With one day in Stockholm, you have just enough time to tour City Hall and learn about the Nobel Peace Prize, stroll the photogenic streets of Gamla Stan, and see the Vasa, a warship that was a big “oops!” in Swedish history.
For us, Stockholm felt like the best of Paris, Prague, and Copenhagen, all blended together to form a gorgeous Scandinavian city. With clean streets, waterways, colorful buildings, and green spaces throughout the city, it’s hard not to fall in love with Stockholm.
An Overview of Stockholm
Stockholm is located in eastern Sweden, situated on the edge of an enormous archipelago consisting of 30,000 islands. In fact, the city of Stockholm sprawls over 12 different islands.
Stockholm is one of the cleanest, greenest cities in the world, and it was the first to receive the European Green Capital Award in 2010. While you are here, expect to travel around the city by ferry, tram, subway, and your own two feet.
During your visit to Stockholm, you’ll spend most of your time in Gamla Stan (the Old Town), Djurgården (an island that is home to museums, parks, and an amusement park), Norrmalm (the downtown area of Stockholm), Södermalm (a hip and trendy neighborhood), and Kungsholmen (the location of City Hall).
One Day in Stockholm
Breakfast at Vete-Katten
Vete-Katten is a Swedish institution, a famous pastry and coffee shop that makes a great starting point for your visit to Stockholm.
Location: Kungsgatan 55
To get to City Hall, it is a 1.3 km walk (17 minutes).
9 am: City Hall (Stadshuset)
Why go to City Hall? City Hall is Stockholm’s most important municipal building. Every year, the Nobel Peace Prize banquet is held here. This is also the site of a crazy number of marriage ceremonies per day (38 ceremonies in 4 hours, ranging from 30 seconds to 3 minutes per ceremony!). Tour the rooms gilded in gold and learn about the fascinating history of this important Stockholm site.
City Hall can only be visited on a tour. Tours last approximately 50 minutes and are offered from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm during the summer months, with reduced hours during the off-season. You cannot book your tickets in advance unless you are traveling in a group of 10 or more people.
Cost: Adults 110 SEK, Youth 12 – 19 years old 50 SEK, 11 and under are free
Before you arrive in Stockholm, visit the City Hall website to get updated hours for the day of your visit. Occasionally, tours are not offered if an event is being held at City Hall.
11 am: Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet)
From City Hall, walk to the Royal Palace on Gamla Stan (1.2 km, 15 minutes).
The Royal Palace is the official residence of the Swedish royal family, although they really call Drottningholm home. This is worth a quick stroll through but that’s about it, in our opinion (with one day in Stockholm there are better places to put your time).
However, if you arrive later in the day, you can catch the Changing of the Guard (about 12:15 pm, although hours vary depending on the day and time of year).
Those with an interest in medieval history may find the Armoury (Livrustkammaren) worth a quick visit (open daily in the summer 10 am – 6 pm, closed Monday with reduced hours remainder of the year; free to visit; visit the Livrustkammaren website for full details).
12 pm: Lunch
There are great lunch spots in Gamla Stan. You can chose to dine in an outdoor café in Stortorget, a scenic square just a few minutes walk from the Royal Palace, or on one of the scenic streets in Gamla Stan.
Here are a few recommendations:
Hairy Pig Deli. Think tapas restaurant meets deli. If you like sausage, pulled pork, or salami, consider having lunch here. It’s a small restaurant and reservations, although not required, are recommended, due to this restaurant’s growing popularity. Location: Österlånggatan 9
Stockholms Gastabud. Excellent Swedish food at reasonable prices. They do not take reservations but it is worth the wait. Location: Österlånggatan 7 (very close to the Hairy Pig Deli)
Slingerbulten. This is another spot to get your Swedish meatball fix. Slingerbulten serves authentic Swedish food in a cozy setting. Make your reservation online in advance. Monday through Saturday they open by noon and on Sundays they open at 1 pm. Location: Stora Nygatan 24
1 pm: Explore Gamla Stan (the Old Town)
Gamla Stan is perfect for an afternoon stroll. This small island in the center of Stockholm was once the entire city of Stockholm. Now it is a very cool place to explore. Since the city streets are so narrow, there is no room for cars, making this part of Stockholm “pedestrian only.”
Spend several hours exploring the city streets and shopping. The best streets for photography are Prästgatan and the alleyway, Mårten Trotzigs Gränd, that connects Prästgatan to Västerlanggåtan. Västerlanggåtan is a street filled with souvenir shops.