In Sweden, visitors can step into history by visiting cathedrals, the palaces of royalty, and the preserved sites of rich archeological excavations. Families can enjoy a day at the Junibacken Children’s Cultural Center, be among lions and tigers at Kolmarden Wildlife Park, or take a peaceful boat ride on the Gota Canal. From Stockholm to Gothenburg to Jukkasjarvi up in the Arctic Circle, Sweden has something for everyone.
1.ABBA: The Museum
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At ABBA: The Museum, located in Stockholm, visitors can learn about the legendary Swedish band that produced classic hits like Dancing Queen and Mama Mia. But the fun won’t stop there, because guests will have the opportunity to do more than just look at the band’s gold records, costumes, and other memorabilia. At ABBA: The Museum, visitors can take part in a fun and immersive experience that will allow everyone to audition at the Polar Studio for the chance to become ABBA’s fifth member, dance their hearts out on the flashing dance floor, and virtually try on some of the band’s most iconic costumes.
Djurgardsvägen 68, Stockholm, Sweden, Phone: +4-68-12-13-28-60
© Courtesy of Kevin (KEE PIL) Cho - Fotolia.com
Drottningholm Palace is a beautiful example of 17th-century European architecture and holds a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The word Drottningholm translates to “Queen’s Island,” and as the name implies, the palace is the permanent home of Their Majesties the King and Queen of Sweden; however, with the exception of their residences, the palace and its grounds are open to the public. Guests can explore the palace and take a guided tour where they will learn some of the history of the gorgeous building and the people who built it and lived there. Visitors can also enjoy the expansive grounds and gardens outside the palace, as well as the gift shop and restaurant.
178 02 Drottningholm, Sweden, Phone: +46-84-02-62-80
At Fotografiska in the heart of Stockholm, the art of photography is everything. The museum hosts a rotating selection of high-end exhibits from world-famous photographers and up-and-coming talent, and offers classes in photography for those who wish to learn more. Fotografiska is home to 2,500 square meters of exhibition space as well as a gallery where art lovers can purchase photography, and a cafe and restaurant. Exhibitions are available for all ages, and can be enjoyed by photography lovers as well as newcomers to the art. Tickets to Fotografiska can be purchased by credit card at the museum or on the Fotografiska app, available on Google Play or the App Store.
Stadsgardshamnen 22, 116 45 Stockholm
4.Garden Society of Gothenburg
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The Garden Society of Gothenburg is located in the walled city of Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. This 19th-century garden was founded in 1842, and to this day it still serves as the flowering, green heart of the city, with parks, educational seminars, and luscious gardens. Guests can visit the expansive Rosarium, featuring both modern and historic roses, or the indoor Palmhouse, a striking glass and cast-iron building in which tropical plants from all over the world grow all year round. The Garden Society of Gothenburg’s parks and gardens are open daily and admission is free.
Slussgatan 1, 411 06 Goteborg, Sweden, Phone: +4-63-13-65-00
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The Gota Canal is a 19th-century waterway that connects a system of lakes and rivers all across Sweden, from Gothenburg in the west to the Baltic Sea in the east. The canal itself, which stretches almost 200 km in length, is flanked by scenic cycling towpaths along its banks, and its waters are dotted with boats. Visitors can rent a boat, bring their own, or hop aboard one of the many passenger boats that traverse the waters of the canal. Whatever the method of travel, the Gota Canal is a way to see Sweden like no other, and from its waters guests will have easy access to shops, restaurants, museums, and nature along the way.
605 96 Söderköping, Sweden
6.Gothenburg Museum of Art
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The Gothenburg Museum of Art is an art lover’s dream. Home to pieces from artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Monet, along with many famous Swedish artists and contemporary artists, the Gothenburg Museum of Art is the place to explore art from many different eras and origins. Guided tours of the museum can be booked 8 days or more in advance. After exploring the museum and its treasures, guests are welcome to shop in the museum store for unique gifts, or enjoy a fantastic meal in Mr. P, a restaurant named after and designed by a prominent historical Swedish art collector.
Gotaplatsen 6, 412 56 Goteborg, Sweden, Phone: +4-63-13-68-35-00
© Hallwyl Museum
The Hallwyl Museum is located in the ornate and lovely Hallwyl House in the center of Stockholm. The unique house was built with influences from Venetian and Spanish styles in the late 19th century, and is one of the most expensive private residences ever built in Sweden. Now it is home to the Hallwyl Museum, which bears the name of its former residents and houses their enormous collections of art, furnishings, and some personal items. The house also serves as a glorious peek into the past, with rooms that are astoundingly well-preserved to a historical standard. Guided tours are available daily and can be tailored to guests’ specific interests.
