Stockholm has often been called the “Venice of the North”. It is a city characterised for its attention to the environment, efficient services, and innovation, and it owes its nickname to its position in a bay of the Baltic Sea, where it “sits” on fourteen islands, connected by fifty-seven bridges and similar infrastructure.
The Swedish capital is a jewel worth admiring and experiencing to the full, as you immerse yourselves in its 750-year history and its boundless cultural heritage. All this is possible thanks to the large range of museum opportunities and many monuments, known and appreciated in every corner of the world, which can be enjoyed while visiting the city.
Discovering Stockholm is as easy as going for a walk. That’s because the Stockholm, which has nearly a million inhabitants, was designed with well-being in mind; for this reason, it's easy to visit on foot. Taking a walk that’s just a little longer than usual, you can easily discover and see the main points of interest from close up.
If you look towards the horizon, the Baltic Sea dominates the scene, while as you cross through the city centre, you will be struck by the many green areas that make Stockholm one of the most liveable and green capitals in Europe. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll have the chance to enjoy watching the squirrels as they scamper from one park to the next.
Below are 18 gems that you won’t miss on a Costa excursion
- Skeppsholmen Island
- Gamla Stan
- Stock Exchange Building
- Riddarholmen Island
- Riddarholmen Church and Old Parliament House
- Rooftop Tour
- Royal Palace
- City Hall: Blue Room and Gold Room
- Vasa Museum
- Mårten Trotzigs gränd
- Ice Bar
- Diplomatstaden and Östermalm
- Drottningholm Castle
- Kaknäs Tower
The perfect place for those who dream of living surrounded by ships: Skeppsholmen is definitely a home to ships. It was on this island that the Swedish fleet would build its warships. Today the island scene has completely changed, although it is still possible to find traces of its past.
The characteristic that first impresses visitors are the large green spaces that form the marvellous backdrop to some of Stockholm’s most important and renowned museums. These include a museum of modern art works, one dedicated to architecture and lastly, a museum that is as particular as it is charming, illustrating and informing about the civilisations that made history in the Far East.
Ships are the main protagonists, especially for young people. These include a very famous youth hostel inside a converted ship. The island is more or less in the centre of the city and its small size makes it a nice and easy visit.
What's more, taking a stroll along the island’s coast offers visitors the chance to enjoy and admire some of the most characteristic views of Stockholm. The island has some fantastic opportunities for visitors looking to immortalise the most beautiful moments of their holidays in photo form. A visit to Skeppsholmen is a chance to take some absolutely breath-taking photos.
Stockholm is a city with many facets to enjoy, starting with the city’s historic centre: Gamla Stan, which literally means “old town”. It is one of the most charming corners of the Swedish capital and along its narrow, cobbled streets, you will come across important points of interest, including pretty churches and historic monuments. Just a short distance from Gamla Stan is the very famous Royal Palace, the Storkyrkan as it is called in Swedish.
Another aspect that is immediately apparent is the picturesque effect of Gamla Stan. In fact the historic district features alternating tall, narrow and brightly coloured buildings, in orange, light blue, yellow and red. Looking carefully at the cobbles, it is possible to see that their smoothness is the result of the horses and carriages that travelled these streets many years ago.
Like the rest of Stockholm, Gamla Stan is set out on a human scale, although it has more than three thousand residents who are usually to be found enjoying the fun, lively atmosphere of the elegant bars, patisseries, restaurants and shops dedicated to gadgets, which celebrate Stockholm and the whole of Sweden.
But there’s more. Gamla Stan is also a succession of art and culture sites. This is reflected in the presence of many curious craft workshops, museums and art galleries. The Nobel Museum is not to be missed, and nor are two other excellent museums: the Post Museum, and the National Economy Museum.
If Gamla Stan has become one of Stockholm’s most popular destinations, it is most certainly due to its main square, the Stortorget, which is as large as it is charming. When visitors come here, they appreciate the vast space and the colours of the period buildings.
These include two in particular: the Schantzka Huset, which dates back to 1600, and stands out for its finely decorated portico, and the Börshuset, or Stock Exchange, where the Swedish Academy announces the winners for the Nobel Prize for Literature every year.
