stockholm in 2 days itinerary

The Perfect Stockholm in 2 Days Itinerary

Exploring Stockholm is a fabulous way to get introduced to Sweden and having 2 days in Stockholm is a perfect amount of time to see the best that the city has to offer.  You’ll have a chance to see the top sights in Stockholm, from the islands of the archipelago to the old town of Gamla Stan and some of her fascinating museums.  Stockholm’s attractions will have you reaching for your camera constantly.  Our 2 days in Stockholm itinerary will have you seeing the key attractions of Stockholm, learning about the history of Sweden and her people, and exploring what makes this city so unique. There’s lots to do in Stockholm and you’ll want to pre-plan as much as you can, stay somewhere central and enjoy the energy of the city.  Here’s our Stockholm in 2 days itinerary.


Practical Considerations for Visiting Stockholm

While a two-day Stockholm itinerary is relaxed enough to see a great number of Stockholm’s attractions, you will need to plan ahead to make the most of your 2 day Stockholm visit as there are several things to organize before you arrive.

Arriving in Stockholm

If you’re arriving by plane, then first of all consider maximising your time by preplanning your route from the airport.   There are four airports near Stockholm, I’ve detailed how to get to Stockholm from the two main airports.

Arlanda Airport to Stockholm

From Arlanda, you have a big choice of how to get to Stockholm.  I wrote in detail about all the options for going from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm here.

The quickest way to Stockholm from Arlanda is the Arlanda Express Train.  You can book tickets here.

Skavsta Airport to Stockholm

Skavsta Airport tends to be where the budget airlines come into.   There are fewer options from here to get into Stockholm – my guide on going from Skavsta to Stockholm is here.  The most time-efficient way to go from Skavsta to Stockholm Central is to take a private transfer.

See prices for a private transfer from Skavsta to Stockholm here.

Where to Stay in Stockholm for Two Days

You’ll want to stay somewhere central to maximize your time in the city.  Stockholm has a GREAT public transport system, but the more time you spent on it, the less time you have to see the city.  The old town is called Gamla Stan and this is where the majority of places you’ll want to visit, are, or they’re easy to get to from there.

The Victory Hotel in Gamla Stan is a great option – it’s close to the metro access and in a perfect position for exploring Stockholm.  It gets great reviews and has super comfortable rooms.  You can check availability here.

We chose a quirky Stockholm stay on a boat, at the Rygerfjord Hotel, floating on Lake Mälaren.  It’s a further 15 minutes walk from Gamla Stan, but you’ll get amazing views of Stockholm and enjoy the lake breezes too.  Get prices for this quirky stay in Stockholm here.

View from Rygerfjord Hotel Stockholm

Getting Around Stockholm

The Stockholm itinerary that we used, and I’m writing about here, is easy to explore on public transport and on foot.  There’s no need for taxis, however, it does involve quite a bit of walking.  One way to reduce the walking and to save a little time (and money) is to use a Stockholm Pass.  This Stockholm City pass includes being able to use public transport, buses, and ferries as well as the hop on hop off buses in Stockholm.  You can also use the Stockholm Pass to enter many of Stockholm’s museums and attractions – including the Vasa Museum, the Nobel Prize Museum and it includes an Archipelago Boat tour as well.  You can check the current pricing of the Stockholm Pass here.

How to Spend Two Days in Stockholm

Stockholm has been Sweden’s capital since the 13th century and its name comes from the Swedish works for log or pole “stokker” and island “holm”. ( In the early days locals protected against marauders by placing logs in the waterways under the waterline so that only those in the know would have the safe passage details). Today more than 25% of Sweden’s entire population lives within Stockholm and her suburbs, there are 2.5 million people who live in the capital.

The Vikings were here, you can even take a Viking tour, although the tour guide is good he’s not a Viking, as a Viking is a job, and it involves sacking and pillaging. (And we don’t mean tapping up tourists for tips!).