Hamngatan 4, 111 47 Stockholm, Phone: +46-84-02-30-99
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Jukkasjärvi is a hotel built entirely from ice, located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Every year approximately 40 artists come together to create the Icehotel with frozen blocks sourced from the Torne River, and the result is an experience like no other. The Icehotel has warm and cold hotel suites, an Ice Bar, and an Ice Church, but also many warm cabins, restaurants, and shops. Guests can spend a night in the Icehotel, which clocks in at about -5°C or -7°C, where they will be provided with furs and expedition-style sleeping bags to keep them warm. While staying at the Icehotel, guests are also invited to take part in activities like dog sledding, snowmobiling, and classes in ice sculpting.
Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjarvi, Sweden, Phone: +4-67-06-68-02-63
Families will fall in love with Junibacken, a children’s cultural center that was inspired byb Astrid Lindgren, the famous Swedish children’s author who created iconic character Pippi Longstocking, among many others. Through music, theater, and plenty of imagination, Junibacken creates a fun and unique environment where children can play, learn, and discover the magic of books and reading. Visitors can take a ride on the Story Train, where they will hear Astrid Lindgren read one of her stories, or play in the immersive and fun Storybook Square. The Junibacken Children’s Theater will bring beloved stories to life, and in the children’s bookstore at Junibacken, guests can purchase these stories and many others.
Galärvarvsvagen 8, 115 21 Stockholm, Phone: +4-68-58-72-30-00
© Courtesy of Kevin (KEE PIL) Cho - Fotolia.com
Kalmar Castle has an illustrious history that dates back to the 12th century. With its wide, round towers and steep, pointed roofs, Kalmar Castle is a clear example of Nordic Renaissance architecture at its finest. Visitors can explore the castle’s interior to find reconstructions of a 16th-century Easter feast in the Hall, the 19th-century Women’s Prison, and rooms in the Governor’s Apartments that will paint a vivid image of the castle’s many purposes over the long years. Seasonal exhibitions are also featured in the castle, as well as a cafe. Guided tours are held daily at 11:30am in English from the 15th of August until the 30th of September, but private tours are also available by reservation.
Kungsgatan 1, 392 33 Kalmar, Phone: +4-64-80-45-14-90
11.Kolmarden Wildlife Park
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At Kolmarden Wildlife Park in Stockholm, guests can come face to face with over 600 species of animal from all corners of the world. Visitors can watch dolphins leap into the air, learn about predatory birds, or glide suspended above lions and giraffes in the world’s only safari gondola ride. Kolmarden Wildlife Park is a full experience that will teach its guests about the animals they encounter, with programs, shows, and informational displays. At the African-themed Vildmarkshotellet hotel or the Safari Camp Tent Village, guests can stay close to the action for nights alongside animals from both the African savannah and Scandinavia. Kolmarden Wildlife Park also features rollercoasters and other rides for all ages.
Kolmarden, SE-618 92 Kolmården, Phone: +4-61-07-08-70-00
Livrustkammaren, or the Royal Armory, was established in 1698, making it the oldest museum in Sweden. The museum is located within the Stockholm Royal Palace, and its exhibitions include state and ceremonial weapons that date back to the 16th century as well as the blood-spattered clothes and uniforms of Swedish royals, marks of their victories in battles fought centuries ago. Livrustkammaren’s focus is on Swedish monarchs and displays artifacts from their lives and eras. The museum offers audio guides for its guests to explore the museum and its treasures on their own, and there are guided tours by reservation for large groups.
Slottsbacken 3, 111 30 Stockholm, Phone: +46-84-02-30-30
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The construction of Lund Cathedral began in the year 1080 AD, and it still enjoys a full life today as a beautiful example of Nordic Romanesque architecture from that era. Located right in the middle of Lund, the cathedral is easy to access by car, public transit, or foot. The cathedral is home to a lot of fascinating history and also hosts the small History Museum, where guests can see objects and clothing that date back to the 12th century. From June to August, free guided tours of the cathedral are offered daily, and from September until May, tours are offered once a month or by appointment for groups up to 30.
Kyrkogatan 4, 222 22 Lund, Phone: 046-35-87-35 or 07-05–58-77-68
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Millesgarden is the former home of famous artists Carl and Olga Milles, who built a home intended to serve as a space for their studios and their artistic works. The property continued to grow throughout the 20th century, becoming filled with sculptures and paintings, and what stands today is a beautiful testament to visual art. Millesgarden contains intricate and gorgeous architecture, both created for the house and sourced from other places, and the sculpture park is a beautiful, scenic garden that will stun guests not only with the flowers, but also with the pieces of art that are masterfully worked into its design. In the house, permanent works by the Milles couple are on display, and the art gallery hosts temporary exhibitions by other artists.
