Sweden’s capital is a hive of art, culture, and historic royal palaces. It’s also home to one of the world’s largest hemispherical buildings, Ericsson Globe.
Stockholm’s archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, encompassing 14 islands and more than 50 bridges. Ferries and sightseeing boats transport visitors between the cobblestone streets and ochre-colored buildings of Gamla Stan, the city’s Old Town (founded in 1252).
The Royal Palace
The Stockholm Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) is the official residence of Sweden’s monarchy, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest in Europe. Its sumptuous rooms, halls and corridors are a draw for visitors with an interest in history and royalty.
The building is largely open to the public and there are many different museums to visit. Some are free, while others are charged admission.
When you visit the palace make sure to check out the Treasury with its royal regalia from several centuries; the Tre Kronor Museum which tells the story of the old castle that was burned down in 1697; and Livrustkammaren, a former armoury that displays historical parade uniforms and robes.
The palace was originally built by Tessin the Younger but was completed by Carl Harleman who designed a large part of its Rococo interior. The style he used is considered to be among the finest in Sweden and it was influenced by the French Empire – so if you like French decor, this is the place for you!
Located in Gamla Stan, Storkyrkan (the Great Church) is Stockholm’s oldest church. It’s also the main church of the Diocese of Stockholm within the Church of Sweden.
This historic church was built in 1306 on the site of a small chapel dedicated to Saint Nicholas. It became the cathedral of Stockholm in 1942 and has hosted many royal ceremonies, such as crown princess Victoria’s wedding in 2010.
One of the most important sights inside Storkyrkan is the wooden sculpture of Saint George and the Dragon. This dramatic three-dimensional piece is carved from oak wood and painted, depicting Saint George as a knight on horseback killing a dragon.
Aside from the awe-inspiring statue, there are numerous other impressive works of art inside this medieval monolith. For example, the Vadersolstavlan painting is a copy of an original depicting atmospheric phenomena seen over Stockholm on April 20, 1535. Other artwork includes a silver altar from 1650 and two sculpted royal chairs.
The Riksdag (parliament) is the supreme decision-making body in Sweden. It enacts laws and amends the constitution, appoints the Prime Minister and the cabinet ministers, and can cast a vote of no confidence in any cabinet minister to force their resignation.
The Parliament building is located near Gamla Stan, the historic hub of Stockholm. Guided tours offer a fascinating insight into how the Swedish government operates through consensus building.
Visitors can also see the Riksdag library, a special library of law and social sciences which is used by the members of the Riksdag. Tours are held throughout the year.
The Swedish capital is a lovely place to visit and the waterfront promenades and harbours are beautiful. You can also take a boat trip or kayak tour around the city and see the islands of the Stockholm Archipelago, a ferry ride away.
The Gamla Stan
One of the best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe, Gamla Stan (Stockholm Old Town) was built from the 13th century. With its North-Germanic architecture and beautiful open squares, it’s a delight to walk around.
Besides Stortorget, the old main square, you can visit Sweden’s National Cathedral and the Nobel Museum. You’ll also find the Royal Palace, which is one of the largest palaces in the world with over 600 rooms.
If you’d like to explore more, you can take a self-guided walking tour through the historic alleyways that are the hallmark of Gamla Stan. You’ll be surprised how many hidden gems await you.