For a week I stayed in Stockholm I realized that there are three hopping I must do in the capital of Sweden: café hopping (which the city has quite an exciting coffee scene), metro hopping and museum hopping. On top of the three city highlights in Stockholm you must see before you leave.
Stockholm Pass (Go City All-inclusive Pass)
If you are an art buff, or if you are interested in history, you will be pleasantly surprised that there is, in fact, quite a lot to cover in the capital of Sweden.
How does Stockholm pass work?
It is now named Go City All-inclusive Pass and the pass primarily offers free admission to a great number of key museums, sights, historic sites, and attractions in Stockholm. However, this is not the only benefit, and here’s why.
This is not my first article about utilizing a city pass to explore the city (especially for first-timers). Like Paris, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Vienna, or Moscow, travelers can save a significant amount on their travel budget because (1) it grants free entrance to most of the major museums and attractions; the pass also benefits in other aspects as (2) some of them include free public transportation, hop-on-hop-off bus, and airport connection; (3) it is easier to use for joining city tours; (4) it offers “skip-the-line” for most attractions and saves a lot of time queuing.
Where can I buy a Stockholm pass?
The pass can be purchased directly on the Go City App. Simply select the duration, and you will be visiting various sites in Stockholm with your phone. Show the pass at each attraction and you will have access. A print-out version is still available by printing out the confirmation email.
What do you get with a Stockholm pass?
There are few options for a Stockholm pass, from 1, 2, 3, or 5 days; the cost per day minimizes as you purchase a pass with a longer duration. To make the most out of the city pass, it is recommended to use the 3- or 5-day passes because a 1-day pass would probably cover 1 or 2 attractions.
The pass also covers the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus, and Hop-On-Hop-Off Boat (in summertime) However, these two should be regarded as a sightseeing means but not a means to get around the city.
There are over 60 attractions in the guidebook, and it is impossible to cover them all. With good planning and research, you can cover an average of two to three activities a day.
Does the Stockholm Pass include public transport?
The pass can be paired with a travel card that offers unlimited travel for 24 hours or 72 hours on Stockholm’s public transport system. This is extremely useful for you to design your own Stockholm subway art tour – Stockholm’s subway stations are known for their artworks, it’s named “the longest art gallery in the world”.
So, the question now is: What’s included with the pass, and how to plan your trip?
In fact, this is also a list of the best sites to visit in Stockholm. Stockholm Pass basically covered all the most important attractions and sites in the city except Stockholm City Hall’s guided tour and Royal Palace.
Of course, you are welcome to design your own itinerary based on your time and interests, Here is a list of some of the best activities in Stockholm I recommended in three days, which you will be able to enjoy the entire trip saving 40-50% of the total ticket prices. You are also welcome to use my map below to have a better understanding of the locations of these sites and plan your own route!
Hop on and hop off around Stockholm with ease
The pass offers unlimited rides of both the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus and Hop-On-Hop-Off boat during the pass validity. In fact, both experiences are more of a sightseeing tour than a way to commute or get around the city. The bus travels around the city center of Stockholm and offers visitors an overview of all the key attractions and landmarks in Stockholm. Points of interest include Historiska Museet / Karlaplan, Stureplan Entertainment District, Gamla Stan Old Town, Skansen Open Air Museum, City Hall, and other 20 stops in the city.
Stockholm is comprised of 14+ islands and many islets on the banks of the archipelago where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. Therefore, the Hop-On-Hop-Off boat compliments the bus line by reaching places like the Royal Palace, the Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet), Skeppsholmen, Fotografiska (by the cruise terminal), and Tivoli Gröna Lund amusement park. If you are lucky or can incorporate the transportation schedule into your itinerary, you may enjoy an informative and enjoyable ride from one attraction to another, with an audio guide that explains interesting stories in between. There is an app to keep track of the locations of the buses and boats. The boat has a limited capacity and they can be full during peak season. To beat the crowd, hop on the boat early in the morning.
Boat tours are one of the most popular activities and a must-do in Stockholm. Don’t forget the pass also includes free entry to a couple of other boat tours like Under the Bridges of Stockholm Boat Tour, Royal Canal Tour, or Boat tour to Drottningholm Palace.
These boat tours operate during summer and Stockholm Winter Tour by Boat is available during winter. While it is freezing during winter in Stockholm, the boat tour offers blankets and hot drinks on board. The snowy scenery during winter is a different fascinating image. Passengers may even get a chance to try some icebreaking if the water is frozen over.
Another similar sightseeing bus tour is available in the Stockholm Panorama. The tour will also take passengers to the key highlights of the city such as the City Hall, the Royal Palace, and so on.