Herserudsvagen 32, 181 34 Lidingo, Phone: +46-84-46-75-90
© Moderna Museet
Moderna Museet is a modern and contemporary art museum located on an island in central Stockholm called Skeppsholmen. The museum is famous for taking artistic risks, and proudly features stunning permanent and temporary exhibitions of contemporary art in a variety of mediums such as photography, video, sculpture, and paintings, and also is home to famous works by artists like Pablo Picasso, Meret Oppenheim, and Salvador Dali, along with many more. Moderna Museet offers guided tours in a variety of languages as well as a free app for download that contains an audio guide for the museum.
Exercisplan 4, 111 49 Stockholm, Phone: +4-68-52-02-35-00
16.Museum of Medieval Stockholm
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At the Museum of Medieval Stockholm, guests can see for themselves the findings from a major archeological excavation. This underground museum features a section of the original wall that surrounded Stockholm in the 16th century, the foundations of several palaces and buildings, medieval warships, and the remains of an ancient cemetery where archeologists once uncovered 7 metric tons of human skeletons. At the Museum of Medieval Stockholm, visitors can step into history and see how people lived their lives in Stockholm from the 13th century onward. Guided tours are offered by reservation, both for the museum and for a historical city walk.
Stromparrterren 3, 111 30 Stockholm, Phone: +4-68-50-83-17-90
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The Nobel Museum is named after Alfred Nobel, the prestigious scientist and inventor who later initiated the prize that bears his name. The museum strives to inspire its visitors to use their minds and imaginations to solve problems. Guests can watch short films about some of the most illustrious winners of the Nobel Prize, and see how they creatively developed their ideas. From Ernest Hemingway to Martin Luther King, Jr. to Louis Pasteur, the list of Nobel Laureates contains some of the greatest visionaries of the past century, and the Nobel Museum in Stockholm offers a great opportunity for visitors to learn about some of the people behind the ideas.
Nobelmuseet Stortorget 2, Gamla Stan, Box 2245, 103 16, Phone: +4-68-53-48-18-00
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The Skansen Foundation is the oldest open-air museum in the world. At this 75-acre interactive exhibit, guests can experience a taste of how people lived in Sweden centuries ago through a series of immersive activities. Skansen contains a full replica of a 19th-century village, complete with craftsmen like shoemakers, blacksmiths, and glass blowers. In the Hornborga cottage, visitors can take in the low ceilings, the roof of turf and straw, and the primitive stove as they learn about the families who used to live in the small space, and what their lives may have been like. At the Skansen Aquarium and Zoo, guests can see and learn about animals native to Scandinavia like bears, reindeer, wolverines, and bison.
Box 27807, 11593 Stockholm, Phone: +46-84-42-80-00
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The Royal Palace at Stockholm is the official residence of Sweden’s Royal Family. This exquisite baroque-style building offers tours of the royal apartments, but the building is also home to a number of other attractions. The palace houses three museums, and visitors will enjoy seeing the royal regalia in the treasury, learning about history in the Tre Kronor Museum, and exploring the beautiful galleries of Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities. The palace is also the site of the royal armory, the Bernadotte Library, and the Royal Guard. Opening hours at the Royal Palace change seasonally, and also may be affected by any official events being held by the royal family.
107 70 Stockholm, Sweden
20.Swedish History Museum
© Swedish History Museum
One of the largest museums in Sweden, the Swedish History Museum is well known for its collection of Viking artifacts and history. Guided Viking Tours are offered during the summer and are free to the public. Guides will show guests some fascinating pieces of history and tell stories of battles, society, and life in the Viking era. After learning all about Viking life, museum patrons can head to the Restaurant Rosengarden, where they can enjoy sweets and coffee as well as a variety of traditional Swedish foods. Admission, Wi-FI, and audio guides at the museum are free of charge.
Narvavagen 13–17, 114 84 Stockholm
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At 623 feet and 54 stories tall, Turning Torso is the tallest building in Scandinavia. Construction of the unique building was completed in 2005, and the face of the building gently spirals as it stretches up into the sky. Its designer, Santiago Calatrava, based the design on his sculpture of the same name. Turning Torso is a residential building, but the top two floors are available for viewing by the public. From the height of the 54th floor, viewers can look out over the city of Malmo from new heights. Viewing is available by appointment only.
