The Vikings, famous for having some of the finest physical characteristics that mankind has ever seen, roamed the world leaving a mark on each and every destination they visited. After traveling near and far, they finally settled down at home and diverted their energies in creating a capital city that was deserving of their rich and stunning legacy.
Sweden has become a modern day traveler’s paradise in so many ways. It is one of the best destinations for those in love with crystal clean waters, pure air and the beautiful outdoors, and it also presents an entirely revolutionary cuisine that bombards your taste buds with a splendid fusion of flavors. Add the fascinating Viking history and attractions into the mix, and you can be rest assured that you’ll never have enough of the country. There’s just so much to see and do that it’s impossible to cover Sweden in a single vacation. Here are some of the best things to do in Sweden, places that are sure to rank in most travel itineraries.
Stockholm Photo Tour
If you’re interested in photography, one of the most exciting ways of exploring all that Stockholm has on offer is to take a photo tour in Stockholm. Such a tour could take you to some of the most beautiful panoramas in the city and shows you how to best capture their spellbinding beauty in your cameras. Professional photographers accompany you for your journey and teach you various tips and tricks to ensure that you get the best possible photographs of attractions such as the City Hall, Royal Garden, Old Town, Royal Crown and the Parliament House.
Skansen, the first open-air museum in the world, was founded by Artur Hazelius in the year 1891 to offer tourists an insight into Swedish life of a bygone era. The complex is home to approximately 150 traditional houses and is affectionately called ‘miniature Sweden’, complete with industry, nature, villages and commerce. The glass-blowers cottage is Skansen’s most popular destination as the sight of beautiful forms emerging from those red hot bubbles of liquid glass is extremely fascinating. The Nordic Zoo, with its wolverines, elk, and reindeers, is equally transfixing. Other highlights include a fully-functional bakery, a pharmacy from the Drottningholm castle, two garden huts from Tantolunden, botanical gardens, 46 buildings from different rural areas of Sweden, the Hazelius’ mansion and a Sami camp. Hot-dog stands, cafes and restaurants can also be found all over the park. It is entirely possible to spend an entire day here and still not see everything that this beautiful complex has on offer.
Södermalm in Stockholm
Södermalm has always ranked among the coolest neighborhoods in Europe, and for good reason. Famous for its luxe surroundings and spectacular views, this is the place to be to enjoy all things chic. The neighborhood is extremely trendy and relaxed, and is home to a range of Swedish fashion outlets, design stores, vintage boutiques, art galleries, eclectic shops, and numerous restaurants, bars and cafes. Two of the best viewpoints in Stockholm – Monteliusvagen and Fjallgatan – are also located here.
Insider Tip – If you’re looking to meet the hipsters of Stockholm, this is the place to be.
Rosendals – Djurgarden island
Almost one-thirds of Stockholm is covered with parks and gardens, but none come close to offering the kind of experience that Rosendals has on offer. Rosendals is located in the Djurgarden Island, at a 15-minute walk from the dock. It is a part of the 19th century palace that belonged to King Oscar I and is full of orchards, gardens and meadows that present the ideal way to spend some time with Mother Nature. The grounds are also home to a bakery and café which is particularly popular for its seasonal cakes and chicken salad.
Sigtuna near Stockholm
Sigtuna, located at a distance of 45 minutes from Stockholm, became popular as the very first town of Sweden. It was founded in the year AD 980, towards the end of the Age of the Vikings, and is still known to boast of an age-old aura that very few destinations around the world can replicate. Sigtuna’s rich history can be seen in its beautiful rune stones, medieval churches and ancient ruins and its culture can be felt in those town squares, boutique shops that have stood the test of time and unique handicraft stores.
Visby, popularly called the Pearl of the Baltic, is another ancient town in Sweden that is worth watch. The town was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage Site status and can be accessed by flights or ferries from most major cities in Sweden. This walled town is located on the island of Gotland, and is brimming with ruined churches, enchanting natural beauty, cobblestone streets, and rose-entwined walls. It is entirely normal for visitors to lose track of time in this beautiful village and visiting those timber buildings dating back to the 17th century is a must.
The Vasa Museum attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. Ever since the museum opened its doors in the year 1990, it has seen an unending stream of visitors who come here to check out the mesmerizing Vasa battleship, the pride of the Swedish Imperial fleet. The museum houses 10 separate exhibitions, including the ship itself, and each exhibition is considered to be worth a watch.
Interesting Fact – The ship sank on its maiden voyage in the year 1628 and lay perfectly preserved among icy waters for more than three centuries before finding a home at the Vasa museum.
Lund Cathedral, located in the province of Skaane, is the most visited cathedral in Sweden. Founded by King Canute IV in the year 1080, it is also the finest and oldest Romanesque church in the country. The present building dates back to the 12th century, with the crypt being the oldest part of the cathedral. Some of the main highlights include a 14th century astronomical clock, 14th century carved reredos and traditional figures of a mythical giant on the roof.
Insider Tip – Time your trip to the cathedral to catch the elusive figures of the Three Kings that peek out of the astronomical clock sharp at 01.00 PM and 03.00 PM
Gamla Stan in Stockholm
Gamla Stan, or the historic city center of Stockholm, is a must see while in Sweden. It is home to a fascinating collection of medieval buildings that are divided by beautiful cobblestone streets and tiny alleyways. Slottsbacken, the highest hill in Gamla Stan, hosts the iconic Royal Palace and a few other baroque buildings. Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan, two of the main shopping destinations in the city, are also located here.
Best of Gothenburg Tour
You might be wondering why attractions like the Gothenburg Botanical Gardens haven’t featured on our list yet. Well, it is indeed on our list of one of the top things to do in Sweden. We recommend choosing a tour that comes with a professional photographer who can show you around and also click some of the best holiday pictures that are sure to become star attractions on your social media profiles. Apart from teaching you how to click that perfect photograph, the tour also takes you to some of the most beautiful lookout points and attractions in the city. Highlights include Maritiman, Little Boom, Feskekorka walks and Kingsgate Avenue.
Liseberg in Gothenburg
Liseberg, the largest amusement park in Scandinavia, ranks among the top European destinations for adrenaline junkies. It attracts more than 3 million visitors each year and presents an unparalleled collection of rides and attractions that are sure to delight people of all ages and preferences. Highlights include Balder, the wooden roller coaster; AtmosFear, the tallest free-fall tower in Europe; and Helix, a rollercoaster that loops 7 times and offers feelings of complete weightlessness. Carousels, outdoor dance floors, concerts, fairy-tale castles and adventurous playgrounds are also there to entertain the mild-hearted.
Insider Tip – Be sure to experience the Kanonen, a ride that takes you from 0 to 75 km/h in under 2 seconds.
Millesgården – Lidingo
Millesgården is a picturesque sculpture garden that is located on the grounds of Swedish sculptor Carl Milles’ cliff-top home in the island of Lidingo. Carl Milles is responsible for the fantasy-like sculptures and beautiful water sprites that can be seen all over the city and the outdoor sculpture garden at his house reminds us why he was revered as one of the top sculptors of his time. Apart from Carl Milles creations, Millesgården is also home to beautiful sculptures that date all the way back to the renaissance era and the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece.
We really hope you enjoyed the above top 12 best things to do in Sweden. If you feel that other prominent attractions, theme parks, or destinations should be in this list, please do write to us in the below comment field.
Happy travels in Sweden! 🙂