Stockholm is the Swedish Capital and is made up of 14 islands that are connected to the Baltic Sea Archipelago by more than 50 different bridges. The old town is still full of cobblestone streets, and the urban areas are home to more than four million people. Stockholm is the cultural center for Sweden and where some of the best Universities in Europe are found.
If you're visiting Sweden, Stockholm is the perfect place to stay to learn about history and culture; as well as a hub for day trips all over the country.
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Gothenburg is a coastal city in Western Sweden known for being the headquarters of Volvo and having some of the best seafood on the planet. There is plenty to do in Gothenburg, which is also the largest non-capital city in Sweden, including visiting Liseberg, which is the largest amusement park in all of Scandinavia.
Take a day trip from Stockholm to visit the Gothenburg archipelago, which can be visited by ferry, personal vehicle, or group bus. There are so many waterways through Gothenburg you can also explore the city by kayak or boat tour. Make sure to visit the Haga neighborhood where you'll find cafes and artisan shops. If you're visiting with the family, visit the world-famous Universeum where you'll find a rainforest, aquarium, and zoo, all under one roof.
2.Tyresta National Park
Tyresta National Park was established in 1993 in Stockholm County and is one of the most significant untouched sections of ancient forest in Sweden outside of the Alpine forests of Sweden. The forest features a rift valley landscape with pine trees abundant in the rocky areas but spruce trees being common in the valley.
Activity in the Tyresta National Park is limited for preservation sake; however, the Tyresta Nature Preserve which provides a buffer zone around the national park allows more intensive outdoor recreation such as hiking. Visitors to the National Park can explore Naturum National Park House (the visitor center), the Tyresta village, Fornborgen at Lake Stensjon and the fire area. The Tyresta Village is one of the best-preserved iron age villages in Sweden.
History lovers enjoy traveling to Gavle, the oldest town still occupied in Norrland. Gavle received its charter in 1146. The city is known for the Gavle Goat, a Yule goat figure constructed from straw that is set on fire every year by vandals. The goat has become a branding symbol for the city nonetheless.
Visitors to Gavle can explore iron age villages, modern and ancient art museums, take part in many different cultural festivals throughout the year, and more. You can even spend the day at The Viking Farm, a living history museum and working farm. The Baltic sea border, the eastern coast of Gavle and Several islands, can be visited from the harbor and marina. Overnight accommodations include cabins, camping, hotels, inns, and hostels.
Gävle Tourist Center, Södra Skeppsbron 15, 802 84 Gävle, Sweden, Phone: +46-26-14-41-17
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Some people say that Sweden began in Sigtuna, a town north of Stockholm where King Erik the Victorious founded the town on the banks of Lake Malaren more than 1,000 years ago. Many historic places can be visited in Sigtuna including St. Mary’s Church which was built in the 13th century. There are also more runic stones in Sigtuna than anywhere else in the world with more than 170 in the entire municipality.
Other areas of interest in Sigtuna include other ancient and medieval churches, Arlanda Flights collection, Drake Garden, Roserberg Palace, Steninge Castle, Skokloster Castle, The Main Square, the Waterfront and guest harbors, and much more.
STORA GATAN 33 SIGTUNA, PHONE: 08 - 594 806 50, Sweden
Uppsala is one of the most culturally rich cities in Sweden. Known for their film, theater, art, music, dance, performance art, and culinary arts, Uppsala is a city you can get lost all day in and never get bored. Uppsala also has deep ties to world-renowned director, Ingmar Bergman, features a vibrant theater district, and hosts the Annual International Guitar Festival. If you love art, just taking one of the walking tours in Uppsala will be satisfying because the city focuses on public art. Walking tours in Uppsala is also particularly fun for foodies with many food trucks found downtown.
Other popular attractions in Uppsala include the annual Night of Culture in September, Kottinspektionen Theater House, Uppsala Reggae Festival, Uppsala City Garden, Fyrishov Water Park, and the Uppsala Art Museum. There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation on the lakes and rivers.
Stationsgatan 22, 753 40 Uppsala, Sweden, Phone: +46-1-87-27-48-00
Vasteras is a great day trip from Stockholm for locals since the town isn’t very touristy. Most of the attractions are within walking distance of the city center and can also be reached via public transportation. Vasteras is one of the oldest cities in Sweden dating back to 990 and was named for the inlet that cuts through the city towards Lake Malaren.
