If you’re looking for the perfect weekend escape, look no further than Stockholm; the stunning capital of Sweden and the largest city in Scandanavia. I have amazing memories of spending time in this city. Stockholm had always been high on my bucket list. So when Sweden won Eurovision in 2015, I took the plunge and booked my first trip to the city. From this visit, my love affair for all things Swedish was born. With several visits under my belt now, I’ve created this guide to spending the perfect 2 days in Stockholm.
Stockholm is spread across 14 islands, which means the city has developed close relationship with the sea. There is a rich history of Baltic trade and maritime exploration. The city was once epicentre of the Swedish Empire and the Swedes ruled the waves of the Baltic sea.
Today the city of Sweden leads the world in very different ways but Stockholm is still the epicentre for all things Scandi. Music, tourism and design are the city’s main exports now. Sweden’s progressive stance on everything from environment to work-life balance is envied across the globe and Stockholm is the perfect place to immerse yourself in this forward thinking culture. I felt instantly at home among Stockholm’s locals who are very friendly and interested to hear what brought you to their beautiful city.
So what are you waiting for? An escape to Sweden awaits! Hereâ€™s how to spend the perfect 2 days in Stockholm
2 Days in Stockholm
What to do?
There are many great things to see and do in the city but for the perfect 2 days in Stockholm, make sure you add these to your itinerary. I’ve grouped the sights to make it easy for you to walk between them. The city centre is very compact so it’s easy enough to see most of Stockholm by foot. There’s a great public transport system if you don’t fancy the walk.
Day 1 in Stockholm
Gamla Stan – Stockholm’s Old Town
A walk through the Gamla Stan is the perfect place to start your 2 days in Stockholm. It’s definitely my favourite neighbourhood here. It’s the oldest neighbourhood in the city which means that there are lots of narrow streets with picture perfect painted buildings. I love browsing through the shops here. The small stores in Gamla Stan sell everything from souvenirs to chic Swedish design and there are some great independent cafes hidden in the side streets. It’s a great place for grabbing morning coffees and pastries (the Swedes call this Fika, and they take it very seriously).
The Gamla Stan is on a small island which means that it’s very difficult to get lost. I recommend taking a walk around the edge of the island too to get great views of Stockholm’s other waterside neighbourhoods.
The main public square in the Gamla Stan is called the Stortoget. The square is best known for it’s colourful buildings, restaurants in the summer and christmas markets in the winter.
It can get a quite busy in the Gamla Stan so head here in the morning when the streets are much quieter.
Whilst you’re hear, take a look at the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) where Greta Thunberg famously held her school strike for climate. See also the Stockholm Palace, the home of Swedish Royalty. You can’t have look inside the Stockholm Palace if you like. It has 5 musuems inside and exhibits treasures from the history of the Swedish Royal Family.
From the Royal Palace, I head north across the Strombron Bridge (the name always reminds me of Daenery’s Targaryen) to have a walk around the Kungstradgarden. This park used to be a private garden attached to Stockholm Palace. Kungstradgarden translates to the “Kings Garden”. The walls of the garden were demolished in the 1800s so the park is open to the public now.
The Kungstradgarden is now a popular meeting place for locals and a focal point for events in Stockholm, especially at weekends. The cafes which line the park are perfectly located for a relaxing coffee whilst watching the world pass by. In spring the park comes to life as the cherry trees blossom and transform into clouds of pink.
This boulevard stretches from Norrmalm to Djurgarden, but is technically in a neighbourhood of it’s own called Ostermalm. Historically the Strandvagen was a very prestigious area. You can see this today in the elaborately designed buildings which are home to foreign embassies and expensive hotels.
I like to walk this way towards Djurgarden, as the waterside has great views in all directions. In the summer months, the jetties here become floating bars and if the weather is good this is a great spot for afternoon refreshments.
Djurgarden – Stockholm’s Museum District
In the west of Stockholm is Djurgarden. Very few people live on this island as it’s full of museums, historical buildings and monuments. You could easily spend more than your 2 days in Stockholm in this area, hopping between the various museusms
I was in my element inside the ABBA museum and this is my top pick of the museums in Djurgarden. The museum is packed with interactive features which tell the story of ABBA, Sweden’s biggest musical export. Through the exhibit I followed their journey, from their humble beginnings as folk singers to becoming Eurovision winners and global superstars.
Through the interactive elements you can completely immerse yourself in the ABBA experience, recreating iconic album covers and joining a holographic version of the band on stage. Look out for the self-playing piano. It’s linked to Benny’s home piano so will tinkle when he is playing. There’s also a telephone which only the members of ABBA have the number to. So if it rings, answer it quickly!
There’s also a section dedicated to their flamboyant outfits and there are stacks of platinum records on display.
Another extremely popular attraction is Skansen, the world’s oldest open air museum which also doubles as a zoo. Visitors flock here to experience life in Sweden before the industrial revolution. Skansen is over 130 years old and still attracts huge numbers of visitors to witness traditional Swedish life. The Christmas markets in Skansen are particularly popular with both tourists and locals.
This is a museum dedicated to the Vasa, a Swedish warship which sank in 1628. Today the majesty of the Vasa has been restored to its former glory. Vasa Museum tells the fascinating tale of life on board as well as an insight into how the ship was salvaged and rebuilt. The museum is quite rightly one of the most popular attractions in Scandinavia.
