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For some reason, I had this preconceived notion of a reserved, stoic Sweden.

Wow, I couldn't have been more wrong!

Not only is Stockholm absolutely colorful and gorgeous, the people here have been among the friendliest and happiest people I have seen yet in my travels.

I came to visit at the end of April when the temperatures are still a bit cool, but I was fortunate to arrive just in time for Walpurgis... the celebration of the coming spring, with bonfires in the evening. 

I really want to come back in July or August, but I am afraid I won't want to leave again.


Vasa ship 4.jpg

Vasa Museum

Incredible museum based on the Vasa.  I wondered how you can base an entire museum on just 1 ship, but this place is wonderful.  Perhaps one of the most informative museums I have ever visited. this is the most popular site in Stockholm, and for a good reason. It is not just an old boat in a building. It is an incredible telling of the boat’s tragic history, and the people that were involved. 

Water, water everywhere

Fun fact I learned here..., Sweden has more islands than any other country with more than 260,000 of them.

Stockholm view Gamla Stan.jpg


Stockholm was founded in 1252 by the Swedish statesman Birger Jarl and by the end of the 13th century, it had already grown into Sweden’s largest city and was serving as the country’s political center and royal residence.

Royal Palace Stockholm
Royal palace stairs Stockholm
Riddarholmen Church Stockholm
Parliament House Stockholm

Getting around on metro.

From the airport.

The Arlanda Express is pretty easy, leaving from 2 stops at the airport, and going directly to Stockholm Central. The ticket is about US$ 30, which is pricy for an airport train, but it beats taking a taxi or UBER since the airport is 25 miles north of town.  It is also faster as it doesn’t have to deal with traffic. At the airport, just head for the signs for the Arlanda Express (airport train), and there will be plenty of ticket machines as your near it.  You will be asked to show your ticket on board.

Once in town, Stockholm tourism is centered mainly around Old Town (Gamla Stan). Once in Old Town, it is very walkable, so if you stay near the center, you may use transport very little.  It takes 20 or 30 minutes to walk across the whole area, and you will want to, since it is so beautiful.  It feels like you are always near the water in Stockholm, and it is true. 

Stockholm is simply one of the beautiful capital cities of the world. Clean, friendly, colorful architecture. Just a gem to simply walk around in.

Once you want to leave the center to visit places like the Natural History Museum on the north side or Waldemarsudde on the southeast side, they are still not all that far apart as Stockholm isn't that large. The metro will suit just fine.

When you are ready for a metro ride, one of my favorite simple things was that you could just wave your credit card at the entry for the train.  No ticketing necessary. However, I don’t know how they would verify ticketing if asked, especially for a transfer. And, the penalties for not having a ticket are really high.  As of 2022, about US$ 120. Luckily, I was never asked.

The downside is that you cannot buy a number of tickets in bulk as in places like Paris because the time limit for ticket is activated at purchase.  But, since it is so easy, you don’t really need to buy them 5 or 10 at a time. Just pay as you enter each time.

If you prefer, there is an app for the metro, SL App. With the app, you can purchase for single use, or tickets of varying length of 1, 3, 7, 30, 90, or 365 days.

As of 2024, a single use ticket that works for transfers up to 75 minutes is 42 SEK and a 1 day pass is 175 SEK.  So, you would have to use the metro at least 5 times in a day to make that worthwhile. The 3 day pass is 350 and the 7 day is 455 SEK.  So, if you are spending a few days in Stockholm, these are definitely good deals. 

Another benefit is that with the app, you can buy the tickets ahead of time, even when you are still at home, and activate the ticket when you arrive. The valid period starts when it is activated, not purchased.

This is not true for tickets bought at stations, they start as soon as they are bought. 

Another benefit of the day passes is that they include a discount on the airport train.  If you have a valid SL ticket, you just pay the passage supplement fee.

Staying in Stockholm

as with most European capitals, I prefer to stay outside the center. With the great metro in this town, that is very easy. I stayed in an Airbnb about 15 minutes south of the center of town during my stay and therefore was able to enjoy the quiet of a residential area after a day of exploring. Plus, it saves a considerable amount of money. In 2022, I was able to stay on a top rated place for less than $100 USD per night. No small feat in this popular town. 

Favorite places in Stockholm

I barely left the area around Gamla Stan (Old Town).  There was so much to see there.  It is a lot of fun to just walk around and see the beautiful buildings, with water everywhere. 

Vasa Museum

This is a must see, incredibly interesting maritime museum. Initially I was skeptical that an entire museum based on a single ship could be interesting, but I was very wrong. I ended up spending a couple hours there. It was fascinating. 

Vasa Museum Stockholm Sweden

The Royal Palace

Baroque Style palace with 3 museums. The royal residence has been at this location since the 13th century.  The current palace has 1,430 rooms.

By the end of the 9th century, Vikings built a pile barrier at the place where the castle is currently located, and in the 12th century there was a defensive castle here.  Museum Tre Kronor at the Palace is the museum about the castle's oldest history, from defensive castle to the Renaissance castle that was destroyed in a violent fire in 1697. 

You may also visit the Gustav III's antiquities museum which has been open for viewing these sculptures since 1794.  The Treasury - In dark basement vaults at the Royal Palace, the most important symbols of the monarchy are kept - the Royal Regalia. 

The Castle Church - since Magnus Ladulå's time in the 13th century, there hasbeen not only a church at the castle but also its own clergy.

The current Castle Church is the third of which we have detailed knowledge. In the great castle fire of 1697, Karl XI's newly inaugurated castle church was destroyed.


Stockholm Sweden
Stockholm Sweden

Riddarholmen Church

Sitting on the separate island west of Gamla Stan, this church has elements from the 13th century. Riddarholm Church is the burial church of the Swedish kings and Stockholm's only preserved medieval monastery church and Stockholm's oldest building. With one exception, every regent between 1632 and 1950 are interred here.

The history of the church dates back to the Franciscans in 1270 as a site ofr a monastery.

It is open for self guided tours but only during the summer months of May through September. For more than 200 years, this serves only as a memorial and burial place. Regular services are no longer held. 

Stockholm Sweden
Stockholm Sweden

More places to visit in Stockholm


Skansen - The world's oldest open-air museum, blending Sweden's heritage with live wild animals.

Nordic Museum - The museum explores life in the Nordic region with a focus on humanity, from the present day back to the 16th century.

National Museum - The largest museum of art and design in Sweden, it is entrusted with preserving cultural heritage and promoting interest and knowledge in art.

Moderna Museet - Stockholm’s museum of contemporary art, housing over 130,000 domestic and international works.

Waldemarsudde - Once home to Prince Eugene, it is now a popular art museum.

Museum of National History - In addition to its extensive collections in biology, geology, and zoology, the museum presents IMAX® format films at its theater dome, known as Cosmonova.

Hallwyl Museum - Originally a private residence from the early 1900s, it remained occupied until 1930 and has since been transformed into a state-owned museum.

The Nobel Prize Museum - explore exhibitions, educational programs, talks, and discussions addressing important contemporary issues.

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