Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – What to See and Do in the Capital of Sweden

  • 18.01.2024 11:11
  • Bruno Arcos

Have a look at our Stockholm 3-day travel guide and discover the best the city has to offer, including hotels, restaurants, tips to avoid tourist scams and even a detailed list with everything you must see and do in Stockholm in 3 days.

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Despite being the major financial and business hub of Scandinavia, Stockholm stands out as the most old-world-looking of all Nordic capitals, which often boast a more modern architectural style compared to its western and southern European counterparts. Nevertheless, in Stockholm one can still feel Sweden’s famous avant-garde mindset, from the atmosphere to the local culture, extending to gastronomy and design. In fact, Stockholm may very well represent the seamless fusion of two distinct realities. Old and new. Traditional and modern.

When it comes to tourism, Stockholm is mostly known for its charming Gamla Stan – the Old Town quarter – where you’ll likely spend a significant portion of your time. Yet, the city also boasts an incredibly interesting array of parks, museums and royal palaces, ensuring there is plenty of items to cross off your bucket list.

That being said, we invite you to have a look at our Stockholm 3-day travel guide and discover the best the city has to offer, including hotels, restaurants, tips to avoid tourist scams and even a detailed list with everything you must see and do in Stockholm in 3 days.

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide

How to get to Stockholm – Flights from the UK

Considering this is the largest and most important city in all of Sweden, it comes as no surprise that the nation’s capital is served by the country’s biggest air hub – the Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport – as well as by three secondary airports that only serve a very restrict list of destinations: Stockholm-Bromma, Stockholm-Skavsta and Stockholm-Vasteras.

As such, if you’re traveling from the UK, it is possible to fly directly to Stockholm-Arlanda from London-Heathrow (British Airways and Scandinavian), London-Gatwick (Norwegian), London-Stansted (Ryanair), Manchester (Norwegian and Scandinavian), Edinburgh (Norwegian and Scandinavian), Liverpool (Ryanair) and Birmingham (Ryanair). Furthermore, you can also fly into Stockholm-Vasteras from London-Stansted, with Ryanair.

How many days do I need to visit Stockholm?

As a rule of thumb applicable to most European capitals, 3 days is the ideal period for a getaway in Stockholm. Although it’s possible to get to know the main attractions of the city in a shorter span, with 72 hours you’ll have enough time to explore Gamla Stan, take a tour of some of the palaces and visit the highest-rated museums in the Swedish capital. Plus, you won’t have to rush the experience too much.

Stockholm 3-day travel guide – Best time to visit the city

Considering the city is located in Northern Europe, Spring, Summer and Fall are definitely the most sought-after months when it comes to booking a trip to Stockholm, with the period between May and September standing out as the most researched. However, keep in mind accommodation can be quite expensive in the Swedish capital, an issue that’s even more prevalent during Summer months!

As such, it’s best to visit during shoulder-season, when temperatures are still pleasant, the streets less crowded and the prices smaller. However, and for those strong-willed enough to face the harsh Swedish winter, visiting Stockholm in the winter can also feel refreshingly rewarding, as dozens of Christmas markets spring up all around the city.

Documents needed for your trip to Stockholm

Since Stockholm is part of the EU, British citizens do not need a visa to visit. You’ll just need your passport, which must have been issued within the last 10 years and remain valid for at least 6 months from the date of your trip.

However, keep in mind that starting in 2025, British passengers will need to apply for ETIAS in order to enter any EU country.

Stockholm 3-day travel guide – Withdrawals, banking fees and travel budget

With the Swedish Krona (SEK) as Sweden’s official currency, any withdrawal using a UK bank card might incur in the payment of several different fees. Besides the percentual fee referring to the currency conversion, some UK banks may also charge a flat commission for withdrawals made outside the UK. In some instances, you may well end up paying 5%-6% of your original withdrawal in banking fees.

On the other hand, exchanging money before your trip is not a viable solution either. Besides not being any cheaper, it’s also not safe or wise to carry so much money on you during your trip. As such, we recommend using the services of online banking fintech companies such as Revolut, N26 or Monzo.

Although each have their own limitations and fees, they allow you to withdraw a certain amount in foreign currency without any fees involved. And even after that threshold is reached, costs are much smaller when compared to traditional banks. Sign up for Revolut for free >> to get 3 months of Premium.

