Seeing Stockholm Sweden in 24 Hours

Because I planned my Nordic adventure on short notice, some tough decisions had to be made with regards to itinerary. Probably the most notable was that I would only have 24 hours in Stockholm – devastating news when I first learned it. But fear not, readers. I am always up for a challenge! And looking back, I am extremely proud of what I accomplished with one day in Stockholm to see the sights. Tighten your shoelaces because it’s one heck of a pavement-pounding kind of day!

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I walked 22kms and took nearly 30,000 steps to see Stockholm in a day. It was SO worth it! Here’s what went down…
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As the Viking Line cruise ship entered Sweden and ultimately Stockholm, there were thousands of islands to enjoy along the way. It was the perfect welcoming party.
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After a quick drop of the bag at my hotel near Centralen station, I hit the ground. A brisk walk past the northern end of Kungsträdgården and through Berzelii Park fit naturally in the plan.
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For my bear brethren: a statue of bears biting each other. Ouch.
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It was a spectacularly gorgeous day to stroll down the Strandvägen and check out the moored boats.
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The architecture along Strandvägen feels like falling back in time. What stood out most for me was the sharp peaks and spires of the buildings.
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I walked across the Djurgårdsbron (the Djurgården Bridge) en route to my first real stop. Many of the museums are located on the island of (you guessed it) – Djurgården!
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Seriously, this town. So picturesque at every turn. Another view from Djurgården Bridge looking toward the Strandvägen. Check out those spires!!!

After the initial hike from hotel to Djurgården island, I went excitedly to the first (and on my must-see-Stockholm list, most important) museum I would see on this leg of my journey. The Vasa Museum! It’s so worth popping over to Wikipedia and reading about The Vasa as the story of the ship is a lesson of patience over pride. Some of the highlights I learned during my guided tour include: the ship is about 95% original from its maiden-cum-final voyage in 1628, she was the first ever ship to have as much weight of shot capacity from a single side driven by her dual gun deck, she remained underwater for 333 years and her demise was ultimately caused by poor, top-heavy design that would have taken exceedlingly minor adjustments to prevent. Tragic…but what a sight. Click or tap on the images to read more.

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Following the Vasa Museum, I strolled along toward the south to my next destination. Seeing the Sweden flags blowing in the breeze of a beautiful day? Just perfection!

I couldn’t visit Stockholm without seriously enhancing my gay cred with a stop by ABBA: The Museum. Is it cheesy? Yes, a bit. Is it tacky? Yes, quite so. Is it worth every penny? YES! If you even remotely enjoy ABBA’s music, you’ll find this museum quite entertaining and exceptionally educational on the real history of the group. I spent over an hour absorbing background details I never knew. Feel free to click or tap on the images below for captions that share a bit more info!

