Founded in the 13th century, Stockholm is a hotspot for culture offering world-class cultural attractions, including museums, galleries, theaters, and fascinating royal palaces. Some must-see buildings are the Royal Palace, built in 1866, and the City Hall, dating back from 1923. It’s also home to the world’s largest open-air museum, Skansen, located at the edge of the city center on the island Djurgården and the Drottningholm Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the permanent residence of the royal family.
Besides being Sweden's capital and largest city, what makes Stockholm stand out is its focus on innovation. It is where design, fashion, technology, and music trends are born. It also boasts unique neighborhoods packed with state-of-the-art restaurants, trendy bars, pubs, and historic cafes. Join a free walking tour and see what else this beautiful city has to offer.
For a city built on 14 unique islands, having only 3 days in Stockholm may not be enough. But with a well-planned itinerary, you can make the most of your trip, see the city highlights, and experience the Swedish capital like a local.
After you arrive in the city, leave your bags at a safe luggage storage facility in Stockholm and travel without burden. It's also a good idea to secure a Stockholm pass, especially if you're visiting Stockholm for the first time and plan to see its popular sights and attractions in one go.
Stockholm itinerary – Day 1
Morning: Stockholm City Hall and Gamla Stan
The best way to kick off your 3 days in Stockholm is to visit Stockholm City Hall. It’s one of the city’s most famous silhouettes and one of Sweden’s outstanding examples of national romanticism in architecture. It is built from 8 million bricks and features the golden Three Crowns. But behind its magnificent facades are session halls, grand ceremony halls, assembly rooms, offices, and unique art pieces.
Since the City Hall is an active political office building, visitors can only explore the building on a guided tour. Thankfully, it offers guided daily tours, from Monday to Sunday, which last for about 45 minutes. After your tour, head to the medieval center of Stockholm, Gamla Stan (Old Town), just a five-minute drive from the City Hall.
Gamla Stan is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood full of attractions, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops. Its narrow-winding cobblestone streets with buildings in various shades of gold give the area a unique character. It is, indeed, a veritable living museum in Stockholm, overflowing with palaces, colorful buildings, and churches.
Grab a quick bite or a delicious brunch at one of the cafes around the Stortorget or the Big Square. It is Stockholm's oldest square where you can shop, stroll, and eat. Try the exquisite pastries and sandwiches at Chokladkoppen, a small, cozy café in the heart of Gamla Stan. It boasts delicious treats, lunch, dinner, and a range of cold and hot drinks.
Afternoon: Cultural Exploration
Don’t leave the neighborhood yet because there are sights and cultural destinations worth spending your entire afternoon in the Old Town. Your first stop should be the Royal Palace at the northern corner of Gamla Stan. It’s the official residence of the Swedish Monarchy, though the Swedish Royal Family doesn’t live here. It serves as a workplace and historic building open to visitors year-round.
The Royal Palace was built in the Italian Baroque style during the 18th century. It has over 600 rooms, including five museums and other awe-inspiring features. It is home to the Royal Apartments, each boasts well-preserved interiors, which provide historical insights from the 1700s and onwards. You’ll also marvel at the Tre Kronor Museum, Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, the Royal Armoury, and the Treasury with the regalia. And during summer, the Royal Chapel and the Riddarholmen Church are open for visits.
Just a short walk from the Royal Palace, you’ll find the Nobel Prize Museum. It contains all key information about the world’s most prestigious prize and behind the scenes of the Nobel Prize banquet. Though a small museum, the Nobel Prize Museum takes pride in its vast content, offering an extensive collection of artifacts and videos related to the most-coveted award in the world. Besides the exhibitions, it also has school programs, dialogues, and lectures about today’s significant issues.
Also located in the Gamla Stan, between the Royal Palace and Stortorget, is the majestic Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan). It is the oldest church in the Old Town, built in 1279. Stockholm Cathedral houses unique objects of historical significance, such as the legendary painting Vädersoltavlan, St George and the Dragon Sculpture, and Lena Lervik’s sculpture “Joseph and Mary.”
Night: Drinks at Pharmarium
Your 3 days in Stockholm won’t be complete without spending an evening at one of the city’s hidden gems. Just a short walking distance from the Nobel Museum, Pharmarium is an award-winning cocktail bar housed in a 16th-century building. It’s one of the city’s most celebrated cocktail bars with an extensive drinks menu in Gamla Stan.
Pharmarium is open from late afternoon to 11 pm all week. It’s an excellent place to bring your date, have a pre-dinner drink, or enjoy one of their famous cocktails. Though they focus on creative cocktails, they also serve food and snacks like oysters and charcuterie to pair with your drinks.
Stockholm itinerary – Day 2
Morning: Island of Djurgarden
One of the places that should be on your 3 days in Stockholm itinerary is the gorgeous museum island of Djurgarden. It certainly lives up to its name as ‘The Royal game park,’ home to some of the city’s oldest and most iconic museums, amusement parks, and art galleries. One of them is Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum dating back to 1891.
Stepping into the museum is like entering the past, as it presents the whole of Sweden with farmsteads and houses. It shows how Swedes once lived, walking you through their way of life, customs, traditions, and Swedish culture.
