Things to do in Stockholm – My Must Sees in Stockholm

Things to do in Stockholm – My Must Sees in Stockholm

Things to do in Stockholm – My Must Sees in Stockholm

Stockholm has been on my bucket list for quite a few years now, but the opportunity of traveling there never presented itself. As part of the TBEX2016 – a conference exclusively for travel bloggers – I visited the Swedish capital in July.

Of course, my plan was to visit the typical sightseeing spots for a classical tour. However, I didn’t want to miss the chance to experience some more extraordinary tours. As support, I had the Stockholm Card with me that allowed me to access some venues for free.

 

#1 Gamla Stan

Vor dem Nobel Price Museum

An old town perfect for a stroll

You should take some time and really take in the atmosphere of the old town of Stockholm Gamla Stan on the island Stadsholmen.

You should actually come here a few times. Take a stroll through the small alleys and stop for the occasional cake or meatball break. On your next trip, take a walking tour (I can recommend OURWAY) to find out more about the history, told by the many streets, buildings and walls.

In den Straßen der Altstadt von Stockholm

Järnpojkes – the smallest sightseeing spot in Stockholm

Without the walking tour I might have never heard about the small Järnpojkes. Järnpojkes is famous for being the smallest sightseeing spot of the city. Touching its head is said to grant you a wish!

Barbara streichelt Järnpojkes Kopf

The locals treat it with affection: you can find it dressed in regularly changing scarfs as soon as it gets cold (of course handmade). Because everyone wants to dress the tiniest famous person in the old town!

Change of guards, churches, and museums

On your third visit you can have a look at the change of guards in front of the palace, visit the churches (especially the on where the crown prince couple got wed) or take a crash course in Stockholm history in one of the many museums.

For more background and experiences from Gamla Stan, have a look at TravelWorldOnline!

#2 Boat trip

I LOVE water and I LOVE traveling by boat. Therefore, I was already set on joining multiple boat cruises. I picked the following:

  • Historical Canal Tour
  • Under the Bridges of Stockholm
  • Good Morning Stockholm Tour
  • Drottningholm Boat Tour

Historical Canal Tour

Alte Mühle Stockholm

All four of them were exciting and I cannot tell which one I liked the most. The Historical Canal Tour was a great tour for starters with a lot of information around the city and its history.

Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tour

Spiegelung Brücke Stockholm

The Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tour actually took us to quite a few bridges! I was a little disappointed, that most of them were not really photogenic, though (in contrast to Copenhagen). I enjoyed the cruise nonetheless.

Good Morning Stockholm Tour

Auf Fjäderholmarna

The Good Morning Stockholm Tour took us to Fjäderholmarna, a small idyllic island about half an hour from Stockholm. There, you can take a short guided tour around the island and the rest until the boat departs for Stockholm again.

Drottningholm Boat Tour

The Drottningholm Boat Tour brings you to one of the palaces of the royal family. Since 1981 the Swedish Royals have their seat in the southern part of this building. They prefer the seclusion and privacy to the hustle and bustle of the big city, where they resided earlier. Since the trip takes about one hour one-way it is perfect to escape the inner city and just enjoy the breeze.

The palace itself is…. a palace. It is not very different from other palaces. It is pompous and “mighty”.

Schloss Drottningholm

In the rooms and halls that are freely accessible, you can see how the royal ladies (the palace was meant to be for females only) lived back in their days. Not only can you easily get lost in the many portraits and paintings, but also walk through palatial halls and imagine the life 200 years ago.

Some of the windows allow a view on the baroque garden. Now you can understand why this palace is also called the Swedish Versailles.

Schlossgarten Drottningholm

All boat tours were included in the Stockholm Card and didn’t cost me a single cent extra! By the way, the cruises alone had a higher equivalent value than the card itself…

#3 Metro tour

I wrote a separate article about my tour through Stockholm’s metro – that’s how amazed I was. Already during my first days in Stockholm I heard about the artistically designed stations. However, I never imagined how great they would actually be! That’s why I only got around to see them at the end of my stay.

Rådhuset:

Metrostation Kungsträdgården Stockholm.JPG

After only two stops I was convinced, that these metro stations are worth spending a whole day (and a whole article) on them. One of these two stations was Rådhuset, where I found these gigantic caves.

Sadly, I had already planned a mini cruise to Helsinki and Tallinn on the next day. However, I knew I would be back in a few days and would have several hours to explore before my train to Copenhagen left. That was my chance, to discover the beauty of Stockholm’s metro stations!

