When it comes to city breaks in Northern Europe, there could be no better choice than Stockholm. A beautiful city of fourteen islands, amazing medieval architecture and history, thriving café culture, and cool Scandinavian design, 3 days in Stockholm will be well spent!
Whether you want to take your sweet time enjoying a fika, wander the Old Town’s quaint cobblestone streets, visit world-class museums, savor traditional Swedish food, or cruise the canals, you’re in the right place.
This 3-day Stockholm itinerary is the ultimate guide for your first visit.
I absolutely love this city. And with this Stockholm itinerary at your fingertips, I know you’ll leave feeling the same way.
Inside, you’ll find the best things to do, the most delicious places to eat, the best neighborhoods to explore, and everything in between.
Table of Contents
- Where to Stay in Stockholm for 3 Days
- Arriving in Stockholm
- 3-Day Stockholm Itinerary:Best Things to Do & See in Stockholm
- Where to Eat & Drink in Three Days in Stockholm
- 72 Hours in Stockholm: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
- Did you know…
- Three-Day Stockholm Itinerary: FAQs
Where to Stay in Stockholm for 3 Days
Before we dive into the best things to do in Stockholm in 3 days, let’s talk logistics!
Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- Norrmalm: Located in the heart of Stockholm, Norrmalm is perfect for first-timers as it’s within walking distance of most of the city’s main attractions and right next door to Gamla Stan. It’s packed with great restaurants, bars, and cafes, pedestrian-only shopping streets, museums, and parks.
- Gamla Stan: The historic Old Town of Stockholm is picturesque and charming, with plenty of things to see and do. It’s touristy, to be sure, but it’s stunning. And it’s a great place to stay if you want to be close to the action.
- Södermalm: A cool and trendy neighborhood with a bohemian vibe, Södermalm is known for its hipster cafés, boutique shops, and cool bars.
- Östermalm: A posh neighborhood with a more upscale feel, Östermalm is where you’ll find the city’s finest restaurants and hotels, designer shopping, and lovely views of Nybroviken (a small bay).
Where to Stay in Stockholm
If you’re wondering where you should stay during your three days in Stockholm, I’ve got you! I’ve rounded up the very best places to stay, within every price range.
Arriving in Stockholm
Arriving via Airplane
From Stockholm Arlanda Airport, the quickest way to reach Stockholm’s city center is via the Arlanda Express. It’s not cheap, but it takes less than 20 minutes. A roundtrip adult ticket costs about $60 USD.
This is the option I use and would recommend.
Arriving via Train
If you’re arriving in Stockholm via train (perhaps after spending 2 Days in Oslo!), then you will likely end up at Stockholm Central Station in the heart of Norrmalm.
From there, you can potentially walk to your hotel – or hop on the metro, a bus, a tram, Uber, or taxi to get where you need to go.
Arriving via Bus
If you’re bussing from elsewhere in Sweden, your final destination will likely be the Cityterminalen, which is in just about the same location as the central train station. From there, it’s easy to find other public transportation to take you nearby your hotel.
3-Day Stockholm Itinerary:
Best Things to Do & See in Stockholm
Now that the logistics are out of the way… Ready to dive into this 3-Day Stockholm Itinerary?
Let’s discover all of the best things to do, see, and eat during your 72 hours in Stockholm.
Day 1 of 3 Days in Stockholm
Your first of three days in Stockholm should be spent sightseeing, slowly and thoroughly.
You’ll start to get a feel for the city and for Swedish culture, plus see some of the most important sites and eat some delicious food!
Here’s what you should do on Day 1!
#1 Explore Gamla Stan (Old Town)
Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s Old Town, which is one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe. In fact, the city of Stockholm was founded in Gamla Stan back in 1252.
And it goes without saying, but it is incredibly charming… despite the countless souvenir shops!
In Gamla Stan, spend some time simply wandering – exploring the narrow and winding streets, surrounded by old and colorful buildings. The amount of history preserved in Gamla Stan’s walls will blow you away.
As I roamed these streets, I kept thinking: “This is a living, breathing museum.” It really feels that way.
