Stockholm is one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe, a bustling city that is rich in history and culture. This itinerary is perfect for those who are short on time but still want to see the best the city has to offer. From exploring the charming streets of Gamla Stan to visiting the Vasa Museum and taking a boat tour of the Stockholm Archipelago, this Stockholm in 3 days itinerary will help you make the most of your time in the city. So pack your bags, and let’s explore together!
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Table of Content
- Day 1 – Gamla Stan and Norrmalm district
- Day 2 – Djurgården (the Vasa Museum and Skansen)
- Day 3 – Drottningholm palace and Skeppsholmen
- Best neighborhoods to stay in Stockholm
- Some tips before visiting Stockholm
- How many days should I spend in Stockholm?
- In conclusion, is Stockholm worth visiting?
Before planning your itinerary don’t forget to check the museum’s schedules!
Day 1 – Gamla Stan and Norrmalm district
Morning, Noon – Exploring Gamla Stan
Start your first day by exploring the Old Town also known as Gamla Stan, one of the most Instagrammable areas of the city. Take a stroll through the cobbled streets and admire the colorful buildings, small shops, and cozy cafes. When you are in Stortorget take the chance to visit the Nobel Prize Museum, to learn more about some of the most brilliant minds of the last century.
If you want to learn more about the Old Town’s past, the Tre Kronor Museum is really interesting for that. It focuses on the evolution of Stockholm through its most emblematic location: Tre Kronor Castle (Three Crowns Castle). The palace was completely burned down in 1697. From its ashes, the actual Royal Palace was inaugurated in 1754.
The entry ticket to Tre Kronor is included in the Royal Apartments ticket, a must when visiting Gamla Stan. The Royal Palace is one of the largest palaces in Europe and the official residence of the Swedish royal family. It has several museums and galleries that display art, armor, and other historic artifacts. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place every day at noon.
Wanna know more about Gamla Stan? In this self-guided tour of about 6 hours, I crafted the ideal itinerary to discover the Old Town’s gems (including the hidden ones) by yourself. It also has the useful step-by-step map I used to explore Gamla Stan.
Afternoon – Visit Norrmalm district (Kungsträdgården and Hallwyl Museum)
After the visit to the Royal Palace, cross Norrbro Bridge to have a glimpse of the beautiful Swedish Parliament and head towards Norrmalm. The district is home to many of the city’s main shopping streets, including the popular pedestrian street of Drottninggatan. Here, you’ll find a variety of shops and department stores, as well as restaurants and cafes.
You could indulge in some shopping time in Norrmalm, but I highly recommend you to visit one of the most beautiful museums in Stockholm: the Hallwyl Museum. Step into the portal of an ancient 19th-century building and travel back in time to a hundred years ago. Featuring ancient objects and furniture, the museum is a showcase of nobility’s everyday life in the early 20th century.
Before heading back to your hotel or restaurant, jump on Kungsträdgården Metro Station and discover the most beautiful Stockholm metro stations on the red line.
Evening – Soak in Stockholm’s nightlife at Södermalm
In the evening, head to the trendy district of Södermalm, which is known for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants, and bars. Grab a drink at one of the many rooftop bars and enjoy the stunning views of the city.
My pick? Fotografiska rooftop restaurant. Without a doubt, Fotografiska is one of the coolest art galleries in Stockholm. Featuring temporary exhibitions of some of the most famous and influential photographers and artists of our time. It’s absolutely worth visiting as a museum, and their restaurant is excellent, with locally grown food and a nice rooftop view. Their salad is grown in the museum’s basement and you can see it when leaving your things in the wardrobes.
Day 2 – Djurgården (the Vasa Museum and Skansen)
Morning – Vasa Museum
On your second day, head to Djurgården, a beautiful island that is home to several of Stockholm’s top attractions. Start with the Vasa Museum, where you can see the only preserved 17th-century ship in the world. The Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged in the 1960s. The museum has a fascinating collection of artifacts, interactive displays, and exhibitions that tell the story of the ship and its restoration.
After the Vasa you will have plenty of different museums to choose from in Djurgården: the Viking Museum, Nordiska Museet, and the ABBA Museum are among the most known. If you are visiting during the Summer and up for some amusement park fun, stop by Gröna Lund.
Afternoon – Discover Skansen and Djurgården
No matter which museum you will choose to visit, remember to save enough time to visit Skansen Open Air Museum. As they proudly state on their website, Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world, and it’s indeed one of the best places to learn about the life and traditions of Swedish people through the centuries.
Between the actors playing everyday scenes inside the typical houses, the animals, and all the different activities to do and try, you could easily spend a whole day inside Skansen.
Afterward, if you still have time, you can take a stroll through the lush greenery of Djurgården and enjoy the natural beauty of the island.
Evening – Enjoy Swedish food in Östermalm
In the evening, head to Östermalm, one of Stockholm’s most affluent neighborhoods, and indulge in some fine dining at one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants. Before heading back to your hotel you could also continue your Subway Art Tour by exploring the most beautiful metro stations on the blue line.