The downtown area was part of the cities modernization project during the 1950s-1970s, but there are still many old architecture buildings and historic sites that can be seen and explored including the Anundshog, an ancient burial ground; The Turbine House, Vasteras castle built in 1527, Vasteras Cathedral, the burial place of Erik XIV, built in 1200, and several parks with ancient stone inscriptions.
In Uppland, Sweden the Jarlabanke Runestones are a set of twenty runestones written in the Younger Futhark rune script from the Old Norse language in the 11th century. A chieftain named Jarlabanke ingefastsson ordered the runestones to be carved by his clan. Ingefastsson was also responsible for organizing the leidang (coastal fleet) and the stones specifically mention his Christianity rather than pagan beliefs which were still strong at the time of his rule. There are dozens of other runestones in Uppland related to the Jarlabanke clan including eight attributed to Estrid, and others of Jarlabanke’s direct relatives.
8.Gotland and Visby
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Visby is the only town in Gotland and is a town full of ethereal romance with cottages covered in rose vines, towers and turrets, cobblestone streets, and charming shops that will transport visitors back to the Olde World. Visby still has many medieval structures, and visitors can shop, dine, and enjoy saffranspannkaka, a Gotland specialty.
A walking tour of Visby is available that tours the 2km medieval city wall. Stops on tour also include the historic Sankt Mary Cathedral. Other great attractions in Gotland include the limestone pillars that line the coast around Sudret and Faro, the island that was once home to Ingmar Berman, gamed filmmaker. Outdoor adventurers will enjoy spending the day at Gotska Sandon National Park where they can enjoy sand dune, turquoise waters, and the best beaches in Sweden.
Sormlandsleden is The Sormland trail and stretches more than 1000 km making it one of the longest Scandinavian hiking trails. There are many different places throughout Stolkholm where hikers can access the trail which features many landscapes from lakes and coastline to dense forest. Nearly all of the path is uninhabited, and hikers can see moose, deer, and other wild animals along the trail.
Hiking the Sormland Trail can be done just for the day, but hikers are also encouraged to pack a tent and spend a few days on the trail exploring the historic monuments, nature preserves, and swimming lakes. There are 90 sections of the trail, and hikers can choose easy, moderate, or difficult trails between 2 and 21 km each.
, Michigan beaches
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Malmo is the perfect town to venture to if you’re looking for a relaxing day spent on beautiful beaches and exploring lush, green city parks and museums. Malmo features a modern, vibrant commercial center but is surrounded by the past with Olde Town and Malmohus Castle being just a short walk away. Visitors interested in shopping can explore the 16th-century shopping center or one of the shopping areas with boutique shops. There are also several restaurants and cafes with fine and casual dining, fantastic seafood, and taverns.
The best time to take a trip to Malmo is during the last week of August. Malmofestivalen is the biggest festival in Scandinavia and features music, food, art, vendors, cultural events, sports, and more.
Often regarded as the first city in Sweden, Birka is a Viking City on Bjorko Island on Lake Malaren and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Birka dates back to the 8th century, and the island was a particularly important trading center in the Viking world. Many tours are available that allows visitors to discover the rich cultural history of Birka and Scandinavia. One of the top attractions in Birka is the reconstructed Viking Village, but visitors also enjoy the archaeological tours, Birka Museum, and fabulous restaurants and cafes. Other historic monuments in Birka include The Monument of Ansgar and the Ansgar Chapel.
Lake Malaren is one of the largest lakes in Sweden and drains into the Baltic Sea. Lake Malaren is found in Svealand with the central harbor in Stockholm. The lake is known for its Viking settlements and relics at Birka, and the islands in the lake including Selaon and Svartsjolandet are the largest islands on the lake and Adelso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s even a castle, Drottningholm Palace, on Lovon Island. Tour Lake Malaren on boats or take a riverboat cruise through the canals.
If you’re looking for a day away from Stockholm, or a unique way of exploring the city, book the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. The luxury ferry features saunas, amazing food, and comfortable accommodations on the overnight from Stockholm to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Two different cruise lines offer these luxury ferry trips that also include live entertainment such as discos and casinos. Viking Line and Tallink Sillja are the cruise lines with Viking being known as a party boat and Tallink Sillja as the more elegant and refined option.
The Stockholm Archipelago is just minutes from the city and provides some of the most scenic landscapes in Sweden. There are 30,000 islands in the archipelago, and the beautiful rocky coastline outlines the sandy beaches. Islets and coves surround the wooded islands just waiting to be explored. Some of the islands are still uninhabited while others have quaint communities with abundant cultural experiences to be had. Boat, car, bus, train, or bicycle can be used to explore the archipelago.
