3 days in stockholm

3 Days in Stockholm (Budget Itinerary!)

3 days in Stockholm is an ideal amount of time to see this fascinating city.

Stockholm is one of the best cities to visit in Europe. You’ll find so much to do here, much more than you might expect!

The scenery is off the charts. With the harbour presenting a beautiful backdrop to the city. That’s without mentioning the many beautiful buildings in the city too.

From the Vasa and ABBA museums to the old town of Gamla stan and the colourful metro stations, Stockholm is full of interesting places which make it one of my favourite cities in Europe.

This 3-day Stockholm itinerary will let you know the places you should visit and where to stay, during a visit to the city.

So without further ado, let’s get into it!

How to spend 3 days in Stockholm

Quick 3 Days in Stockholm itinerary
Day 1 – Walk around Stockholm, Vasa Museum, ABBA Museum
Day 2 – Gamla Stan, Royal Palace, Djurgården
Day 3 – The Nordic Museum, Skansen, Stockholm archipelago

My thoughts on Stockholm

I’ve always been fascinated by Sweden and a visit to Stockholm has been high on my list for a while. To get the chance to visit the city during our Europe road trip was fantastic.

I didn’t know what to expect from Stockholm. I do little research before visiting a city, so I knew next to nothing about what I could see and do.

I was pleasantly surprised by what I stumbled across in Stockholm. I was also surprised by the size of Stockholm. It’s bigger than I thought.

You’ll find plenty to do here. From checking out the island of Djurgården to wandering the cobbled streets of Gamla Stan, you’ll not be short of things to do.

This makes Stockholm an ideal place to visit for all types of travellers. No matter your age, preferences, or whether you’re by yourself or with your family, you’ll find lots to do!

Stockholm is an expensive city, and the harbour makes it hard to walk around the city compared to somewhere like Copenhagen. However, these are minor quibbles and won’t stop you from enjoying the city!

Some of the best things to do in Stockholm

Fountain in Stockholm

3 days in Stockholm should provide you with enough time to see all of the sights in this beautiful city. Stockholm is a big city, but you shouldn’t have much trouble seeing everything.

One thing you should get before you visit is a Stockholm Pass.

The card allows you to visit over 60 of Stockholm top attractions for free. You’re also entitled to free bus and boat tours. Sweden can be an expensive country. Buying the pass beforehand will save you money in the long run which means you can spend it on gifts, food or anything you desire!

Below are some of the best things to see in Stockholm in 3 days you have to do during your time in the city.

Stockholm itinerary – Day 1

Free walking tour

walking in stockholm

One of my favourite things to do whenever I visit a new city is to check into my accommodation and then go for a wander. I have no goal in mind, I just start walking and see where I end up.

This isn’t for everyone. A lot of people don’t like wandering around without an aim. If that’s you, then I recommend booking a walking tour or going on a free one.

If your accommodation offers a free walking tour, do it. The guides are knowledgeable and will be able to explain the history of the city in lots of detail.

Free walking tours aren’t always available. Paying for one is a good option if this is the case. The walking tour will give you an overview of the city and allow you to get your bearings before you go off and explore by yourself.

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Vasa Museum

Vasa museum

You have to visit the Vasa museum during your 3 days in Stockholm! It’s as simple as that. This museum is one of the best I’ve ever visited.

The reason?

It’s home to a gigantic 17th-century ship, which is almost perfectly preserved. Pictures do not it justice. It’s huge in real life. So much so that the museum is built around multiple levels, each displaying a certain part of the ship.

The ship was the brainchild of King Gustav II, who wanted to build the biggest and best ship the world had ever seen. There was just one problem, his engineers knew it would be too big to sail. But they didn’t have the heart to tell the king.

Unfortunately, when the ship set sail for the first time, that’s exactly what happened. It sank minutes into its first voyage with thirty people losing their lives as a result.

333 years after its ill-fated voyage, it was pulled from the harbour in Stockholm and restored to its present state. The museum details the fascinating story of the ship from its initial conception to the effort to recover it from the depths of the harbour.

ABBA Museum

ABBA museum

ABBA is probably the most famous Swedish export along with IKEA. The band are one of the most well-known in the world and it’s no surprise the museum is a popular stop.

It’s located a stone’s throw away from the Vasa Museum, which makes it an ideal place to visit after you’ve checked out the impressive ship.