My pick for the restaurant? Lisa Elmqvist. The menu is quite expensive (you can download it from their website, it’s both in Swedish and English), but for a once in a while treat it’s definitely worth it! Why this restaurant? Not only for the excellent quality of their seafood but also because of the location: the restaurant is inside an ancient covered market.
Day 3 – Drottningholm palace and Skeppsholmen
Morning – Drottningholm Palace
Drottningholm Palace is a magnificent 17th-century palace located on the island of Lovön, just outside Stockholm. The palace is one of the most well-preserved royal palaces in Europe and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1991. It was built in the 17th century in Baroque style by Nicodemus Tessin (both the younger and the elder).
Since 1981 Drottningholm is the primary residence of the Swedish royal family. Visitors can take a guided tour of the palace and see the beautiful state apartments, which are adorned with stunning works of art and furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries. The palace is also home to a beautiful park and garden, which was inspired by the famous gardens of Versailles.
Afternoon – Skeppsholmen (Moderna Museum and the Toy Museum)
On your way back from Drottningholm don’t forget to check out the most beautiful metro stations on the green line. Then you can reach Skeppsholmen via the blue line.
Skeppsholmen is a small island located in the central part of Stockholm that is home to several interesting museums and cultural institutions. The island has a rich history and was once used as a military base, but today it’s a popular destination for art and history lovers.
A must visit above all? The Moderna Museet, located on the island, is one of the most famous modern art museums in Sweden, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re interested in contemporary art. The museum has an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art and includes temporary exhibitions as well.
But my personal favorite? The Toy Museum (unfortunately the website is only in Swedish). The Toy Museum displays a vast collection of toys and games from different eras and countries. The museum is a great place to explore and learn about the history of toys and how they have evolved. It also features the car of King Carl XVI Gustaf, and his father and grandfather as well. The icing on the cake? The Toy Museum is hosted inside the ancient navy base inside the island’s bunker.
Evening – Typical cuisine in Gamla Stan
In the evening, head back to Gamla Stan for a final stroll through the charming streets and indulge in some traditional Swedish cuisine at one of the many restaurants that serve classic dishes such as meatballs, pickled herring, and smoked salmon.
My pick? Slingerbulten. This excellent typical restaurant serves some of the best meatballs in Stockholm, and their blackcurrant sauce is excellent! I really recommend it. Note: the restaurant is quite small and you should book a reservation.
Best neighborhoods to stay in Stockholm
Stockholm has many cool neighborhoods you can choose from when planning your stay. We personally choose Gamla Stan because it’s very central and also close to T-Centralen, where the shuttles for Arlanda’s airport start. We were the very happy guests of the Mälardrottningen Hotell & Restaurang, a yacht that has been converted into a hotel. Their breakfast is abundant and allowed us to make brunch so that we ate a complete lunch only in the evening and save a lot of money (boy if Stockholm is expensive when it comes to food!).
You have similar options in the Sodermalm district. Den Röda Båten and Rygerfjord are less expensive than Mälardrottningen but still in a very cool area, close to Sodermalm’s beautiful streets and to Fotografiska.
My third and last option would be Norrmalm. Very close to T-Centralen you will be spoilt for choice for all the budgets!
Some tips before visiting Stockholm
- Remember to extra check the museum opening hours and national festivities. I learned this the hard way! We were visiting close to Easter and some museums changed their schedules. Also between Winter and Summer schedules changes so make sure you are consulting their opening hours for the right time of the year. Note: the websites are most often updated, a check there will be enough.
- Save money with brunches. I do this a lot when traveling to expensive countries or sometimes even if my schedule is very charged, which it often is! When booking your hotel check out their breakfast price and if it’s abundant in the comments, that way you will save on your noon launch. I’ve made an exception for the Nobel Ice Cream and a delicious meal at the Moderna Museum, their restaurant has a panoramic view over Djurgården.
- Save extra money with Go City Stockholm Pass and Stockholm Travel Card. When spending three days in Stockholm you will largely repay the cost of both the Stockholm Pass and Travel Card. Almost all the museums mentioned in this guide are included with the Stockholm Pass. While the Travel Card gives complete access to all transports, including ferries. Note: the itinerary from Arlanda to Stockholm Center and vice-versa is not included.
How many days should I spend in Stockholm?
Stockholm is an amazing city, and there are many things to do and see. When booking your stay you should consider staying at least 3 days. But the more the merrier! There are many activities to do throughout all the archipelago and you could easily fill your itinerary for a week. If you are looking for more inspiration from Stockholm, check out our guides and itineraries.
In conclusion, is Stockholm worth visiting?
Stockholm is absolutely worth visiting! Its Nordic charm is undeniable and with this Stockholm in 3 days itinerary you will have a taste of the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Are you planning a trip to Northern Europe soon? Check out for new inspirations among the European countries we write about.
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