Stockholm was always on my list of places to visit, but never super high. I didn’t know what to expect, what was there, or what would interest me. Then I went, and everything changed.
I am head-over-heels in love with Stockholm. So much so, that if we were able to have a summer home somewhere, it would be there. Because I don’t want you to miss out on the amaziness that is this delightful city, I’m making a list of reasons you should visit Stockholm and fall in love, too.
Visit Stockholm for all the green space
It’s definitely a city, but it’s a city that’s made room for some serious green spaces. Spread over 14 islands, some have more green space than others, but when you fly into the airport, you’ll instantly see what I’m talking about!
Stockholm has regular city-like parks with fountains, some gardens, walking paths and such which make for a quick break from walking the streets in search of the next museum or perfect photo. Though I would need to live there for a while to explore every nook and cranny, I’d love to share my favorite area. It’s on the island of Djurgården. While this island has some of the most famous museums like the Vasa Museum and the ABBA Museum, it also has an amazing green space called Waldemarsudde that brought us to tears. I’m not even exaggerating here. Standing on rocks by the water with a park behind us and an incredible view in front of us with a marina and other islands, it felt like the perfect moment.
Being in nature brings calmness. There’s just something about it that more people should experience more often. I’m trying to head to the park or the forest more often, and maybe it’s something you’d like to do too!
It’s a perfect city for strolling
This is such a walkable city with something to discover around each corner. I’m a sucker for a cute street — interesting doors, old-timey signs, and some surprising views can all be found down cute streets! And those are the best places to find some local restaurants too, so don’t be scared to explore a bit.
Larger and more populated areas can be awesome too. They can come with great shopping, large parks, and restaurants made for people watching. There are so many possibilities…and so many islands to stroll around to discover your spot in Stockholm.
There is water everywhere
Ohhh! I love being near the water. Like the green areas, it’s calming for me. And with boats coming and going, or people swimming, there’s usually something to keep my attention. But even if it’s just the natural scenery and the sound of the waves, I’m in my happy place.
People on boats look so happy! There are a lot of different ways to get on the water. There are ferries that can go really far out from the main city, tour boats that meander around Stockholm or through the Archipelago, and shuttles as part of the 24-hour bus + boat passes. If you grab the Stockholm Pass, available in 1, 2, 3, or 5 days increments, you get a bunch of options to get on the water included in the pass. We did the Archipelago Boat Tour and were in awe of how beautiful it was and how idyllic life seems to those living on the islands. With their stunning homes, boats parked out front with a dock that kids were jumping into the water from, and what we assume was a sauna with steps right down to the water, it seemed like the definition of perfection…at least in the summer!
Stockholm is very clean
Clean cities are something I appreciate. I just like it when there isn’t trash everywhere, graffiti all over every wall, and buildings and public spaces looking taken care of. It makes for a pleasant experience and great photos! This isn’t possible everywhere, but it’s just something I noticed while in Stockholm.
With old cities, it’s nice to see as much of the original city as possible. Of course, cars ruin that more than anything, but the kind of trash we have today and graffiti as it is today just wasn’t there one-, two-, or three-hundred years ago and changes the image. I like to imagine how it was then and how it is now.
30,000 islands. Need I say more?
Yes? Ok, well the Swedes that have a little extra cash used to have their summer homes on these islands. Pretty sure people live on some of these islands all year now. It’s easy to see why — it’s absolutely stunning. As in, it’s unfair that so few people see this area but it also helps keep it as pristine as possible.
Take a cruise around, take a ferry to an island, take a tour. However you do you, make sure you see this part of the Earth. There’s no way you’ll regret it. In fact, you can come back here and tell me how much you loved it and share your pictures with me because I can’t get enough either!
Public transit is simple to use
Easy peasy. Bus, tram, metro, boat. That’s all you need aside from your own two feet. Some are even crazy fun and cool to explore. The photo above is INSIDE a metro station!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget you’re on an island because everything is so well connected. I’m a big fan of grabbing a transit pass that’s valid for as long as you might need it. It’s a bit pricey but saves a lot of piece of mind when you’re not trying to figure out how much cash you need to get on a bus or if you need a ticket ahead of time.
As a bonus, some of the metro stations are way down underground and look like caves. Some have amazing artwork inside just like above. Ashlea from A Globe Well Travelled has an awesome post on how to visit all the coolest metro artwork with just one ticket for the metro. I’ve only seen a few, but they are an experience in themselves. Definitely worth the time!
While buildings throughout Stockholm have a similar color scheme, the buildings still feel colorful and vibrant with their oranges and yellows. Sometimes it feels like walking through a story about old Sweden as I look up at the old buildings with their unique doors and their old windows. From afar, a block of houses could easily be seen as little homes you put with your train set under the Christmas Tree. There’s just something so special about their appearance.
Even looking down at the buildings from a roof tour (super cool thing to do!), every building seems to fit perfectly with its surroundings. They are purpose-built, not meant to be pretty, but somehow seem to charm all the visitors as we daydream about old Stockholm.
The vibe is good. It’s one of the reasons I love Stockholm. Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world and it shows! You won’t see people arguing and you won’t see pushy people. What you’ll experience are people just living their lives, going to and fro and maybe enjoying an evening out. Might sound boring, but this might also involve a stroll through the park, a bike ride, a boat ride, or a drink on a terrace.
It’s hard to really pinpoint why it’s so pleasant, but it’s just a feeling. That feeling of pure happiness when you don’t know why. Have you had that feeling before? I don’t have a lot of complaints, but I can’t say I often feel that pure happiness with nothing else is hanging on my mind. In Stockholm, though, I would just smile for no reason. And this was every day. If you explore this city for no other reason, do it for the smiles!
It’s hilly, it’s green, it’s islands, it’s water, it’s so many things at once! Looking at Stockholm you might think that it was made so everyone would be happy. There are high points to view the city, a theme park, and there’s the water where you just look up at everything. The personality of this city is so strong and so diverse that it just draws you in as though you need to be a part of it.
No matter what point of view you are looking for, you can have it easily. Find the highest bar, the most wooded area, the most remote island and snap a picture that’s uniquely yours. The photo ops are literally endless! I’d love to see your photos! If you have a website or Flickr, leave a link below so I can see one of my favorite cities through your eyes.
It’s easy to find your own corner
As I mentioned, I found my happy place on Djurgården, but with the variety of islands and neighborhoods, it’s easy to find your own corner of Stockholm. I like peaceful places where I can be alone with my thoughts…even if they are empty as I watch over the water. But I also fell for Gamla Stan, the old town and super charming part of the city and home to Barrels: Burgers, and Beer.
What would your happy place or favorite corner of Stockholm look like? A market with food surrounding you on every side? Maybe a picnic spot in a wooded area overlooking the water? Or the park in the middle of the buzz of the city so you can get anywhere super quick? We’d love to know!
We visited in July and the weather was pretty great. It did rain just a bit, but nothing too bad and the crowds weren’t bad either. Stockholm is a very enjoyable city that we truly hope you have the ability to visit because it really kept us smiling and that’s what we wish for you!
Until next time, enjoy life and have fun!