Have you ever wondered what it is like to visit Stockholm?
After our visit, we were asked so many questions from our community. When was the best time to travel? Is it all Abba (yes, we even got that one). How did you cope with the many hours of daylight? Was it expensive? Is it safe to travel around?
Stockholm Sweden is not only a perfect destination for Baby Boomers but for everyone. Our article will highlight some of our favourite places to visit in and around Stockholm.
Let’s answer the questions above first.
- 1 Where is Stockholm
- 2 Things to do in Stockholm
- 2.1 Stockholm Pass
- 2.2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- 2.3 Vasa Museum – one of the biggest attractions in Stockholm
- 2.4 Gamla Stan
- 2.5 Parliament House
- 2.6 Abba Museum
- 2.7 Castles and Manor Houses in the Sormland Region
- 2.8 A land of Gastronomic Delights
- 2.9 Close to Nature
- 2.10 The Swedish People
- 2.11 Travelling Around Stockholm
- 2.12 And…. for a bit of quirkiness?
- 3 Stockholm Hotels
When is the best time to travel to Stockholm? We travelled in July, the weather was warm, not too hot. We don’t usually travel to cooler climates so July was perfect for us. Spring and Autumn are also good times to travel but the weather will be cooler.
Abba? Well, you can definitely go and visit the Museum, in fact, we did, but we were a little disappointed, maybe our expectations were too high. You will need to visit yourself and we would love to hear your comments.
Hours of daylight
Actually, it was rather neat to look out the window at midnight and still see daylight. We would never walk to a train station at 4 am in the morning, but we did here in Stockholm. We felt safe, it was light, and there were lots of people out exercising and wandering around. We are not sure how we could cope in winter though with only a few hours of sunlight.
Was it expensive?
Yes, it was compared to other places that we have travelled to around Europe. If you are aware of this in advance you adjust your budget accordingly. Alcohol was expensive. You buy alcohol in a special government store called Systembolaget. You can always buy duty free!
Talking about budgets, we would like to share with you our travel budget app that we never leave home without.
Is it Safe
Stockholm is safe to travel around night or day. It is also relatively flat although some of the streets in Gamla Stan are cobblestoned which after a while you can feel it, so we would recommend wearing a pair of good walking shoes.
You may enjoy reading more on Stockholm, here are some of our recommendations:Lonely Planet Stockholm Lonely Planet Sweden
(Editor updated 2018)
After being in Stockholm for 2 weeks we can now say that we believe Baby Boomers should visit Stockholm. We soaked up the rich history and the culture, we enjoyed gastronomic delights in and around Stockholm and its regions, we got close to nature, we loved the Swedish people and their outlook on life and family and we were transported with ease around Sweden. Have you been to Sweden?
Where is Stockholm
Stockholm is located on the east coast of Sweden, one of the Scandinavian countries. It is the capital of Sweden. The city is spread across 14 islands of the Swedish Archipelago which has 24,000 islands in total.
Things to do in Stockholm
Before you head off sightseeing you may want to consider purchasing the Stockholm Pass.
The Stockholm Pass grants you free entry to over 60 top attractions, museums and tours in Stockholm including the iconic SkyView, the Royal Palace, a boat tour around the Fjäderholmarna Islands and many more.
Get the full Stockholm experience and save money in the process – it’s never been easier. Visit the most popular attractions without paying anything extra and tour all of the iconic sights, from palaces to amusement parks, museums and monuments – there’s something for everyone!
The Stockholm Pass grants unlimited travel on the city’s Hop-On Hop-Off buses and boats for the duration of your pass. It can also be used in conjunction with a wide range of cultural and historic attractions in the city.
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Stockholm has three World Heritage Sites:
- Drottningholm, the residence of the Swedish Royal Family,
- Woodland Cemetery
- Birka – named Sweden’s first town located on Björkö Island in Lake Mälar
Sweden shines in the field of architecture from melting Ice Hotels, to the worlds first twisted skyscraper, a UNESCO World Heritage Cemetery, an electron microscope and the largest spherical structure in the world – the Ericsson Globe. Sweden is definitely not just IKEA, Volvo’s and Swedish Meatballs and the Nobel Prize.
Travel further into the archipelago and visit Vaxholm Fortress and Siarfort, two of Sweden’s specially built military fortresses and the picturesque village of Wira Bruk where swords and rapiers were manufactured up until last century.
Vasa Museum – one of the biggest attractions in Stockholm
The most impressive museum we visited in Stockholm was the Vasa Museum.
Can you imagine a country that takes pride in celebrating a massive failure? The Vasa Museum explores this epic fail. The Museum houses the world’s best-preserved ship from the 17th Century and the Vasa Museum is the most visited Museum in Scandanavia. I can understand why, I am not a history buff but this story really draws you in. Can you imagine a battleship, the leader of the fleet, to sink after only sailing 1300m on its maiden voyage in 1628? How? The guns fired their first salute, the crowd roared with delight, Vasa set sail, then a strong wind blew and she began to heel to the lee side, she righted herself and then heeled again, water poured into the gun ports and she slowly sank to the bottom. The Vasa was built too top heavy, with 64 cannons high up in its construction, with its masts and sails. 50 people perished that day, some were women and children who had been given permission to sail on her maiden voyage because their loved ones worked on board.Who took the blame? Well, the King didn’t. What about the designer? Nope, he passed away the year before. Vasa was salvaged from 333 years lying on the bottom of the ocean in 1961. The sad thing is that even due to the latest technology, the ship will eventually deteriorate. The oak wood used in the construction of the hull is now deteriorating and there is a possibility of another capsize.
