The Best of Stockholm in 2 Days

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Nicknamed the Venice of the North, Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, quickly became one of my favourite cities.  Made up of 14 islands in the inner city, Stockholm is a Scandinavian gem with tons to offer. Although it is also one of the most expensive places I have been (think $10+ for a beer), I absolutely loved this city. Thinking of visiting? Here’s how to experience the best of Stockholm in 2 days.

Getting to Stockholm

Stockholm boasts four airports. The Arlanda airport is the main international airport and served by many major airlines. As the biggest airport, there are plenty of ways to get into the city centre including airport busses, city busses, the Arlanda express train, regular train, and of course taxi. Your best bet is to take a stop at the welcome office and ask for advice on the best (and possibly budget friendly) way to reach the city depending on the time of your arrival.

The three other local airports are Bromma: mostly for domestic flights or flights to nearby Scandinavian and Baltic countries, Skavsta Airport: home to Ryanair and Wizzir flights, and finally Västerås airport, which runs Ryanair routes to London. 

Stockholm also has a major bus station (Cityterminalen) and Train Station (Stockholm Central) which offer connections to other major cities within Sweden as well as Copenhagen.  Some bus lines also offer journeys to major European capitals including Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Zagreb.

Of course, being on the water, Stockholm is also home to several ports in which you can find ferry and single of multi day cruise services throughout the Scandinavian and Baltic areas. Multi-day cruises are on of the most budget friendly options for the Scandinavian area (even the locals use them and refer to them as ‘party boats’).  If you plan on only going one way, do yourself a favour and check the return price as well before you book; it just may be cheaper.  *If you are interested in Baltic cruise lines check out my review for  the Tallink Silja line here*

You'll see a lot of boats Stockholm

Getting Around

Stockholm is well connected; but it’s much cheaper to use your own feet. However, as the city is made up of multiple islands, this isn’t always the most time-friendly option.

For those unable to walk large distances, or are pressed for time, the city offers regular public transportation by way of bus, metro, train and boat. Bus stops can be found throughout the city, but be aware that tickets need to be purchased ahead of time (your hostel or hotel will usually sell them) as they are not for sale on the bus.

For those looking to hop over to another island, a boat is probably your quickest option. Tickets can be purchased at the machine on the dock, where you may also have to press a button to call the boat to you. It’s not cheap, but it did save me probably 30-40 minutes of walking.

For those staying a couple of days, it may be worth looking into a hop on hop off bus and boat ticket, or Stockholm Pass which includes the cost of transportation. If the weather is nice, you may also want to consider renting a bike.

Walking is definitely the cheapest way to see the city!

Where To Stay in Stockholm for 2 Days

Stockholm offers a variety of accommodation choices. If you are looking for a neat experience, I highly recommend staying on a ship. I choose the AF Chapman Hostel and it quickly became one of my favourites in terms of the ‘cool’ factor. There are plenty of boat hostels in the city, just make sure to read the reviews first; I was told by other travellers that some are rather old and dirty. If you are looking for something on land, check out the Scandic Gamla Stan in old town (Gamla Stan).

The AF Chapman hostel

Stockholm is full of 4* hotels, but they come with a high cost. Last minute bookings are generally not a problem, and although they may be a little cheaper, will still cost a pretty penny. Inexpensive beds in dorms are hard to come by, so make sure to book in advance.

Given that the city is so large and spread out, location is an important thing to keep in mind. Accommodation near Gamla Stan or the Sergels Torg and Drottninggatan areas will have lots to offer in terms of restaurants and entertainment. While other areas, such as Skeppsholmen Island (home of the af Chapman) have no restaurants to speak of and require a 20-30 minute walk to find food.

2 Days in Stockholm: What to See and Do

Stockholm has no shortage of things to see and do to keep you busy during your stay. Full of art galleries and museums, history and architecture, and of course ghost stories, there’s something to peak everyone’s interest. A few of my favourites are:

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan, or Old Town, is, in my opinion, the prettiest area of Stockholm. Once considered the grungy part of the city, this island has been cleaned up and is now boasts some of the most expensive real estate. Exploring the cobble stone alleys, and winding paths is the perfect way to spend a few hours. Little stores, coffee shops, and restaurants are a dime a dozen, making it the perfect place to shop for souvenirs and sit for a break.  Gamla Stan is also home to some of Stockholm’s most impressive buildings including the Nobel Museum, Stockholm Cathedral, and the Royal Palace. Fun fact: ABBA used to live in this part of town- you can still find the building.

