The city of Stockholm consists of 14 continuous islands spanning across the Baltic Sea. Connected by 54 bridges, it’s no wonder it’s been nicknamed The Venice of the North! However, according to the locals, their city is ‘beauty on water’ and it’s not very hard to see why.
From the well-preserved Gamla Stan and museums filled with ancient Viking treasures to the world-famous IKEA and the best cinnamon buns of your life, this modern, northern oasis has so much to experience and discover!
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Two Days in Stockholm: Where to stay?
Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel: Located next to the central station, and ideally located for exploring the city center, this hotel features spacious rooms which benefit from having a coffee machine and a rain shower. The hotel also has an amazing sky bar, a pool, hot tub, sauna, and gym. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Scandic Continental: Centrally located, next to the train station, the large and quiet rooms at this hotel have great views. Be sure to go up to the 11th floor and admire the view from the panoramic window, or enjoy the view from the roof terrace. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How to get to and from the airport
Stockholm has 4 airports but the main airport for international flights is Arlanda Airport (ARN) which is located about 40km north of the city.
There are few options to get to Stockholm city center by train. First, the Arlanda Express runs every 15 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at night and will take you 20 minutes to reach the city. For when you are ready to make your way back to the airport, the express train departs from platforms 1 and 2 at Stockholm Central Station.
You can also take the commuter train which takes about 40 minutes and departs every 30 minutes.
Flygbussarna Airport Coaches is another convenient way to get from ARN to Stockholm City. Travel time is about 45 minutes and busses depart every 10 minutes. You can get a discounted rate by purchasing your ticket online or through their app.
Flixbus also runs busses between the airport and the city center 2-3 times a day. Rates fluctuate, so check online before you buy.
Taxis are available from the airport, however taxi prices in Sweden are deregulated. Be sure to ask your driver what the rate will be before you get in. You also don’t need to choose the first taxi in line. Don’t be afraid to shop around a little bit. If you don’t like the price, ask another driver. There is a legal maximum price of SEK 675 for trips to the city center but they are limited to up to 4 passengers and to one address.
You might also be interested in: Where to stay in Stockholm.
Getting Around the City – The Stockholm Pass
Once you arrive in the city, you may want to invest in a Stockholm Pass. The city can be seen on foot however, it is a fair amount of walking. The city’s public transportation is easy to use but the pass includes access to hop on/hop off busses and boats for one flat rate. The Stockholm Pass also includes entry to many of the city’s museums and attractions. The most convenient way to purchase it is online.
How to spend 2 days in Stockholm, a Detailed Itinerary
Stockholm in 2 days: Day One
Cinnamon Buns- They’re Kind of a Big Deal Here
You can’t start your visit to Stockholm without getting a cinnamon bun, or kanelbullar as the locals call them! These mouth-watering pastries are a Swedish staple and you will find that Swedes don’t just eat them for breakfast. Pair it with a hot beverage and you’ve got what the locals call fika, a coffee break with a snack–typically a cinnamon bun. They come in all shapes and sizes, too, so naturally, you’re going to have to try more than one! Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
- Vurma – Address: Gästrikegatan 3
- SkeppsbroBageri – Address: Skeppsbron 21
- Bakery & Spice – Address: Torsgatan 46
After you’ve had your fill of kanelbullar, make your way to discover Gamla Stan or Old Town. The old city center dates back to the 13th century. Gamla Stan is one of the most well-preserved medieval city centers in all of Europe.
Take some time to explore the cobbled streets, take in the warmth of the gold-tone buildings, and enjoy the street lanterns, antique shops, painted ceilings, and German-influenced architecture and art. In the middle of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the city’s oldest square.
Today, between May and September, the square is mainly filled with a steady stream of cruise tour groups. Arrive early to beat the tour groups and enjoy less crowded views of the old city.
Stockholm Royal Palace
Walk just around the corner from the main square of Gamla Stan and you will find yourself at The Royal Palace of Stockholm. The Palace is the official residence of the King of Sweden, the location for most of the monarchy’s official engagements, and it’s open to the public year-round.
Mostly built in the 18th century in the Italian Baroque style, it stands out from the rest of Stockholm’s architecture, but it’s beautiful in its own way. The Palace is a very popular tourist spot in Stockholm, and you will see a lot of tour buses parked out front.
But don’t let that deter you from taking a tour! The Royal Palace has much to see including marvelously decorated apartments, reception halls, and several museums.
Free with Stockholm Pass
Watch the Changing of the Guard Parade
While you are at the Royal Palace, make sure you keep an eye on the time and pop outside to see the Changing of the Guard Parade. Taking place every day of the year, this is a must-see event.
The guards approach the King’s residence on horseback and from the end of April until the end of August they are accompanied by a full military band. The best place to stand for a great view is along the wall near the palace information and ticket office in the inner courtyard.
You don’t want to miss this one, it’s really quite spectacular!
Hours: 12:15 daily (13:15 on Sundays), Cost: Free
Lunch- Omnipollos Hatt
Hands-down, my favorite places in Stockholm. Omnipollos Hatt is known for their beer but, the pizza is exceptional! Hand-tossed pizzas are freshly cooked on a wood-fired stove and with plenty of fresh and unique toppings to choose from. Located in the hip neighborhood of Södermalm you won’t find many tourists here.
The restaurant is small, but the hanging plants and earthy feel make for a really unique experience. Everyone here speaks flawless English, so strike up a conversation with some Swedes because it can get a little cozy. Make some new friends, enjoy your pizza and a beer and enjoy lunching like a local!