We strolled through the ancient cobbled streets of Gamla Stan where the city was first founded, nearly missed the smallest statute in Stockholm and squeezed down the narrow alleyway of Marten Trotzigs. Gamla Stan is one of the world’s best-preserved medieval city centres and houses amongst other buildings Stockholm’s Cathedral, the Royal Palace and don’t forget to catch the daily Changing of the Guards when you visit.
Parliament House, Stockholm gives free guided tours in English and Swedish from Monday to Friday at different times. Check the board outside and remember to be there 20 minutes before the designated time, only a small number can join the tour at any one time. It wasn’t high on my priority list of things to see in Stockholm but it turned out to be one of the highlights. Our guide had a passion, as a child her ambition was to be the first woman Prime Minister of Sweden, but soon realised after spending time with her Mother who was working in Parliament that her leisure time would be non-existent. She told us the history of the Parliament, the work of the Parliament, the different parties and duties of the parties and their members and what is happening today. It is a grand old building and one with spectacular views.
Since May 2013 the Abba Museum has been drawing crowds to its interactive exhibitions. Are you an Abba fan?
You can sing and dance to their music and even record and download all the fun you’re having using the personal ID number on your ticket which you can purchase in advance here.
Castles and Manor Houses in the Sormland Region
This amazing region, is just 45 minutes from Stockholm by train and yet you feel you are in another world.
A land of manor houses, castles, idyllic nature, small historical towns and excellent cuisine.
Nyköping is the capital of the region and lies 100km from Stockholm.
Read more here.
A land of Gastronomic Delights
Let us enjoy Fika.
‘Take time out morning or afternoon, with family, friends, work colleagues or even by yourself and mull about life in general whilst enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and a pastry (or two)’ Fika is civilised and it is the way of life for Swedes. One that we will certainly copy and enjoy with fond memories.
How about some ‘korvmoj’ before dinner
Sweden’s answer to fast food and we are great fans.
Freshest ingredients from the land and the ocean
Close to Nature
Visit Stockholm without visiting the archipelago would be like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. Stockholm is located on the shores of Lake Malaren. There is no excuse, over 24,000 islands to choose from and some within 20 minutes of the city. Take time to hike, enjoy the nature, eat the local cuisine, stay overnight on some of the islands, sail by ferry around the others and enjoy the towns and villages along the way.
We stayed on Nasslingen Island – check out our story.
We also spent a few hours in Stendorren Nature Reserve where we walked over suspension bridges to arrive at small wooded islands where you could swim off the rocks (if you can brave the cold waters of the archipelago) or just watch the sail boats off in the distance.
We would recommend spending a few hours at the Oster Malma Wildlife Park to see moose, deer and fallow in their natural environment.
The Swedish People
From the moment of our arrival into Stockholm, we noticed a difference in Swedish people. They were softly spoken, calm, humble and egalitarian in nature. We learnt a new Swedish word “lagom” meaning everything in moderation, work hard play hard is not in their vocabulary – it is more like work just enough and go out and play just enough.
Their family is very important. Children are raised to be equal in the family, there are no favourites. Traditional festivities are important for families to get together and celebrate e.g. celebration of the arrival of spring and summer. Companies expect both parents to share the parental leave on the birth of their children, they have 390 days of paid leave up until the child’s 8th birthday that can be spread out anyway they want. If Sweden can do this, why can’t other countries?
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Travelling Around Stockholm
Public transport is easy in Stockholm, the metro is clean and safe and the buses and trams are convenient and have regular schedules for a great way to move around and see the city.
From arrival at Arlanda, Stockholm Airport the Flygbussarna bus whisks you into the city terminal in 45 minutes every ten minutes. At the luggage collection in the arrivals terminal you will find two automated ticket machines, or you can download their app and book online. Just scan the barcode as you board the bus – how simple and quick is that. Our thanks to Flygbussarna for providing our transport to and from the city terminal. It was a smooth and effortless journey both ways, even catching the first bus to the airport of the morning at 4.00am.
To travel by ferry throughout the archipelago is just as easy as catching a train around Stockholm. For more information click here.
When you travel by train throughout Sweden you are viewing stunning landscapes, islands, lakes, villages as you are whisked away to your next destination. For more details click here.
For discounts to museums, attractions and restaurants and the Hop On Hop Off Bus it is worth using the Stockholm Pass. For more details click here.
And…. for a bit of quirkiness?
It looks like an ordinary statute of the Swedish Actress Margret Krook who died in 2001, doesn’t it? The difference is that due to the heating coils inside the bronze statute it stays at a constant temperature of 37 degrees year round, if you are visiting in winter you now know of a place to warm your hands, but you may just have to queue.
Stockholm has a range of accommodation to suit all budgets.
One of the best hotels in Stockholm is the 5 star luxury Grand Hotel complete with their Nordic Spa and Fitness centre.
We stayed in the newly opened Generator Hostel. A funky, very comfortable and welcoming place to stay in the centre of Stockholm. The Generator Hostel is more like a boutique hotel than a hostel. Not only do they have a bar, but also a coffee bar and restaurant.
Check it out here.
For more accommodation options:
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