Plus, there are all sorts of cute souvenirs to pick up, so bring a tote bag along!
Take a free walking tour of Gamla Stan
If you want to learn more about the city’s history, take a free walking tour!
Note: Even though it’s free, you have to make a booking.
There’s also a free “Death in Old Town” walking tour of Gamla Stan, which features the dark side of Stockholm’s history.
#2 Stop by Stortorget
As you roam around, seek out Gamla Stan’s iconic central plaza: Stortorget. This is Stockholm’s oldest square!
At Stortorget, you’ll find many beautiful, old, and colorful houses, lots of people hanging out together, having a meal or a fika, or just sitting and enjoying the picturesque scenery (when the weather’s nice, that is!).
If you visit during Christmastime, you’ll find a magical Christmas market here, complete with more than 40 stalls selling treats, gifts, and of course, glögg.
#3 Visit the Nobel Prize Museum
Stockholm’s Nobel Museum is located in Stortorget, inside of the old Stock Exchange building. The museum is dedicated to the Nobel Prize, and it covers the history, prize-winners, and selection process of this prestigious award.
The Nobel Prize Museum exhibits a century of innovation forged by Nobel Prize laureates. There, you’ll explore the work and ideas of over 900 people through short films, unique artifacts, and more.
You’ll also learn about the man behind the prize, Alfred Nobel.
The Nobel Prize Museum is small but interesting, and it’s worth a quick stop if you’re interested and have extra time on Day 1.
#4 Check out the Stockholm Cathedral
As you explore Old Town, you’ll find Storkyrkan – the old Stockholm Cathedral. It may look basic from the outside, but this Gothic cathedral (which opened in 1306!) is stunning inside.
It contains the oldest known image of Stockholm, as well as a pretty cool and imposing statue of St. George and the Dragon.
If you pass by, it’s worth a stop!
#5 Have a Fika
One quintessential experience you can’t pass up while in the Swedish capital is, of course, the fika.
Fika (which can be both a noun and a verb!) is the Swedes’ preferred way to take some time out – to enjoy a coffee, usually with a pastry (like kanelbullar, a Swedish cinnamon bun) or some other sweet treat.
But it’s not just about the caffeine fix – it’s about socializing, relaxing, and enjoying some time for yourself, away from the demands of daily life.
My fika in the case of this photo just happened to be gelato. Can you blame me?!
You can find all of my food & drink recommendations for 3 days in Stockholm toward the bottom of this post!
#6 Tour the Royal Palace
During your 3 days in Stockholm, you can’t miss the imposing Royal Palace, also located in Gamla Stan.
The decor inside the Royal Palace is mind-blowing, and a trip to Stockholm would not be complete without living as royalty does… if only for a few fleeting minutes.
The palace is the official residence of the Royal Family and is home to more than 600 lavish rooms, distributed across eleven stories. (It’s one of Europe’s largest palaces.)
In some of these rooms, you’ll find the Royal Apartments, the Treasury with the regalia, the Tre Kronor Museum (which features the palace’s medieval history), as well as Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities.
Watch the Royal Guards Ceremony
If you’re near the palace around 12:15 PM on a weekday, or 1:15 PM on Sunday, you can stop by to watch the Royal Guards Ceremony (A.K.A. the changing of the guards).
The ceremony lasts about 40 minutes. And yes, it’s incredibly touristy…
But also, it’s an interesting process to watch for a few minutes. Plus, it’s free!
#7 Try Traditional Swedish Food
Other than Swedish meatballs, what do you know about Swedish food? My guess is, not much! Gamla Stan is home to some of the city’s best traditional restaurants, so take the opportunity to try some typical food.
Consisting of plenty of fish and seafood, meat and wild game, and the occasional veggie, Swedish food is hearty, humble, and local. And personally, I love it.
From potato dumplings, meatballs with lingonberry sauce, and pea soup, to pickled or fried herring, smoked reindeer, and Beef Rydberg, there’s a lot to discover… (as long as you’re not a vegetarian, that is).
If you want to dive deep into Swedish cuisine, taste lots of different dishes, and learn about the dishes’ historical context, then book this food tour.