Said, done!

I arrived by ship on Thursday at 10am from Tallin and immediately made my way to the metro. I initially planned to leave my luggage at the central station but as I was sitting in the metro, I felt it would be a waste of time. So I spent the next 6h going from one station to the next – with 13kg on my back! People had to think I’m crazy, taking photos with my reflex camera and two backpacks on my back.

The result was definitely worth it!

Tekniska Högskolan:

Metrostation Tekniska Högskolan

Fridhemsplan:

Fridhemsplan

Solna centrum:

Metrostation Solna Centrum

Solna strand:

Metrostation Solna Strand

#4 Södermalm-Tour

Södermalm is a District of Stockholm where mostly young people live, love and laughs. In the center of it all is the area SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) with its unique stores (for example for eco-friendly jeans), art galleries and a dissolute nightlife. This is the place to be for party animals and all sorts of other eccentrics. The Berlin of the Swedish capital – or something like this.

Södermalm

This district is also the main setting for Stieg Larsson’s trilogy.

The most interesting thing about Södermalm is, however, its historical background. Even though Södermalm was mentioned in documents as far back as the 13th century, the first real development of the area happened only 500 years later. The reason are the steep cliffs surrounding the island, that made it hard to access. Therefore, only some worker accommodations were placed here and are still there in the north of the island.

Alte Häuser in Södermalm

Through the heightened position of said cliffs it’s a perfect spot for exciting viewpoint. If you are not keen on searching them you can always opt for the elevator, that gives you a fantastic view of Gamla Stan and the north of the city.

Aufzug Södermalm

So, if you are looking for the perfect mix of past and present you cannot miss a trip to Södermalm!

#5 Vasa-Museum

Vasa von vorne.jpg

The Vasa Museum has exactly one main attraction – the Vasa. In 1628, the ship sank on its first cruise, stayed on the ocean floor for 300 years and is unusually well preserved. Heavily damaged or even destroyed parts were replaced and now you can get a really good impression, how the six stories of the ship looked like before it sank 20 minutes after it left Stockholm harbor.

That’s what the Vasa looks like from the fifth story. You can almost touch it:

Vasa von hinten

The whole museum is dedicated to the ship and boat traveling of the past centuries in general. Scattered over the six stories are various showcases with smaller exhibition pieces and descriptions. Also the museum guides are always happy to tell you about the history of the ship.

For example, they explained to me that they were sure this is the Vasa because of the royal emblem at the rear.

Vasa Detail

#6 Skyview Stockholm

Blick auf einen anderen Globe

Skyview is some sort of gondola-elevator outside of the Ericsson Globe Arena in the south of Stockholm. Since 2010, two glass gondolas travel across bend metal tracks to the highest point of the arena at over 100 meters and offer you an undisturbed view across the city.

Beschreibung im Globe

The gondolas take up to 16 persons. One ride to the top or don takes almost five minutes each and the stop at the top takes the same amount of time. So there is ample opportunity for photos or videos or just taking in the scenery.

Handyvideo Globe Stockholm

The entry to the Skyview is also included in the Stockholm Card.

Weitere nützliche Tipps zu Stockholm:

Food and drinks

Stockholm is not a place for low budget travelers. But even here I managed to not spend more than 50 Euro for a whole week for food and drinks.

The first “trick” is pretty straightforward – the tap water in Sweden is of high quality and also very tasty. So there is really no reason to buy and water.

If it comes to food, I simply went into the grocery store and If I wanted to get some food outside, there’s always a Happy Meal from the big M. That’s only 3,50 Euro and together with an extra burger for one Euro it fills me up completely.

At one point I had a Walking Tour in the early morning and didn’t make it to the grocery store. I paid 10 Euros for a sandwich and some juice! I call that a lesson learned.

Accommodation

There are several Hotels in Stockholm. The prices are from 20 to 40 Euro a night. For the same you can also find an Airbnb.

I really treated myself this time: The last night before my mini cruise to Helsinki and Tallinn I spent in a Scandic hotel . That’s a hotel chain across all Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium and Poland. In Stockholm alone there about ten of their hotels.

One of them is the Scandic Ariadne, which is situated directly next to the cruise ship harbor. From here it’s only ten minutes by foot the Stockholm central station. That’s why I decided to spend a night in a fabulous room on the 15th floor and enjoy a nice, big bath tub.