It’s important to mention that in Stockholm, electronic payments are the standard, and the need for cash withdrawals is becoming less and less common. In fact, the country is heading towards a fully digitalized economy, suggesting the use of cash in Sweden may become entirely obsolete (in fact, many establishments are no longer accepting cash payments anymore). Nevertheless, if you do need to do so, we recommend using the following banks, which, at the time of writing, do not charge any withdrawal fees:

  • Swedbank AB
  • Nordea

On the other hand, if you prefer to carry some cash and exchange it at your destination, here are 3 currency exchange offices in Stockholm with very favorable reviews:

Stockholm 3-day travel guide – Common scams and frauds

Given that Sweden cracks into the top30 of the Global Peace Index – even with the recent gang-related criminality in Malmo harshly affecting the ranking – it’s no wonder that Stockholm stands out as one of Europe’s (and the world’s) safest capitals. As such, you can enjoy a pretty seamless and chill experience, since the chances of being the target of theft or scams are quite low.

However, and much like you would do in any other big city, using your common-sense is key. That means no taxis whose drivers refuse to start the meter, no accepting help from strangers when you’re using an ATM or trying to buy metro tickets and always keeping an eye out for your stuff when you’re walking through busy areas. To sum up: don’t do anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in any other city!

Where to sleep in Stockholm – Hotels and Accommodation

If you’re looking out for a place to stay on our Stockholm 3-day travel guide then we got your covered!

As a shock to absolutely no one, Stockholm is a pretty expensive destination, even if it’s still considered the second cheapest capital among the Nordic nations (behind Helsinki). Whether it’s food, accommodation, transportation or entertainment, this city can drain your travel budget rather quickly. This is especially true when it comes to hotels, hostels, guesthouses or apartments, where even the most basic rooms (with a central location) can easily set you back around 100€ per night. However, it’s worth noting that the service and cleanliness standards are usually quite high.

That being said, here are a few hotel options which have passed our value-for-money test:

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – Transportation between Arlanda airport and the city centre

The quickest way to travel between Arlanda Airport and the center of Stockholm is aboard the Arlanda Express, a rail line specifically created for this purpose. You can find a train station inside every single terminal, with the airport line running between 05h00 and 01h00. These trains depart every 10 to 15 minutes, and only take 18 minutes to get to Stockholm Central Station. Tickets cost 320 SEK (or 600 SEK two-way), and can be bought online or using the automatic machines located inside the terminals. For a cheapest railway alternative, you may simples rely on trains run by SL, Stockholm’s public transportation administration. These depart every 30 minutes from the Sky City, the airport’s transportation hub, located between terminals 4 and 5. Tickets cost 177 SEK and you can buy them directly at the airport. The journey to Central Station takes about 40 minutes.

Alternatively, if you prefer the bus, there are dedicated services run by Flygbussarna and Flixbus. These vehicles go through every terminal (just follow the signage) and will drop you off at the Cityterminalen in about 45 minutes, operating between 03h00 and 22h00. Average waiting times between buses range from 20 to 30 minutes. Ticket prices may vary between 68 SEK and 129 and you can buy them online.

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – Public transportation

As one comes to expect from a Nordic country, Stockholm’s public transportation system is efficient, punctual and easy to understand, being composed of metros, buses, local trains and even ferries.

That being said, it’s important to note that Stockholm’s city center is extremely walkable and compact, so you will hardly have to use public transport at all, aside from a couple of tourist attractions located in the outskirts (or unless you’re staying far away from the Old Town). That being said, here’s an overview of the local metro system:

Stockholm’s metro system – Maps, Tickets and Fares

While, as I mentioned earlier, you probably won’t need public transportation to explore central Stockholm, if you find yourself staying in the suburbs, the metro system will likely be your go-to option. Currently, Stockholm’s metro system consists of 7 lines, serving a total of 100 stations. This system operates every day between 05h00 and 01h00, running around the clock from Friday morning to Sunday evening.

When it comes tickets, passengers pay a flat fare of 42 SEK per trip, regardless of the distance and/or number of stations covered. This rate applies to all public modes of transportation, allowing you to make as many changes as you need within 75 minutes of validating your ticket. To buy a ticket, you may use the stations’ automatic machines (or booths, if you prefer to talk to someone) or you can take advantage of the SL app, complete your purchase online and use your phone as a ticket. On the other hand, you may simply validate your contactless payment card on the scanning machines and the fare will be automatically deducted from your bank account’s balance. On a side note, keep in mind you always need to validate your ticket when boarding, but not when you get out.