You can find all of my food & drink recommendations for 3 days in Stockholm toward the bottom of this post!
#8 Get Spooked on a Stockholm Ghost Walk
This is the most random recommendation I have for your 3 days in Stockholm! But I LOVED our Stockholm Ghost Walk through Gamla Stan.
On this tour, you’ll learn about Stockholm’s war, murder, and ghost histories – on foot, by lantern light. Our tour guide was very entertaining, and he took us through parts of Gamla Stan we had not yet seen.
This tour is “scary,” absolutely fascinating, and so much fun!
Day 2 of 3 Days in Stockholm
Then, visit the city’s best museums and experience a new neighborhood, on foot.
And eat some more Swedish food!
#9 Explore Stockholm’s Waterways on Kayak
As you explore the bustling city streets, you can easily ignore the fact that Stockholm is part of an archipelago of more than 30,000 islands.
But if you’re into active city breaks and getting out into nature, then why not paddle around the islands of the Baltic Sea and get a new perspective of the city?
Head out for a Stockholm City Kayak Tour, which takes 2 hours. Along the way, you’ll float by Stockholm’s central islands, landmark buildings, and many bridges. The perfect way to kick off Day 2!
Visiting in winter? Head out on this winter kayaking tour of the local archipelago! You’ll kayak around the beautiful Vaxholm area of the archipelago, passing by lots of small islands, ancient fortresses, beautiful views aplenty, and abundant bird and animal life. Click here to book it!
#10 Cruise the Canals on a Boat Tour
Stockholm sprawls across many islands, connected by bridges, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. For that reason, it’s often called “Venice of the North.”
If you want to see Stockholm from the water, without the effort of padding yourself, take a royal canal boat ride.
You’ll float along the canals, past many historical buildings and museums, cute old houses, and beautiful green parks, while learning more about Stockholm’s history – and getting a different perspective of the city.
Yes, it’s touristy. But if your feet are tired from walking all day on Day 1, or if the weather isn’t nice enough to explore on foot, this is a good option. Plus, it’s only 50 minutes long.
Head over to Museum Island (Djurgården)
After you’ve explored the city by water, it’s time to hit a museum or two on Museum Island – or Djurgården.
From the famous Vasa Museum to the world’s oldest open-air museum, the National Museum, and even an amusement park, there’s plenty to see and do here.
#11 Visit the Vasa Museum
A non-negotiable for your 3-Day Stockholm Itinerary, the Vasa Museum is a must-see.
The Vasa Museum is the most popular thing to do in all of Stockholm for a reason! This incredible Viking ship museum houses King Gustav II Adolf’s beloved Vasa, who sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.
333 years later, in 1961, she was pulled from the depths of the sea to be restored.
How amazing is that?
This is my favorite Stockholm museum. Don’t miss it!
#12 Experience Swedish Culture at Skansen Museum
Skansen is the world’s oldest open-air museum, which is pretty impressive in and of itself. But it doesn’t stop there!
On a sunny afternoon, there’s no better place to learn about Swedish history, culture, and food, indigenous Sami culture, and Swedish wildlife.
The Skansen Museum features houses and farmsteads from every part of Sweden – most of which are original and were transported there whole, or piece-by-piece.
You’ll stroll past centuries of Swedish history and beautiful old-growth trees and spot all kinds of wild Scandinavian creatures, from reindeer and bears, to wolverines and lynx.
Skansen is one of the most unique museum experiences out there, and it’s another can’t-miss during 3 days in Stockholm.
#13 Dance & Sing at ABBA Museum
This museum is, obviously, all about ABBA. The legendary Swedish pop group. If you’re an ABBA fan, or if you just like to have fun, then go here and get your dance on.
Yes, it’s expensive, as far as museums go… but it’s a blast.
Set up as a journey through ABBA’s career, from humble beginnings to crazy success, all the way to their present-day legacy, you’ll see ABBA costumes, gold records, and other memorabilia, experience interactive exhibits, sing, and dance!
ABBA fan or not, the ABBA Museum is a top attraction in Stockholm for good reason, so consider adding it to your 3-day itinerary!