The streets of the old town, Gamla Stan, are painted as they were back in the day, runestones abound throughout the city and there are as many boats and ferries forming the public transport system as there are buses and trams. Electric scooters and bikes abound too and this is a very walkable city.

Stockholm is made up of 14 different islands connected by no fewer than 54 bridges.  There’s no wonder that ferries make up part of the public transport system here and they’re great fun to use when exploring Stockholm’s attractions. Here’s our Stockholm in 2 days itinerary.

Day 1 Itinerary Stockholm

Stockholm is a great city to explore in 2 days, although we think you’ll want to spend longer here, but 2 days in Stockholm is a good start to whet your appetite, and perhaps return for another visit!

Have breakfast at Café Schweizer

If your hotel doesn’t provide breakfast, then you can head to Café Schweizer.  It’s located in Gamla Stan and it’s a perfect place for a good coffee and a cinnamon bun that the city is famous for.  Café Schweizer is open from 07:30 most days and they offer a variety of breakfast items.  You can check the menu out here.

Take a Walking Tour of Gamla Stan

One of the best ways to orient yourself in a new city is to take a walking tour – and there are several walking tours in Stockholm.  First of all, there are some great free walking tours of Stockholm, or if the timetables don’t fit with your schedule, then I’ve detailed some excellent other options. 

Free walking tours work by paying your guide a tip instead of paying a fee for a tour.  And Stockholm is amazingly, an almost cash-free city.  And yes, you can tip your guide for the free tour by using a card (they have a credit card machine that they carry with them)

Streets of Gamla Stan

Walking tours of Gamla Stan will take you around the major parts of the old city, introduce some of the history of Stockholm and Sweden and also give you some great hints about where to get a good lunch.

Get lunch in Gamla Stan, Stockholm

And lunch is our next stop.  You can expect a walking tour of Stockholm to take around 2.5 to 3 hours and you’ll definitely be ready for lunch afterwards.  Lunch is a great time in Sweden to get your main meal of the day, it’s cheaper to eat at lunchtime and lunch specials will focus on traditional Swedish cuisine. 

Swedish Meatballs lunch

So pick up sautéed reindeer, or Swedish meatballs perhaps at lunchtime and you’ll not only get the best deals for eating out, but also taste some excellent Swedish cuisine.   Lunch meal deals in Stockholm usually come with a selection of bread and butter and free water and/or coffee.

I recommend eating at Restaurang Kryp In, Prästgatan 17, in Gamla Stan, they have great lunch specials until 16:00.

See these places in Gamla Stan

After lunch while you’re in Gamla Stan you should make sure that you don’t miss the following places, I’ve marked them on the map and they’re easy to find.

See the Uppland Runic Inscription 53

Don’t run off from lunch too quickly, just down from the Kryp In restaurant is one of the famous Upplands Runes – the Uppland Runic Inscription 53.  The rune is located at the corner of the Prästgatan and Kåkbrinken streets.  Right on the corner.  It’s partially protected by an old cannon, driven into the ground.

Of the three rune stones found in Gamla Stan, only two remain, this one and one that’s now in the Museum of Medieval Stockholm. This rune stone in Gamla Stan has a serpent body in winding decorative loops and an inscription that is only in part still there.  The stone was erected by Torsten and Frögunn in memory of their son.

Uppland Runic Inscription 53 Stockholm

To explore Viking history and see many more rune stones, I’d recommend you take a trip to Sigtuna, one of Sweden’s original capital cities, where you’ll find more than 170 rune stones in the municipality and 20 in the city (really it’s only 9,000 people) itself.  Read about our trip to Sigtuna here.

Walk down through Marten Trotszig Grand.

This is the narrowest alley in Stockholm, it’s named after the merchant Marten Trotzig who emigrated here in 1581. He became one of the city’s richest merchants.

