There are so many things to do in Stockholm in winter, that it’s hard to choose the best ones. I struggled with this when I visited the first time. That’s why, I prepared for you the ultimate list of all the Stockholm winter attractions with ratings and opening hours, together with the best places to eat in Stockholm in winter and where to stay, that allow you to really make the most of your visit to the capital of Sweden. I loved it and I’m certain so will you. Check it out!
Is Stockholm worth visiting in winter?
After living for over five years in Scandinavia, I visited all the Scandinavian capitals in winter.
Oslo in winter is always magical, Copenhagen in winter was also great, and then I went to see Stockholm in winter, with all the Christmas decorations. I spent 3 days in Stockholm during winter, and I tried some of the best attractions the capital of Sweden has to offer, and I share them with you below.
To top it off, I also traveled to Helsinki in winter, even though it’s technically not Scandinavia, but part of the Nordics. I somehow enjoy visiting cities in the northern hemisphere in winter, since I also went to Bergen in winter, and visited winter in Tromso. There must be something magical in the winter atmosphere in the northern countries.
I regularly visit Sweden, since the border is just a stone’s throw from Oslo, where I live. Stockholm, and also Gothenburg, are two very popular cities amongst Norwegians, and foreigners living in Norway.
Sweden is cheaper (especially the alcohol!), and apart from shopping trips, it has a lot to offer. The capital of Sweden is perfect for a short, weekend trip, for a few days filled with fun, pretty architecture, and some meatballs.
So what there is to do in Stockholm in winter? Let’s go for a tour of Sweden’s capital in the colder time of the year.
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How cold is Stockholm in winter? Stockholm winter temperature and the weather
Stockholm can get cold in winter, but it’s nothing that warm clothes (I have the best list for the clothes I use in Norway in winter here) and frequent coffee breaks (fika) cannot fix.
Winter temperatures in Stockholm typically range from around -5 to 5 degrees Celsius (23 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit) from December to February. At some times, they can drop even lower than this, especially at night. However, they rarely go to those extremes. I visited in December, and the weather was quite pleasant (but I might be accustomed to the cold since I live in Scandinavia!).
You can sometimes see snow on the streets of Stockholm in the winter, but it’s hit or miss. I always think it’s better to be prepared for everything – cold, snow, sun, and also rain (which reminds me a bit of Bergen in winter).
Stockholm in winter daylight hours and the darkness
Is Stockholm dark in winter? Yep, the whole of Scandinavia experiences short daylight hours. But it doesn’t mean that it’s dark the whole day (that would be the Northern parts of Sweden or Norway like Tromso).
Stockholm is similar to Copenhagen in winter. Days are shorter in December but get longer by February. That means that the daylight increases from six hours at the end of the year, to seven and a half in January, and nine in February. In March there are twelve hours of daylight!
This quick transition from darkness to light is my favorite part of getting out of winter in Scandinavia.
But even if you visit Stockholm in December, the darkness won’t matter that much. The whole of the city is lit up by the Christmas decorations and if the snow falls, it also brightens the landscape. So don’t worry and visit Stockholm in winter 🙂
How to get to Stockholm in winter
Save money in Stockholm
My favorite way to save money when visiting Stockholm is to get the Stockholm Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 45+ Attractions. All of the major Scandinavian cities have these passes, and it’s such a great help when you want to travel a little bit more on a budget (let’s be honest, Sweden and Scandinavia is expensive).
The pass gives you access to more than 45 attractions and tours in the city, which gives you up to 55% savings compared to buying individual tickets. You can choose a single 1-, 2-, 3-, or 5-day pass. Check it out here.
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN STOCKHOLM IN WINTER
I split up the list of the best activities in Stockholm in winter into two parts: the ones that are outdoors and also the indoor ones. I think it’s very useful, especially if the weather turns, or if you feel like you want to warm up after a long day spent outdoors.
What do in Stockholm in winter outdoors
When the weather is nice, I recommend you explore Stockholm’s attractions that are outside. There are also many free things to do in Stockholm in winter, which is great, and all of them give you a perfect taste of the city. Stockholm has a lot of viewpoints, street art, picturesque old town, and more to choose from.
#1 Visit Stockholm Christmas markets
What is better than exploring Christmas markets in Scandinavia in winter? I can certainly say, that every year I admire Christmas markets in Oslo, and when I travel abroad, I always compare them to the other ones.
Visiting Christmas markets is one of the best things to do in Stockholm in December, for sure!