That being said, if you plan on using the metro frequently, it’s worth looking into the daily and multi-day options available:

  • 24-hour Pass: 175 SEK
  • 48-hour Pass: 350 SEK
  • 7-day Pass: 455 SEK

Stockholm 3-day Travel Guide – Free walking tours

While in Stockholm, you have the option to explore the city with a free walking tour. These tours, led by local guides or tour companies, offer guided visits to the historic center, sharing intriguing stories about each place and providing valuable cultural context. Even though these tours are technically free, it’s customary to show appreciation for the guide’s efforts by leaving a tip at the end. In Stockholm, a reasonable minimum tip would be around 100 DKK.

That being said, here are a few companies that run free walking tours in Stockholm:

Stockholm 3-day Travel Guide – Hidden Treasures

With 3 days in Stockholm, and although there is definitely plenty to see, you will have enough time to at least cover the city’s main highlights and take a half-day trip to explores the famous royal residence located in Drottningholm.

Be that as it may, and because we believe a good traveler must always be able to explore beyond the obvious, we wanted to add a few more obscure places to your list of things to see and do in Stockholm in 3 days:

Ostermalm: Despite being considered Stockholm’s main commercial district, few tourists venture into the extravagant avenues of Ostermalm. However, and even for those who aren’t too keen on shopping, taking a stroll through this quarter is still very much worth it – especially to check out the Ostermalm Saluhall, one of the best food markets in the city.

Stockholm Metro: Regarded as the world’s most extensive art gallery, the Stockholm Metro doubles down as an underground exhibition, with over 150 local artists given the green light to paint the tunnels and halls as they saw fit. The end result, as expected, is one of the most unique metro networks on the planet.

Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde: Located in the southern tip of the island of Djurgarden, this art museum is housed inside a former mansion that once belonged to a Swedish prince. However, with all due respect for both the residence and the galleries, the property’s most impressive feature is its free garden, a small hidden treasure and one of the best places to watch the sunset in Stockholm.

Monteliusvagen: Immediately south of the Old Town, in the Sodermalm district, this boardwalk provides access to one of the most beautiful and iconic views of the entire city. Stretching for about 500 meters, you can enjoy an unobstructed panorama of Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen, the Royal Palace, the City Hall, and of course, the canals.

Skeppsholmen: Despite being the closest island to Gamla Stan, Skeppsholmen often goes unnoticed, even though it houses some noteworthy spots such as the Moderna Museet and the Kastellet. Additionally, the views from the shore towards the Old Town are quite beautiful.

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – What to See and Do in 72 Hours

While it’s obviously not possible to get to fully know a city in just 3 days, with a complete 72 hours you can certainly get a general overview of Stockholm. Apart from strolling through the historic center of Gamla Stan, paying a visit to the most famous museums and parks in Djurgarden and exploring the insane underground art of the local metro system, you’ll still have the opportunity to step outside the city center and explore the stunning Drottningholm Palace.

Without further ado, here’s what to see and do in Stockholm in 3 days:

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – Day 1: Gamla Stan

Naturally, your first day in Sweden will be dedicated to exploring the historic heart of Stockholm, with a visit to the mesmerizing Gamla Stan. Stretching across the island of Stadsholmen and four tiny neighboring islets – Riddarholmen, Helgeandsholmen and Strömsborg – this is Stockholm’s unofficial Old Town. However, your first stop of the day will be a short distance north, near the Central Station, at Stockholm City Hall (150 SEK). In typical Nordic fashion, government buildings were built with the same grandeur usually reserved for cathedrals and basilicas in southern Europe, which is why a guided tour through the magnificent halls of this building is well worth the price of admission. Afterwards, it’s time to visit the impressive Royal Swedish Opera (guided tours only on Saturdays for 120 SEK), before crossing the bridge and officially entering Gamla Stan, starting with a walk across Helgeandsholmen and past the Swedish Parliament building. Once on the main island of the Old Town (Stadsholmen), a must-visit is the Royal Palace of Stockholm (190 SEK), the official residence of the Swedish royal family. Besides access to the royal apartments, the Museum of Antiquities and the royal chapel, all included in the ticket, it is also within the royal complex that the iconic Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place, daily at 12h15 from April to August.