Gamla Stan is the oldest part of the Stockholm

The Royal Palace

Like any good European Capital, Stockholm boasts a beautiful Royal Palace. Located on Stadholmen in Gamla Stan is open to visitors (but check the schedule before visiting, when I was there it was closed Mondays). Although the Palace is not the actual residence of Swedish Royalty (you can find them in Drottningholm palace), the Royal Palace is still considered to be a working palace as it where the offices for the Royal Family and the Royal Court of Sweden are located. In a nutshell, this means they have guards. Why is this exciting? Because the guards for the Swedish Royal Palace will actually talk to you, unlike many of their European counterparts (ahem England). Go ahead and say ‘hi’ – I dare you!

The Royal Palace: I dare you to talk to a guard!


The tourist and local favourite, Drottninggatan is a major pedestrian only street.  Usually packed with people it’s a fun area to wander and, if your wallet can afford it, shop! Drottninggatan is the main shopping area of the city, and here you can find everything from big chains to smaller, more specialized shops.

Watch for locals looking to photobomb you! These girls messed up the first time so I gave them a second chance

Sergels Torg

The main square of Stockholm, Sergels Torg is probably the city’s most central spot. It is here that people will rally for demonstrations, to celebrate Swedish sports wins, and to meet friends.  It also makes a great place to take a break and people watch.

The Vasa Museum

As an adamant museum avoider I was shocked when I found myself purchasing a ticket to the Vasa Museum. But, after a friend in Copenhagen told me I HAD to see it I decided to take his advice- and was I ever glad I did. If you only have time for one museum during your stay- go here. Spend a few hours with an impressive a monster of a ship that sank in the harbour in the 1600s, only to be discovered and reclaimed over 300 years later. It’s incredible.

The Vasa


Another recommendation from the friend I met in Copenhagen, Skansen is a unique outdoor museum showcasing Sweden’s heritage. Little villages offer insight to traditional Swedish lifestyles while the zoo is home to a variety of Swedish wildlife including moose, reindeer, lynx, and bears. Before you leave make sure to also stop by the traditional bakery and grab a treat on the way out (just follow your nose- and the people in front of you!)

I had a lot of fun watching these playful bears at Skansen

Free Tour Stockholm

Stockholm is another city taking advantage of their tips-only city tours, and being one of the top rated things to do in the city, it’s definitely worth your time. Tours meet at Sergels Torg and run about 1 hr 30min or so. I took the Old Town tour where we spent our time learning about the city’s dark history, finding traces of Viking history, and checking out ABBA’s old home. Check the schedule online to find tour times and dates.

Love vikings? The Free tour offers some neat history...and shows you an authentic Viking rune stone

What to Eat and Drink in Stolkhom

Two words of advice in this incredibly expensive city: grocery shop. Although there are lots of restaurants and cafes, the prices are jaw dropping. Example: I paid the equivalent of $17CDN for a bowl of soup. And no, it wasn’t anything fancy or special.That being said there are many popular places to eat, especially in Gamla Stan. If you are looking to eat out on a weekend make reservations ahead of time as these places fill up fast.

Save your cash for treats like these...I have no idea what they are but they are so good!

In terms of alcohol, well that may be scarier than the price of food. If alcohol is a must, try buying your own at one of the cities liquor store (note that they have normal working hours and are not open late or on Sundays). For the best deal, do as the locals do and sign up for a 2 or 3 day cruise of the Baltic area.

Two days in Stockholm may not seem like a lot of time, but its still worth it!

A Note on Travel Insurance in Sweden

Please, do NOT travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to rely on mine multiple times. While the cost may seem annoying and better spent elsewhere, trust me when I say you’ll be sorry if you don’t have it. For just a couple bucks a day, you can save yourself a whole lot of stress and money. I like to recommend SafetyWing for travel medical insurance as they are one of the most affordable options I’ve found, plus, they are who I use and I have had great experiences with them. Learn more about the importance of travel insurance here.

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  1. Amy on October 14, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Great list! I was only in Stockholm for a day as a stop on a cruise but I’d love to go back and spend more time. I loved wandering Gamla Stan and taking the boats between the islands – so peaceful! But I agree the costs were crazy. We were going to stop at this one place for lunch for Swedish meatballs but left after we saw they charged $27 for 3 meatballs! I think I’ll stick with Ikea instead 🙂

    • Hannah Logan on October 15, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      27 for 3 meatballs?! were they gold! haha. Only in Scandinavia

  2. Lucy on October 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    Such a useful post – I did my first trip to Scandinavia this spring (a long weekend in Bergen, Norway) and have definitely got a taste for it, and I think Stockholm might have to be my next stop. Sounds very similar to Norway in terms of the price of food and alcohol though so I may need to save up a bit first!