As you’d expect, the museum details the history of ABBA from its founding to the numerous hits they created.

One of the best things about the museum is it’s interactive. You can sing with the band on stage and engage with a host of other exhibits throughout the museum too.

Hardcore ABBA will be here in a heartbeat. For everyone else, it’s worth checking out if you’re curious about the band and want to have a bit of fun!

Stockholm itinerary – Day 2

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan is the name of the old town in Stockholm. Sweden stayed neutral during World War II, so unlike a lot of cities in Europe, it’s well preserved.

As a result, you can walk through a medieval city centre which has been preserved in its entirety. It’s arguably the best place in the city to go for a wander.

The colourful buildings, narrow streets and cobblestones create a vibrant atmosphere no matter whether you visit in the summer or during the winter.

Gamla Stan is an ideal place to grab a coffee or something to eat. You can try the Swedish tradition of Fika too while you’re there!

The Royal Palace

Royal Palace in Stockholm

As you might have gathered from the name, the Royal Palace is the residence of the King and Queen of Sweden. It’s a huge and impressive building which you can’t miss when you’re in the centre.

The palace has over 600 rooms inside, more than enough for any King or Queen! Similar to Buckingham Palace, you can observe a changing of the guard if you visit at the right time.

If you want to have a look inside, the entrance costs €16. If you purchase the Stockholm Pass, you’ll get in for free and get to marvel at the stunning interior of the palace!

If you want to explore more buildings close by, you can visit Parliament House, the National Musem and the Skeppsholmen Church, all of which are close by.

Djurgården

Djurgarden

Djurgården is one of the largest parts of Stockholm and is home to a museum island, similar to the one in Berlin. It’s also home to a large park which is worth exploring too.

It’s on this island where you’ll find the ABBA and Vasa museums, as well as a host of other museums. These include the Thiel Gallery, Biological Museum and even a Water Museum.

Another of the island’s attractions is Gröna Lund, which is the most distinctive part of the island. It’s a 19th-century amusement park with roller coasters and carousels.

The best thing about Djurgården is the wealth of activities you can do on the island. You could easily spend a whole day on the island checking everything out. There’s that much to do!

Stockholm itinerary – Day 3

The Nordic Museum

Nordic museum

Starting off the third day is a trip back to Djurgården to visit the Nordic Museum. The museum is home to a collection of social items which range from fire engines to stuff from people’s houses.

The museum has a range of different exhibitions which include the Arctic, Nordic traditions and much more. Another interesting part of the museum is it details the interior of Swedish houses.

As Sweden is the home of IKEA, this is a fascinating exhibition. It shows how the interior of houses changed over time from the early twentieth century to the present day.

You’ll find many more of these exhibitions in the Nordic Museum which is well worth exploring! 

Skansen

Skansen

Skansen is the world’s largest open-air museum. It’s a miniature historical Sweden, which you can explore in the course of a few hours!

It’s also located on Djurgården, which means it’s easy to reach from the Nordic Museum. It’s well worth checking out for part of the day.

You’ll find lots of traditional buildings with homes, churches, schools, shops and workshops scattered across the museum.

If you’re visiting Stockholm with a family, Skansen is an ideal place to visit. Your children will love it and you’ll all have a great time there exploring the houses and seeing the numerous wildlife too!

Stockholm archipelago

Stockholm archipelago

Your final activity in Stockholm is to check out the archipelago. Stockholm is home to over 30,000 islands, a fact I didn’t realise until I visited.

You’re not going to visit all 30,000 in one trip but you can visit a few and tour around the archipelago in a boat. This is a great way to end your trip.

You could hop between islands, or you could decide to visit one and spend a few hours there. If you’re not sure where to visit, you can book a tour instead.

This is a great way to learn about the various sights around the archipelago which are plentiful. It’s also a beautiful trip which will allow you to see Stockholm from a different perspective.

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Other places to visit in Stockholm

  • Stockholm metro stations – The metro stations in Stockholm are different from stations in other countries. That’s because they have been decorated with various designs in a contemporary style. If you use the metro to get around, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing as you make your way around Stockholm.
  • Stockholm Olympic Stadium – Not many people know Stockholm hosted the Olympics back in 1912. Well, they did! The stadium which hosted them is still standing today and worth checking out if you’re a sports aficionado like me!
  • Ugglan Boule & Bar – If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Stockholm and chill for a bit, a visit to Ugllan bar is a good idea. Inside you’ll find pinball machines, table football, darts and much more. It’s a great place to visit on a winter’s night, or if you fancy a beer!