#14 Explore Norrmalm on Foot
If Stockholm had a “downtown,” this neighborhood would be it. Norrmalm is a bustling hub of culture and modern city life.
From the restaurants, bars, and Swedish design and fashion shops that line Drottninggatan (the main street) to the Royal Swedish Opera, the Medelhavsmuseet (Museum of Mediterranean and Near-Eastern Antiquities), and the cherry blossom trees of Kungsträdgården Park – you can’t miss this area.
An evening in Norrmalm will be well spent seeking out some of the city’s best eats and drinks.
Find all of my food & drink recommendations for 3 days in Stockholm toward the bottom of this post!
Day 3 of 3 Days in Stockholm
On your final day of 3 days in Stockholm, pop by City Hall, explore the trendy Södermalm neighborhood and its photography museum, and consider visiting the luxurious Drottningholm Palace and its gardens.
#15 See the Golden Hall at Stockholm City Hall
While you may not expect that Stockholm City Hall is one of the most spectacular places to visit in the city, it is.
You can take a guided tour (the only option available) Monday through Sunday.
The tour lasts for about 45 minutes and shows you through the many rooms that hold important banquets (like the Nobel Prize Banquet) and political meetings, accompanied by a plethora of information about Stockholm, its politics, and its history.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the tour was the Golden Hall, where the walls dazzle with more than 18 million gold tiles.
I can’t even begin to imagine how much this room is worth, but it sure is amazing (and totally over-the-top). Seeing the Golden Hall alone makes Stockholm City Hall worth a quick stop on the morning of Day 3!
#16 Check out Drottningholm Palace
If you haven’t had enough palace action, then the opulent Drottningholm Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a logical stop on Day 3 – but beware, it’s out of the way from downtown.
There are a number of ways to get to the palace, but the best is via a lovely boat cruise, that leaves from City Hall Quay.
The palace is the permanent residence of the Swedish Royal Family and is also home to a Chinese Pavilion pleasure palace, a theater, and fabulous gardens – not to mention, unrivaled royal opulence and well-preserved architecture, dating back to the 1600s.
#17 Explore Södermalm
After you stop by the City Hall, make your way south, to Södermalm.
Södermalm is Stockholm’s trendiest neighborhood, known for its hipster vibes and cool Scandinavian style. I saved the best for last!
This is the neighborhood to come to shop for vintage finds; have a fika; eat at trendy internationally-inspired restaurants; drink some local craft beer; browse cool and local boutiques; and simply wander around, taking in the sights and sounds of Stockholm.
By far, my favorite neighborhood in Stockholm, you can’t miss an afternoon stroll around Södermalm.
#18 Visit Fotografiska
If you’re a lover of all things photography and fine art, then you can’t miss Fotografiska, located on the waterfront in Södermalm.
Fotografiska is Stockholm’s photography museum, and it’s one of the world’s only museums dedicated to photography alone.
The experience was interesting, passionate, emotional, and even a little disturbing at times, and I highly recommend you visit.
#19 Explore the Subway System
When it comes to the coolest Stockholm attractions, you may not think the subway system would be one of them. But it sure is!
Leave it to the Swedish to revolutionize their metro system (or the Tunnelbana in Swedish) into what’s known as the “world’s longest art gallery.”
Since the ‘50s, artists have turned the metro stations’ walls into modern art exhibitions. Each stop has its own theme and character!
You’ll love walking around Stockholm, but don’t miss the chance to hop on the metro for an unexpectedly beautiful experience.
Where to Eat & Drink in Three Days in Stockholm
Three days in Stockholm is enough time for at least 9 meals. Am I right?
If you’re keen to eat and drink your way through the city, here’s what I recommend!
- Café Pascal: A fabulous spot for fika! Fresh artisanal pastries, really good coffee, and a warm, cozy atmosphere make up this popular Norrmalm café.
- Komet Café: A must visit for fika in Södermalm! It’s hard to explain just how good their pastries are. The coffee, fresh bread, sandwiches, salads (and everything else in between) are equally as good.
