We traveled to Stockholm for one day on an epic 19 day cruise! Here are our suggestions for what to do in Stockholm if you are arriving on a cruise ship and only have one day to spend.
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The Vasamuseet: This is a must see if you are visiting Stockholm. Get here as early as possible (I think that we arrived by 9:00am or so, and there was no line at the time, but by the time we exited at 10:00am, the line was considerable) as this is the top tourist attraction in the city.
The Swedish warship Vasa was supposed to be the flagship of the Swedish naval fleet. It sank on its first voyage out of Stockholm harbor in 1628 and there it sat, preserved by the cold, brackish waters until it was salvaged in 1961.
The restoration work that has been done on the ship is absolutely remarkable. The size of the ship is overwhelming, and the intricate details and figures carved on the outside of the ship convey a level of craftsmanship and care that I cannot even imagine in today’s assembly line, industrialized systems of production.
The admission price includes a guided English tour. If a guided tour is not your thing, they also have an MP3 guide available for download on their website.
Gamla Stan: “Gamla Stan” means “Old Town” in Swedish, and this part of Stockholm, filled with 17th and 18th century buildings, is worth spending some time in. Get lost in a charming cobbled streets. Stop for a coffee and pastry at one of the many cafes.
Had we had more time, I would have loved to have gone into the Nobel Museum, which is located in Gamla Stan. Alas, I guess that just means that we will be making another trip to Stockholm someday!
The ORIGINAL Ice Bar in Stockholm: There are Ice Bars all over Northern Europe, and the whole cruise, we had been looking to go to one. I know, they aren’t the hip and trendy new thing that they were 10 years ago, but we had never been to one and it was just an experience that I wanted to have.
The Ice Bar in Stockholm is one of those slightly overpriced experiences that you want to have once, but might not ever do again. It was great fun! We donned our provided winter capes and gloves, and were admitted into an icy wonderland of a bar where the chairs, and glasses, and even the bar itself was made of pure, blue ice.
The Ice Bar is located in the Nordic C Hotel, which is worth consideration for accommodations in Stockholm if you are looking for a nice hotel in a central location (right next to the train station).
BONUS TIP: A trip to Ostermalms Salulhall in Stockholm is a great way to sample traditonal Swedish fare. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for us, as we were in Stockholm on Sunday and it wasn’t open then. It is definitely on my list for my next trip to Stockholm!
Logistical tips for if you are arriving on a cruise ship and docking in Nynashamm, Sweden:
From what I understand, most cruise ships dock right in Stockholm. If you are one of the few cruise ships that dock outside of Stockholm in Nynashamm, Sweden (as we did on our Baltic cruise on the Holland America Eurodam) these tips are especially for you.
If you are coming on a cruise ship to Nynashamm, Sweden (as opposed to docking directly in Stockholm), you will need to take a tender boat ashore as there is no pier here. The tender ride for us took about 10 minutes.
From the tender dock, follow the blue line painted on the sidewalk to the train station to head into Stockholm. The walk will take about 15-25 minutes. There might be taxis waiting at the tender dock, but according to the information that we received, the taxi drivers aren’t happy about such a short fare and will insist that they drive you all the way into Stockholm, instead. The train ride into Stockholm took about an hour.
If you are coming to Stockholm on a cruise and you take into account the time that it will take to tender, walk to the train station and ride the train in and back out at the end of the day, you will have limited time available for sight seeing in Stockholm.
The train fare one way into Stockholm is approximately 72 SEK (approximately $12 as of 2012). For 115 SEK (approximately $19 as of 2012) you can buy a day pass that includes your train ride into Stockholm and back as well as buses, metro and water ferries. Stockholm is a city of water, and the water ferries are one of the most efficient ways to get around to the major attractions.
Using public transit will allow you to make the best use of the time that you have, and the high cost of individual tram and bus rides in Stockholm makes the day pass an excellent value.
If you are not into the DIY travel thing and are looking for suggestions for tours, here are my personal recommendations for tours in Stockholm.
For other stories from our adventures on our Northern European cruise, please check out these other entertaining pieces:
- One Day in Tallinn Estonia
- One Perfect Day in Geirangerfjord Norway
- Our Visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam