The Ultimate 3 to 4 Days in Stockholm Itinerary

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by Olivia Ellis


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Planning the perfect 3 or 4 days in Stockholm itinerary can be a bit overwhelming when you consider how much this metropolis has to offer. The city of Stockholm is easily one of the most vibrant and cultured European and Scandinavian capitals.

The city itself boasts a wide array of art, gastronomic delights, green areas, fashion, and some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. The history of the capital goes back to 1252, and on a trip to the city, you’ll take a walk through time beginning in the regal roots of Sweden to bustling, innovative modern-day Stockholm.

Whether you’re visiting for a few days or a long weekend getaway, Stockholm deserves a spot at the top of your travel bucket list.

How Many Days in Stockholm?

The city of Stockholm is quite large in comparison to neighboring Scandinavian capital cities (such as Copenhagen). This in itself can make it difficult to decide how long to spend in the Swedish capital.

When planning how many days to spend in Stockholm, it’s important to take note of which aspects of a trip are most important to you as well as your budget.

If you’re hoping to see most of the main sites in the center and are on a budget in Stockholm, 2 days is sufficient but it’ll be more of a rushed stay in comparison with 3 days in Stockholm. An extra day is ideal to visit the main sites and get to know the city better without being in too big of a hurry.

Finally, if you’re hoping to either explore Stockholm more and explore its diverse neighborhoods or head out of the city for a day trip, spending 4 days in the Swedish capital is enough time.

Beautiful Stockholm
Beautiful Stockholm

Getting To & Around Stockholm

Arlanda Airport located in the nearby town of Arlanda is Stockholm’s main airport. Arlanda is also a main airport in Scandinavia so there are plenty of flights going in and out of other major European countries as well as internationally.

If you’re flying into the city, your best option to reach the city center is by train. The Arlanda Express is the only train system going to the city center (Stockholm Central Station) from the airport, which is different from other European airports that are connected by metro.

Tickets can be purchased at the airport kiosk outside of the terminal and cost 320 SEK on-way and 600 SEK return per adult and are free for children and reduced for youth. Another option for those not on a budget, is to organise a private transfer from the airport.

If you plan to reach Stockholm by train; either from another city in Sweden or perhaps neighboring Denmark or beyond, you’ll arrive at Stockholm Central Station. The city’s central station is conveniently located, with metro and bus transport available once you reach the station. You can view train schedules here.

Arlanda Airport
Arlanda Airport

The city of Stockholm is composed of an archipelago of islands and is quite a unique layout for a city. This makes the city much larger in comparison to other European capital cities. Although it’s a big city, the central part of the city is quite compact, making it easy and quick to get around.

It’s enjoyable to walk around the city, passing historical monuments as well as modern architecture while taking in everyday life in Stockholm. If you’d like to venture into other neighborhoods in the city, you’ll likely need to take advantage of the city’s brilliant public transportation system.

The city transport consists of bus, tram, metro, and ferry. Stockholm’s public transportation system is also known as one of the greenest in Europe – with many buses running on eco-friendly fuels.

If you’re someone keen on art, mainly eclectic street art, you’ll find the Stockholm metro to be a museum in itself. Many of the stations are art-clad with work by various artists and set the tone for the style and heart of the city. Many visitors say that Stockholm’s metro is one of the most unique in the world!

Tickets for Stockholm’s public transport are all inclusive of one cost, meaning the cost per ticket won’t change depending on your mode of transport. There are various ticket options such as a 75-minute single ticket or day passes from 24 hours to 72 hours.

If you plan on taking public transport multiple times during the day throughout your stay, the passes are certainly worth it and quickly pay for themselves. Tickets and passes must be purchased before embarking and can be purchased through ticket machines at the station, via phone app, or through contactless payment at the turnstiles.

Due to a combination of the size of the city as well as the functionality and efficiency of the city’s public transportation, I’d recommend against renting a car during your stay. Although, if you prefer independence and plan to leave the city for onward travels, renting a car while traveling in Sweden is a great option.

Stockholm Metro Station
Stockholm Metro Station

3 to 4 Days in Stockholm Itinerary

Stockholm tends to proudly claim the title of the capital city of Scandinavia, and during your time here, you’ll quickly understand why.

The city itself is the home to the most museums in the world (just under 100), as well as sleek Swedish design, stylish cafes, and rich, important history unknown to a lot of the world.

If you plan on visiting many of the paid attractions listed in this article, then consider purchasing a Stockholm Go City Pass to save money.

Day 1 – Gamla Stan and Royal Stockholm

Breakfast at Bröd & Salt 

There are few things more synonymous with Sweden than cardamom buns and coffee. Kardemummabullar (cardamom buns) are easily the most popular Swedish pastries and are divine.

Before heading to Gamla Stan to wander around the idyllic old town of Stockholm, I recommend fueling up with pastries and coffee at Bröd & Salt. Although the bakery is a chain, you’ll find splendidly made pastries to savor while you prepare for your day ahead and take in the surroundings.

I suggest heading to the location at the harbor across from Gamla Stan to enjoy stunning and caffeinated Swedish morning views.

Wander Around Old Town

If you’ve ever stumbled across photos of Stockholm in the past, they’re likely those of the picturesque Gamla Stan neighborhood. Although it is now quite a touristy area, it’s still completely worth spending time in.

Gamla Stan goes back to the 13th Century and this part of the city feels like you’ve stepped back into the medieval era. Strolling through the old streets and alleys of this classic and well-maintained area of the city is a true delight.

From the colorful buildings and cobblestoned streets to the all-around pleasant and delicate feel of the area, you’ll feel assured that you’re in for a treat while visiting the Swedish Capital City.

Most of the streets of Gamla Stan lead to/from Stortorget, the main public square, making it a great spot to first explore during your time in Stockholm. Spend a few ours getting lost here, but make sure not to miss sites like the Stockholm Cathedral, which is spectacular.

To learn more about the history of the area, consider booking this walking tour or this bike tour. You can also get a unique vantage point of the city by taking a short archipelago cruise.

Stortorget
Stortorget

Royal Palace

After eating decadent pastries and wandering through Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, head just a few minutes by foot to the Royal Palace, or Stockholm Palace to spend time at one of the largest palaces in Europe.

Today, the palace is home to the King of Sweden, and the palace was built in the 18th century in classic Italian Baroque style after the Tre Koner castle was burned down in 1697 in the same location. Thankfully, the palace is open to public visits and has a wide array of exhibits and rooms to explore during your visit. 

Don’t miss the parade of soldiers and changing of the guard to get an authentic Swedish royal experience every day at 12:15 PM.

Opening hours of the palace vary depending on the day of the week as well as the time of year, so plan before your visit.

Royal Palace of Stockholm
Royal Palace of Stockholm

Day 2 –  Stockholm’s Diverse Neighborhoods & Museum Visit

Norrmalm Neighborhood

Stockholm has an abundance of unique neighborhoods and throughout this itinerary, you’ll experience quite a few of them. On day 2, I suggest first heading to the Norrmalm neighborhood.

Norrmalm is known to many as the center of the city, and is also a major cultural center for Sweden and the city of Stockholm. In Norrmalm, you’ll find the Stockholm Central Station, the Royal Swedish Opera, art museums, and the Stockholm Concert Hall.

This is also one of the largest commercial centers of the city, with some of the best Scandinavian and Swedish shopping in Sweden.

After wandering around the shops, make your way to the Kungsträdgården Park in Norrmalm to get a nature fix within the city and grab a coffee at one of the lovely cafes nestled within the lush, green park.

Stockholm Royal Opera House
Stockholm Royal Opera House

Vasa Museum or Nobel Prize Museum

As mentioned previously, Stockholm has the wonderful reputation of being the city in the world with the most museums. With just under 100, there’s something for everyone and still more to visit and see beyond that. After spending time in Norrmalm, I suggest heading to a museum before grabbing dinner.

My recommendations for your first museum visit in Stockholm are the Vasa Museum and/or the Nobel Museum.