- Sempre Espresso Bar: Fika, but make it Italian. This authentic Italian espresso bar will transport you to Roma, if only for a few minutes. This is another one of the best places for a coffee and pastry in Norrmalm!
- Koffein: It’s hard to nail down just one amazing café in hipster Södermalm. If you need another one, Koffein is a cool spot you’re sure to love.
- Sturehof: As far as I’m concerned, if classic Swedish seafood dishes are what you’re after, this is the only place to get them. A Stockholm seafood institution, you can’t go wrong.
- Restaurang Kajsas Fisk: I wouldn’t usually recommend a place inside of a market/food hall, but if you don’t come to this seafood restaurant in Norrmalm, your three days in Stockholm will be incomplete! Their Swedish fish soup, on a cold day, is unbeatable.
- La Neta: Authentic and delicious Mexican street tacos, quesadillas, legit tortilla chips, and guac – complete with a salsa bar. Take it from a Southern California girl who currently lives in Mexico – you won’t be disappointed by this Norrmalm joint.
- Falafelbaren: Fabulous Middle Eastern/Israeli food in the middle of Södermalm. Think: creamy hummus, flavor-packed falafel, fresh pita bread, fried halloumi, and pickled veg. Heaven.
- Restaurang Tradition: From Swedish meatballs and Beef Rydberg, to potato dumplings, lingonberry jam, and pickled cucumbers, Restaurang Tradition is the loveliest, no-fuss place in Gamla Stan to try traditional Swedish cuisine at its best!
- Liberdade: Here’s something likely new to you. Japanese-Brazilian fusion food born out of a migration of unemployed Japanese workers to São Paulo in the early 1900s. The space itself is gorgeous, but the food, cocktails, and service send this place in Södermalm over the top.
- Stockholms Gästabud: A cozy traditional restaurant in the heart of Gamla Stan serving up Swedish home cookin’. Like what your Swedish grandma would make, if you had one!
- Bar Nombre: Spanish food with a Scandinavian twist, this bar and restaurant focuses on what’s seasonal, along with an incredible offering of Spanish wines. A must in Norrmalm.
- Aifur: If, after you visit the Vasa Museum, you need more Viking vibes in your life, then I have just the experience for you. This lively Viking pub in Gamla Stan, complete with long shared tables, live music, Viking food, ale, and mead is for you. I’ll stop there and let the rest be a surprise.
- Pharmarium: You couldn’t find a better cocktail bar experience if you tried. First of all, it’s located in Stortorget in Gamla Stan. So it doesn’t get more charming than that. But more importantly, the cocktails are perfectly crafted and imaginative, and the space (inside a historic pharmacy) is a vibe.
- A Bar Called Gemma: A super laid-back Södermalm bar creating what are arguably the best cocktails in the entire city. And if you’re hungry, get the grilled cheese. You won’t be disappointed.
- Tyge & Sessil: An Östermalm wine bar dedicated to minimal-intervention, natural, and organic wines. Yes, please.
- Omnipollos Hatt: Great craft beer bar in Södermalm, serving yummy wood-fired pizzas to boot.
72 Hours in Stockholm: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
There’s no shortage of amazing things to do in Stockholm – from exploring the trendy neighborhood of Södermalm and the medieval streets of Gamla Stan, to visiting world-renowned museums like the Vasa Museum and Skansen.
And let’s not forget going on this Stockholm City Kayak Tour and exploring the Royal Palace… And having a fika and indulging in rich and hearty Swedish food!
If you’re visiting Stockholm for 3 days, get ready for an action-packed city break… sans relaxation! There’s so much to see, do, and eat – and no time to waste.
Luckily, this 3-Day Stockholm Itinerary (perfect for first-timers) has you covered with the best of what Stockholm has to offer.
Stockholm Packing List
Stockholm locals tend to dress very well – classic, smart, and simple. Do the same if you want to blend in!
Here are some of the items you need to pack for your trip to Stockholm!
Warmer Months (Late May through Early September)
Of course, summers are “warmer” in Stockholm, though they’re certainly not hot! The warmest month is July, with an average high of just 75°F and an average low of 59°F. That means you still need to pack for chilly weather year-round!
