Last updated on: Apr 16, 2021
If Venice and Paris had a baby, it would be called Stockholm! Not only is this grand city of 14 islands and numerous bridges one of the world’s most beautiful cities, it also embodies the Swedish lagom, the ethos of living with moderation and balance. It’s that ethos that makes Sweden among the safest and happiest places to live……..and visit, too! Whether you’re with friends and family or traveling solo, here are the best things to do during 3 days in Stockholm.
Arriving in Stockholm’s Arlandia Airport is certainly a treat. If you’re ever stranded or delayed here, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.
This has to be the cleanest airport in the world. It’s super modern, has hardwood floors, and there’s not a speck of dirt to be found.
Upon arriving at the Stockholm airport, I used a kiosk to buy a ticket on the Flygbussarna bus. The Flygbussarna bus is a convenient and affordable way to get to the city and runs every ten minutes from each terminal’s bus stop. The trip to the city takes about 45 minutes and costs roughly $10.
If you’re arriving by bus or train, you’ll already be in the heart of the city, so BAM! Spend the rest of the day getting settled and having dinner at a great restaurant (see below for restaurant recommendations).
This oldest part of Stockholm dates back to the 13th century with pedestrian-friendly squares like Stortoget, home to the Noble Museum. Pay a visit to the Nobel Museum and also pay homage to the most brilliant and notable people in history from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Albert Einstein.
While in Gamla Stan, don’t miss dining at Den Gyldene Freden, the oldest continually operating restaurant in the world with the same surroundings, according to Guinness World Records. It has virtually remained intact since it first opened in 1722.
Gamla Stan is also a great place for non-locals to fika, which is the Swedish way of taking a break to have coffee and snacks with friends.
Stockholm is a very walkable city, and I found myself meandering one beautiful street after another. One such street, the stunning Strandvägen boulevard, has a grand promenade that is flanked by Ladugårdslandsviken bay on one side and amazing Renaissance buildings on the other.
Strandvägen is where I first noticed the sheer beauty of Stockholm, and it seemed that late-afternoon lighting made the seafront and surrounding buildings glisten.
One of the coolest places to walk around is Södermalm, an artsy residential area just across from Gamla Stan. This neighborhood sits higher, so the views of the city are just incredible!
Make a reservation at the Gondolen restaurant for a lovely lunch with panoramic views of the city. The restaurant serves upscale classic dishes ranging from fried herring to Swedish rib-eye.
And when you’re ready to shop, NK Stockholm offers a fine shopping experience that is similar to Macy’s Herald Square in New York and Galeries Lafayette in Paris.
You could actually shop during the entirety of your 3 days in Stockholm.
Canal cruises are a great way to get different views and see outlying areas of the city. I took a very pleasant one-hour canal cruise through the city’s main islands, passing the Opera House as well as the Gröna Lund Tivoli amusement park.
I snapped no less than a gazillion photos!
Stockholm has some really unique and wonderful museums, and visiting them all would definitely take longer than 3 days.
Other than the Nobel Museum, the Vasa Museum was the highlight for me. There, I was able to learn a lot about Swedish history and see an incredibly well-preserved 17th-century Swedish warship!
Other museums to see are the ABBA Museum, a museum dedicated to the iconic band ABBA; the Skansen, an open-air museum showcasing historical Swedish culture; the Fotografiska (Photography Museum); and the Spiritmuseum, which offers exhibits related to alcohol as well as tastings and a really nice weekend brunch.
Stockholm’s City Hall is one of the most recognizable buildings in the city’s skyline due to its 106-meter tall tower. The interior Golden Hall contains more than 18 million mosaic tiles with Swedish motifs and is also the site of the annual Nobel Laureate banquet.
The Royal Palace of Stockholm is the official residence of the King of Sweden. Designed in the Italian Baroque style with more than 600 rooms, the best time to visit is during the daily changing of the guard, which takes place just after noon on weekdays.
Take a day trip to Drottningholm Palace, the private residence of the Swedish royal family and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Drawing influences from French palaces, Drottningholm Palace has beautiful Rococo interiors and elegant baroque parterres. The palace also contains a Chinese pavilion and a royal chapel.
In addition to Gondolen and Den Gyldene Freden, check out these wonderful establishments:
Riche – This French-inspired bistro serves Swedish dishes with a delightfully modern twist. For lunch, I tried the elderflower cured salmon with cucumber, elderflower yogurt, and butter tossed potatoes. It was #thebomb!
Meatballs – For the People – Sweden is well known for its meatballs, and this quirky restaurant in Södermalm is the best spot to try a variety of Swedish meatballs. It typically offers 5 types of meatballs every day, from beef to deer and sometimes vegetarian. Don’t forget a side of lingonberries.
Älskade Traditioner – Sweden is also known for Swedish waffles. Popular with the locals, this cafe-bakery has some really ‘sweet’ menu items, including both sweet and savory waffles, cookies, and coffee.
Cafe Kåkbrinken – Located in Gamla Stan, this cafe and ice cream shop is one of the best places to stop for freshly-made waffle cones and waffles as well as a variety of delicious gelatos and milkshakes.
Lao Wei – Chinese food may be the last thing on your mind when you think Sweden, but this is not your ordinary Chinese restaurant. It’s a Chinese-vegetarian restaurant with traditional style servings where sharing plates with your party is the norm.
Miss Clara Hotel Restaurant – Whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are a variety of dishes to suit any taste, and most foods are classically-inspired and locally-sourced from Sweden. The ricotta and chestnut gnudi with roasted butternut squash was so light and delicious!
Nobis – This modern luxury hotel is just a few blocks from the waterfront, so you can easily walk anywhere in the city while staying here. Its minimalist Scandinavian interiors, large windows, and dark hardwood floors made it my lagom sanctuary!
NOFO Hotel and Wine Bar – This boutique hotel sits in the heart of Södermalm, offering comfy, chic interiors, a nice wine bar, and an outstanding breakfast buffet.
Grand Hotel – With one of the best addressess in Stockholm, the Grand Hotel is a stone’s throw from anywhere and has gorgeous water views. Their single rooms provide the perfect retreat for solo travelers. Enjoy a classic Swedish massage at the luxury Nordic Spa.
Not only is Stockholm a great place to visit and live, it’s also a great place to start a business.
Did you know that Stockholm is the startup capital of Europe?
A number of global brands have been founded in Stockholm, including Spotify, H&M, IKEA, and Ericsson.
There’s also a law, The Right to Leave to Conduct a Business Operation, which enables Swedes to take six months of unpaid leave to start a business.
Have you spent 3 days in Stockholm? Is it on your travel bucket list?
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