Stockholm is a jewel of not only Sweden but among all of Europe’s cities. Its natural beauty, history and fascinating culture make it a great family destination. Let this real itinerary from an actual family serve as a guide as you see what they did and what worked for them when experiencing Stockholm with children.
The type of vacation we typically choose is luxury. For our activities, we like luxury and often stay at the finest hotels, but we are also adventurous and love off the beaten path types of experiences and always seek them out. We aren’t bothered by very “local” experiences anywhere and think these are very important to our vacation. We love adventure. We also like a mixture of regular, touristic and organized places. We enjoy hiking and outdoorsy activities. We enjoy museums, markets and other activities geared towards children. We like to maximize each day by seeing as much as possible.
Our children at the time of this itinerary: 6 children- Boy age 15, Girl age 15, Girl age 15, Girl age 11, Boy age 8 and Girl age 3.
Description: Some say that this is a hip area of Stockholm. This area lies in the Sodermalm neighborhood south of Folkungagatan, affectionately known as SoFo. There are independent and often eccentric cafes and sweet shops with gourmet creations.
Our Experience: After a few days heavy on touring and information we decided to take it easier on this day in Stockholm, with more of a focus on leisurely exploring and some shopping. Unfortunately this area (which had been recommended to us) was a bust. None of us found anything particularly great about it and while guidebooks lauded it as highly interesting, we would not recommend it.
Address: Slottsbacken 3, 111 30 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: +46 8 402 30 30
Hours: Daily from 10AM – 6PM in the peak season (July – August 15), slightly shortened hours in other months
Admission: 90 SEK for adults (Approx $13.50 as of the date of this article) Children under 19 are free.
Description: There is a lot to take in at the oldest museum in Sweden. Located in the cellars of the royal palace, this site serves as an archive of Swedish royalty from the 15th Century on through the present day. The collection is not huge, but it is varied and steeped in history. The array of clothing, armor, carriages and artifacts come from some of the country’s greatest monarchs and will be sure to delight the entire family. From blood-stained armor worn in great battles to the elaborately adorned clothing of royal children; there is something for every pace here. The collection also includes movie costumes and a children’s playroom with outfits to engage the younger ones in your group. From the bloody to the beautiful this museum won’t eat up too much of your day, yet has so much to offer.
Our Experience: This was a nice “lighter” museum as it is small in size and not too overwhelming. We were able to see a great deal without feeling rushed or pressured because we might miss something. Everyone, young and old, enjoyed this and would encourage others to check it out.
Description: Hotorget is a city square located in central Stockholm. Known as “haymarket” this square is famous for its outdoor food market featuring foods ranging from Swedish staples to local delicacies and some foreign favorites. The square is bordered by the Royal Concert Hall (where Nobel prizes are awarded) and the PUB department store. Think “fresh produce meets trinkets and flea market goods.” It has the old world vibe as merchants hawk their wares so be aware that it can get a bit crowded and noisy if you are travelling with very small children.
Our Experience: We thought this market was quite weak. We have seen much better in terms of outdoor markets. It was mostly fruit and vegetables which weren’t of much interest on a foreign day trip. There was a little other shopping to be done there but not a lot. The consensus was: no big deal. Only include if you have a lot of extra time.
Address: Drottninggatan, 111 36 Stockholm, Sweden
Description: Drottninggatan is a pedestrian street in Stockholm lined with numerous shops and cafes. The car-free atmosphere makes it a relaxing destination to pick up a souvenir or mix with the people. It was cordoned off in the 1630’s as one of the first major developments in the city planning of Stockholm. It was originally named Stora Kungsgatan (“Great King’s Street”) and was later renamed as Drottninggatan in honour of Queen Christina, who ruled from 1632 to 1654. The playwright August Strindberg lived on this street and his former residence is now a museum in his honor. Among the famous shops on the street is the Åhléns City department store.
Our Experience: The kids really enjoyed this area while the adults enjoyed it less. There will always be stops like this. The adults felt the shopping and atmosphere was uninteresting while it held more excitement for the younger ones. The kids also felt the arrows were cool and worth mentioning.
Description: Stockholm’s Gamla Stan, or “Old Town”, is a neighborhood steeped in history and culture. It is the oldest part of the city and contains a great number of places of interest, great examples of classic architecture and a true mélange of urban features. Walk the quaint cobblestone streets and feel like you are stepping back in time. No visit to this area would be complete without exploring Prästgatan Lane. Historically the home of priests and parsons, this fascinating street is also home to a mysterious runestone thought to date back to the year 1000. In Gamla Stan you can find the Stockholm Stock Exchange, Cathedral (Storkyrkan) and the square which was the site of the Stockholm Bloodbath to name just a few highlights. It also has its fair share of shops and souvenir stands these days. Take a self-guided walking tour to make sure you don’t miss a single building.
Our Experience: Even though we had been here the day before, we felt it was worth going back to explore further. It was that interesting for us. We weren’t disappointed and felt it was a worthwhile use of the day even the second time around. We really enjoyed wandering and found it was interesting enough to engage the entire family even without much of a “plan.”
We were told that taxis in Stockholm are a tricky business. Apparently they can charge whatever they want. We were told this by our driver in Helsinki and again in Copenhagen.
While what they told us very well may be true, we had a very good experience with our driver who picked us up at Skansen. We hired him again the next day. He isn’t in Stockholm all the time but here is his information as we would recommend him to other families:
Nima Jaiwad Lazim