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Orebro has a rich history in Sweden, and visitors can explore many landmarks such as Orebro Castle where the first parliament act of Sweden took place. The shop is located in the southwest corner of Orebro Castle and offers tickets to the guided tours, souvenirs, and historically inspired gifts for the whole family.
Other great attractions to see in Orebro include the Lost City adventure water park, Prison island, City Park, and the Skatepark which is one of the largest in Sweden. The World of Lego Festival is also hosted in Orebro every July and visitors should also check out Stora Holmen, an island dedicated to children’s activities. You can even quickly fill your day with shopping, art galleries, and fantastic music and dining.
Considered the most beautiful outdoor swimming pool in Sweden, Saltsjobaden Friluftsbad is an outdoor public bathhouse made of wood in the Stockholm suburb just 30 minutes from the city on the archipelago. The bathhouse was designed in the early 1900s by Torben Grut and is only open in the summer. An onsite restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is also a club room available for meetings, parties, or gatherings. Day or full season passes are available.
Torben Gruts vag, 13322 Saltsjobaden, Sweden, Phone: +46-0-87-17-05-52
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Taking a day trip to Drottningholm Palace from Stockholm will transport you back in time to the historic grandeur of Swedish royalty and palaces. Drottninholm Palace is the best-preserved seventeenth-century palace in Sweden and is the royal family’s permanent residence. The palace is also one of the three World Heritage Sites in Stockholm.
Highlights of the palace include the Baroque Garden, eighteenth-century theatre, Chinese Pavilion, and many salons from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. The palace and gardens were both designed by Nicodemus Tessin in 1681 and are open to the public for viewing year-round.
178 02 Drottningholm, Stockholm, Sweden, Phone: +46-0-84-02-62-80
Gripsholm Castle is located on the picturesque Lake Malaren in Mariefred, Sodermanland. The romantic renaissance style castle features a fallow deer nature preserve, and vast collections of antiques, artworks, and artifacts from the last four centuries. Gustav III’s theater is located at the castle as well as the Swedish National Portrait Collection. Guided tours of the castle are available, and visitors are welcome to meander through the halls and exhibits on self-guided tours as well. The castle is also host to several annual events such as the Children’s Music Festival in August and the summer concert series.
64731 Mariefred, Lake Malaren, Sweden, Phone: +46-0-15-91-01-94
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19.Fortress of Vaxholm
The Vaxholm Fortress Museum depicts 500 years of defense history of the capital city on the Stockholm archipelago. Visitors can take daily tours during the summer hours between June and August every year. Guided tours are 45 minutes long and are in Swedish. The tour in English is only 15 minutes long. If you’re visiting with a private group, you can reserve a tour all year round. The museum isn’t handicap accessible.
There is also a museum shop with books and gift items related to military history in Stockholm and maritime. Visitors to the Fortress of Vaxholm can eat at Kastellets Hamncafe which is open during the summer. A bed & breakfast called Kastellets has 27 overnight rooms and is open all year at the northern end of the fortress.
Kastellet 18599 Vaxholm, Phone: +46-08-54-17-18-90
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20.Enskede Woodland Cemetery
Enskede Woodland Cemetery, also known as Skogskyrkogården, is a forest cemetery with more than 100,000 graves and 2,000 burials performed annually. There is a crematorium, five chaps, and an outdoor ceremony space at the cemetery. The main entrance to the Enskede Woodland Cemetery is open all year round along with the visitor’s center where visitors can access a shop and café, as well as find exhibitions on world heritage and tourist information. Visitors can also connect to the free wifi. Funerals and ceremonies take place all year round and visitors are asked to keep their voices down and be respectful of the burials happening during their trip. The site is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has influenced cemetery design all over the modern world.
Skogskyrkogården 12233 Enskede, Phone: +46-08-50-83-01-58
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Mariefred is a picturesque seaside town an hour away from Stockholm. At the center of Mariefred is Gripsholm Castle, a 14th-century fortress that was renovated by King Gustav Vasa in 1530 and has remained unchanged since. The castle currently houses the Swedish State’s portrait collection. The Graphic Arts Museum, Grafikens Hus, is another attraction in Mariefred worth a visit. During the summer months consider visiting on the historic steamship, also named Mariefred, where you can dine in the saloon before docking and visiting the many cafes, shops, and restaurants in the town. You can also visit Strangnas Cathedral and just outside of the cathedral is the Arsenal, a museum dedicated to Sweden’s defense vehicles. There are also many outdoor explorations including trails to hike and canoeing in Mariefed.
