48 hours in stockholm

How to Spend 48 hours in Stockholm

It was our last city on our trip through Norway and Sweden and we only had 48 hours in Stockholm before our flight home. From our experience, here is a list of places that are worth visiting and places you can probably skip.

Where to stay

We chose to stay in an Airbnb, because we find that Airbnb’s are generally cheaper than hotels and we’re the type of travelers that really only come back to the room to sleep. We love being out from morning until evening and don’t need a lot of luxury in our room. If you’re the type that wants ultimate relaxation and access to all the amenities such as a pool, or room service, then a hotel is better for you, but be prepared to spend more than you would at an Airbnb.

Air bnb wallpaper

I loved the colors and patterns in every room

frida kalo curtain

The bed was comfy and the room was clean

Price

The average cost of a single room in Stockholm ranges from $50 – $100 per night. We found a lovely room for $75 and it was a great room! We had no complaints.

 

Location
We chose to stay in Sodermalm, a neighborhood south of Gamla stan, known for having tons of great bars, restaurants, and shopping. It was a bit of a walk from the public metro station, but we didn’t mind. It was easy enough to locate the metro stations and take the train farther into town.

Had I been able to find a reasonable rate for Gamla stan, I would have preferred to stay there because it was in the heart of it all. I’m not certain how many people actually live on Gamla stan, which is another reason why the surrounding neighborhoods make for better places to stay.

 

Here’s the place we stayed at: Cozy room in Funky Sodermalm

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Dala horse illustration

To Get a Stockholm City Pass or Not

If you are the type of person who wants to soak up as much as you possibly can of a city in a short amount of time and are ok with taking advantage of the more touristy things, then the Stockholm City pass is a good option. It has many perks including:

 

  • free access to public transportation – no having to dig for change or deal with the fare machines.
  • Free access to the hop-on-hop-off boat tour
  • Free access to certain museums

 

See the full list of perks here.

 

Ultimately, we purchased one BUT I found we barely broke even on how much it cost us. You really have to hustle to take advantage of enough stuff (or not be picky about what you see) as I was.

Exploring Neighborhoods

Sodermalm

We spent our first night walking the streets of sodermalm. This is a great place to go for bar hopping. We walked all the way down to the water and enjoyed the view, then walked back up and found a place to eat.

Sodermalm, Stockholm

So many people walking around. We honestly could have spent a ton more time here. 

view from Sodermalm

Walking to the end of Sodermalm

Watching a street performer draw a crowd

Restaurant Tip: We recommend going into your meals expecting slower service. Being American, we always expect speedy service from the wait staff. We noticed that in a lot of places we went, the seating was open and you order at the bar or counter and the food will be brought out to you from the kitchen. Because of this, the wait is often longer for food. Do yourself a favor and sit back and relax and just enjoy your time.

Gamla stan

The second morning, we walked from Sodermalm to Gamla stan in the early morning. None of the shops were open yet, but with so few tourists around, we got great pictures of the iconic spice colored buildings.

The narrow streets of Gamlastan, Stockholm
Gamlastan, Stockholm - Sweden

We returned again to visit the shops and the Dala Horse Museum, a tiny collection in the back of a shop. Unfortunately, they do not allow photos, but it was really fun to see all the different styles and see how the Dala horse has evolved. I highly recommend going and seeing it.

Melon Ice cream in Stockholm

It was in Gamla stan that I had some of the best melon ice cream I’ve ever had at Cafe Järntorget i Stockholm AB

Gamlastan | 48 hours in Stockholm , Sweden | Whole Widen World Travelblog
Dala horse illustration

Museums 

Vasa Museet

Cost: 130 Sek; Free with City pass. 

Contrary to what you may think, this is not a Viking ship museum. It’s a museum about a huge ship that sunk right after it set off and a lot of people died who weren’t able to flee. This ship is MASSIVE and really cool to walk around on the different levels of the museum. They talk about who was on the ship, what the ship looked like originally, and how they recovered and preserved it. It’s worth marveling at and learning about but go early as it is popular for big groups of kids. If you have a city pass, you should be able to get in for free. 

Vasa Museet, Stockholm

Nordiska Museet

Cost: 120 sek  (Not free with Stockholm City Pass)

I thought this was going to be cooler, to be honest. It was a really odd collection of Scandinavian things.. fashion, art, customs, culture, etc

Historisk Museet, Stockholm
Historisk Museet, Stockholm

They had some really bizarre displays.

