Top 10 historic things to do in Stockholm

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Get a taste for historic Stockholm with murder at the opera, an Art Nouveau spa and a centuries-old inn. Book a Stockholm hotel and dive into the city’s glorious past.

Views from the Katarinahissen lift

The Katarinahissen lift has been taking people up from Slussen to the Katarinaberget district on Södermalm since 1883. The views are even better with a drink in hand at Eriks Gondolen, the restaurant and bar at the top.

Stadsgården 6, Södermalm, 104 65

Sailor’s ghosts at the Vasa Museum

Even bored teenagers have a sharp intake of breath walking into this darkened museum. The Vasa, the seemingly invincible, richly decorated pride of the Swedish navy, sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. A film show takes you through its recovery and room settings give an idea of the lives of long-dead sailors. The star, the reconstructed Vasa, sits in its shadowy home, maintaining a dignified remoteness.

Galärvarvet, Djurgården, 102 52

Centuries of dining at Den Gyldene Freden

You’re in good company in this three-storey 18th-century inn. The Swedish Academy, the august body that nominates the winner of the annual Nobel Prize for Literature, meets here every Thursday. The wooden floors slope and the candles flicker but the restaurant has a growing reputation for its modern take on traditional Swedish cooking.

Österlanggatan 51, Gamla Stan, 103 17

Nordic dolls’ houses at the Nordiska museet

Children love the miniature reproductions of life from the 17th century through to today in elaborately furnished dolls’ houses. Adults are equally captivated by the table settings, state bedchambers, folk art and textiles in this gigantic toybox of a museum.

Djurgårdsvagen 6-16, Djurgården, 115 93

The Hallwylska Museum

A costumed guide leads the way through the a palace overflowing with 17th-century Flemish paintings, 500 years’ worth of silverware and humble umbrellas and pots and pans. Every item was catalogued by the excessively wealthy obsessive, Countess Hallwylska. Her extraordinary stately home remains just as she left it on her death in 1930.

Hamngatan 4, Östermalm, 111 47

Art Nouveau at Centralbadet

Indoor swimming doesn’t get much grander than in the Art Nouveau Centralbadet spa of 1904. Afterwards, relax over a coffee in the peaceful outdoor garden beside the ornamental pool and fountain.

Drottninggatan 88, Norrmalm, 111 36

Vintage tram to Djurgården

Hop on a restored Number 7 vintage tram to leafy Djurgården. Trams run regularly in the summer from Norrmalmstorg and back. There’s even a café tram for coffee on the go.

Norrmalmstorg, Norrmalm 

Murder at the Opera

Opera and ballet lovers flock to Stockholm’s Opera House during the season for the Royal Ballet and Opera. During the summer break, it’s the turn of the guides to entertain with stories like the assassination of King Gustav III at a masked ball in 1792. It inspired Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera

Gustav Adolfs Torg, Norrmalm, 103 22 

The royal country home

Take the hour-long boat ride to Drottningholm Palace to see why the royal family prefers to live here. The waterside estate has a palace full of lavish galleries, Rococco gardens, a rolling English-style park and a Chinese pavilion. Spend a magical summer evening at the baroque theatre. It still uses the original wooden stage machinery. 


Jazz at the Glenn Miller Café

This small, invariably crowded venue with its faded black-and-white photographs feels more 1930s than 21st century. There’s no entrance fee - just drop some cash into the basket as it’s handed round. 

Brunnsgatan 21A, Norrmalm, 111 38