Heading to Sweden and wondering what to do in the snowy season? We got you covered. The Swedish capital makes for an amazing visit when it is covered in snow. Keep reading as I share all the magical things to do in Stockholm in winter.
With the freezing temperatures, it’s important to be prepared. We nudged on cozy thermal underwear, scarves, and hats, and jumped out of bed in the early morning to explore the city twinkling with beautiful Christmas lights and decorations.
17 Things to do in Stockholm in winter – Travel Tips
From celebrating New Year to enjoying winter festivities, the snowy season is an extraordinary time to visit the Swedish capital – but be warned, it isn’t all fun and games. With an average temperature of -3 degrees C and only 6 hours of daily sunlight throughout December, winter in Stockholm isn’t for the faint-hearted.
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Planning tips for Stockholm Sweden
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Sweden belongs to the Schengen zone of countries, and passport holders from the EU, US, and Canada can visit visa-free.
Other than Stockholm, the Swedish Lapland is a popular winter destination in the country.
Flying to Stockholm: From Brussels Airport, Zaventem, it takes around 2hr 15 minutes to fly to Stockholm Bromma (BMA), which is the Swedish capital’s small airport. From there, it’s a 30-minute drive to the city center.
If flying internationally or from North American, you can connect to BMA via one stop at one of the major European air hubs (London, Amsterdam, etc).
Alternatively, you can also fly to the larger Arlanda airport (ARN) and take the Arlanda express train, which whizzes you into the city center in just 20 minutes. Bear in mind that this train ride is pretty expensive, and you must remember to book your tickets well in advance online. Or uou can also book a private transfer here https://www.getyourguide.com/stockholm-l50/stockholm-arlanda-airport-arn-private-transfer-t253917/
Accessing public transportation in Stockholm: Stockholm is a compact city, perfect for wandering around on foot or exploring by bike. But in the chilly winter months, it’s definitely nice to have the option of not freezing outside all the time!
If you fancy a warmer option, public transport in Stockholm is well organized and runs efficiently.
You can check out SL.se for your connections by train, bus, or metro. Definitely grab yourself an SL-card, as it’ll be cheaper than getting lots of single-use tickets.
On SL.se, you can select the type of transport you want to take. Make sure you also check out the ferry schedule – it’s the perfect way to move around and enjoy some sightseeing at the same time!
To save money on transportation and sightseeing, consider purchasing the Stockholm Pass. You can add day tours, sightseeing tickets, and more for 1,2,3 to 5 days in Stockholm.
Where to stay in Stockholm
A weekend is the perfect amount of time to explore Stockholm. Book yourself some city center accommodation so you can easily explore everywhere on foot.
It’s going to be expensive – but if you’re planning a Scandinavian trip, you’ll probably have realized that already. Here are some of my top tips on where to stay in Stockholm.
Scandic Grand Central – This is a four-star hotel that lies a mere 150 meters from Stockholm Central Station and the Arlanda Express airport train station. It offers free Wi-Fi, a gym, a sauna, rental bicycles, and a flat-screen TV in every room.
Långholmen Hotel – Housed in a 19th-century prison on the island of Långholmen in Stockholm, this hotel is, without doubt, the most original place to stay in the city. The rooms are unique prison cells (with luxuries like a flat-screen cable TV and free Wi-Fi!). The hotel is located in a quiet, tranquil area just 100 meters from the beach!
Miss Clara by Nobis, Stockholm – his sleek and stylish hotel oozes luxury, without any unnecessary fuss. Located in the middle of the center, this lovely accommodation will undoubtedly charm you. It’s a handy 2-minute walk from the shopping street Drottninggatan. It offers modern, stylishly furnished rooms with a flat-screen TV, bathrobes, and free Wi-Fi.
When is the best time to visit Stockholm?
Stockholm is a wonderful destination to travel to all year round! We visited the city during the New Year.
All the twinkling Christmas decorations transform the city into a romantic fairytale at this time of the year – but keep in mind that the days are also much shorter, as the sun sets as early as 3 pm!
Weather-wise, the spring and summer months are much more suitable to fully discover the city, with longer days and milder temperatures.
When visiting in the winters, remember to pack your winter clothes, and layer on to stay warm and enjoy the outdoors. Temperatures in winter range from a high of 2 degrees C to a low of – 1 degree C in Stockholm.
Wander Gamla Stan – Stockholm in winter
Gamla Stan means the old city, so it may come as no surprise that this is the city’s historic district. Though very touristy, it’s super atmospheric and a must-see for anyone visiting Stockholm in the winter for the first time.