Historisk Museet, Stockholm
Historisk Museet, Stockholm

The National Armory

Free for everyone

If you’re into seeing old coats of armor, weapons, and medieval fashion this place is for you! Located under the royal palace (entrance in the quart yard) this is a short exhibit. Shouldn’t take more than an hour, maybe 30 minutes if you don’t read everything and just look at the display cases.

National Armory, Stockholm
National Armory, Stockholm
National Armory, Stockholm

Skyview

Free with Stockholm City Pass

I’ll be honest… I wouldn’t recommend going here. I thought it was a waste of time and the view wasn’t that great. It’s one of those super touristy things that the city pushes to get you to the Ampitheatre. It takes 15 minutes to get there by train, 20 minutes to watch the video and then ascend and descend the dome, and then another 15 to get back. That’s valuable time that we could have spent walking around another neighborhood.

View from Skyview, Stockholm | Whole Widen World Travel Blog
View from Skyview, Stockholm
View from Skyview, Stockholm

Hop on hop off boat

Free with Stockholm City Card

Normally, I wouldn’t go near a city tour bus or boat, but because Jeremy was filming and we had success on the boat to flam, we decided to try it. It actually is a convenient way to get around the city. You can hop on anywhere and get to the other side of the city in no time. We took it from over by the Vasa Museet and got off once over by Fotografiska and then once again at Gamla stan which is over 3/4 of the way around.

Hop on Hop off boat in Stockholm
Hop on Hop off boat interior - stockholm
Gröna Lund - Stockholm theme park

Gröna Lund, a theme park is a convenient stop on ferry route and a perfect destination for families

View from the boat in Stockholm

Architectural details caught from the boat

Dala horse illustration

Things we ran out of time for

I had a very ambitious list of things I wanted to see and in hindsight, I spent way too much time trying to find the perfect souvenir. If you have 48 hours in Stockholm, here’s a list of places that might be worth seeing in addition to what we saw.

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18 Comments
  • What a great, well rounded post! I feel like I went to Stockholm with you! Great info to keep for the future. Such a beautiful, colorful place! I love the door frames.

    August 19, 2017 at 9:32 pm
  • Loved Stockholm when I went in May – such a beautiful city! I wanted to do the Sky View but ran out of time, so I’m glad to hear I wasn’t missing much haha. But I also ran out of time to do the Vasa museum and I’m so sad about that!!

    August 19, 2017 at 11:09 pm
  • We went to Stockholm at the end of May this year and just loved it. We mostly used a public transport card (on which we loaded some money and touched in and out as needed), particularly loved the metro and trams. We too stayed in Sodermalm, but right near a metro stop, which was handy. We too didn’t do quite as much as we intended, but we loved the city and will go back. The innovative restaurant scene was a highlight for us.

    August 20, 2017 at 7:05 am
  • Great comprehensive guide to Stockholm! I haven’t been yet but when I get there in the future I will come back to this post. Thanks!

    August 20, 2017 at 9:38 am
  • Loved this, super helpful tips! I totally agree with what you said about city passes. They can be super helpful but at the same time, it becomes super tiring trying to get the value out of those cards! That’s why I much prefer wandering around aimlessly :’)

    August 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm
  • Andrea Mayfield
    Reply

    Stockholm is definitely on my list! It looks so picturesque! Great read and photos!

    August 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm
  • I didn’t make it as far into Sweden as Stockholm, and I’m still kicking myself for it. I would love to check out that armory, even more so since it’s free! I agree with the city pass. Sometimes it’s worth it to purchase one, but we have to do our research beforehand to make sure that it will be worth it in the end!

    August 21, 2017 at 12:21 am
  • This is a really cool post. I haven’t yet been to Sweden and am bookmarking this for when I do! Your honest tips about what to probably skip is really helpful, especially with your perspective about skipping something like the Skyview to maximize your time exploring another neighborhood. Thank you!

    August 21, 2017 at 8:48 am
  • Such a great guide! The Vasa Museum was closed for repairs when I was in Stockholm a few years ago, and your post has me wanting to go back and see it finally!

    August 21, 2017 at 2:00 pm
  • This is such a great guide to Stockholm! Very detailed and great info. I especially love your photos – they’re all so stunning! I’d love to visit the Vasa Museet, that would be so interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    August 23, 2017 at 12:26 am
  • What a great write-up! Feels like you two did A LOT in just 48 hours! Very impressed. Beautiful photos too 🙂

    August 24, 2017 at 1:44 pm
  • Great photography, great details. Inspires one to make the trip 🙂

    September 20, 2017 at 4:58 am

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