As well as being a meeting point for the Swedes, who meet up at Stortorget, where they spend much of their free time, in the bars and restaurants. Tourists and visitors flock to the main square, curious to enjoy this fantastic part of Stockholm, with its characteristic, elegant palaces and overall elegant atmosphere, designed to offer people a warm welcome.
During the Middle Ages, Stortorget was already the important heart of the city because it was home to Stockholm’s market, where it was possible to trade goods, foods and handicrafts from the Baltic Sea and also from the innermost areas of Sweden.
Stock Exchange Building
A visit to the old town of Stockholm has to take in the Stock Exchange, an imposing building constructed for King Gustav III between 1767 and 1778 and designed by Erik Palmstedt, one of the most successful architects of the period. It is no coincidence that the Stock Exchange Building, known as the Börshuset in Swedish, is one of the most important buildings in Stockholm from an architectural point of view.
Important aspects of history are linked to the presence of the Stockholm Stock Exchange: it was founded in the latter part of the 1800s and represents the first economic experiment of this type in Northern Europe. Today, the Stockholm Stock Exchange continues to play a vital role and is considered the most important financial marketplace in Scandinavia.
It was built on the site of the old City Hall, in a large area containing a few hamlets. In the 1990s, the stock exchange moved out of the building definitively and since then, numerous events and exhibitions, as well as prestigious ceremonies, such as the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature have all been hosted here. And it is to the Nobel prize that the Nobelmuseet is dedicated, the Nobel Prize Museum on the ground floor of the Stock Exchange.
Those seeking to get away from the city centre and enjoy some of the stunning views, Fjällgatan is the perfect destination. This area of Stockholm is up on the top of the small Stigberget hill, from which you can enjoy the breath-taking panoramas, and spend some moments of absolute relaxation and tranquillity. All this in the setting you’ve always dreamed of. Yes, because Fjällgatan features wooden cabins alternated with equal numbers of stone buildings.
These buildings, all from the 18th century, are perfectly integrated into their surroundings, blending in well, in spite of their bold bright colours and eye-catching shapes.
Looking out over the horizon from the more panoramic points offers the chance to appreciate the splendid houses of Skeppsbron, but also magnificent fleets of steamships, often anchored in front of the Grand Hôtel.
Other stunning views include Kastellholmen, the circular fortress, one of the symbols of Stockholm and a theme park that takes its name from Gröna Lund, as well as the vast and elegant residential quarter of Djurgården. Then there are the particularly romantic-looking lights that dot the silhouette of the Kaknäs Television Tower. It is an opportunity not to be missed. Discover a different and truly magical side of Stockholm that will immerse you in a truly regenerating dimension of peace and serenity.
Stockholm, Sweden’s capital is truly full of surprises. Wherever you are, whatever the time of day, Sweden’s most famous city offers fantastic views and experiences to anyone visiting for the first time, as well as to those who are returning. One of these experiences is Riddarholmen Island, in English, “the Knights’ Island”, which is easy to get to from the historic centre of the city.
It is a gem, like all of the islands around Stockholm and it is home to some elegant residential palaces dating back to the 17th century. As well as admiring these characteristic buildings, we recommend stopping at Riddarholmskyrkan, the church that from the 18th century until the mid-20th century, was used as the burial site for the Swedish royal family. Some of Sweden's first sovereigns are buried here.
These important graves show the ancient origins of Riddarholmen Island, which, according to the opinions of several archaeologists, was the start of the development of the whole city, as home to the first building in Stockholm: a small tower that served to watch over the channel and control the movements of the boats.
The list of things to see and of course, photograph, includes the 17th-century Wrangel Palace, and the 19th century dedicated to the founder of Stockholm: Birger Jarl.
Riddarholmen Church and Old Parliament House
A distinctive feature of the island is its church, which the Swedes call Riddarholmskyrkan. It is an old abbey and is known throughout the world as the burial site of Sweden's first sovereigns. It was built in the latter part of the 13th century for the king, Magnus III Birgersson who wanted to build it for the Franciscan congregation.