Lilla Varvsgatan 14, 211 15 Malmo, Sweden, Phone: +46-40-17-45-00
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Universeum is a full experience, all packed into one building in Gothenburg. At Universeum, visitors can explore the science of nature, technology, and experimentation. In the Ocean Zone, guests will learn about some of the 30,000 known species of fish in the world and walk in a glass tunnel beneath the aquarium, where they will be literally surrounded by water. Visitors will also love the Space Exhibit, where they can get a taste of what it would be like to be in outer space, or take part in creative experiments in Teknoteket. Universeum also features exhibits specifically designed for young participants, like Job Land, where children can dress up and explore whether they’d like to be an actor, a laboratory researcher, or a sea captain.
Sodra Vagen 50, 400 20 Goteborg, Phone: +4-63-13-35-64-00
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Uppsala Cathedral was built around the year 1270, but it wasn’t consecrated until nearly 200 years later due to the cold climate and the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century. Today, Uppsala Cathedral holds daily services and welcomes visitors daily from 8:00am until 6:00pm, although admittance may be restricted during church services or other activities; admission is free. Guided tours are offered every day during the summer, and guests will also enjoy visiting the treasury, where they will find some of the world’s best-preserved items of clothing from the Middle Ages.
Domkyrkoplan, 753 10 Uppsala, Sweden, Phone: +4-61-84-30-35-00
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In the year 1628, the warship Vasa capsized and sank in Stockholm. After centuries at the bottom of the sea, the Vasa was excavated, inspected, cleaned, and moved. Today, the Vasa serves as the centerpiece of the Vasa Museum, where visitors can see the old ship and learn about life on a 17th-century Swedish warship. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the interactive and informative exhibitions at the museum, which displays many of the items found aboard the Vasa and teaches about naval culture, from the shipyard to the high seas. The Vasa Museum is open daily and offers free admission for guests under 18.
Galarvarvsvagen 14, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden, Phone: +4-68-51-95-48-00
The art museum of Waldemarsudde was once the home of the Swedish Prince Eugene in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and now contains the work of renowned artists such as Carl Milles, Antoine Bourdelle, and Auguste Rodin. Prince Eugene himself was a painter, and the museum contains many of his works as well as the many pieces he collected during his lifetime. The house, sculpture park, cafe, and garden all serve as stunning backdrops to the art that can be found here, and visitors will also enjoy exploring the preserved living quarters of the prince. Guided tours of the museum are available by reservation.
Prins Eugens vag 6 Djurgarden, Stockholm, Phone: +46-08-54-58-37-00
25 Best Things to Do in Sweden
- ABBA: The Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Can - Fotolia.com
- Drottningholm Palace, Photo: Courtesy of Kevin (KEE PIL) Cho - Fotolia.com
- Fotografiska, Photo: Fotografiska
- Garden Society of Gothenburg, Photo: Courtesy of Lars Johansson - Fotolia.com
- Gota Canal, Photo: Courtesy of Anja Ergler - Fotolia.com
- Gothenburg Museum of Art, Photo: Courtesy of ClaraNila - Fotolia.com
- Hallwyl Museum, Photo: Hallwyl Museum
- Icehotel, Photo: Courtesy of Marco Regalia - Fotolia.com
- Junibacken, Photo: Junibacken
- Kalmar Castle, Photo: Courtesy of Kevin (KEE PIL) Cho - Fotolia.com
- Kolmarden Wildlife Park, Photo: Courtesy of a40757se - Fotolia.com
- Livrustkammaren, Photo: Livrustkammaren
- Lund Cathedral, Photo: Courtesy of Alexi Tauzin - Fotolia.com
- Millesgarden, Photo: Courtesy of Mikhail Markovskiy - Fotolia.com
- Moderna Museet, Photo: Moderna Museet
- Museum of Medieval Stockholm, Photo: Courtesy of adisa - Fotolia.com
- Nobel Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Tupungato - Fotolia.com
- Skansen, Photo: Courtesy of RUZANNA ARUTYUNYAN - Fotolia.com
- Stockholm Palace, Photo: Courtesy of Gelia - Fotolia.com
- Swedish History Museum, Photo: Swedish History Museum
- Turning Torso, Photo: Courtesy of Bits and Splits - Fotolia.com
- Universeum, Photo: Courtesy of anuwat - Fotolia.com
- Uppsala Cathedral, Photo: Courtesy of Tanya - Fotolia.com
- Vasa Museum, Photo: Courtesy of bob - Fotolia.com
- Waldemarsudde, Photo: Waldemarsudde
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Kevin (KEE PIL) Cho - Fotolia.com