivating, well — why not check it out yourself? Just be warned: upon entering, newcomers are announced to the whole room with a welcoming roar!
Västerlånggatan 68B, Old Town
The beautiful Skogskyrkogården is on the UNESCO World Heritage list
Skogskyrkogården, or the Woodland Cemetery, as it’s known in English, is so stunning it was put on the UNESCO World Heritage list. This grand eco-friendly resting place sits just outside of the city center, an easy train ride south of Stockholm (take the green line 18 against Farsta strand, 13 minutes from T-centralen).
The unique cemetery was designed to blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings, so that mourners and visitors have a chance to visit in peace and nature. Among its notable interments, lies actress Greta Garbo. You can easily spend a long, sunny afternoon here and wander among the Remembrance Garden, two chapels, a Meditation Grove and the Seven Springs Way, a path lined with green birches, pines and spruces.
Have more tips of alternative sightseeing in Stockholm? Let us know in the comments!