My Sensational Visit to Stockholm, Sweden
My first thoughts seeing Stockholm, Sweden’s boat-filled harbor framed by stunning architecture, was that this is a city I would really like to get to know. Wow! It is spectacular! I always love going to new countries but Sweden is exceptionally gorgeous and interesting.
It comes as no surprise that Stockholm is Europe’s cultural and green capital. Sophistication and style exude from this metropolitan gem which makes up one fifth of Sweden’s population.
For our cruise day in Stockholm, my friend and I chose to do the Ice Bar and Old Town, a three-hour excursion with Norwegian Cruise line. We also hailed a taxi to take us to see the ABBA museum.
Can’t Miss ABBA Attraction
The ABBA Museum is located on the island of Djurgarden, commonly referred to as “the animal garden”. It is one of Stockholm’s fourteen islands. Due to the language barrier and dialect, the cab driver was confused so we ended up at the VASA Museum, which is the most popular museum in Stockholm. After paying admission and seeing a Viking ship in the entrance, we knew we were at the wrong place. The staff was kind enough to refund our money so we set out on foot to the Abba Museum, a short distance away.
The ABBA museum first opened in 2013 and is a savvy fan museum for the over forty crowd. At this interactive museum, feel free to dance and sing in a hologram alongside ABBA, see the Polar Studio where their music was mixed, view funky stage costumes and gold records, plus dance on the flashing floor. The displays are fun, informative, and plentiful.
We only had about an hour to explore so we quickly breezed through, bought souvenirs, then headed back to the ship. NOTE: Make sure you know the exact location of your cruise ship port because there are two. Ours was the Frihamnen port, used for larger ships, and fifteen minutes or so from downtown.
Discovering Gamla Stan
Our cruise lines tour brought us by bus to Gamla Stan, the bustling downtown or Old Town. The bus parked near the Svenska Academy (the Nobel Museum) to start our walking tour.
Fashioned after a Mediterranean village, Old Town is etched with winding corridors, arm-width alleys, and cobblestone walks. My friend and I stayed with the group for a short time but were unable to hear what the leader was saying due to the size of the group and lack of microphone/audio equipment. We split off on our own, browsed in some boutiques, and ate lunch in Under-Kastanien. Our delicious meal consisted of Swedish Meatballs served with mashed potatoes and tart lingonberries.
Before leaving Old Town, be sure to drop some coins or candies off at Iron Boy, the city’s smallest statue standing 5.9 inches. Rub his head for good luck. The secluded location is hard to find but look for the Finnish Church.
On the hilltop in Old Town, is the Swedish Royal Family’s 18th-century, 600-room palace and private residence. If you are there at noon, you can see the changing of the guard, sometimes on horseback.
If shopping is your desire, numerous interesting shops and boutiques are throughout the streets of Old Town. Vasterlanggatan is the main tourist shopping street, but may not offer the best quality items.
Visiting an Ice Hotel
To conclude our Stockholm, Sweden tour, we stopped at the Nordic C Hotel, home to the first permanent ice structure, IceBay by IceHotel. We were split into groups, fitted with heavy capes and mittens, and brought into the minus five-degree Celsius ice experience.
The relatively small bar contained ice sculptures, ice benches, and tables for sitting. We were entertained by the colorful flashing lights pulsating to loud techno music. This extremely popular tour included an Absolut Vodka drink or a non-alcoholic version, both of which were served in an ice glass. Refills were available for purchase.
Twenty minutes were given to use at our leisure. At the Icebar’s exit is a small, but pricey souvenir shop. The experience is definitely touristy but I am glad I got to do it.
A Fun-Filled Day
Stockholm, Sweden was founded in 1252. It is now a trendy metropolitan city. The waterfront is filled with photogenic architecture, both old and new, and plenty of vessels such as sailboats, yachts, and ships.
Being a “green” city, an Eco-park runs six miles runs along the downtown business district. I found Stortorget Square to be the greatest view for old, beautiful buildings. This is a Baltic capital city that will be fun for everyone.
FYI: In 1628, the VASA warship set sail on its maiden voyage and sank in the Stockholm harbor.
FYI: Sweden’s currency is the Swedish krona, SEK. We brought kronas with us and used them to purchase souvenirs and lunch. Some establishments did not take cash or Euros.
Tip: If going into Old Town, wear appropriate shoes for the cobblestone streets.
Stockholm, Sweden Photo Gallery
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Read about the other ports on this Baltic Capitals itinerary at:
- Tallinn, Estonia
- St. Petersburg, Russia
- Pushkin, Russia
- Helsinki, Finland
- Berlin, Germany
- Norwegian Star
- Copenhagen, Denmark