- Flowy summer dress: In the summer opt for a long floaty dress so you stay cool and comfy as you explore.
- Lightweight scarf: There are so many reasons to bring a light scarf – to enter churches, cover up if you get chilly, and protect yourself from sunburn.
- Jeans: Pack a pair or two of jeans for casual wearing and staying warm in the cooler evenings.
- Comfy sandals: On warm days, I love to explore in these sandals. They’re super comfy!
Colder Months (Late September through Early May):
In Stockholm, the coldest month is January, with an average high of 33°F and low of 26°F.
- Wool coat: You’re going to need a warm coat in the winter! I love a wool coat for style and practicality. You will fit in with the locals with this one.
- Comfortable boots: As expected, you’ll walk a lot in Stockholm in 3 days! Opt for some comfortable yet stylish boots that you’ve already broken in. I love these Chelsea boots!
- Warm beanie, scarf, and gloves: You absolutely need these to keep warm.
General Packing List
Any time of year in Stockholm, you should bring:
- Rain jacket and umbrella: Stockholm gets its fair share of rain! Don’t forget a rain jacket and a travel umbrella.
- Electronic adapter/converter: If you’re visiting from outside of Europe, chances are that you’ll need an adapter to charge your electronics. I love this one!
- Camera: There are too many beautiful buildings and canals in Stockholm. I love this pocket camera to capture my adventures.
- Reusable water bottle: Remember to keep hydrated during your adventures; it can’t be fikas and wine all the time! Bring a reusable water bottle so you can keep topped up.
- Tote bag: To carry all of the souvenirs you’re bound to pick up in Gamla Stan!
- Travel insurance: Whenever you travel internationally, you should purchase travel insurance in case anything goes wrong. From medical emergencies to travel delays, it’s best to be prepared!
Did you know…
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Three-Day Stockholm Itinerary: FAQs
3 days in Stockholm is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of the city. You’ll have time to visit some of the city’s best museums, wander around medieval Gamla Stan and hipster Södermalm, explore the Royal Palace, taste some Swedish food, enjoy a fika, and even experience the archipelago via boat or kayak.
Some of the highlights to see during 72 hours in Stockholm include the Royal Palace, Skansen Museum, Vasa Museum, ABBA Museum, the Nobel Museum, Drottningholm Palace, and the neighborhoods of Gamla Stan, Södermalm, and Norrmalm… Just to name a few! This guide includes all of the best things to do in Stockholm in three days – as well as where to eat!
Simply put, you need 3 days in Stockholm. Whether it’s your first time in Stockholm or not, you can cover a lot of ground in 72 hours. With three days, you’ll have time to visit the city’s best museums and palaces, parks, restaurants, and cafes, and spend plenty of time soaking up the beauty of the city, the archipelago, the medieval streets, and striking architecture. Any less time, and your experience will be rushed. You’ll miss out on some of the best things to do in Stockholm.
In short, yes. Stockholm is expensive. If you’re on a super tight budget, there are still ways to enjoy Stockholm. I’ve listed all of the best budget accommodations in Stockholm. You can also consider buying a Stockholm Pass, which will give you free and/or discounted entry to most of Stockholm’s main attractions. Check out the Stockholm Pass here.
Absolutely! If you have the opportunity to visit Stockholm, do not miss it! Sprawled across 14 islands where Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea meet, Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s perfect for a city break – whether you’re interested in art, history, food, design, or if just want to wander around and soak up the distinctly Scandinavian atmosphere.
Stockholm is a great city to visit year-round, although some times of year are more ideal than others. If you’re looking for good weather and to avoid the crowds, I recommend visiting in May or September. June, July, and August can be quite crowded and touristy, but they’re also the months with the longest days. December through February can be chilly, and the days are dark and short. However, Christmastime in Stockholm is magical – with festive Christmas markets, ice skating, concerts, and plenty of cozy bars serving up warming glögg!
Maddy’s Avenue visited Stockholm as a guest of the Visit Stockholm tourism board. As always, all opinions are our own.