Check out the Wooden Horse Museum (it’s a shop)

Wooden Horses, also known as the Dala Horse, or the Dalecarlian Horse are the most loved of Sweden’s toys.  Swedish wooden horses date back to the mid-16th century and you’ll find the Wooden Horse museum in the Runstenen souvenir shop. It’s free to enter and won’t take you long to visit.  There’s a variety of information on the walls and horses to look at and buy.  The Wooden Horse Museum is just off the Stortorget square where you’ll also find the next stop on your Stockholm Itinerary.

The Stortorgsbrunnen (Fountain on Stortorget)

The fountain in Storotget Square is a great place to refill your water bottles.  The Swedes are rightly proud of their drinking water, and it’s completely safe to fill your water bottles from this fountain, which has been here since 1778. 

Stortorgsbrunnen (Fountain on Stortorget) and Nobel Museum

It’s claimed that the water from here is the best in Europe, and while the fountain was moved to the Brunkbergstorg square it was returned here in 1973.

Check out the Statue of Saint George and The Dragon

There are two versions of this statue in Stockholm.  The original is in the Storkyrkan, the Cathedral of St Nicholas in Stockholm, and the original was consecrated in 1489.  You’ll find a bronze copy of it from 1912-13 on Köpmanbrinken in Gamla Stan.  The copy is slightly different from the original.  Don’t miss the statue of the princess behind the dragon.

Källargränd urinoar (Källargränd Urinal)

This is Sweden’s oldest urinal.  (probably)  And it’s been around for about 130 years.  You’ll find it outside the Nobel Museum, which used to be the Stockholm stock exchange building. 

Källargränd urinoar (Källargränd Urinal) Stockholm

Back in the day, this was a pretty prestigious toilet.  And it still looks interesting.  It smells a bit though. And it’s (mostly) not in use anymore, but it’s an interesting spot to walk past.

Visit the Nobel Prize Museum

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish engineer, innovator, and chemist.  I’m not sure whether he’s more famous for the Nobel Prize or for inventing dynamite.  But yes, he did both.    He spoke 5 languages and lived between 1833 and 1896.  In his will, he left the majority of his considerable wealth in trust to establish the Nobel Prizes, which were first awarded in 1901 and Nobel Prizes have been awarded to more than 950 people (and organizations) since then.  The Nobel Prizes were originally five separate awards awarded to “those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”.  In 1969, a 6th award (for Economics) was added.

The Nobel Prize Museum opened here in 2001, on the 100th anniversary of the first awarding of the Nobel Prizes, and contains information about the Nobel Prize and Nobel prizewinners, as well as information about Alfred Nobel himself.

The Nobel Banquet, where the winners are celebrated each year happens on 10th December and each year has a specific and new menu.  It is held in the Blue Hall of Stockholm City Hall, but you can eat the same menu as the winners at the Bistro Nobel.  Actually, you can eat the menu of any of the years, but a lot of pre-planning is required for this.  There’s more on Bistro Nobel here.

All but one of the Nobel Prizes are awarded here in Sweden.  The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, by a Norwegian committee.  This was Alfred Nobel’s wish, and it’s unclear why he wanted it this way.

The Nobel Prize Museum is located on Stortorget in the old Stock Exchange Building (you can see it behind the fountain in the phot above) and is open from 10:00 until 19:00 on all days except for Fridays when it’s open until 21:00.  Entrance fees for the Nobel Prize Museum are 140 SEK for adults.  Alternatively, entrance to the Nobel Prize Museum is included in the Stockholm City Pass, which you can buy here.

Take a stroll on Skeppsbron

We’re just about done with day one of your 2 day Stockholm itinerary, so take a saunter along the waterfront on Skepssbron.  This should be a great time of day for people watching and also watching the watercraft too. In the summer months there are open-air bars, cafes, and restaurants here, so stop off and grab some dinner.  When you’re done with dinner, I have one more stop for you.

See the Stomatol Sign

This is your last stop for the day.  And you’ll need to take a short walk to get to it.  And you’ll see why you’ve waited until after dinner.  This is Sweden’s oldest illuminated and animated sign and it’s for a toothpaste.