From discovering Sweden’s unique history at Skansen, head to the Baltic Sea Centre with aquariums, exhibits, laboratories, and classrooms. Visitors can explore the large aquariums where you can see different marine animals, including sea trout, turbot, cod, lumpfish, and plant life.
If you still have time before lunch, check out the Liljevalchs Art Gallery or stop by Nordiska Museet. Also known as the Nordic Museum, Nordiska Museet is the country’s largest museum of cultural history, highlighting the stories about the people and life in the Nordic Region. You’ll find its major exhibition at the Great Hall, known as The Arctic – While the Ice is Melting. It allows you to see the living conditions in some of the coldest places in the world.
Afternoon: Visit Museums
Djurgarden is called a museum island for a reason. In addition to the Nordic Museum and an open-air museum, it will also allow you to witness the dramatic life of Vikings and go on a thrilling Viking ride at the Viking Museum. The museum allows visitors to discover how Vikings lived, what made them legendary seafarers and even learn about their diet. The Viking Museum offers guided tours in Swedish or English, which run throughout the day.
After an exhilarating adventure into the world of Vikings, stop by the Vasa Museum and see the world’s best-preserved 17th-century ship. You’ll be impressed to know that 98% of this 69-meter-long ship is original, which sank in Stockholm harbor in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961, 333 years later.
From the Vasa Museum, ABBA fans will be treated at the ABBA Museum, filled with ABBA memorabilia, including their awards, stage outfits, gold records, instruments, and more. More than a cultural facility, the ABBA museum also provides an interactive experience. It invites visitors to dance, sing, mix music, and even try virtual stage outfits.
Night: Amusement Park
Now that you’ve explored most of Stockholm’s major attractions on the island, it’s time to treat yourself to a magical experience at Gröna Lund. This amusement park should be on your must-visit list if you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure to fill your 3 days in Stockholm.
Gröna Lund is open from late spring to September and during Halloween and Swedish Autumn break. It is one of the country’s oldest amusement parks, offering thirty rides, six restaurants, several lottery and pentathlon stalls, and numerous snack and food stands. Plus, it has various entertainments for all ages, including dance evenings, concerts, and children’s entertainment.
Stockholm itinerary – Day 3
Morning: Boat Tour to Drottningholm Palace
Most boat tours start at 9:30 am or 10 am, so you still have time to meet for breakfast to start your day on your final day in Stockholm. If you’re staying in the city center, there are plenty of cafes with breakfast specials ideal for anyone looking to grab something for the road or prefer a long, lazy meal. You can get a healthy sandwich and a nice cup of coffee at Café Pascal or buy some treats and pastries at Broms.
After a hearty meal, get on a boat and sail from the Stockholm capital to the spectacular royal residence on Lake Mälaren. Before reaching Drottningholm Palace, you’ll see the stunning city skyline and the gorgeous natural scenery on the way.
Travel time can take up to an hour, and once you reach your destination, you’ll be greeted by the famous royal palace. It was built in the 17th century and has been recognized as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites for its one-of-a-kind interior and exterior grandeur.
Afternoon: Art Tour at Moderna Museet
Also known as the Museum of Modern Art, Moderna Museet is a state museum on Skeppsholmen island, a place of great natural beauty in central Stockholm. It opened in 1958, featuring one of Europe’s best art collections from the 20th century to the present.
If you plan to visit this Modern Art Museum, look out for the works of world-renowned artists like Salvador Dali and Picasso. It also houses international and Swedish modern and contemporary art, including pieces by Henry Matisse, Louise Bourgeois, Marcel Duchamp, and many more. Additionally, it continues to acquire artworks from many local and international contemporary artists worldwide.
Apart from the daily displays and permanent exhibitions, the museum also hosts guided tours for guides, family-friendly activities, and programs for art lovers of all ages. If you’re in the city in summer, don’t miss out on the workshops and events designed for everyone.
Night: Nightlife at Norrmalm
So, you’ve spent 3 days in Stockholm exploring the historical attractions, admiring the gorgeous architecture, and visiting multiple museums. Now, it’s time to dance, party, and experience the city's lively and colorful nightlife scene. It’s one of the reasons millions of visitors flock here each year.
Norrmalm, Stockholm’s city center, is one of the Swedish capital’s busiest areas. Besides the abundant shops, restaurants, shopping malls, and department stores here, it’s also home to eclectic bars and pubs.
If you’re looking to experience the best of the city’s summer parties, F12Terrassen is the right place for you. It’s an iconic club just a few steps from the central city where you can enjoy different music seven days (or nights) a week, from house and techno to hip hop.
You can chill on the grand staircase, dance the night away under the stars, or head to the bars and dance floor inside. It’s also a short stroll away from cafes and other bars in case you want to check out what other party venues can offer.
Visiting Stockholm in 3 Days
Planning 3 days in Stockholm may seem too short, considering the numerous fascinating sights and attractions worth discovering in and around the city. There are also hidden gems and off-the-beaten paths to explore.
But those days should be enough to get a glimpse of Stockholm’s history, culture, and atmosphere. Besides, no matter when and how many times you visit, you’ll realize there’s a lot more to see and do in this magnificent Swedish capital.
Still planning your visit to Stockholm? Check out these guides for more ideas!