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After the ABBA museum, I walked back north along the island through the green parks of Djurgarden.
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I’ve learned that I can’t mentally handle more than 1-2 museums per day, and by now I was already tapped out. (I couldn’t get the Vasa out of my mind!) So, sadly, I didn’t enter The Nordic Museum on this visit, even though I heard wonderful things about it. If you don’t like ABBA, it would be easy to swap this one in. 😉
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For my stroll back along Strandvagen, this time I took the tree-lined path to try and get out of the sun for a bit.
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It’s an odd but frequent pattern for me that I’m in major cities randomly on their important holidays. Today was no different. It was June 6 and therefore…National Day of Sweden! Everyone was with their friends and family, lounging in the parks and enjoying the crazy beautiful weather.
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I made my way along to Skeppsholmen – the island to the west of Djurgården. This one has really spectacular views of Gamla Stan specifically and the ample waterfront.
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Along the Skeppsholmsbron (the bridge connecting to Skeppsholmen) are some of the best views of the city. Including…
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…this famous spot right here! This is the Guilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron, a must-see marker. Of course it’s great for selfies but don’t forget to take a few minutes and focus on the views all around you.
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I walked all the way to Kastellholmen and turned around to head back toward the city. Although I had to walk swiftly past the northern end of Kungsträdgården earlier in the day, I was able to take in this view from the southern end during the afternoon. So pretty!
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After my epic morning and early afternoon, I headed back to my hotel to reset and refresh. Plus, I wanted to save Gamla Stan for the later afternoon and ensure lots of nice, long shadows in my photos. En route to my hotel, I walked around the Church of Saint Clare, which had very nice churchyard.
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After a brief respite, I was back on the town and ready to see what is arguably the most famous section of Stockholm: Gamla Stan (“Old Town”). It’s on the island Stadsholmen and has been around since the 13th century.
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Gamla Stan is known for it’s architecture, shops and restaurants – it’s a lot like gothic districts you can see in many European towns. I love these districts because they give you a bit of a medieval vibe and are perfect for low-key, destination-unknown meandering.
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Cool arched-tunnel, check. Winding cobblestone alley, check. If I were a ghost, I would haunt this spot right here.
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Gamla Stan is super famous as a whole but Stortorget (large square) in the center of the neighborhood is by far the most iconic spot, hands-down. Not only is it full of beautifully vibrant buildings but also known for a massacre that happened in the early 1500s called the Stockholm Bloodbath.
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I sat down at the adorable Chokladkoppen restaurant for a light dinner and a much-needed local brew. Mostly, though, it was time to plot out my remaining time in Stockholm as the day was getting long and I needed to prioritize!
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I’m pretty sure this is just an attractive outhouse. But you should probably pay more attention to the spire of Storkyrkan in the background – it’s the oldest church in Gamla Stan.
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Definitely don’t miss out on the opportunity to walk down Mårten Trotzigs Gränd which I happened to stumble upon with no prior research. It’s the narrowest street in Stockholm at just 35 inches (90cms) wide at one point!
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Upon leaving Gamla Stan, I decided to add on one huge additional leg to the journey. I contemplated turning back and just calling it a day, but a few more sights were calling to me and I was powerless to resist. So, I headed south to Södermalm and walked the cobblestone streets.
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In this part of the city – and if you’re a fan of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series – you can walk past where they filmed Mikael Blomkvist’s penthouse for the movie adaptations.
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And just a little more to the west here, you can walk up a semi-hidden path to the incredible Mariaberget observation area. From this raised vantage point, you get to look north toward Stockholm and take in the entire city.
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After spending some time at Mariaberget, I continued to head west down the path, past Ivar Los Park and popped out along the Söder Mälarstrand. I walked this stretch for nearly 2kms, enjoying the waterfront views of the city in this very quiet part of town.
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At the far west end of the city proper, I arrived at Västerbron – a 600m long bridge stretching over Riddarfjärden with a very convenient footpath.
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Once off the bridge, I cut through Riddarfjärden which was absolutely spilling over with people celebrating the National Day. From there, I walked the entire length of the Norr Mälarstrand, this time enjoying views south and lots of floating cocktail bars. Ultimately, I arrived at a structure which I had been eye-balling the entire day but didn’t know what it was. And it was probably one of my favorite of the whole experience: Stockholms Stadshus (Stockholm City Hall). The courtyard was so eerie and peaceful.
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Outside the Stadshus, I saw this little guy nesting in a flower pot. Pretty decent camouflage, buddy.
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I learned that the Stockholm City Hall is an example of national romanticism architectural style of and gets utilised for all kinds of government and public events. The most notable? The Nobel Prize banquet, of course! Inside within the Blue Hall it occurs – I didn’t get to see the space as it was so late in the day but I imagine it’s spell-binding.
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One last view of Stockholm Stadshus as I walked away. I couldn’t get enough of this structure and especially the shadow the golden statue was casting along the tower.
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So there you have it! As I mentioned at the start of this post, I ended up walking 22kms but am beyond thankful that I didn’t ease up. I saw a decent majority of the sights within the pink circle above which exceeded the expectations I set for myself at the beginning of the day. Let’s just say, I slept soooooooo well this evening.

And there you have it, people. If you have just one day to see Stockholm, you really can bite off a huge chunk of this gorgeous, historic city. You just need stamina, a passion for city sight-seeing, a willingness to keep searching down more winding alleys…and of course, lots of water and snacks! I hope you enjoyed my 24 hours in Stockholm. 🙂

Coming next: I tackled Copenhagen, Denmark in a single day as well. Stay tuned! XOXO -JW

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