Following this, you’re free to explore every corner of Gamla Stan at your own pace. After all, this is the most picturesque area in all of Stockholm, and the kind of place where every street and alley will have you calling for “just one more photo”. At the heart of it all lies the extraordinary Stortorget, considered the main square of the Old Town and perhaps its most charming spot, famous for the row of colorful houses that surround it. Besides, the square and the immediate surroundings is where you’ll find the Storkyrkan, the city’s oldest church, and the Nobel Prize Museum (140 SEK), an institution dedicated to the history and achievements of the most important recipients of these awards, which are presented annually in Stockholm. While still on the main island, take the time to explore the German Church, located in a district where the Germanic population once resided, and the Mårten Trotzigs Grand, a narrow alley that boasts the title of Stockholm’s narrowest street with a width of just 90 cm. Before leaving Gamla Stan, make sure to visit the Riddarholmen Church (60 SEK). Located on the islet of the same name, this medieval abbey serves as the final resting place for the country’s rulers. Finally, you’ll venture out of the historic center through the southern border and enter the district of Sodermalm, where you can climb up Monteliusvagen, a boardwalk providing access to one of the most beautiful and iconic views of the entire city. Stretching for about 500 meters, you can enjoy an unobstructed panorama of Gamla Stan, Riddarholmen, the Royal Palace, the City Hall, and of course, the canals.

First day wrap-up:

  • Stockholm City Hall
  • Royal Swedish Opera
  • Gamla Stan
    • Swedish Parliament
    • Stockholm Royal Palace
    • Stortorget
    • Storkyrkan
    • Nobel Prize Museum
    • German Church
    • Mårten Trotzigs Grand
    • Riddarholmen Church
  • Monteliusvagen

Where to eat in Stockholm – Cheap restaurants in Gamla Stan and Sodermalm:

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – Day 2: Museums and Parks of Djurgarden

Along with Gamla Stan, the gigantic island of Djurgarden is one of the most popular areas of Stockholm among tourists. Home to the largest parks, gardens and meadows in the Swedish capital, as well as to some of its most prestigious museums, Djurgarden is a must-visit destination on any Stockholm itinerary. However, your day will start a bit further north with a quiet stroll through the district of Ostermalm. Despite being considered Stockholm’s main commercial district, few tourists actually venture into the quarter’s extravagant avenues. However, and even for those who aren’t too keen on shopping, taking a stroll through Ostermalm is still very much worth it – especially to check out the Ostermalm Saluhall, one of the best food markets in the city. As you approach Djurgarden, we also recommend taking a quick detour and walking along Strandvagen, the sophisticated promenade boasting some of the city’s most exclusive real estate in Stockholm. After crossing the bridge to the island, your first stop on Djurgarden will be the Vasa Museum (220 SEK), arguably the most famous in all of Sweden and certainly one of mankind’s most spectacular fails. The entire museum revolves around a majestic warship from the old Swedish Imperial Navy, originally built in the 15th century. So far, so good… if it weren’t for the fact that the ship sank instantly upon launch! In fact, the Vasa laid at the bottom of sea for over 300 years, until it was finally “rescued” in 1961. Be that as it may, the colossal dimensions of the vessel, adorned with intricate wooden details and old-world imagery, is truly impressive, making it one of the very best tourist attractions in Stockholm!

Still in Djurgarden, there are countless other museums we couldn’t include in this itinerary due to time constraints, such as the Nordic Museum, the Viking Museum or the ABBA Museum (yes, they actually have a museum dedicated to the iconic band). Nevertheless, another cultural gem on the island not to be missed during a visit to Stockholm is the Skansen (200 to 265 SEK, depending on the time of year), the world’s oldest open-air museum. While immensely popular with kids, adults shouldn’t pass on the opportunity to explore either. After all, nearly 200 historic buildings from all corners of Sweden have been brought to this location, aiming to recreate the atmosphere, look and way of life of the country’s different regions, before the Industrial Revolution took place. To make the experience as immersive as possible, actors are hired to walk around the museum and recreate old-world scenarios and tasks, creating a highly interactive experience. As the day slowly heads towards its end, have a taste of the famous Swedish outdoors at the Kungliga Nationalstadsparken, the world’s first urban national park, and the largest green space in the country. The area is dotted with small monuments, memorials, museums, gardens and even theaters, but with a bit of luck, venturing into less central areas might allow you to see some of the park’s wildlife, such as moose, reindeer and foxes. Once you’ve enjoyed the natural surroundings, you’re always welcome to visit Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde. Located in the south of Djurgarden, this art museum is housed inside a former mansion that once belonged to a Swedish prince. However, with all due respect for both the residence and the galleries, the property’s most impressive feature is its free garden, a small hidden treasure and one of the best places to watch the sunset in Stockholm.