If day 1 of this itinerary was about historic Stockholm, day 2 is all about modern Stockholm. The best district for this is Norrmalm which is really close to the Gamla Stan. It’s Stockholm’s mordern city centre and is full of shops, department store, cafes and restaurants.
Drottninggatan is the busiest shopping street in Norrmalm and it stretches from the Gamla Stan to the Observatorielunden. I like to spent time browsing the shops here. A lot of them are chains you could visit in any city but there are also independent stores and some Swedish brands too.
My favourite Stockholm store is Designtorget. It specialises in stylish and affordable Swedish design with sustainable living ideas. There are some really quirky items in store and it’s a great place for grabbing gifts. Designtorget don’t ship internationally so I’d recommend shopping here while you can. The homeware is particularly great.
As an aside, it was during a visit to Designtorget that I discovered Wet Pot Systems (another Swedish brand) which I’m now obsessed with. Have a look here!
There are some great cafes and restaurants on Drottninggatan. One of my favourites is Polpette which towards the Gamla Stan. It’s an independent restraurant that offers a mix of Italian pasta with traditional Swedish cuisine. It’s an interesting mix but it works.
Sergels Torg is one of Stockholm’s largest public squares. You will pass the square when exploring Drottninggatan. There’s not much to see here other than a sunken plaza and a glass fountain, and most of the square is taken up by traffic. That being said, it’s a popular meeting place and Swedes will come here to demonstrate or celebrate a sporting victory.
Naturkompaniet or NK Stockholm
NK is one of the city’s largest department stores, probably the Swedish version of Selfridges. It’s a great place to browse for gifts because the store is packed with Swedish design items. Your sure to find something in NK that you’ll not find anywhere else so it’s great for finding unique design items for your home. The building is pretty great too. The store is decorated in an Art Nouveau style so I like to visit the store for this alone.
If you are looking to shop, Ahlens City is another department store and is close the NK Stockholm. Ahlens City is Sweden’s largest department store.
Hotorget Flea Market.
Style and sustainability is a high priority for people in Stockholm who will spend hours looking for the perfect items for their homes. Second hand items are prefferable as they are better for the environment. This makes second hand markets very popular in Sweden and Hotorget Flea Market is the main market in central Stockholm.
At weekends Hotorget fills with fresh produce, antiques, second hand books and vintage vinyl records. You’ll spot the locals browsing the market looking for antiques for their homes. They are very particular though so you’re more likely to see them browsing than buying. This is all part and parcel of Sweden’s lagom mindset where less means more.
If Swedish designers created shopping malls, they would would probably look like Mood Stockholm. It’s a quirky cluster of small shops and boutiques seperated by effortlessly stylish Swedish interiors. These stores sell almost everything but the fashion and interior design stores are particularly good.
It’s a great place to visit if you’re looking for food. The variety is amazing. Head to 18|19 where you can sample the best pizza in Stockholm (2nd in Sweden). Alternatively dine in Boqueria, a dining experience designed around open plan foodhalls where your food is prepared before your eyes.
Where to stay in Stockholm?
You’ve got 2 days in Stockholm so location is priority. Lengthy transfers to accommodation will only eat into your time. These are my top picks for accommodation in central Stockholm and will keep your transport time to a minimum.
If you’ve got cash to burn and looking for a splurge, look no further than the Grand Hotel. With stunning waterside views towards the Royal Palace, this is the hotel of choice for international celebrities and world leaders.
Lower in price but well located, the Sheraton Stockholm is a 3 minute walk into the Gamla Stan. It’s also a short walk from Central Station. Being part of an american chain however, some of the Swedish design quirks have been lost but your guaranteed a comfortable stay.
A New York inspired hotel with a generous helping of Swedish design. This hotel offers everything from windowless cabins to full suites so there is a room for all budgets. The hotel is close the Arlanda Express terminal which makes it super easy getting into the city from the airport by train, plus you don’t have to worry about carrying your luggage too far.
Although I don’t often stay in hostels, I have stayed at the Generator in Copenhagen and was very pleased with the room. Generator offer private rooms in addition to dorm style accommodation which is great if you’re looking for a low budget and some privacy. The rooms here are clean and affordable. The hostel is located a little further away from the city centre than the hotels above but the prices are also much lower. If you’re travelling on a budget, the Generator chain is a no-brainer.
What to bring home from Stockholm?
This luxury candle and perfume company was founded in Stockholm in 2006. Visit the flagship store on Master Samuelsgatan to see the full range of products offering luxury with simple, high quality ingredients. The staff are very helpful and can support if you aren’t sure what you’re looking for
Sweden is famous across the world for home ware. Avoid IKEA. Each store is a carbon copy so you won’t find anything different in the Swedish version. Hunt for the smaller independent stores. Designtorget is a favourite of mine with stores on Kungsgatan and Sergels Torg.
These traditional hand carved horses were once associated with the province of Dalarna, but are now a symbol of Sweden. You can pick up the Dalahast for a low cost at most souvenir stores. Higher quality Dalahast with more elaborate designs are available for a higher price.
Thank You For Reading “A Weekend in Stockhom”
So you now having everything you need for the perfect 2 days in Stockholm. I hope you enjoy visiting this city as much as I do. There are affiliate links in this post. This means that I recieve a small commission when you purchase an item or book a hotel room from my links. You are NOT charged any extra for this.
If you enjoyed this post, you could also enjoy reading these!