    • Hannah Logan on October 15, 2014 at 8:23 pm

      Oooh I would LOVE to go to Norway- and Bergen looks gorgeous! Apparantly Norway is the most expensive of the bunch so you be a little luckier in Sweden!

  3. tammyonthemove on October 15, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I would love to visit Sweden and Stokholm in particular. Love your viking illustration on the first picture by the way.

  4. Paul on October 15, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    10 Euros for a beer, bargain! No wait….. no, thats not true at all O__O, thats pretty steep! I don’t normally mind paying around 7 but 10 is ridiculous! Great guide Hannah, I havn’t been to any Scandinavian countries yet, I keep getting put off by the price – They all seem to be really expensive!

    • Hannah Logan on October 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      They are expensive but, although I haven’t been to Norway yet, I’ve loved my time in the rest. Definitely worth saving for!

  5. Megan Claire on October 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I havent yet been to Stockholm but we would probably follow your itinerary to a T; I can only imagine spending a few days there, so knowing that you can fit all of the main highlights into 48 hours is awesome!

    • Hannah Logan on October 15, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      I would love to go back to see a little more but given the costs 2 days allowed me to see quite a bit!

  6. Ron | Active Planet Travels on October 15, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Stockholm seems like such a magical place. I’ve always been intrigued with the Vikings era…great post! 🙂

  7. Lauren on October 16, 2014 at 5:19 am

    I’d love to visit here, it looks amazing! Thank you for all of the helpful tips! I think going for groceries is also a great idea – $17 for a bowl of soup! Ahh! That had better be one great bowl of soup 🙂

    • Hannah Logan on October 16, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      Sadly the soup wasn’t that special. And it was in a cafeteria style place, not even a real restaurant!

  8. Lisa Goodmurphy on October 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    We spent a day in Stockholm on a Baltic cruise and loved it – definitely planning to return for a longer visit! We also visited the Junibacken (Pippi Longstocking) museum – it’s fun for anyone visiting with kids. We had to skip Vasa because the lines were so incredibly long so will have to see it next time!

    • Hannah Logan on October 16, 2014 at 8:22 pm

      I hadn’t heard of the Junibacken- great idea for kids!

  9. Kanika Kalia on October 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Very helpful info….I would love to visit there some time.

  10. antonette - we12travel on October 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Stockholm is great! Such a relaxed vibe and plenty of things to do and see. Just a shame it’s so expensive

  11. Raphael Alexander Zoren on October 16, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Nice shots! Hopefully I’ll visit it next year 😀

  12. Bailey K. on October 19, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I would LOVE to do a Baltic cruise! Always wanted to go to Stockholm, as well as many places around that area.

  13. Elena on October 22, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I have never been to Stockholm but appreciate your tips! And I agree, those treats look like they would be delicious!

  14. Bente Vold Klausen on October 22, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    I know Stockholm pretty well and I think you have a nice list of what to do in this city. During summer a boat trip to all the islands just outside the city is great and they have a nice food market and some great modern art museums. I love museums and Stockholm have some great ones!

    • Hannah Logan on October 22, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      I’d love to go back when it’s warmer and check out some of the islands 🙂

  15. Vlad on October 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I’m hoping to visit Stockholm next year so this is a very useful post for me (bookmarked it 😀 ). I visited Oslo this year, I’m sure it can’t be more expensive. But the accommodation did seem scary, luckily I’ve found a nice apartment on Airbnb.

    • Hannah Logan on October 23, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Hope it helps for your visit! I would love to visit Oslo one day too…but yes it’s supposed to be even pricier!

  16. Shere on October 24, 2014 at 7:43 am

    I’ve been in Stockholm for a weekend a long time ago, but when I saw your pictures I remembered some of the poi.

    Shere y Paul

  17. Sumit Surai on October 29, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Nicely written. Great guide for Stockholm. Completely enjoyed reading the post.

  18. Cassandra Surette on September 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Wonderful suggestions! I used to live in Stockholm, but as a student on a severe budget.

    • Hannah Logan on October 1, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Oh I can imagine how difficult that would be!

  19. Jess on January 19, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Okay. You’ve convinced me to go to the Vasa museum!

    • Hannah Logan on January 19, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      It’s seriously cool. And I don’t say that lightly as museums normally bore me!

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