Stockholm has a number of transport options for the discerning traveller – depending on the length and nature of your visit, there are a number of options to suit your needs. These can be found here. Travelling by bus, rail, boat or tram is easy in Stockholm and is an ideal way to navigate the city if you are visiting for the first time. As we had pre-planned what we wanted to do, we simply used single journey tickets (45 SEK/£3.87) as they offered the best value. We took the Djurgårdsfärjan to Djurgården to our first stop of the weekend:
One of the must-visit attractions in Stockholm is the Skansen open air museum. It is the oldest open air museum in the world and showcases the architecture and traditions of a whole country in one manageable trip, combining living history re-enactors, original buildings and a small zoo featuring a range of Nordic animals as well as more exotic species in the Skansen Aquarium (separate entry fee applies).
We purchased entry tickets for 125 SEK (£10.76) and later decided we’d visit the aquarium. People better organised than us can purchased a combined ticket for 225 SEK, saving 20 SEK.
At this time of year, fewer buildings are open to visit and as such it is a much quieter day out. We arrived at approximately 10:00 am and didn’t leave until close to 3:00 pm, so even though there are less interactive opportunities, there is still plenty to see and do.
If you are visiting in the summer months, I recommend stopping off at the bakery to sample some of Sweden’s typical fika treats, usually still warm! Alas, this wasn’t an option last weekend.
Skansen offers a range of viewpoints over the city of Stockholm. When conditions are less icy, it is nice just to sit and watch the world go by from these areas. During the winter season, there are a number of firepits where you can warm up or cook sausages over an open fire. To my dismay I had forgotten this, and watched enviously as families sat around the fire grilling sausages. We did however stop for a hot chocolate to warm us up.
One of my favourite parts of Skansen is the small zoo in which you can see a range of Nordic animals. Naturally, given the time of year there are some animals in hibernation, but there’s still plenty to admire!
We first happened upon Barrels in Gamla Stan when we visited in Summer 2015. Since then I have held them up as a benchmark as to what constitutes a good burger. It goes without saying therefore that we were going to return last weekend.
Since our last visit, the business has expanded and there are now two further restaurants. We arrived at about 7:30 on Saturday night. It was extremely busy and we were directed to the bar to wait whilst a table became available.
It was worth the wait! Being a fussy eater, it is helpful that the staff are fully bilingual.Whilst I am comfortable ordering food in Swedish, I am always anxious that any food I order will have sauce or some other vile ingredient in. I took the opportunity to order in English, and was thrilled when the burger arrived exactly to my specification.
The best things in Stockholm for free…
One of Stockholm’s best viewpoints is the cliff path on Monteliusvägen in the Sodermalm area of the city. It offers unparalleled views over Lake Mälaren, City Hall, and Riddarholmen. The official Visit Stockholm webpage highlights sunrise and sunset as the best time to visit. We walked from Skeppsbrokajen where the ferry docks, via Slussen which took approximately 15 minutes. Be warned that in wintertime navigating the cobbled streets and cliff path isn’t without risk – there are handrails, but I suspect if you slip, you slip! Along the path is a seating area, including a picnic bench with a built in grill area – I should imagine it’s quite pleasant to sit a while.
Gamla Stan is the oldest part of the city of Stockholm and is home to magnificent stuccoed buildings and quaint cobbled streets. The smallest street measures just 90cm at its narrowest point! During the daytime, Gamla Stan is home to cafes, souvenir shops and of course the Royal Palace.
We passed through Gamla Stan in the morning en route to the ferry, as well as on Sunday to go and watch Changing of the Guard.
The Medieval Museum of Stockholm is located next to the Royal Palace and offers visitors an insight into the life of people in Medieval Stockholm through a variety of interactive exhibits and original features found during excavations in the 1970s. Whilst it is a small museum, it is possible to hire audioguides to supplement the (mostly) bilingual explanations of the artefacts on display. Entry is free!
Changing of the Guard
Another free attraction for visitors to Stockholm is the daily changing of the guard ceremony at the Royal Palace. You can find out more about the history and traditions here During the summer months the daily parade involves a musical accompaniment which plays an assortment of songs, from traditional military pieces to ABBA medleys.