The first stone was laid in 1270 and the works lasted around 15 years. The resulting church was built in Gothic style, with two naves but no belfry. In the early 115th century, the church was extended, and chapels were added to the transept. The church passed from the Franciscans to the Benedictines in the early 16th century. The abbey later became the property of the Swiss Crown.
In the late 16th century, the bell tower was added, but this was completely destroyed by a lightning strike in 1835. A new tower was built, with a cast iron spire, 90 metres high. Inside are some of the typical features of Gothic style, as it developed in the Baltic nations, such as the use of brick. The walls inside are hung with many coats of arms from the Knights of the Royal Order of the Seraphim. Another place worth visiting on Riddarholmen is the old Swedish Parliament House.
Curiously, it was built over the remains of a structure that had housed a monastery, a hospital, a health residence and also, Stockholm’s first prison.
The building was redesigned in the mid-1800s when it was extended to house the first two-chamber Parliament. The original function was changed in the early 20th century, after which the Swedish Parliament was moved to Helgeandsholmen Island.
It is no coincidence that Stockholm became Sweden's capital city. There are stunning sights from every corner, waiting to welcome visitors in an unforgettable embrace of tranquillity and beauty. And can even discover the city in a less conventional manner, enjoying this same welcome on an out-of-the-ordinary excursion that will stay with you forever, if you are fortunate enough to experience it.
The Swedish capital is waiting to be admired in all its charm. From the city rooftops. That's right. It is possible to visit Stockholm on one of the organised tours over the rooftops of the charming, colourful palaces of the city centre.
An incredible experience that is offered with guarantees of the utmost safety: each visitor is secured with full-strength safely harnesses. Of course, this “high” walk will be animated by an expert guide who will describe the city, talking about important episodes in Stockholm’s history, from ancient times to the modern day, and highlighting the important architectural features of the capital.
Kungliga Slottet for the Swedes. The Royal Palace was built in between 1697 and 1754, and it is the most important building in the north-east part of the heart of the city, Gamla Stan. The building you can admire today is built in Baroque style. It was designed by the well-known architect, Nicodemus Tessin, who imagined it as a majestic, imposing building, which is why he gave it over 600 rooms, distributed over seven floors.
These features are what make it an authentic architectural gem, so much so that the Swedish royal family continue to use it as their official residence and the place in which the most important ceremonial events on the Swedish calendar are held. A visit will include a look at the very interesting royal apartments.
There is a great deal of interest in the museums located inside the palace, and also for the oldest part of the building, historically known as the “Three Crowns Castle”. A visit to the treasury is priceless, with its stunning exhibition of the famous crown jewels of Sweden.
But no less important is the Bernadotte Library, where you can lose yourself among the more than 100 000 books owned by the Swedish royals. Your visit can only end with a photo of the changing of the guards, now a must for all visitors to Stockholm.
City Hall: Blue Room and Gold Room
There are many reasons why it is worth visiting Stockholm's City Hall, and the Blue and Gold Rooms in particular. First of all, the City Hall is the venue for the official celebrations of the Nobel Prize. Secondly, Stockholm City Hall is a building to host all the city’s political activities and therefore, its institutional atmosphere is unrivalled.
After a short talk about the architecture and history of the building, the tour will take you round the different points of interest. These include the tower that makes City Hall more similar to a mediaeval building than a 20th century one, and also the Blue and Gold Rooms. The Blue Room is 1,500 square metres in size and is used to host the Nobel Prize banquet, one of the most important events on the Swedish calendar.
The corridors and rooms of politics, where the actual administrative activities of the Mayor and councillors take place, will lead you into the charming Prince’s Gallery which offers stunning panoramic views around Stockholm’s lake. Also worth mentioning are the paintings and bas-reliefs in the room. Visits to City Hall end with the breath-taking Gold Room, a huge room where the walls are covered with a bright, marvellous mosaic consisting of 18 million gold tiles depicting the history of Sweden and its capital.
If you are looking for the favourite destination of the tourist in Stockholm, then you’ve found it: Djurgården. It is an island but also and above all a park covering almost 280 hectares, and offering visitors over ten kilometres of coast.
