Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a beautiful city which probably does not get near the recognition it deserves. Spend a few days in Stockholm and you’ll experience all the culture, food, and history that makes this Scandinavian capital an absolute must when visiting Europe.
Another great thing about Stockholm is that you’re not restricted to just seeing the city, you have plenty of destinations in this part of Sweden which are perfect for day trips. Maybe you want to visit another historic city, or islands in the expansive Stockholm archipelago. To help you decide, we’ve put together a list of the best day trips from Stockholm, each of which is definitely among the best places to visit in Sweden. So what are you waiting for?
Just to the north of the Swedish capital, the university city of Uppsala is one of the easiest and most popular Stockholm day trips. That’s likely thanks to its relaxed atmosphere and important collection of historical and cultural landmarks. Begin your visit with the Uppsala Cathedral, a huge Gothic landmark where the royal tombs are found. Next, you have your choice of museums with either the University’s Gustavianum and its historical artifacts, or the several museums inside the rebuilt Uppsala Castle. Close by you’ll find Uppsala University’s classic Botanical Garden. Later, head out north of the city to the Gamla Uppsala archaeological site, full of Norse and Viking burial sites, and home to the Gamla Uppsala Museum.
Getting there: In terms of easy train trips from Stockholm, Uppsala is at the top of the list. You can reach the city in just 45 minutes from Stockholm, with frequent connections. If you want to combine Uppsala with other important Viking spots, you may want to take a guided tour instead.
2. Drottningholm Palace
If you have any interest in palaces and Sweden’s Royal Family, you’ll want to make the short trip from Stockholm to visit Drottningholm Palace. Located on the island of Lovön in Lake Mälaren, this magnificent palace is one of the country’s royal residences. Because of its cultural and historical significance, the 17th-century building was Sweden’s first UNESCO world heritage site. While parts of the palace where the royal family reside are off-limits, it’s possible for visitors to tour through much of the palace and see the extravagant salons and famous Palace Theatre. Afterwards, you’ll want to take a walk through the lovely baroque gardens of Drottningholm Palace and see the striking Chinese Pavilion.
Getting there: To make the 30 minute trip to Drottningholm Palace, first take the metro to Brommaplan T-bana, then switch to a local bus for the final bit. The other approach to visiting the palace is to hop aboard one of the 1 hour boat trips run by Strömma.
One of the most common day tours from Stockholm is to the ancient town of Sigtuna. Begin your visit by walking down the Stora Gatan, a street that is said to be the oldest main street in the oldest town of Sweden, and is full of wooden shops and restaurants. There’s also a lot of medieval history to be explored in Sigtuna, from the stone ruins of several churches to the fantastic Sigtuna Museum. While there are many rune stones scattered around the town, the museum includes several important Christian rune stones among its medieval artifacts.
Getting there: To reach Sigtuna from Stockholm, first take a train to Märsta station and then one of the frequent buses across to Sigtuna. The trip should take around 1 hour 15 minutes total. Otherwise, it’s possible to experience Sigtuna with a guided tour which will give you the full breakdown on the town’s importance.
The islands of Fjäderholmarna are the perfect destination when you only want to make a quick day trip from Stockholm. A local getaway for the people of Stockholm, Fjäderholmarna is in the nearest part of the Stockholm archipelago to the Swedish capital. Even though each of the islands are quite small, they have plenty to offer visitors. The islands of Fjäderholmarna boast scenic landscapes of cliffs and beaches which are a complete change of scenery from the city where you started your day. There’s also a strong tradition of handcrafting there, with many stores and studios flaunting creative wares, plus homemade chocolate at Fjäderholmarna Choklad. There are also plenty of options for a nice traditional meal at the different cafes and restaurants on Stora Fjäderholmarna island.
Getting there: Fjäderholmarna is only a summer destination, with boats running hourly from the month of May to early September. You can book your cruise ticket here.
Down to the southwest of the capital, the city of Linköping is another one of the best things to see in Sweden outside of Stockholm. There’s a lot to like about Linköping with the city looking both to the past and future. The city’s most important historical landmark is the immense Domkyrka, a medieval cathedral with a steeple which can be seen across the city. You can also go check out Linköping Castle, and visit the medieval history museum inside. But Linköping is also quite a modern city and walking around you should be able to see how the city has evolved over time. Don’t miss charming streets like Hunnebergsgatan and Storgatan. As a university city, you can of course expect to find nice cafes and bars around town, which is especially desirable if it’s cold out.