I must admit that I really liked the Christmas markets in Stockholm, especially the ones in the main square Stortorget.
Other Christmas markets include one at Skansen, an open-air museum, and Christmas Market at Drottningholm Palace.
The markets offer traditional Swedish foods, crafts, and decorations, and are a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
Make sure to try a cup of warm glögg (local mulled wine), and other Swedish delicacies. It’s also a great place for souvenirs and any Christmas gifts.
#2 Walk around the Gamla Stan (Old Town)
The Old Town is one of Stockholm’s most charming neighborhoods. You can get lost in the narrow cobblestone streets, admiring the colorful buildings, and historic sights.
In winter, Gamla Stan hosts a Christmas Market, and the cozy cafes are inviting for a warm cup of coffee and Swedish fika. Places to see in the old town are the main square (Stortorget) and the Royal Palace.
The Old Town is open all year at any time of day. You can also take an Old Town walking tour with a knowledgeable guide.
#3 Ice skate on Kungsträdgården
Ice skating is my favorite winter activity, I do it all the time in Norway.
One of the most popular places for ice skating in Stockholm is in one of the main parks, Kungsträdgården. There are also cafes and food places to warm up after the cold. The ice rink is open from December to February and is free to use, with skate rental available for a small fee. Even if you don’t skate, you can watch when someone else plays small ice hockey game.
Moreover, you can even try skating on natural ice outdoors (if conditions allow). This natural ice skating tour allows you to do that safely. You need local knowledge and safety equipment. This would be one of my top things to do in Stockholm in January since that’s usually when the conditions are the best.
It’s one of my all-time favorites to do in Scandinavia in winter. Every year I ice skate on the fjords and lakes in Oslo (I know the area very well and I have the safety equipment), so I can recommend you to try it at least once if you have a chance!
#4 Visit Open Air Museum – Skansen
When the weather is nice, take a walk around the open-air museum – the Skansen.
Did you know that it’s the world’s oldest open-air museum? It’s a perfect place to experience Swedish culture and nature.
You can walk around the traditional houses, and join many of the activities that are organized daily. It’s also a perfect place to take kids, with many special adventures just for them.
#5 Take a winter boat tour
One of my favorite ways of experiencing a new city, which is located by the waterfront, is to see it from the water! Stockholm is spread around an island archipelago, with 14 little islands that are part of the city.
To make the most of it, you can opt for a city archipelago sightseeing tour with a guide, or a special winter tour of Stockholm by boat. Next time, I’m in Stockholm I’m planning to try this Under the Bridges Boat Tour, it seems like a lot of fun.
#7 Ski at a Hammarbybacken ski resort located in the middle of Stockholm
How fun is it to ski in a proper ski resort inside of the city? Hammarbybacken ski resort is just that – a skiing fun in the middle of the Sweden’s capital. We have a similar option in Oslo, which is super popular in winter.
#8 Look out for the best view of the city from many viewpoints
Even though Stockholm doesn’t have a lot of tall hills, it still has quite a few nice lookout points. Grab your camera or your phone and check them out. Some of my favorite ones, that I went to are:
- Skinnarviksberget, a park that is a popular spot for locals to have a picnic, has great views toward the Old Town
- Monteliusvägen, which is a walking path with a view of the city hall across the water;
- Skyview is a Stockholm attraction that takes you with a gondola to the top of the world’s largest spherical building, the Avicii Arena. Buy tickets here.
- The City Hall tower – is open only in the summer months.
- Fjällgatan – a historic neighborhood with fantastic city views.
- Stockholm also has several rooftop bars with great city views. One of my favorites is The Nest Cocktail Lounge, a part of the Downtown Camper hotel by Scandic. The bar is open to everyone, you don’t need to be a guest. It even has an infinity rooftop pool (for an extra charge).
#9 Admire local street art
I was really surprised by how much street art Stockholm has! I love discovering amazing street art around the world, for example in Brick Lane in London, so it was great to see so much of it in Stockholm, too.
You will find it in many locations walking around the city. However, the best places to find them are the Kungsträdgården, Kronobergsgatan, Fiskargatan, Snösätra Graffiti Park, Luthens Gränd, and Frihamnsgatan.
There, you can see many walls covered with art, and you can usually meet artists working on their pieces.
#10 Take a walk on Djurgården
There are many walking paths through the park and forest with lakes, that are frozen in winter. You can also walk there by the waterfront admiring the views across the water. Djurgården is open year-round and can be visited any time of day.