Learn about the Nobel Prize in the Nobel Museum at Gamla Stan
The Nobel Prize is one of the most celebrated and well-known achievements and honors in the world of science, literature, peace, and economics. And if you don’t know – the Nobel Prize award ceremony takes place at the Stockholm City Hall on 10th December, (except the ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, which takes place in Oslo City Hall on 10th December. Why is the Nobel Peace Prize given in Oslo? Here to find out why.)
To learn everything about this exceptional award, from the list of award winners, interesting facts about the Nobel Prize, and how the discovery from this accolade changed the world. There are some valuable items on display in the museum – the signature of Nobel laureates, photographs, and more. If you want to take a deeper dive, join a guided tour in which the knowledgeable guides will give an informative tour and answer any burning questions that visitors may have.
This is a rather unique site to visit. The Nobel Prize is an influential (and sometimes controversial) award that has a significant influence on the entire world. Here, we get to understand better not only the award itself but what the discovery means to make the world a better place. Of course, the whole experience is only complete visiting the Stockholm City Hall, the venue of the Nobel Prize award ceremony.
Visit the most popular museum in Scandinavia on Djurgården
Djurgården is a small island in the east of Stockholm. The west part of the island is a museum cluster that has some of the most visited museums in the city, and one of them is even the most visited in Scandinavia. The great news is, that the Stockholm Pass offers free entry to a lot of these sites. From north to south:
- The Vasa Museum
- Nordiska Museet
- Viking Museum
- Liljevalchs Konsthall
- ABBA The Museum
- Skansen to Snus-&-Tandsticks Museum
The Nordiska Museet is a comprehensive study of the Nordic people and culture. If you want to understand more about the Sami people, then you have come to the right place. The museum covers people in the Nordic Region from the 16th century, introducing their lives, their houses, their clothing, and more. Check out “The Arctic – While the Ice is Melting”, this is a large installation exhibit that drives awareness of how climate change is affecting the world.
The museum has 4 levels and begins at the top with an introduction to the history of the Sami people. The dollhouses on the third floor and the fashion and textile galleries are amazing. The museum also dedicates part of its exhibits to different time periods of the Swedish lifestyle, from the drawing room from the 1880s, to recreate period homes and furnishings in the 1950s. The coverage of Nordiska Museet is so wide that it felt like three museums in one visit.
The Viking Museum has a focus on the Vikings and how their life was during the Viking Age. It has an immersive showcase, starting the journey with the adventure of Ragnfrid’s saga. It is a great experience for family visitors.
The Vasa Museum is the most important museum in the region and one of the three must-sees if you are in the city. The entire museum was based on a sunken warship Vasa on her maiden voyage. It happened in 1628 yet the vessel was recovered 333 years later. In great condition, visitors could still see many of the original sculptural works on the ship. The exhibit extends to the maritime history of Sweden. It was important because of its scale – this is the largest, and almost fully intact 17th-century ship that was found and on display. Check out the stern of Vasa, it’s a giant surface of sculptural art, and today, it is a symbol of Sweden’s might.
Together with Spritnuseum (The Museum of Spirits), an 18th-century naval building that tells a story of Swedish people’s relationship with alcohol, Stockholm offers free entry to 4 of the museums listed above. But if you have more time, it is worth visiting ABBA the Museum and Skansen Open-Air Museum.
ABBA The Museum is an interactive showcase of the legendary pop group in the world. There is no way you don’t know about the song “Dancing Queen” from Mamma Mia!
If you are a fan then this is probably a pilgrimage to pay homage to one of the most influential pop icons from the 70s to this day. Visitors can sit at a piano that is connected to Benny Andersson’s own piano in his music studio, when the composer plays, the museum piano also starts playing.
Skansen Open-Air Museum is one of the world’s oldest open-air museums. Visitors can see in real scale the whole of Sweden with houses and farmsteads from every part of the country.
Feel the wind at the top of SkyView Stockholm
The Ericsson Globe is a striking and modern architecture that has dominated the city’s skyline since 1989. The dome itself is an indoor arena, with a circumference of 690 meters and a height of 85 meters. This venue is used for various events from international sports games to concerts.
Now it is called the Avicii Arena, Visitors can take a ride in the round-shaped glass gondolas and rise to the top to enjoy a panoramic view of Stockholm. The SkyView was added to the dome in 2010. The scenic ride was designed by a Swedish ski lift manufacturer, and it is the only scenic ride of its kind in the world. At the top, don’t forget to take a look at the wind speed meter and realize the strength of the wind, 130 meters high.
Appreciate inspiring artworks in art galleries, like Fotografiska
For art buffs, there are few art museums in the city that the pass covers free entrance. Each of these locations has its own niche and they offer a different vibe from setting, architecture, and theme.
