Sometimes you don’t have a whole weekend free to discover a new city. That’s why we’ve put together some sightseeing tips for those of you who have to get the best out of Stockholm under time pressure.
A plus for those with not much time in the city is that downtown Stockholm isn’t particularly big. Put on some comfortable shoes and let’s get going!
Discover the city’s heartbeat in Norrmalm
Sergels Torg – Photo: © Vladimir Mucibabic/Shutterstock
Start with the bustling T-Centralen – the city’s heartbeat doesn’t get faster any other place. On Klarabergsgatan you will pass Åhléns and then reach the square Sergels Torg with its iconic glass obelisk and black and white slabs.
The shopping street Drottninggatan always offers some entertainment, from street musicians to Michael Jackson impersonators. Take a turn to Hötorget and check out the majestic Concert Hall (Konserthuset in Swedish), the newly built art-dèco beauty Haymarket by Scandic Hotels, or bargain with the sellers at the flower and produce stands.
Look across the intersection of Kungsgatan and Sveavägen, a bit to the left, and you will see where Swedish prime minister Olof Palme was murdered in 1986. The street’s name has been Olof Palmes gata ever since. Continue on Kungsgatan, Stockholm’s parade street with the two arch bridges Malmskillnadsbron and Regeringsgatans bro.
Talk a walk on Norrmalm’s fancier side
Kungsträdgården – Photo: © Anders E. Skånberg
You are surely going to recognize the structure ‘Svampen’ (The Mushroom) on Stureplan, which is a rain cover designed by the City Master Gardener Holger Blom. A lot of financial offices and a big part of Stockholm’s nightclubs are located here.
Go window shopping in the well-known brand shops along Birger Jarlsgatan, all the way to the end of the street where you’ll see the theater Dramaten on your left. Take Hamngatan, with the Berzelii Park on the left and the palace Hallwyl Palace on the right. The palace was a residence of the count couple Walther and Wilhelmina von Hallwyl.
On the right, you will also pass Norrmalmstorg, today the home of luxurious shops and the designer hotel Nobis. But in 1973, a hostage drama occurred here, in the bank Kreditbanken’s old building. The situation coined the term Stockholm syndrome, where hostages develop an alliance with the captors.
But enough with the tediousness, we continue and spot Stockholm’s fanciest department store NK on the right. Take a left and have a break in the park Kungsträdgården, where there’s always a cool event going on. When you’re done relaxing, continue towards Strömgatan, walk pass The Royal Opera on your right and you’ll reach the square Gustav Adolfs Torg.
Stroll around the Old town (Gamla stan)
Stortorget in Old Town
Let us leave Norrmalm and go over the bridge Riksbron to the island Helgeandsholmen, the home of the Swedish Parliament. Continue to Old Town (Gamla stan) and the Royal Palace. Maybe you’ll be just in time for the changing of the guard?
Continue along Västerlånggatan street, filled with stores and look for Mårten Trotzigs gränd, Sweden’s narrowest street, only 90 centimeters wide. But Old Town is so much more than Västerlånggatan, so take little detours wherever you feel like it. Stop at Järntorget square and have some coffee in Sweden’s oldest café and bakery Sundbergs Konditori, founded in 1785.
Check out Södermalm
Old houses on Södermalm – Photo: © Aliona-art/Shutterstock
We’re on our way over to Södermalm, with an obligatory photo break on the bridge of course. Go up towards Götgatan – Södermalm’s liveliest street with many nice shops and cafés. Medborgarplatsen square, or ‘Medis’ in Stockholmish, is surrounded by terraces and is a common place for demonstrations.
Turn to Bondegatan, where ecological vegetables and freshly baked bread are sold in the fall on the Farmers Market. Go along the avenue Katarina Bangata and then Skånegatan, where a lot of Södermalm’s bars are located. Admire the picturesque houses on the intersecting street Södermannagatan and take a break with some food on Nytorget square.
When you start feeling your legs again, take Sofiagatan and Södermannagatan towards Gotlandsgatan. Follow that street, turn to Östgötagatan and then Ölandsgatan until you finally reach Skanstull. From here you can treat yourself to a subway ride back to the city centre, after having walked a 6,5 kilometers long sightseeing tour. Good job!
Boat and bus tours for those who like comfy sightseeing
Enjoy Stockholm from a boat – Photo: © Anders E. Skånberg
If you’d prefer to avoid walking there’s a more comfortable alternative. Take a boat excursion around Kungsholmen, Djurgården, under Stockholm’s bridges, out into the beautiful archipelago or on the Hop On Hop Off boats.
You can also enjoy sightseeing from a comfortable seat on a double-decker bus. Several companies offer guided tours around the city, where you get to see Norr and Söder Mälarstrand, Old Town, Östermalm, and Djurgården to just name a few. There are also Hop On – Hop Off buses that drive pass sights such as Stockholm City Hall, Skansen, Skeppsholmen, Old Town, and the Royal Palace.
Or you can combine the best of two worlds – see Stockholm both from land and water. On a Stockholm Grand Tour, that takes 3 hours and 45 minutes, you’ll pass under fifteen bridges and get to know downtown Stockholm, Old Town, Södermalm, the islands Lilla and Stora Essingen, Djurgården, Årsta och Hammarby Sjöstad.
That’s how you get to see the most of the city on a tight schedule. We wish you a great time in Stockholm!