#11 Visit the Amusement park
Gröna Lund amusement park in Stockholm offers many thrilling rides in the city center. Unfortunately, for most of the winter, the amusement park is closed, but they usually open at the end of February. So if you are there at that time, you might be able to visit it inside.
#12 Walk on the narrowest street in Stockholm
Mårten Trotzigs gränd is a small alley in Gamla stan, the old town of Stockholm, that is just over 60 cm wide. You cannot fit more than one person there! It’s fun to see when you’re around.
#13 Check out the Skogskyrkogården UNESCO World Heritage Site
Skogskyrkogården is a Stockholm cemetery, which is a part of UNESCO. It was created between 1917 and 1920 by two young architects, Asplund and Lewerentz, and blends together nature with architecture.
It’s a fascinating place, that invites you to reflect and slow down. I can highly recommend visiting it!
Things to do in Stockholm in winter that are indoors
#14 Try the famous Fika
Have you ever heard of “fika” before?
Fika is a Swedish concept and is often translated as “a coffee and cake break”, however, it’s much more than that. It’s an important part of Swedish culture, that shows their attitude and state of mind. Many Swedes make sure to make time for fike in their busy schedule every single day.
You can experience fika for yourself by visiting one of the many cafes in Stockholm, where you can get coffee (or tea), and something small to eat, while enjoying the moment. Observe Swedes around you having their fika and embrace this simple concept.
There are many cafes in Stockholm to choose from, for example, Vete-Katten, a charming cafe and bakery in the heart of Stockholm that’s been open since the 1920s. The cafe is open daily from 7:30 am to 8 pm and is located at Kungsgatan 55.
#15 Check out the Vasa Museum
The Vasa Museum is one of Stockholm’s top attractions, and there is a good reason for that. The main feature of the museum is a 17th-century warship, which is very well-preserved.
The museum is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and is located at Galärvarvsvägen 14.
#16 Warm up in the sauna
There is nothing better to warm up after a walk on a cold day than a steaming sauna. Even though it’s originally a Finnish tradition (many saunas in Helsinki in winter!), it’s also widespread throughout Scandinavia.
The best sauna in Stockholm is located in Centralbadet (Central Bath). It’s a historic bathhouse and spa that’s been open since the early 1900s. You can book a sauna, a massage, or a plunge into the heated pool.
Stockholm also has several hostels and hotels that include saunas, for example. City Backpackers Hostel.
#17 Check out the ABBA Museum
I don’t think there is a person alive who doesn’t know who ABBA is. A Swedish supergroup formed in Stockholm in 1972, is super famous not only in Sweden but worldwide.
In the ABBA Museum, you can learn more about their history and transfer back to your favorite songs by the group. Mamma Mia, here I go again…
#18 Go on a food tour – Check Sweden’s winter recipes
For me, there is nothing better than exploring the country’s culture through its food. I feel like then you can really learn a lot, and also eat tons of good and interesting food.
If you have time, I would recommend you to take a food tour in Stockholm to really get to know the best food places and learn the Swedish food staples, such as Köttbullar – meatballs. This tour takes you to the best food markets and eating places.
I’ve done that many times in different cities, for example, Vilnius, and I loved it every time. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time for that in Stockholm, but it’s going to be my first activity when I go back there!
#20 Meatballs for the people
Speaking of meatballs… One of the most famous meatball places in Stockholm (look at this queue! we waited for 30 minutes…) is the restaurant Meatballs for the people.
There, you have a choice of many different types of meatballs with sides. They even have meatballs made out of wild boar or bear (!). Pair it with delicious locally brewed beer and you have the most local meal.
But don’t worry, they also serve vegetarian options, or other meals, if not all of your party wants to go for the meatballs.
#21 Visit the Fotografiska museum
The Fotografiska Museum is a contemporary photography place, but as they say, “neither a traditional museum nor gallery” with work by world-renowned photographers. For me, as a photographer myself (have you seen my photo prints yet?:)), it was high on the list of places to visit in Stockholm.
The building that the museum is in, is worth visiting on its own as it’s an Art Nouveau building and offers great views of the city’s waterfront. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 11 pm and is located at Stadsgårdshamnen 22.
#22 Explore the Stockholm metro stations art gallery
Some people use the metro (underground or the tube) for transport, and some, for admiring art. You can do both!
Stockholm’s metro stations have some interesting art pieces in them, so when you plan to take a tube, make sure to look out for them.