Stockholm travel tips

Where to stay in Stockholm

Stockholm is the biggest city in Sweden, so you’ll have no trouble finding somewhere to stay. The problem is that because Sweden isn’t cheap, finding somewhere reasonably priced can be tricky.

The first thing you should consider when you visit Stockholm is how much you’re willing to pay. If you plan on staying in a hostel, the cost will ve much less than if you want a room in a hotel.

One option is to stay outside of the centre where prices are lower. This is what we did. We had to get the metro into the centre, but it was a short trip into the city centre. Accommodation will be a big expense, saving money by staying outside of the city centre is a good idea if you’re on a budget!

I’ve included it and several hostels and hotels you should consider staying at during your trip to Stockholm in the table below.

Cost of travel in Stockholm

Perhaps the best thing about Stockholm is that it’s cheaper than if you decided to visit Oslo. Sweden isn’t as expensive as Norway, but compared to most other European countries, the prices are higher.

This is why it’s important to budget, even if you’re only spending 3 days in Stockholm. Without a budget, it’s easy to spend too much and leave yourself out of pocket.

Have a plan of what you want to see and what you want to do. Eat at a variety of places but don’t go overboard eating in fancy restaurants and you should be fine!

The following prices are for the traveller who has an average budget. That is someone who is not going to splurge, but someone who will not be travelling on an ultra-frugal budget either.

They don’t include prices for extras such as nights out at a bar/pub, club entry fees, souvenirs/clothing purchases, tours. etc. You will have to budget extra for these purchases as they are ‘non-essential!’ 

Here’s a rough breakdown of essential travel costs in Stockholm:

Sweden uses the Swedish Krona (SEK), as a result, I’ve included the prices in Euro (€) as it can be hard to convert and offers a comparison with the rest of Europe.

Bed icon

Accommodation

Hostel: Dorm – €25-36; Private – €80-150
Hotels: €50-99
Rental Apartment: €65-89+

Restaurant Icon

Food and Drink

Breakfast: Free-€10
Dinner: €3-15
Takeaway meal: €4-11
Pint of beer: €5.50-6

 

Transport icon

Transport

City Metro / Bus: €3.20
Day ticket: €11.50
72-hour ticket: €23
Transit from Stockholm airport to city centre: €28

 

Best time to visit Stockholm

Stockholm harbour

The best time to visit Stockholm is subjective. Some people prefer to travel during winter, while others prefer the warmer months of summer.

If you were to base your visit on the weather, then a trip during summer would be better. You’ll be able to enjoy all the sights in warm temperatures. Sweden can get cold during the winter months. Of course, there will be more tourists during the summer, which you have to consider.

But you’ll have more hours of daylight and warmth with which to explore the city. There is no perfect answer. In the end, it will come to personal preference and when you have spare time to make a trip.

In an ideal world, I’d visit during the summer for the reasons already outlined. But a trip during the winter isn’t bad. It will just be much colder and a lot darker.

Don’t forget, you can spend 3 days in Stockholm during the shoulder season of March to April and September to November too. These months won’t be as warm as summer or as cold as winter. Nor will they be as busy or quiet as the summer or winter.

How to get around Stockholm

Metro station in Stockholm

Stockholm is a big city and its harbour can make it difficult to get around, but it’s not as bad as it sounds. Most places can be reached by foot, and if they can’t the excellent public transportation can help.

I spent most of my time in the city walking from place to place, but as I found out, you can’t do it for too long. The layout of the city, by the water, means if you walk in one direction for long enough, you have a long walk back to where you started.

One way you can get around this is to use one of the many electric scooters located across the city. The Lime scooters are easy to use and allow you to zip across Stockholm faster for a small price.

Alternatively, you can buy a 24-hour, or 72-hour ticket, for the metro and bus system. This way you can hop on and hop off throughout the day on just one ticket. If you’re want to visit as many places as you can, this is a good idea.

Concluding thoughts

3 days in Stockholm is a good amount of time to see this beautiful city. The Swedish capital is a fantastic place which has a lot to offer and one you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

One thing I was surprised about was how much there is to do in Stockholm. A 3-day may be short, but you won’t be short of things to do while you’re there!

Have you been to Stockholm? Did you visit the places listed on my itinerary, or do you visit other places? Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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