Getting there: To get from Stockholm to Linköping there are regular trains that make the 1 hour 50 minute journey.
If you’re looking for a picturesque spot on Lake Mälaren that isn’t adrift on one of its islands, Mariefred is the day trip for you. This pretty little town rests right on the shores of the lake and is known for its quaint, historical character. Visits to Mariefred tend to focus on Gripsholm Castle, as this 14th-century fortress immediately makes a strong impression. Lakeside views of this Renaissance castle aren’t the only reason to go, as inside the castle you’ll find the Swedish National Portrait collection. Once you’re finished at the castle, venture into the historic town center and admire its old-fashioned character. A little at odds with all of this is the Grafikens Hus museum which focuses on graphic art, but is still a worthwhile stop during the day.
Getting there: To reach Mariefred from Stockholm, first take a train to Läggesta train station. A bus will take you the rest of the way, with the full trip lasting just over an hour.
The Stockholm archipelago is full of interesting islands for travelers to visit, including Vaxholm, one of the best places to visit from Stockholm. Vaxholm is actually spread across several islands and boasts a memorable collection of must-see landmarks. The most prominent attraction of visiting the islands is Vaxholm Fortress, built in the 16th-century as part of Stockholm’s defenses. Inside this island fortress there’s now a museum with period weapons and decor. From there, it’s over to the storybook town center which looks exactly like what you’d expect from a perfect little fishing town. With more time, head to the next island over to see Bogesund Castle and the idyllic nature that surrounds it.
Getting there: You have two options for getting from Stockholm to Vaxholm. The quickest route is to take one of the regular buses which take 40 minutes. A more scenic option is the regular ferries which take 1 hour 20 minutes to pass through the archipelago. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of public transport, you can also book a small group tour to Vaxholm.
For those looking to explore even further out into the Stockholm archipelago, Sandhamn is where you want to go. Gently passing between the numerous islands there, a journey out to Sandhamn is one of the best side trips from Stockholm. A big part of that is simply the trip out there, as you reach the outer limits of the archipelago and the Baltic Sea. The atmosphere on Sandhamn makes it feel like it’s the end of the world, in part thanks to the many bars frequented by sailors and mariners. Once you’ve taken a look around town, it’s time to head to the beach and into the forest. If you’re looking to unwind in a natural setting, you’ve picked the right place.
Getting there: The only way to reach Sandhamn from Stockholm is by taking a two hour ferry ride. Outside of summer, ferries only run a few days of the week, so timing your visit is key.
To get a sense of what regional Sweden is like, you need only pay a visit to the city of Gävle. The oldest city in Norrland and a major regional hub, it’s bound to give you a nice contrast to the big city feel of Stockholm. Start with a wander through Gamla Gefle, the city’s historic quarter full of old nordic houses. Train watchers will be in heaven as Gävle is home to The Swedish Railway Museum, with historic locomotives on display throughout its halls and railyard. Now, If you visit in December you can see the renowned Gävle Yule goat, an annual effigy of a goat made from straw which stands 13 meters tall. But be quick, there’s a tradition in town to burn it down before Christmas comes.
Getting there: Hourly trains make the 1 hour 20 minute journey from Stockholm to Gävle, so it’s an easy place to reach.
Castle lovers won’t want to skip the city of Örebro while visiting Sweden. Quite a ways west of Stockholm, this is a lovely city which just so happens to center around majestic Örebro Castle. No one could blame you for making a beeline straight for the medieval castle when visiting, as it immediately makes an impression with its classic moat and romanesque design. It’s worthwhile to take a castle tour to see the different rooms and towers, but also to hear stories from the castle’s past. Afterwards, take a stroll through the city’s cobblestone streets and the pleasant Stadsparken park. You can then maybe treat yourself to a nice coffee, or something stronger, in one of the city’s many cafes.
Getting there: Reaching Örebro from Stockholm is simple as there are hourly trains which make the 1 hour 50 minute journey.
Stockholm provides travelers with the opportunity to branch out and explore more of Sweden’s destinations. You won’t regret taking the time to find out what else Sweden has in store for you.