#23 Visit the Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is the official residence of the Swedish monarch His Majesty The King. It’s also one of Europe’s largest palaces.
The palace has over 600 rooms and is home to several museums and exhibitions, including the Treasury and the Royal Armory.
In winter, the palace is decorated with holiday lights and decorations, making it a magical place to visit. The Palace is open to the public year-round daily from 10 am to 4 pm and is located at Slottsbacken 1.
#24 Pay a visit to the Nordic Museum, Viking museum, Spirit Museum, you name it
There is no shortage of museums in Stockholm. That’s for sure. So, if you ever feel cold, or in a need of learning something new, you can choose one of them to visit. When you have a Stockholm Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 45+ Attractions, many of them will be free for you, so why not?
#25 See a show at the Royal Dramatic Theatre
When you feel the need of bringing up your cultural side, go for a show at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. This is one of Sweden’s most prestigious theaters, with a history dating back to the 1700s.
It offers a variety of shows, including plays, musicals, and operas, with performances in Swedish and English. In winter, the theater is a cozy and intimate venue, with warm interiors and festive decorations. The theater is located at Nybroplan and offers performances daily.
Where to stay in Stockholm in winter
When you come to Stockholm in winter, you for sure want a cozy and warm place to stay. Luckily there is plenty of hotels in Stockholm to choose from. I grouped the best ones below according to the budget category.
Budget hotels and hostels in Stockholm
- Generator Stockholm – a hostel with a great central location, it offers both dormitory-style and private rooms at an affordable price. You can find there a bar, lounge area, and shared kitchen. Prices start at around 200 SEK ($20) per night. Check availability and price here.
- City Backpackers Hostel – One of the most popular hostels in central Stockholm. It has nice clean rooms, and a big selection of amenities, including a sauna. Prices start at around 250 SEK ($25) per night. Check availability and price here.
- Castanea Old Town Hostel: Hostel is located in the famous Stockholm Old Town. It offers private and shared rooms. You can also have access kitchen and lounge area. Prices start at around 250 SEK ($25) per night. Check availability and price here.
Mid-range hotels in Stockholm
- Scandic Malmen – Located in the trendy Södermalm neighborhood, this hotel offers stylish rooms with comfortable beds. It also has a popular restaurant and bar. Prices start at around $100 per night. Check availability and price here.
- Hotel Hellsten – This boutique hotel is located in a charming 19th-century building in the Östermalm neighborhood. The rooms are individually decorated with a mix of antique and modern furnishings. Prices start at around $120 per night. Check availability and price here.
- Haymarket by Scandic – This historic hotel is located in the vibrant neighborhood of Norrmalm, which gives you easy access to shopping, dining, and nightlife. The hotel features a glamorous Art Deco design, with stylish rooms and a popular restaurant and bar for this cheeky drink in the evening. Prices start at around 1,200 SEK per night. Check availability and price here.
Luxury hotels in Stockholm
- Grand Hotel Stockholm – A famous hotel, located in the heart of the city. It offers luxurious rooms and suites with great waterfront views. The hotel also features several restaurants and bars, as well as a spa and fitness center. Prices start at around 3,000 SEK ($400) per night. Check availability and price here.
- Nobis Hotel – located in a historic building in central Stockholm, this beautiful hotel offers spacious rooms with luxurious amenities and is within walking distance of many of the city’s top attractions. Prices start at around $250 per night. Check availability and price here.
What to wear in Stockholm in winter
The most important thing to pack for Stockholm in winter is warm clothes. You can find a lot of inspiration in my post about Norway winter clothing post, where I describe each item that will be also useful for the trip to Stockholm. Here are some of the basics:
- Thermal underwear like merino wool tops and merino wool bottoms.
- Mid-layer – fleece or woolen sweater
- Top layer – Parka jackets or Windproof and waterproof outer shell jackets.
- Warm hat covering ears – a woolen hat or a hat with fleece lining is the best for the weather in the Nordics in winter.
- Additional batteries + chargers
- A scarf
- Gloves – I usually have thin thermal glove liners that I put underneath the bigger woolen mittens.
- Wool socks – I prefer merino wool, so they are not itchy, keep me warm or cool me down when needed. Here are similar ones to the ones I have.
- Reflective bands
- Power bank
- Flask to carry around warm tea or coffee. You can find tons of colors of flasks here.
- Don’t forget good travel insurance!
Have you been to Stockholm in winter before? Let me know in the comments!
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