Stomatol Sign Stockholm

Stockholm’s Stomatol sign was erected in 1909 when it was the first illuminated sign in the country.  And it’s still going strong!  The sign is illuminated by lightbulbs rather than neon tubes and it’s in the shape of a massive tube of toothpaste, with the brand name clearly showing.  When the animation happens, the letters illuminate first, and it looks like the toothpaste is being squeezed out onto the brush!

The best place to see the Stomatol sign is outside the Slussen subway station or from Kornhamnstorg

Day 2 of Stockholm in 2 Days

I hope you got a good rest last night because we’ve got another full day today exploring Stockholm.  Your first stop is going to be catching a ferry because we’re heading over to the island of Djurgården.  And your first museum is to visit a boat that set sail from Stockholm in 1628 and sank on its maiden voyage.

Take the 82 Ferry to Djurgården

Take the 82 ferry from Slussen (in Gamla Stan) to Djurgården.  The ferry takes about 10 minutes and runs every 10-20 minutes.  From the stop in Djurgården, it will take you 8-10 minutes to walk to the Vasa Museum.

82 Ferry to Djurgården Stockholm

Buy tickets at the ticket office. And join the line for the ferry.  Tickets are covered in your Stockholm Pass, or you can pay by card.  Remember, Stockholm is a virtually cashless society.

Visit the Vasa Museum

This is a truly spectacular museum and showcases the 17th century warship, the Vasa.  This absolutely stunning ship only sailed for 20 minutes before being caught by a gust of wind and sinking at the bottom of Stockholm harbor.  It remained there until 1961 when it was raised.

The 64 gun warship, the Vasa, is the only (almost) fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged.  Following the salvage, the Vasa spent 22 years being continually treated with polyethylene glycol to preserve the ship from further decay.

The Vasa Ship Museum Stockholm

The current museum opened on June 15th, 1990, and has seen more than 25 million visitors through its doors.  It is a truly incredible thing to see.  The Vasa Museum is one of the two most popular museums in Stockholm (the other I’m about to write about) and you should pre-book tickets, as it gets very busy here.

Start with the introductory video, it’s well worth it to understand the story of the Vasa and her salvage, and then work your way around with the audio tour.  (It’s free and you can download it from a QR code at the reception desk inside the building – or you can download it to your device here. before you go).  Take a set of headphones with you, to drown out the other visitors, who may be walking around with an actual tour guide.

The Vasa Museum is open daily in the summer from 08:30 until 18:00 (although hours vary depending on the season), you can check the daily hours here.  Ticket prices vary by season also.               Buy tickets ahead of time here.

We spent about 2.5 hours in the Vasa museum, after which time we were more than ready for lunch.  And I have a great spot for lunch for you. 

Have lunch in Restaurangen Blå porten

Lunch is a fabulous time for the main meal of the day in Sweden.  There are usually specials on offer, and the patio garden of Restaurangen Blå porten is a perfect place to go. 

Salmon Lunch Stockholm

The portions are a great size, all meals are cooked to order and come with a selection of bread and butter and included water and/or coffee. If the patio garden is full or it’s too cold, then there’s some great inside space too.  Try the meatballs or the salmon, both were great.

Experience the ABBA Museum in Stockholm

I’m not sure you can actually say you have been to Stockholm, if you’ve not been to the ABBA Museum! But I’ll tell you now this is a SERIOUSLY popular museum. They have timed entries, because it’s so popular, so don’t expect that you can rock up and buy your tickets on the spot and walk in.  You can’t.  We know.  It happened to us and we had to wait for 90 minutes.  So pre-book your tickets NOW.  The audio guide is narrated by ABBA themselves, and yes.  It’s worth it. You download it on your device, so if you have a set of wireless headphones you can listen to a single instance of it.  (do this, it is super easy).

The museum says that it should take about 90 minutes to 2 hours to go around.  Ha ha.  If I hadn’t had an archipelago cruise and then a trip to Finland planned, I’d probably still be there.  Plan for 3 hours or more if you’re an ABBA fan.