Rådhustorget Mariefred, Phone: +46-0-15-92-97-90
Fjäderholmarna is just a 20-minute boat ride from Stockholm and found at the beginning of the archipelago. The town is best known for the restaurant Fjäderholmarnas Krog and the Christmas buffet. There are a few other popular cafes in the harbor, and visitors love exploring the art galleries and studios in the center of the island. Fjäderholmarna harbor is busy in the summertime with boats leaving from Strandvagen and Slussen. Foodstock, a two-day food festival held every summer brings international chefs and foodies from all over the world to enjoy dining and drinking during this ticketed festival.
Fjäderholmarna, 100 05 Stockholm, Phone: +46-0-87-18-01-00
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23.Gustavsberg and Varmdo
Gustavsberg is the main town of Varmdo, an island landscape with local shops, cafes, fine dining restaurants, a porcelain factory with a shop, galleries, glass exhibits and much more. There are many different museums amongst the island as well including Gustavsbergs Konsthall, the leading art gallery for contemporary crafts, the Archipelago Museum, and various historic chapels. Visitors can also spend time outdoors in the nature preserves, or tour the island by boat. Visitors who want to stay on the islands overnight can find plenty of cottages, dock in the guest harbors, or stay at Frediksborg Hotel, The Villa Holudden Hotel, Siggesta Farm Hotel, or a variety of other places including hostels.
Odelbergs väg 5 B 134 40 Gustavsberg, Phone: +46-08-57-04-70-00
Visitors who want to check out an outer archipelago island outside of Stockholm should take a trip over to Sandhamn. The island is an hour from Stockholm and is a historical site marked by white sand beaches and barren cliffs. The harbor is where most of the activity on the island happens. There are many restaurants, bars, shops, cafes, and hotels along with promenades and tranquil recreations against the beautiful pine forest landscape. Many people visit Sandhamn to spend time at the spa at the Sandhamn sailing hotel. Visitors can also take guided sailing tours of the islands, book a fishing expedition, or spend a day at the museum.
Sandön Sandhamn, Phone: +46-8-57-04-70-00
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Vaxholm is the perfect getaway for people who love historic architecture and Swedish culture. The idyllic town on the archipelago is known for their many well preserved, turn of the 20th century painted wooden houses. These wooden homes are painted beautiful pastel colors. Visitors to Vaxholm can enjoy shopping in quaint restaurants and cafes, shopping charming shops, and spend Christmas at the Waxholm Hotel for the fantastic views of the fortress overlooking the harbor and their amazing Christmas Buffet. Visit during the summertime to walk along the beautiful beaches, rent kayaks or go paddling, or spend the day sailing. Visitors who want to dive into history can explore Bogesund Castle, built in 1650 where guided tours are available.
Torget 1, 185 32 Vaxholm, Phone: +46-08-54-13-14-80
25 Best Weekend Getaways and Day Trips from Stockholm
- Gothenburg, Photo: Lars Johansson/stock.adobe.com
- Tyresta National Park, Photo: Allan/stock.adobe.com
- Gavle, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Sigtuna, Photo: Piotr Wawrzyniuk/stock.adobe.com
- Uppsala, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Vasteras, Photo: Magnus/stock.adobe.com
- Jarlabanke Runestones, Photo: Mats/stock.adobe.com
- Gotland and Visby, Photo: Karin Jähne/stock.adobe.com
- Sörmlandsleden, Photo: Faunini/stock.adobe.com
- Malmo, Photo: Alexi Tauzin/stock.adobe.com
- Birka, Photo: JazzaInDigi/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Malaren, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Helsinki, Photo: TanyaSv/stock.adobe.com
- Stockholm Archipelago, Photo: Allan/stock.adobe.com
- Orebro, Photo: Arseniy Krasnevsky/stock.adobe.com
- Saltsjobaden, Photo: JAREK/stock.adobe.com
- Drottningholm Palace, Photo: dbrnjhrj/stock.adobe.com
- Gripsholm Castle, Photo: aro49/stock.adobe.com
- Fortress of Vaxholm, Photo: jpiks1/stock.adobe.com
- Enskede Woodland Cemetery, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Mariefred, Photo: rolf_52/stock.adobe.com
- Fjaderholmarna, Photo: Elisabeth/stock.adobe.com
- Gustavsberg and Varmdo, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Sandhamn, Photo: JazzaInDigi/stock.adobe.com
- Vaxholm, Photo: Rico Ködder/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: marcus_hofmann/stock.adobe.com