Seventy-two hours well spent in Stockholm, Sweden

스톡홀롬 구경 잘했다고 소문나는 비법

When you’re traveling between North America and Europe, what is your favorite route? Iceland was my first choice a few years back, but now I have a new favorite: Stockholm, Sweden.

In our recent trip to Europe, we spent only $392.20US on Norwegian Air for two one-way tickets with one checked luggage from Stockholm to NYC. We were on our way back to the US from Korea after visiting my family, but thanks to the great price, we were able to arrange a successful 3-week layover in Europe. We went up to Finnish Lapland and spent 3 days in Stockholm before flying to JFK.

Stockholm is a wonderfully diverse and interesting city. Here are five goodies of Stockholm you can find during your next 72-hour layover.

Vasa at Vasa Museum, Stockholm
Vasa at Vasa Museum, Stockholm

Museums in Stockholm

Stockholm is a city of fine museums. From history to art, architecture to maritime themes, there is something for everyone. Obviously, 72 hours is not enough to go through all the museums, but these three are worthwhile to spend some time: Vasa Museum, Nordiska Museum, and Nobel Museum.

Malala Yousafzai's head scarf
Malala Yousafzai’s head scarf at Nobel Museum
Kim Dae Jung's personal belongings
Korea’s only Nobel Prize Winner, former President Kim Dae Jung’s personal belongings when he was imprisoned.
Alfred Nobel's Will
Alfred Nobel’s Will

The Vasa Museum houses the 16th-century warship Vasa, which sank during her maiden voyage and was retrieved 333 years after the incident. It reveals great details about life in the 16th century and the artistic characteristics of the ship. The Nordiska Museum is the largest museum of cultural history in Sweden. It exhibits the life of Sweden from the 16th century to today. It covers everything from trends, traditions, interiors, jewelry, folk art, fashion, textiles, and more. It houses a great collection of Sami culture. The Nobel Museum is the place to learn more about the Prize and its founder Alfred Nobel, as well as the Nobel Laureates which is more than 800. They also house personal items of each of the Laureates that were significant in their achievement.

Traditional farm houses at Skansen
Traditional farmhouses at Skansen
Old toys at Skansen
Old toys at Skansen
An owl at Skansen
An owl at Skansen


The world’s first open-air museum Skansen is a great place to time travel to Sweden’s past. Here you can take a walk down memory lane through five centuries of Sweden. Some 150 historically important houses were moved here over the years, including a 14th-century storehouse, an 18th-century church, plus various cottages and houses from the 1920s and 1940s. All the buildings have a unique setting, just like in the olden days. Meet glass makers, bakers, farmers, and other professionals in their traditional settings in each of the houses. Not just that, you can also learn more about the animals that call Sweden home. Seventy-five different animals represent Scandinavia: such as lynx, elk, brown bears, seals, and owls.

Stockholm canal tour

Canal Tour

The Royal Canal Tour departs from Strömkajen and continues the journey through the Djurgården canal. Seeing the city on the water might be the best way since over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways. For 50 minutes, the tour boat leaves the city behind passing historic buildings and the Old Town, and sails through the canal. The journey home will give you a new perspective on Stockholm’s skyline.

T-Centralen metro art
T-Centralen metro art
T-Centralen metro art
T-Centralen metro art

Stockholm’s Metro Arts

Stockholm is conveniently connected by Tunnelbana, the Swedish metro. It’s known to be the world’s longest art exhibit. More than 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm have been decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings, and reliefs by over 150 artists. All the art installations are special, but these stations are worth the extra trip. Please see the list on Visit Stockholm’s website.

Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs and Fika

Even though IKEA is bringing the joy of Swedish meatballs around the world, it tastes a bit better in Sweden. Swedish meatballs are traditionally made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef, pork, and sometimes veal. They are served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam, and sometimes fresh pickled cucumber.

Swedish Baked good
Swedish Baked good

For foodie travelers, fika is another word you should know in Sweden. The Swedish word ‘fika’ means taking a coffee break, but it is actually more than that. Asking someone for fika is a way of meeting casually, and that often involves coffee and pastry. There is no shortage of bakeries and coffee shops in Stockholm. From the traditional cinnamon bun to cardamom buns to saffron bread, the list of Swedish baked goods goes long. Make sure to enjoy a fika like the locals!

When you go:
A Stockholm Card is useful for those who are staying in the city short term but aiming to see a lot. Unfortunately, the pass from the city will be discontinued in 2016 but there are other options like the My Stockholm Pass.

Go to Runaway Juno Media’s Stockholm photo gallery

6 thoughts on “72 Hours in Stockholm: The Gateway City Strategy”

  1. Nice post Juno! Most interesting post I’ve seen on Sweden for a while 🙂 that open air museum has definitely just made it’s way up the ladder of must see places.

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