Transport

A big WARNING before we go on: You cannot buy tickets on the busses in Stockholm. You can buy time cards directly at the metro station or as a paper card in every Pressbyran-Shop. For everything else, you need an SL Access Card that you can buy for 20 Kronen (2Euros) and then repeatedly recharge as needed. A 24-hour ticket is 115 Kronen (around 11 Euro), a 72-hour ticket is 230 Kronen (around 23 Euro) and a ticket for a whole week is 300 Kronen (about 30 Euro).

Sightseeing:

To get a good overview about what to do in Stockholm, feel free to have a look at GetYourGuide* !

Hui, that was pretty excessive, wasn’t it? Are you missing something? Leave a comment!

Deine Barbara

PS: The night in the Scandic Ariadne Hotel was sponsored. My opinion was not affected by this in any way. I received the Stockholm Card as part of the TBEX from Visit Stockholm.

PPS: All links marked with a (*) are affiliate links. Click here to find out more about the topic.

During my stay in Stockholm I did couchsurfing and stayed one night in the Scandic Ariadne 

You want to check out other accommodations?

Have a look at Tripadvisor*, Airbnb* or Hostelworld* !

There is something for every budget!

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EUROPE

THE TRIANGLE CITY CRUISE

EUROPE

STOCKHOLM’S METRO SYSTEM

EUROPE

HELSINKI

Copenhagen – 7 Things That Make the Danish Capital Unique

Copenhagen – 7 Things That Make the Danish Capital Unique

Kopenhagen

Copenhagen – 7 Things That Make the Danish Capital Unique

Copenhagen blew my mind!

Probably that was because of my expectations – as always. Friends told me that Stockholm was so much nicer and simply no comparison to Copenhagen. So I prepared for a weekend with only a few photos.

But in the end, it was the exact opposite.

And before I start: Unfortunately, I had no time to visit anything in the surroundings. But my blogger friend Megan did! So check out her post about Udense to see where you can go for a weekend get-away!

Here are my 7 reasons why the Danish capital is more than worth a visit.

 

 #1 The most beautiful boat trip during sunset!

Ok, I admit: I am in love with boats! That’s why I loved Coboat, the Nomad Cruise and the boat trips in Stockholm.

And I was super lucky with the weather and the time. Because technically I did a normal Sightseeing Tour by boat. No special sunset tour. I arrived so late to the harbor that I had to take the last boat. My bad mood about this changed immediately when I realized that the light was perfect for photos:

bruecke in kopenhagen im sonnenuntergang

Sonnenuntergang Canal Tour

sonnenuntergang ueber kopenhagen

Can you understand why I was so happy?

 #2 In Copenhagen there is a part of the city that doesn’t belong to the EU: Christiania!

I don’t know what you think, but I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it. Just when I saw the sign “You are now entering the EU” I understood that it’s true at least in parts.

You are now entering the EU

The Freetown Christiania is super picturesque and you feel like the whole neighborhood has fallen in a bucketful of paint. Or even better: as if somebody had put an Instagram filter over it to create a whole new atmosphere.

Haus in Christiania

Haus in Christiania

Am Skaterpark Christiania

It’s a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood, where 850 residents live their own way. Christiania is mainly known because of Pusher Street (or Green Light District), where they sell and consume cannabis.

Green Light District

Although hash trade is illegal as well in Christiania, selling and consuming it in this street is tolerated. As you can see on the photo, taking photo is not allowed here. People from Christiania take this super seriously. I had my DSLR switched off, but still around my neck when somebody came and asked me to put it in my backpack: for my own safety. They don’t seem to be people to be trifled with!

But it was definitely a unique and interesting experience!

#3 Where else can you climb outside on top of a tower?

When I saw the photos I knew: I NEEDED to go to that church! I saw it during the sightseeing boat tour: the golden in the sunlight shining tower of the Church Of Our Savior or in Danish Vor Frelsers Kirke.

Unser Retter Kirche

It seemed small to me…

Is it really possible to get up there?

No wonder that this church was the first thing that I wanted to see in the next morning. My accommodation was right on the other side of Copenhagen, So I took the bus and the metro. You can buy the tickets for public transport easily with an App: No wasting paper, time or not understanding the machines…

Only a limited amount of people is allowed to climb to the top at the same time. I needed to wait at the entrance. I was waiting at least 15 minutes in line and had to pay around 5 Euro to get up. Is that really worth it?