Located around 15 minutes from Norrmalm by metro on the island of Djurgården, the Vasa Museum is easily Stockholm’s, Sweden’s, and Scandinavia’s most visited museum. The museum itself is home to the Vasa Ship, a Swedish warship built in the 1600s that sank during its maiden voyage in 1628.

Incredibly, the entire ship was salvaged in 1961 after being located in the 1950s in the harbor of Stockholm. Witnessing the Vasa ship inside the museum is one of the most incredible experiences, taking in the complexity of such an old ship still in prime condition, with almost 98% of the ship in the museum still in its original form.

The Nobel Prize Museum is another superb museum option just a 20-minute walk from Norrmalm in Stortorget Square is the Nobel Prize Museum.

The Nobel museum displays information, history, and knowledge of past Nobel Prize winners, the past 100+ years of the Nobel Prize, and the founder of the Nobel Prize, Swedish chemist, engineer, inventor, businessman, and philanthropist, Alfred Nobel.

The museum is also located a close walk to the Stockholm City Hall where the Nobel Prize ceremony is held each year.

Vasa Museum in Stockholm
Vasa Museum in Stockholm

Dinner in Sodermalm  

One of the most densely populated and popular neighborhoods in Stockholm is the Sodermalm neighborhood. Sodermalm is easily one of the trendiest places to visit in the Swedish capital, with stylish restaurants, green parks, art galleries, and the best restaurant scene in the city. Spending some time here is easily one of the best things to do in Stockholm.

Known as “Soder” to locals, Sodermalm is also a great area to stay in if you’re looking for cheaper accommodation than other areas of the city, with still a thriving and pleasant atmosphere. 

Herein lies the best spot to have dinner to close your second day in Stockholm. My recommendation is to head to Restaurant Pelikan to enjoy amped-up versions of classic Swedish comfort foods in an old-school style interior.

If visiting during a busy period (summer, spring, or the weekend), I suggest making a reservation in advance to guarantee a table.

Day 3 – Skansen Open-Air Museum & Swedish Street Food

Skansen Museum

By day 3 you’ll probably have a pretty good feel of the city and will be ready to branch outward and explore beyond. This is the perfect opportunity to head to the world’s oldest open-air museum, Skansen.

Built in 1899, Skansen is an open-air museum located on the Djurgården island of Stockholm and makes for a really fun stop on this itinerary.

The thoughts and inspirations behind the museum were to showcase everyday life in different parts of Sweden before the industrial era. The museum almost feels more like an amusement park without the rides, with exhibits spanning 75 acres.

These include a replica of a 19th-century Swedish small town including workers dressed as different craftsmen or everyday people from the time recreating scenes. You’ll also find a large open-air zoo and homes/farmsteads from all different parts of the country. 

The best way to reach Skansen from the center of the city is by various bus routes, with a journey time of around 20 minutes. Once you arrive, you’re transported back in time.

If for whatever reason, Skansen isn’t in your interest, there are plenty of other museums worth visiting. Maybe head to Fotografiska Photography and Cultural Museum, ABBA the Museum, or the Nationalmuseum. You could even opt to visit some of Stockholm’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the Woodland Cemetery or Drottningholm Palace.

The main entrance to Skansen
The main entrance to Skansen

Östermalm Neighborhood & Food Hall

After spending a day at the Skansen Museum, you’ll likely be hungry and ready to enjoy another delicious meal in the Swedish capital city.

For those seeing Stockholm in 3 days, this is also going to be your last day on the itinerary, so my recommendation is to make your way to the sophisticated Östermalm neighborhood to eat more tasty food at the Ostermalm food hall. Östermalm isn’t too far from the Skansen Museum, making it a great spot to head to close the day.

Spend time in this part of Stockholm with some of the highest property value while browsing the upmarket boutiques, more green parks, and maybe even The Royal Mews to get to know the horses of Royal Sweden. 

Afterwards, head to the Östermalm Food Hall, or Östermalm “Saluhall”. Sweden’s main food hall is easily one of the best in Europe and at the top of the list for best in the world.