ABBA Museum Stockholm

A note though.  If there is a cruise ship in, which between May and the end of September in Stockholm is HIGHLY likely.  Then tickets will be at a premiumSo book your tickets now.  And get in on time.

The museum is kitschy, it feels small to start with but goes on and on.  And the interactive parts?  Brilliant.  Do them all.  Sing along.  Make a video.  Get up on stage and become the fifth member of ABBA.  Walk In.  Dance Out.  That’s the motto of the museum and it’s absolutely BRILLIANT.

So don’t forget.  Buy your tickets now.  This isn’t a cheap museum to go to, but coming back to Stockholm because you missed the museum the first time isn’t cheap either!

And when you’re done.  Either dance on down ( it’s a 22 minute walk) or catch the number 7 tram down to Stockholm Strandvägskajen opposite the Diplomat Hotel for the next part of your Stockholm Itinerary.

Take a Cruise on Stockholm’s Archipelago

You’re going to have to have kept going all day to fit this in, but certainly, in the summer months, there’s plenty of time for this.  The last Archipelago Cruise usually takes place around 17:00, and it’s fabulous.  Try and get in the line as early as you can, as the better seats on the outside get taken early.  You’ll need to pre-book places, as cruises sell out.

Cruising Stockholms Archipelago

There are a variety of cruises through the Archipelago from Stockholm, but I recommend the one that leaves at 17:00, as it goes all the way to Vaxholm and is the perfect way to explore a little further.  There’s a bar onboard that serves snacks and drinks (and you can also arrange to have dinner on board too).  The cruise comes with narration in Swedish and English, so you’ll learn from the history of the area and understand what you’re sailing past too.

Book your Stockholm Archipelago cruise here.

This cruise to Vaxholm and back takes around 3 hours, so you’ll arrive back at around 20:00, and you’ll have time to visit somewhere particularly interesting before dinner.

From the Stockholm Strandvägskajen where you get off the boat, it’s just a 5 minute walk through the Berzelii Park to the corner of Hamngatan and Norrmalmstorg and a huge piece of history.

The Stockholm Syndrome Building

I’ll admit there’s not much here to see anymore.  It’s a building, that isn’t even being used as it once was.  This hotel was once the site of the Kreditbanken’s Offices.   It was August 1973 when Jan-Erik “Janne” Olsson went into the bank with a submachine gun and tried to rob it.  While the police were on the scene almost immediately, one officer was injured when Olsson opened fire, the other was told to sit in a chair and “sing something”.  The officer chose Elvis Presley’s Lonesome Cowboy.

The Stockholm Syndrome Building

Four of the bank staff were taken hostage and barricaded in the vault with Olsson.  To cut a long hostage situation short, Olsson surrendered.  Both during and after the robbery attempt the hostages showed both sympathy for the robbers and criticized the police for opening fire first.

It was the first time that behavior of this type from hostages had been heard of and the term the Norrmalmstorg Syndrome. It later became known as Stockholm Syndrome.

And with that, it’s time to head off for your last dinner in Stockholm.   If you head back into Gamla Stan then Restaurant Tradition is a good place for dinner.  It’s open until 23:00

Where to Go After Stockholm

If you’re staying in Sweden, then a great option for visiting after Stockholm is to head to Sigtuna – one of Sweden’s original capital cities.  Alternatively, if you’re planning a Nordic Road trip, then this is a great jumping-off point to get the ferry to Finland. 

We rented a car (read about the detail here), and took the ferry from Stockholm to Turku, Finland, before exploring the Finnish Archipelago.

Final Words on Seeing Stockholm in 2 days

Stockholm is a super introduction to Sweden and is a stunning city to explore.  Having 2 days in Stockholm is a great amount of time to see the highlights, although you’ll have to hustle to get around them.  Don’t miss the two top museums in the city and use the opportunity in the old town of Gamla Stan to get some great Swedish food before taking to the ferries to explore this city made up of 14 islands!

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