Have a look:

Wendeltreppe Unser Retter Kirche

Wendeltreppe Unser Retter Kirche

Kopenhagen durch die Wendeltreppe Unser Retter Kirche

What do you think?

 

#4 The Little Mermaid – Which Other European Statue Got That Famous in the Whole World?

When I was searching for the must sees in Copenhagen I found out that many travelers recommend to not go to see the Little Mermaid. It’s kind of an anti sight.

The same thing happened to me in Rio, where people told me to skip the Statue of Christ. Although I didn’t really liked being on that small platform with so many people and not being able to take at least one decent selfie, I was still happy to be able to decide myself if I liked it or not. So no choice for me: I wanted to see the mermaid!

We already went past her with the boat. Unfortunately it was not a good angle to take a nice photo.

Die kleine Meerjungfrau Canal Tour

That’s why I decided to take the bus from Christiania. Being only 125 Centimeters high the Little Mermaid, known of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale of the same name, is one of the smallest monuments in the world. Unfortunately the statue was damaged several times: Parts of the body have been sawn off – even her head! – and in 2003 she was knocked off her rock with explosives.

This is how she looks like from the other side:

Die kleine Meerjungfrau

Die kleine Meerjungfrau

 #5 Enjoy Copenhagen’s Atmosphere in one of the many parks!

Ok, when I was in Copenhagen the weather had gone crazy. More than 30°C. No wonder that people were lying under the trees in the shade to finally stop sweating.

Kongens Have Park Kopenhagen

But when I was talking to locals I realized: Parks are very famous in general. This is where everything happens.

My favorite park was the one around the fortress of Kastellet. On island with the shape of a star, you enter the park over bridges.

Kastellet Kopenhagen

Auf dem Weg zum Kastellet

Doesn’t it look like from a fairy tale?

 #6 No Other European City is so Cool for Strolling!

From day 2 I took public transport. In the first evening I wanted to walk around though. I wanted to stretch my legs and move after a whole day working on the computer.

My conclusion? I fell in love with the streets and houses!

Haus in Kopenhagen

 

Am Eingang zu Christiania

And I enjoyed watching the people riding their bicycles in the summer sun.

Fahrradfahrer in Kopenhagen

fahrraeder in kopenhagen

Just walk around, close to the water, and enjoy yourself!

Kanal Kopenhagen

jugne leute an bruecke in kopenhagen

jugne leute an bruecke in kopenhagen

#7 A Cemetery as a Meeting Point for Teenagers? In Copenhagen that’s normal!

In other places people avoid cemeteries. Not in Copenhagen where people meet here to enjoy the sun, listen to music or have a picknick.

In the moment that sounded horrible to me and couldn’t believe that the locals really wanted me to go to the cemetery to relax. But when I was there, I immediately realized: There is a loooot of free space, many trees that give shade and it’s super quiet… This is making the Assistens Kirkegård the perfect spot to meet for young people.

Friedhof Kopenhagen

Friedhof Kopenhagen Engel

The highlights are the graves of Hans Christian Anderson, Søren Kierkegaard and Nils Bohr. I was surprised to see that their graves aren’t bigger or more decorated than all the others. I didn’t even find them all!

Friedhof Kopenhagen HC Andersen

I really liked those two:

Grab Friedhof Kopenhagen

Grab Friedhof Kopenhagen Zeitreisender

I love what the grave stone is saying: “Not pursuing your dream is a violation against those who cannot even dare to dream”. It made me think of my life!

The white grave stone says “Tidsreisender” and even without knowing any Danish I understood that it means “time traveler”. As a traveler myself I felt strangely close to this time traveler and was wondering about the meaning.

The graveyard made me think and reflect twice. I didn’t expect that but I liked it.

Friedhof Kopenhagen Kirche

Those were my 7 things that make Copenhagen so special and unique. I hope that I’ll have another chance to get to know this fascinating city better.

I was staying at nomad friend’s place, but if you want to see some places to stay, check out Tripadvisor, Airbnb or Hostelworld! There is something for every budget!

Have you ever been to Copenhagen? What did you like most? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

Yours Barbara

Newsletter

Subscribe to my newsletter so I can keep you posted about my life of travels and as a digital nomad! You will never miss a new blog post, a new ebook or where my next adventure is going to bring us. Because it’s never going to be boring!