- Sven-Harrys Art Museum
- Bonniers Konsthall
- Artipelag Art Museum
Fotografiska is my favorite art gallery in Stockholm, the same as many other visitors. This is one of the world’s largest meeting places for contemporary photography, the museum features exhibitions of photographers from all over the world. Well-known photographers, as well as new talents, came there to show their work in a number of temporary exhibitions in this place since the site has no permanent exhibition held, there’s always something new to see.
Through the photos, people can gather and start a conversation through the message that each photographer attempts to convey. The museum also opens late so it is recommended to schedule your visit in the evening, while the industrial Art Nouveau-style building looks much more hop and chic with its neon lighting at night. The building was constructed in 1906 on the city’s waterfront and it kept the original red brick façade of the former customs building. The café on the top floor is a wonderful viewpoint and it is an award-winning restaurant run by chef Paul Svensson.
Sven-Harrys Art Museum goes in the other direction with a sleek and metallic brass exterior. This is a museum for art and people and the building was designed by architect Wingarhs Arkitektkontor. The museum has three floors of exhibition hall, dedicated to contemporary art, fashion, installations, and sculpture. Take a walk to the top balcony where you can appreciate more sculptures with a view of the city in a garden-like setting.
Bonniers Konsthall is within walking distance from Sven-Harrys, and it’s a venue for Swedish and international contemporary artists to showcase their great variety of work. It has a glass exterior that welcomes natural light, making the walk in the gallery more open. The building was designed by architect Johan Celsing and Bonniers Konsthall is now a city landmark. Have a cup of coffee at the café which is also bright and open with a lot of natural light, decorated by art paintings and giant plants. The art shop has a lot of interesting books and designer products.
Artipelag Art Museum is not in the city center but it is one of the must-sees in Stockholm for being absolutely brilliant. The museum is located on Varmdo Island, and the site has a lot to show, from stunning art to natural walking trails in the woods and delicious food. Take one of the boat trips included in the pass and entrance to the museum is also included.
Moderna Museet is not on the list of the Stockholm Pass, but this modern art gallery is worth a visit. Located on Skeppsholmen in central Stockholm, the museum is an airy and contemporary building, and it was designed by architect Rafael Moneo in 1998. The museum showcases world-class contemporary art, photography, and film. The museum has a collection of 140,000 pieces of art on display.
Visit the free museums in Stockholm, too.
To give a complete picture of things that you can do for free, there is a couple of museum in Stockholm that doesn’t require an entrance fee. For example, the Nationalmuseum is a prestigious museum showcasing an impressive collection of artworks from renowned European artists including Goya, Renoir, Rembrandt, Rubens, Degas, and more. Check out how to include this site in your visiting itinerary.
Maritime Museum is dedicated to naval history, merchant shipping, and shipbuilding in Sweden. The museum was designed by architect Ragnar Östberg, and it offers a panoramic view of the bay Djurgårdsbrunnsviken. The Police Museum and The National Museum of Science and Technology are also nearby.
To learn about the history and development of Sweden. The Swedish History Museum has an exhibit that explains the development of Sweden through the Viking period and the Middle Ages. Visitors can see ecclesiastical art and the gold room is really something to see.
Go on an excursion to explore Drottningholm Palace
Expanding the city map, the Stockholm Archipelago is the largest archipelago in Sweden, with a total of 24,000 islands and islets. While many of them are quite special that worth organizing a day trip. For example, Fjäderholmarna is Sockholm’s closest island with beautiful sceneries, restaurants, cafes, and handicraft shops. Mariefred has a 16th-century Gripsholm Castle and a charming town center. Sigtuna was founded in 980 with rune stones, churches, and ruins that showcase a transition between the Viking and medieval ages. Skokloster Castle is located on Skokloster and it’s Sweden’s second largest privately-owned 17th-century palace.
Artipelag is named the most beautiful art gallery in Sweden. The Stockholm Pass covers sightseeing and excursions during summer and these tours usually operate between June to August. Visitors get to take a scenic boat trip through the water and then spend time on the island before heading back to the city of Stockholm.
Note that the excursion usually takes a whole day and so pass holders usually get to visit one (maybe two if you like) islands with the pass. Among all of these excursions, the boat to Drottningholm Palace is the most popular. The boat operates between mid-March and mid-October (so in winter, visitors need to take a bus to Drottningholm). The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage and the most well-preserved royal castle. Completed in the 17th century, it was (and still is) the private residence of the Swedish royal family. The castle showcases some beautiful architecture and interior work, and take a stroll in the garden to see some beautiful garden work.