If the closest you’ve got to Scandi-cool is traipsing around IKEA on a bank holiday, you may want to rethink your next holiday destination. Sweden’s capital oozes laid-back charm, quiet charisma, and a wealth of attractions suitable for couples and families alike. Plus with the Scandinavian city playing host to Eurovision next month, there has never been a better time to visit. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite things to do in Stockholm so that you can get the best out of weekend city breaks in the cosmopolitan capital.
Day 1: AM
Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, can be found on Djurgǻrden, Stockholm’s greenest island. Visitors will be able to take in a miniature, historical Sweden and meet the people of this diverse country – from the Skǻne in the south, to the Sami reindeer herders of the north.
The onsite zoo is the best place to meet Sweden’s infamous wildlife, from wily wolverines and burly bears, to regal reindeer and elegant elk. Children will also love the petting zoo, where friendlier animals vie for attention.
Grӧna Lund is located close by and for SKR 389 (£31) guests can enjoy rides and free concerts during the summer. This year Little Mix, Lionel Ritchie and Whitesnake are amongst the bands billed. The park is free for under-6’s and also those aged 65+. With over a dozen restaurants on-site, this is a great place for lunch.
Day 1: PM
Love them or hate them – the ABBA Museum is a must when in Stockholm. Sure, it might be cheesy, but it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll leave the building humming Mamma Mia. This year visitors have an added bonus, with a special exhibition chronicling 60 Years of Eurovision.
If the museum has you feeling something of a Dancing Queen, then it’s time to explore the nightlife! For this you’ll want to take the Djurgǻrden ferry back to Slussen on Gamla Stan. The ferry price is included within the Stockholm Public Transport network, so island-hopping is straightforward.
Stockholm has fantastic nightlife and is particularly renowned for House. Most of the big clubs can be found in the Stureplan District, and the largest Sturecompagniet can’t be missed.
Day 2: AM
Gamla Stan, is Stockholm’s medieval centre and home to some of its oldest attractions. The Cathedral dates from 1279, and is a short stroll from Stockholm Palace, which contains over 600 rooms and five museums. It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring, but those short on time will definitely want to catch the Changing of the Guard at 12.15pm, or 13.15pm on Sundays.
Day 2: PM
The best meatballs in Sweden can be found at Tranan; just don’t expect to see them on the menu. They are said to be so classic, that they detract from the other dishes. Just ask for the kӧttbullar and give the other diners a knowing smirk!
After meatballs it’s time for a spot of shopping. Stockholm has some fantastic Scandi design stores and the prices are not as high as you might think. The STHLM Design District is home to the larger brands and studios, but you’ll find affordable stores here too. Check out Iris Hantverk, which specialises in wooden brushes and brightly coloured tea-towels, Designtorget, which is fantastic for quirky items, and the iconic Swedish designer Carl Malmsten.
Finally bid farewell to the city with a traditional fika at Fotografiska. This Swedish take on the coffee break sees coffee paired with sandwiches and cinnamon buns, and the restaurant in Stockholm’s famous photography museum boasting impressive views over the harbour is the perfect place to experience this custom.