Helsinki in One Day – That’s How You Use Your Time Perfectly!

Helsinki in One Day – That’s How You Use Your Time Perfectly!

Helsinki in One Day

From Stockholm I took the Triangle City Cruise of Tallink Silja to go to Helsinki first and then to Tallinn.

While I was writing the article about the mini cruiseI realized how much I wanted to say about Helsinki. So I decided spontaneously to do an own article about it.

Arrival to Helsinki

After an abundant breakfast at the buffet, I started packing and preparing for the day ahead of me. During arrival at the port I had a first glimpse of the beautiful city.

Arrival to Helsinki - Winzige Insel Vor Helsinki

Die Kathedrale Von Helsinki

First I needed to go to the Tourism Info of Visit Helsinki.

After putting my destination in Google Maps I made my way to the city center that was luckily pretty close. At the Tourism Info I got excellent tipps on how to spend my day on a budget and I could even leave my backpack there. A great service that saved me from searching for public lockers.

I wanted to buy the Helsinki Card first but then they told me that everything that I wanted to see and do is actually free of charge. So I recommend the same to you.

The Dome of Helsinki

The Dome of Helsinki - Kathedrale Helsinki

They told me to go the Dome first that is just round the corner of Visit Helsinki at the Senator’s Square. I had seen the cupola from the ship so I knew that I wanted to see it.

It’s the best known monuments of Helsinki with more or less 350.000 visitors every year. It’s not only the name that is Russian. The Dome was initially named after the Russian Zar by that time  Nikolaus II. When Finland got independent though in 1917 they quickly changed the name into  Suurkirkko (“The Great Church”).

When the architect build the Dome who got inspired by the Russian churches. The building has the shape of a greek cross, which is typical for orthodox architecture.

The Orthodox Cathedral

The Orthodox Cathedral

The Orthodox Cathedral or better called Uspenski Cathedral is a real eye catcher. It sits on top of a hill next to the city center like on a throne and is therefore visible during arrival from the ship.

Built in the 1960s, it was a symbol of the Russian reign over the Finnish visible from far away. It is said to be the biggest orthodox church of the western world.

It’s worth a visit from the outside as well as from the inside.

The Museum of Broken Relationships

The Museum of Broken Relationships

To be honest: when the girl from Visit Helsinki said that she could spend hours and hours in the Museum of Broken Relationships, I thought that there is something wrong with her. But it turned out to be extremely interesting and heartbreakingly beautiful. It consists of many, many small items that reminded somebody of a lost love.

What do you do with the necklace he gave you? Throw it away? Put it on?

Normally you don’t want to do either, right? So that’s the kind of item the Museum asked people from around the world to send them.

Helsinki - Museum of Broken Relationships

I do admit: I could have spend hours in between the baby shoes, letters, pyjamas and books and the lines telling the stories about the objects as well. They tell you about happiness and sadness, love and fights, silences and love stories that don’t end.

The church of rocks: Temppeliaukio

The Church of Rocks: Temppeliaukio

They finished building the church of rocks in 1969. It was directly built into the rocks. The wally in the inside are five to eight meters high and consist of non treated stone. But through 180 windows there is sunlight coming in and lightening the raw room.

The impression created by all this is beyond words.

The Sibelius Monument

The Sibelius Monument

The Sibelius Monument is in the middle of the Sibelius Park. From the Temppeliaukio Church you can make it there in only 15 minuten by foot. I was there on a beautiful warm summer day and really enjoyed the walk.

A smaller version of the monument is in the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris.

Water sports and strolling in the parks of Helsinki  

Unfortunately I didn’t have the time to do that because I’d lost a lot of time taking photos and enjoying the churches. Normally this is definitely doable, especially if you have a whole day.

In the heart of the city there are different parks with small lakes. You can do Standup-Paddling (SUP) there… In Helsinki!

Cool or cool?

Salmon Soup at the Port 

Helsinki - Salmon Soup at the Port

What every Helsinki traveler really needs to try when it comes to gastronomy? Salmon Soup! You can get one directly at the port where they boats for tourist activities go from.

Helsinki Market

It’s not super cheap (7,50 Euro), but for Scandinavia ok. The soup is watery but with the many salmon pieces in it and a slice of bread you get probably full anyway.

I got a really open and friendly impression of Helsinki. I hope to have the possibility to see more of the city and the country in general!

Have you ever been to Finland?