Stockholm Highlights & Landmarks

September 14, 2022


Stockholm represents the best of land and sea – a vibrant city surrounded by an idyllic Baltic archipelago and a large lake, rich culture, and history, juxtaposed against an urban area of sleek design and trendy fashion. On my first visit to Stockholm, I opted to do the Stockholm in One Day Tour because it offered an insight into Stockholm highlights and landscapes – a comfortable coach tour around the city followed by a cruise of the picturesque canal and islands.  The tour took a total of 2.5 hours, and both parts of the tour were accompanied by a very detailed audio narration. I was traveling solo in Stockholm, and if you have more than one day I’d suggest renting a car; here’s a guide to Stockholm solo travel.

I visited Stockholm during the summer, but it is also one of the best places to visit in Europe in December.

INSIDER TIP: Ready to try a road trip abroad? It’s easy! This International Driver’s License covers 150 countries! Get it in 8 minutes!

Luckily, on my second visit, I was able to see and do more. Below are my favorite things to do in Stockholm, combining both trips.

Stockholm at a Glance

Age: About 771 years
Founded: 1252
Area: 72.59 mi²
Population: 975,551 (Dec 31, 2020)
Metro population: 2,440,027

Stockholm in a Day Tour


The first view on the bus portion was a glimpse at the towering statue of Gustavis Adolphus the Great, himself a larger-than-life character in Swedish history.  Dubbed “the Lion of the North” he is regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time.  The beloved expansionist king ruled Sweden from 1611 to 1632 and is credited with making Sweden one of Europe’s strongest powers.  He also established Stockholm as the capital.

stockholm in one day

One of the highlights of Stockholm is undoubtedly the original section or Old Town, called Gamla Stan.  Some of the buildings date back as early as the 1300’s tilting towards each other on each side of the narrow, cobblestone alleys.  We drove past examples of iconic medieval architecture, the Stockholm Cathedral, and the Royal Palace, all the while I was furiously snapping photos, taking notes, and making plans to return to explore this vibrant area on foot.

stockholm in one day

Our tour took us to Karlaplan, a circular park in the Östermalm section. This popular plaza with its center fountain was created during the 1980’s in the image of Place de l’Étoile in Paris. Karlaplan was so-named to honor the many Swedish kings named Karl, e.g. Karl X Gustav, Karl XI, and Karl XII.  The park spilled over into an area of exclusive, high-end homes.

stockholm in one day

Water rippling, sun beaming through the puffy white-and-gray clouds hanging in the electric blue sky, the excitement was palpable as we departed the ferry docks on our canal boat headed for Djurgården, one of Stockholm’s most popular recreational islands.   It’s easy to understand why the island is a favorite with both locals and tourists – the island hosts the Skansen open-air museum, the Abba the Museum, the Vasa Museum and other museums and monuments along with historical buildings and the amusement park Gröna Lund.

stockholm in one day

The pier disappeared into the crisp air on the horizon as we drifted past Östermalm – where we’d been earlier – for a very different and dramatic water view of the region and its attractive ochre-colored buildings.

stockholm in one day

The boat ducked under Stockholm’s many bridges, creating the perfect backdrop as testified by the endless shutter clicks.


The cruise ended back at the ferry docks in a pedestrian-friendly part of the city, inviting the departing tourists to continue exploring the waterfront.  I walked along the long, breezy harbor path, sharing the promenade with joggers, toddlers in strollers, and businesspersons speaking into cell phones.  I gazed across the water at the buildings which seemed to hover on the water, creating a surreal vibe that I couldn’t help but breathe in and hold onto.  Sweden, particularly Stockholm, is so much more than meatballs and build-it-yourself furniture! My first introduction to Stockholm on the “nutshell” tour left a favorable impression and a strong desire to return for more.

More Stockholm Activities

ABBA Museum

stockholm highlights

abba museum

The ABBA Museum is so much fun and was one of my favorite Stockholm highlights! The world-famous Swedish pop group is on display through permanent exhibitions and memorabilia like stage outfits, instruments, gold records, awards.  The museum is a favorite, so if you’re a fan of the supergroup, an advanced booking is a must.

abba museum

abba museum

ABBA The Museum is more than just a museum.  The museum invites you to “walk in, dance out” in an interactive experience that invites you to sing and dance with ABBA holograms, mix music and try out virtual stage outfits. You can also record your performance and download it from the museum’s homepage using the numbers on your entrance ticket.

Vasa Museum

vasa museum

At the Vasa Museum you can gawk at an almost fully intact ship from the 17th century that has been salvaged from the bottom of the ocean. Raised in the 1960s, archaeologists were surprised to find approximately 95% of the wood still intact. Visitors can learn more about why this huge vessel capsized and sank more than 333 years ago, how they managed to salvage it successfully and even about the lives of the people onboard.

Ice Bar

ice bar

I had a great time in the Ice Bar! This offbeat and hidden venue which opened in 2002 is the first of its kind in the world. has an interior made from ice, including a bar and sculptures. The temp is a chilly 23° F. The glasses in which your drinks are served are also carved out of ice. Upon paying a somewhat exorbitant entrance fee, you are handed a heavy clock to protect against the cold interior. Everyone was very social and my prosecco with elderberry was delicious (and also expensive). After around 20 minutes I was ready to leave, back out through the airlock and onto the warm street. This  experience is one of the Stockholm highlights that is a must-do!

Visit a Food Market

stockholm highlights

Tasty treasures are easy to find with the number of markets available. There are a lot of outdoor markets and food truck throughout the city, so chances are you’ll find one in your vicinity.

Day Trips from Stockholm


There are many day trips from Stockholm as well as weekend getaways. Some of my favorites were the visit to Smaaland, south of Stockholm, where you’ll find the destination of charming Vimmerby, Astrid Lindgren’s birthplace (author of the Pippi Longstocking books) , gorgeous Kalmar Castle, and sailing around the Västervik Archipelago. Click here read about all of these places and other great things to do in Smaaland.

One  Day in Stockholm story first published by Viator.

Here’s what happens when you visit Sweden for the coffee!

Here is a Stockholm Travel Guide

Click below to PIN so you can find Stockholm highlights again:

stockholm highlights

This article may contain affiliate/compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer.

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and the southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Go top