Nowadays we’re more used to modern food halls in capital cities, but Stockholm’s goes back to 1888. You’ll find gorgeous Gothic architecture, traditional Swedish foods with exceptional ingredients, and many decadent Swedish foods and snacks to bring home.

Opening hours of the food hall vary depending on the time of year as well as the day of the week, so check the hours before visiting. You can book a food tour of this area as well if you want a guide to take you to some of their best spots!

Exploring Ostermalm
Exploring Ostermalm

Day 4 – Uppsala or Fjäderholmarna

After spending 3 days in Stockholm, you may be ready to head out of the city and into a different part of Sweden. Luckily, there are many wonderful day trip options close to Stockholm, and no matter the time of year, you’re bound to enjoy your time exploring other parts of the country.

Day 4 of this Stockholm itinerary highlights two wonderful day trip options from Stockholm, with one summer option and one winter option. 

Winter Day Trip – Uppsala

If you’re visiting Stockholm in the winter and would like to head out on a day trip, a great option is to head to Sweden’s fourth-biggest city, Uppsala.

Just a quick journey by train from Stockholm’s Central Station, Uppsala was first founded in 1164 and is a city full of culture and history as well as the home to Sweden’s oldest university.

Spend your day wandering the medieval streets of this gorgeous university town, visit the Uppsala castle, and enjoy a warm coffee at a cozy cafe away from the cold winter air.

Train journeys from Stockholm Central Station to Uppsala Central Station take between 20-50 minutes.

Summer Day Trip – Fjäderholmarna 

One of the best ways to experience Swedish summer like a local is to head to the water and enjoy the sun and nature.

A convenient way to experience this while visiting Stockholm without having to head too far is to head to the Fjäderholmarna, or “Fjäder”, an island group part of the Stockholm archipelago. You can easily reach Fjäderholmarna by ferry in just under 20 minutes from the Stockholm harbor. 

I suggest visiting Stora Fjäderholmen, the main island in the Fjäderholmarna. Here you’ll find a quaint atmosphere on a small island, with artistic shops and galleries, sweet shops, a brewery, summer restaurants with fresh seafood (I recommend the Skagen sandwich), and a lush green area in the middle.

It’s a tranquil and pleasant summer atmosphere wandering the small streets, eating a wonderful meal, and sitting by the shore enjoying the sea and warm Swedish sun. 

While best experienced in summer, it is possible to take a boat cruise out to the islands in winter as well.

Fjaderholmarna island
Fjaderholmarna island

Where to Stay in Stockholm

Scandic No 53 – Well-located close to Stockholm’s top attractions, this hotel is an excellent place to stay. Along with modern rooms, there is a bar, terrace and an exceptional breakfast each morning.

Downtown Camper by Scandic – Those looking for a bit of a luxury escape in Stockholm will love this 4-star hotel. Excellently situated close to the main sites of the Swedish capital, there are 2 on-site restaurants, a swimming pool, breakfast and lovely rooms to choose from.

Gamla Stan Apartments – If you’d like to experience Stockholm like a local or simply love the convenience of having your own space when traveling, these apartments are an excellent choice. There are a number of different-sized flats to choose from equipped with all the esentials.

Castanea Old Town Hostel – Budget and solo travelers will love this highly-rated hostel. It is centrally located within easy reach of all Stockholm has to offer, they have both dorm beds and private rooms available along with good common areas and self-catering facilities.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Stockholm hotels!

Whether you’re someone who’s always wanted to visit Scandinavia or are already well acquainted with the Nordic region, Stockholm is a great place to begin or continue your travels. Whether you’re on a short visit, or your trip consists of visiting Stockholm in 4 days, you’ll easily fall in love with the vibrant Swedish capital, its people, food, culture, and scenery.

Are you planning a trip to Stockholm? Do you have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Olivia is a writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from Michigan, USA, she is currently living in Athens, Greece exploring Europe and filmmaking. When she’s not travelling or writing, Olivia can be found cooking delicious new recipes from around the world, reading, and spending time outdoors.

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