Tourists choose it for the stunning views, which can be enjoyed to the full at Skansen, the large nature park which is also home to the zoo. The beauty of this island did not go unnoticed by the Swedish royals, who created the royal hunting reserve on Djurgården.
Djurgården is also home to a fabulous theme park, called Gröna Lund and the Vasa museum, which is famous for containing the only 17th-century warship that has ever been salvaged, almost intact.
Visit the Vasa museum on the island of Djurgården is an unforgettable experience of history. In fact, it is more than a museum, it is a museum ship. The feature exhibit, as the name suggests is the Vasa ship, which had a fate as unlucky as it was legendary. The warship had an accident and sank during its maiden voyage, which was organised in Stockholm in 1628.
For more than three centuries, the ship’s remains were under the sea. It was then salvaged and brought to the surface and now, thanks to the museum, it is possible to experience the excitement of boarding the only vessel with those characteristics in the world.
A made-to-measure museum, because Stockholm studied the design exclusively to make the best use of the ship. Inside, as well as showing Vasa’s history, there is an excellent shop and also a characteristic restaurant where you can enjoy traditional Swedish dishes.
Its origins date back to those of Stockholm, which is why Storkyrkan cathedral, probably founded around 1200 when the Swedish capital was being built, is one of most interesting pieces of architecture to discover during a visit to the city.
It is no coincidence that the cathedral has witnessed the most important events in Sweden's history, such as the coronations of its kings and queens as well as their royal weddings. It was here that King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were married, and so was the current heir to the Swedish throne, Princess Victoria, who married Daniel Westling.
Its name translates as “large church” but many know it as the Church of St Nicholas. Worthy of note on the inside are a pulpit in French Baroque style, dating back to the 17th century, a painting “Vädersolstavlan” (“the sun dog painting”), and a wooden statue of St George and the Dragon.
Mårten Trotzigs gränd
Mårten Trotzigs Gränd owes its fame to the particular structure that makes it the narrowest street in Stockholm. With its thirty-six steps, the width of which can be as little as 90 centimetres, the street is known the world over as one of the most characteristic streets in Scandinavia.
It is located in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town and takes its name from the merchant who opened his shop there in the mid-1500s. It was by trading metals that he became one of the richest merchants in the Swedish capital, but he was brutally beaten to death during a trip.
A stop at the ice bar never fails to amaze, in spite of the shivers. This is why stopping off at this characteristic bar in Stockholm means you need to be ready to experience true, biting cold.
Only the floor in Stockholm’s Ice bar is not made out of ice: it is actually a cooling plate that serves to keep the temperature below zero.
The bar was opened in 2002 and celebrates ice in all its forms. The chairs and even the glasses are in ice. You can stay inside for just forty minutes, both due to the rigid temperatures and also to make room for other visitors, since the maximum capacity is sixty people at any one time.
Diplomatstaden e Östermalm
A tour of Stockholm cannot fail to take in the Diplomatstaden, one of the most noble and historic districts in the Swedish capital, since it is home to the embassies and ambassadorial residences.
It is located in the district of Östermalm, and is full of the elegant, luxury residences of diplomats, ambassadors and politicians. Östermalm is a popular tourist destination on account of its stunning parks.
Set Sail for Stockholm with Costa
Stockholm is worth a visit. It is a truly magnificent capital city when it comes to style and elegance and can offer an incomparable mix of Swedish history and tradition, culture, art, tech innovation, as well as stunning landscapes and surroundings.
The Swedish capital is appreciated for its ability to offer the typical services of a metropolis without the negative aspects, such as smog, traffic and confusion that are so typical of large cities. This is thanks to its natural geographical position, which makes Stockholm a jewel immersed in sea, lakes and parks.
The city has an almost unique focus on cultural initiatives and museums, characteristics that absolutely do not go against with the needs of younger people, who are offered a wealth of opportunities for fun and leisure.
There are also lots of opportunities for shopping lovers and for architecture enthusiasts, who can enjoy the authentic art works in the open air. And if this wasn’t enough, the fourteen islands that make up the city make Stockholm an all-round exciting experience.