When is the best time to visit Stockholm?
Gosh, all year round. The summer months will give you the chance to explore the beautiful Stockholm archipelago (which you can do in winter too, there are just less tour options). But Bradley and I visited in winter and it was wonderful.
Cold of course, but the wonderful Christmas lights and Christmas markets make up for that. Just wrap up warm and winter in Stockholm is a wonderful place.
How long should I stay in Stockholm?
Stockholm is a wonderful city break destination. So I suggest a stay of 3 or 4 nights. You may find yourself wanting to stay longer, but if you want a short but sweet getaway filled with awesome things to do in Stockholm, then 3 to 4 nights is perfect.
We only had one day in Stockholm, so we will definitely be returning in the future to spend a few nights.
But having only one day in Stockholm shouldn’t put you off, we achieved a lot in a day, as you’ll see in this guide to the top things to do in Stockholm.
Top Things To Do In Stockholm In One Day
Since Bradley and I visited Stockholm in winter, I thought it would be fitting to produce a Stockholm attractions guide based on the best things to do during the winter season. Of course the majority of these things can also be done in summer, but you’ll get the drift!
1. Take a canal cruise
One of the best things to do in Stockholm is a canal river cruise. The canals in Stockholm carry a lot of history and the city is lined with beautiful architecture that is best seen from the water.
There are limited tours in winter, but the one by Royal Canal Tours is still running and if you opt for the Stockholm city card, it’s actually included.
If you visit in the spring/summer months then I suggest you take a longer tour that takes you out to other little islands.
2. Visit the ABBA museum
I’ve been a massive Abba fan since I was young. I grew up with their music and since they were “formed” in Stockholm, it was only right that I went to the museum!
It’s a little pricey at £25 per person, but it’s included in the Stockholm card if you choose to buy that.
It’s very informative, interactive and really a lot of fun. You can sing with Abba on stage too! I’d allow at least 2 hours to really get involved in all the activities on offer.
You can book online here and it’s actually about £4-5 less than entry at the door.
3. Explore the beautiful and quaint Galma Stan (Old town)
This is one of my favourite things to do in Stockholm and easy to achieve if you’ve only got one day in Stockholm. Galma Stan is such a picturesque spot. Full of cute buildings, colorful places and lots of shops. If you’re looking for unique gifts or even some independent designer shops, then this is a great place to be.
There are also a range of restaurants, so you’ll never go hungry!
4. Explore the Stockholm Christmas markets
Of course this is season specific, but there is a reason why lots of people visit Stockholm in the winter months, because it’s so beautiful and for the Christmas markets.
I have to be honest and say that in comparison to other cities in Europe, I was disappointed at the smallness of the Christmas markets in Stockholm. But, there are a few, they’re just dotted over the city and actually close quite early around 4-5 o’clock. The most famous Christmas markets are held in the old town.
You’ll find traditional treats, unique gifts and of course, mulled wine!
Read Also: The Best Christmas Markets in Europe
5. Sight see on a scooter
A big trend in Europe at the moment is electric scooters and I have to say, they are such a fun way to get around a city. You can rent a scooter and whizz past all the awesome sights in Stockholm.
Actually, if you’re short on time too, (which you will be with only one day in Stockholm!) it’s a quick way to get around the city. You just unlock a scooter via an app and drop it off anywhere within the city limits. We often used Lime in Stockholm, and the rest of Europe.
6. Visit one of the world’s largest IKEA
Before I went to Sweden, I was an IKEA virgin. I’ve actually always wanted to go, not just for the awesome furniture where I could mentally create a cute home, but for the food. I’ve always heard great things about the meatballs at IKEA and where better to sample Swedish meatballs for the first time, than IKEA.
It was stupidly cheap btw and very very tasty, and they have a vegetarian option too!
PS, if you want you can park at IKEA for free and get the train into Stockholm city centre (that’s what we did!).
7. Eat Swedish meatballs
Okay, so this should be on everyone's list of the best things to do in Stockholm.
The great thing about Swedish meatballs is that no matter where you get them, they’re always good! You can either get them cheap in IKEA (as mentioned above), or you can head to any restaurant in Stockholm and they chances are, they’ll be serving them. They tend to be on the menu of the day.
PS, if you want cheaper meals in Stockholm, then dine a little earlier as around 4-5 you can get some excellent deals on food.
8. Admire the Stockholm palace
As mentioned before, Stockholm is filled with beautiful buildings, but the one that houses some of the Swedish royal family is beautiful. The Stockholm palace is well worth a visit and a picture.
You get a guided tour with your admission fee. It’s got a museum and a beautiful library.
9. Take a trip to Gripsholm Castle
This castle is a little day trip from Stockholm but I totally think it’s worth it. It’s about 40 minutes from the IKEA parking I spoke about and if you’re looking for a grand castle, that’s not over touristy but has amazing views, then this is a great choice.
We visited early in the morning, so the castle itself wasn’t open, but just walking around the grounds was beautiful.
Actually, Sweden in general is home to some amazing castles that I've written about here.
But yes, it's possible to see this castle and do all the other things I've mentioned so far with just one day in Stockholm. Why? Because we did it!
Stockholm actually has a very vibrant party scene, and it’s a popular place to head for a weekend for some drinks. You can even take an organised pub bar crawl if you’re looking for a way to meet other travelers.
Or create your own by simply searching for the best bars in the area, or asking the locals. The locals will probably have some awesome insight into great places to grab a drink in Stockholm.
What better way to end your special day in Stockholm than with a couple of drinks. If you want to save money, then hit up happy hour.
Plus, you can't go to Sweden and not drink Swedish cider!
11. Check out the unique Subway Art
You've probably seen the amazing photos of Stockholm's Subway art on Instagram and it's pretty unique. It's thought to be the world's longest art gallery and there are over 100 stations with artwork. Since one of the best ways to get around Stockholm is via the metro system, you'll get to pass through lots of awesome subway spots and check out the really cool artwork.
Should I get the Stockholm Card?
Sometimes I think city cards aren’t worth the money unless you’re planning on visiting every museum on offer, but since entrance fees in Stockholm can be a little pricey, in this case, if you want to see and do it all in one day, then it’s a good investment.
The Stockholm pass costs £58 (719 SEK) and includes all your boat and bus travel, including a canal cruise. It also includes entrance to some of Stockholm's top attractions such as the Vasa Museum, the Royal Palace, Drottningholm palace, sky view, Grona Lund (the awesome amusement park), archipelago tour, the Jewish museum and much more.
A 2 day pass is £82 and I think if you’re going to do everything on the list, then it’s worth it, especially for a 1 day pass and you’re short on time.
But it really depends on what you’re going for. Of course if you’re visiting Stockholm on a budget, then you’ll need to be selective on what you do and see.
You can find out more about the Stockholm pass here on their website.
Is Stockholm expensive?
Yes. As far as European capitals go, Stockholm is expensive, but you kind of expect that. There are ways to save money, such as exercising all the free things to do in Stockholm, travelling off-season, using airbnb to stay local rather than a fancy hotel, and making your own lunch (or seriously, eating in IKEA).
But what I will say about Stockholm is that it’s worth every single penny. It’s such a beautiful city and it doesn’t feel overcrowded. Trust me when I say you’ll struggle to leave once you visit. I’m already planning my return.
So there you go, my guide to the best things with one day in Stockholm. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and if you’ve got any other Stockholm attractions to add to the list then just pop a comment below.
Read Also: Top Things To Do In Sweden