Second day wrap-up:

  • District of Ostermalm
  • Ostermalm Saluhall
  • Strandvagen
  • Djurgarden
    • Vasa Museum
    • Skansen Museum
    • Kungliga Nationalstadsparken
    • Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde

Where to eat in Stockholm – Cheap restaurants in Norrmalm and Ostermalm:

Stockholm 3-Day Travel Guide – Day 3: Drottningholm and Underground Art

Now that we’ve come to our final day in Stockholm, it’s time to shy away from the city center and go on a mini day trip to Drottningholm Palace (150 SEK), located about 12 km away from Gamla Stan. Fortunately, covering this distance is extremely easy, requiring just a metro ride followed by a transfer to a local bus. Anyway, you can always rely on Google Maps, since Stockholm’s public transport system is integrated into the platform. During the summer months, you can also travel by boat from the quay near the City Hall, though this option is significantly more expensive. As for the palace, where the kings of Sweden actually live (although their official residence is the palace you saw yesterday), it is arguably the most beautiful and majestic in the country, especially when you factor in its gardens and pavilions.

Once you’ve seen the historical site, you’ll buy a metro ticket and dedicate the following 75 minutes (the period during which the ticket is valid) to exploring the most captivating stations within the system. Sounds odd? Well, it’s not as weird once you find out that the Stockholm Metro doubles down as an underground exhibition. In fact, it is widely regarded as the world’s most extensive art gallery, with over 150 local artists given the green light to paint the tunnels and halls as they saw fit. The end result, as expected, is one of the most unique metro networks on the planet. It’s best to optimize your time and ticket since there are many stations worth seeing, so we recommend sticking to the blue line and checking out the following:

  • T-Centralen
  • Västra skogen
  • Rådhuset
  • Fridhemsplan
  • Solna Centrum
  • Akalla
  • Tensta
  • Kungsträdgården

As the time comes to bid adieu to Stockholm and fly back home, we think there is no better farewell gift than cruising its intricate network of canals and lakes. After all, water is indeed an essential element of the city’s landscape, seamlessly intersected by countless waterways. Your choice will obviously depend on your schedule and time constraints, but whether you go for a longer cruise through several islands of the Stockholm archipelago or opt for a shorter hop-on-hop-off style boat tour, a great experience is always guaranteed!

Third day wrap-up:

  • Drottmingholm Palace
  • Stockholm Metro Art
    • T-Centralen
    • Västra skogen
    • Rådhuset
    • Fridhemsplan
    • Solna Centrum
    • Akalla
    • Tensta
    • Kungsträdgården
  • Boat Tour/Cruise

Got more than 3 days in Stockholm? Then you might want to check out the best day trips from the Swedish capital:

Uppsala: With its local university originally founded in the 15th century, Uppsala is perhaps the country’s greatest college town. Plus, visiting the city is extremely easy, requiring just a short train journey from Stockholm. In addition to the university campus, it’s worth exploring the Old Town, having a look at the castle and checking out the ancient Viking burial sites in Gamla Uppsala.

Sigtuna: Sweden’s oldest city, Sigtuna is a historic settlement full of places to visit. Here, you can stroll through the colorful downtown – especially along the pedestrian-friendly Stora Gatan – visit the ruins of Saint Olaf’s Church and take a walk along the picturesque lake shores. However, Sigtuna’s standout feature is undoubtedly the town’s several Runestones, informative slabs adorned with Viking characters that have been around for over 1000 years.

Vaxholm Fortress: Located on Vaxo Island, amid the rugged islets northeast of Stockholm, this former castle/fortress became obsolete in the mid-19th century, when capital residents started building holiday homes on the island. Today, visitors can tour the ancient citadel and explore Vaxo’s numerous parks and reserves.

Mariefred: Nestled on the shores of the vast Lake Mälaren, the best way to visit Mariefred is to take a boat from Stockholm and enjoy the scenic ride. Alongside the impressive Gripsholm Castle, the town’s main attractions include the ruins of Karnbo Church and the historic center, consisting of charming traditional wooden houses.

Birka: Located on the island of Bjorko, just 30 km away from the Swedish capital, Birka was an ancient Viking trading post, established in the 8th century. Nowadays, it’s possible to explore the site’s archaeological excavations and understand how ancient Nordic settlements functioned.

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