Cost: Pizzas start at SEK 100, beverages vary
Address: Hökensgata 1A
Just around the corner from Omnipollos Hatt is the bustling street of Götgatan. The authentic neighborhood of Södermalm sometimes referred to as “Stockholm’s Brooklyn,” has more than just great restaurants. This trendy, creative, and young part of the city has some really great shopping!
Götgatan is home to many shops and stores for every taste. Grab some truly Swedish clothes on weekdays or bring home some Scandinavian décor from Grandpa, one of the many home stores. The pedestrian-only area makes for a pleasant and relaxing experience.
Go to a museum (or two) For Free
Who doesn’t like free? Stockholm offers a pretty great selection of museums with free entry. Save some money and learn about Stockholm’s history, culture, and art at one of these freebies:
- The Natural History Museum
- Moderna Museet-The Modern Art Museum
- Medeltidsmuseet (Medieval Museum)
- Dansmuseet (Performing Arts Museum)
- Riksidrottsmuseet (Swedish Sports Museum)
Electric-Free Eats at Ekstadt
No, we’re not going camping. We’re going to Niklas Ekstedt’s Michelin-Starred restaurant where no electricity is used for cooking. Revitalizing traditional Scandinavian cooking techniques, no gas or electricity is used to make your meal, only fire! This exciting and tasty culinary experience will give you a fresh perspective and a historical twist on New Nordic cuisine. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to one month in advance.
Cost: 6-Course Tasting Menu- SEK 990
Stockholm in 2 days: Day Two
Kayak Around Djurgården
There is so much to do on the lush island of Djurgården! Hundreds of years ago this national park was the King of Sweden’s hunting grounds. Djurgården literally translates, “Animal Garden.” While it’s no longer a royal hunting ground, there is plenty of wildlife to encounter on Stockholm city’s greenest island.
Start your adventure in Djurgården by renting a kayak at Sjöcaféetand seeing the city from a different perspective. You can paddle around the island to get some incredible views of the Vasa Museum, Gamla Stan, the Royal Palace, and Stockholm Harbor.
After your adventure on the water, trade in your kayak for a bike. The island is quite large, there is no public transportation out here, and having a bike will maximize your time getting around.
Opening Hours: Early spring-late autumn- 09:00-22:00
Cost: Cycle- SEK 80/ hour, SEK 275/ day
Kayak SEK 125/hour, SEK 400/day
Address: Galärvarvsvägen 2
Lunch at OaxenKrog or Slip
After all of that paddling and peddling, you’re going to be hungry! Make your way to the southern part of Djurgården to the Oaxen Slip Bistro. Oaxen Slip Bistro is the little brother to OaxenKrog, the New Nordic fine-dining restaurant that boasts two Michelin Stars.
Both restaurants are run by the same renowned Swedish chef, Magnus Ek, and located right next to each other. Oaxen Slip Bistro is definitely the more affordable of the two, but that doesn’t mean it lacks culinary rigor. It’s classified as a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its high quality and great value.
For the best experience, opt for the three-course lunch to slow down and enjoy the charming, rustic atmosphere of the bistro and the peace and quiet of Djurgården.
Opening Hours: 12:00-16:00 daily
Cost: 3-Course Lunch- SEK 425
Address: Beckholmsvägen 26
“Walk in, dance out” is what is promised if you make a visit to the museum dedicated to the Swedish pop super-group ABBA. ABBA fans and non-fans alike will be thoroughly entertained by this glitzy, fun, and highly interactive experience.
Also located on Djurgården, the ABBA museum is the perfect stop to make after lunch and will have you dancing all the way to your next stop at the Vasa Museum.
The museum only allows 75 visitors every 15 minutes with timed-entry tickets, so it’s best to book your tickets online to avoid waiting in a long line. It’s also SEK 20 cheaper to purchase ahead of time.
This one is impressive and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most visited attractions in the city. Located on the island of Djurgården, the 17th-century warship, Vasa, is almost perfectly preserved and on display for visitors to see.
The beautifully ornate warship sunk only 20 minutes after setting sail on its maiden voyage in 1628 and remained at the bottom of the harbor until 1961. That’s 333 years! Take advantage of the free 25-minute tour.
No two tours are alike, so if you are really enjoying the place, consider joining a second guide for a different take. Words simply don’t do it justice and you have to experience the Vasa, in all of its splendor, for yourself.
Free with Stockholm Pass
Meatballs for the People
You can’t possibly come to Sweden and not eat some meatballs! These, however, are not your IKEA meatballs. Were back in hip and happening Södermalm to taste some of Stockholm’s best. Meatballs for the People offers more than 14 varieties of the classic Swedish dish made of ingredients like beef, ox, and salmon sourced from local farms. The prices are really reasonable, the meatballs are arguably the best in town, and you won’t leave disappointed. You can even take some to go.
Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday- 11:00-22:00
Cost: SEK 179+
Address: Nytorgsgatan 30
Stockholm has some great sights to see. If you follow this 2-day itinerary, at some of the locations you’ll find yourself among a sea of other tourists waiting in line and cramming into crowded buildings. It is what it is and those sights are definitely worth seeing.
But at the others, you may find yourself the lone tourist among a sea of Stockholmers. These places are what truly make visiting a city a unique and enriching experience. So, take the time to slow down, meet some new people, and enjoy living like the locals.
Katherine is an American freelance travel writer living in Germany. She has traveled to 14 countries and has no intention of slowing down. She hopes to share her travel experience to help others get the most out of their next destination and believes that planning and flexibility are the keys to successful travel. When she’s not exploring new countries with her husband and daughter, Katherine enjoys being involved in her local church, spending time in nature, and planning her next trip. To keep up with her adventures, check out her Instagram page @mapthemines