The Old Town comprises Stadsholmen island and the islets of Riddarholmen, Helgeandsholmen and Strömsborg nearby. This area dates back to the 13th century, and I am sure you will love the colorful buildings.
Do make sure to visit Stortorget, the oldest square in the city, for the annual Christmas market if you’re there at the right time of year!
Other important attractions in the old town consist of the Storkyrkan Cathedral and the Royal Palace, which is the king’s official residence.
Although weather dependent, you can also opt for a sightseeing boat tour in Stockholm to check out the city’s highlights in a short period of time.
Visit Christmas Markets in Stockholm
During winters, explore the most popular and longest-running Christmas market in Stockholm aka the Stortorget (located in Gamla Stan). They operate from the last week of November until Christmas Eve. Do check the current hours here.
Recommended tour: Book a walking tour of Christmas markets.
Go snowshoeing in the wild
Stockholm invites you to a snowy wonderland in the winter. If this is your first winter getaway, opt for a guided tour, like this 8-hour full-day excursion to the snow-covered landscapes of Sweden.
In this tour, the guide will provide you with safety tips and help you to snowshoe into the wilderness, and learn about Swedish wildlife and the ecosystems along the way.
You get to hike through the snow-filled forests and over frozen lakes, and also enjoy a nice campfire lunch.
The tour includes transfers from the city center! Check out more about this tour here.
You might also like these tours:
Ice Skating Stockholm Winter Activities
When in Stockholm you must go ice skating in the winter. Stockholm hosts and welcomes guests to seasonal rinks at the King’s Garden (free to use), Busby Ihall, etc.
If you would like to add a special tour then join an experienced guide and head out to skate on some of the best natural ice in the world, about 5+ hours from Stockholm. You can also learn to skate along the way. Find out more about this ice skating experience here.
Prefer to ski? Join this excursion for Nordic skiing
Check out the Nobel Museum and more
When it is cold and snowy outside, pop inside to one of the coolest museums in Sweden. Visit the Nobel Museum to discover everything there is to know about Nobel Prizes.
Did you know: The Nobel prizes (Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine) are awarded in Sweden, and are named after the Swedish-born inventor and international industrialist Alfred Nobel. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway. Another museum, perfect for photography lovers is the Fotografiska. It is the photography museum of Sweden, which features a large number of exhibits from all over the world. Book your entry tickets here.
The Vasa Museum is another option. It is Scandinavia’s most-visited history museum. At this museum, you can check out a 17th-century shipwreck. Get entry tickets here.
The Nordic Museum is another great stop on a city break to Stockholm to learn about Swedish history and life!
Art lovers must visit the city’s modern art museum, Moderna Museet.
ABBA Museum is an interactive museum showcasing all about the pop band ABBA, located in Djurgården, Stockholm.
Soak in the festive cheer at the Norrmalm
Norrmalm is the city center of Stockholm, and it’s a must-visit area for shopaholics and market lovers. This busy commercial area is filled with fashion and designer/high-end shops lining Drottninggatan and the surrounding streets.
For culture lovers, this bustling neighborhood also offers opera and ballet recitals at the Royal Swedish Opera, art exhibitions and modern dance at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, and orchestral performances at the neoclassical Stockholm Concert Hall.
Not into shopping or art? Head over to any of the bistros or wander the tree-lined Kungsträdgården park in Norrmalm!
Visit Sergels Torg – Stockholm in winter
Sergels Torg is definitely worth a visit. It is a major public square in Stockholm, named after 18th-century sculptor Johan Tobias Sergel.
Opened in the 1960s, this square is particularly breathtaking at night thanks to the thousands of glittering lights all around.
Hang out at the Hötorget
Hötorget is the main marketplace in the city, and you’ll find plenty of beautiful flowers, fresh fruit, and vegetables here. If vintage finds are more your thing, the market is transformed into an antique market every Sunday.
One of the lovely things about Hötorget is its underground subway. There is so much beautiful art on these walls that you must not miss!
Need help? Book this guided subway art tour.
Layer on, and hit the Östermalm district
Seeking some glamour? Östermalm is the chicest and most expensive district in Stockholm.
I enjoyed walking this area, and recommend that you take the time to explore this elegant Östermalm neighborhood. It also houses the Swedish History Museum, displaying Viking weapons and many designer boutiques.
You might like this tour: Private Shopping Tour in Stockholm.
When hungry, stop by one of the smart bars and restaurants on Stureplan square in the district.
Humlegården, originally the royal fruit orchard, is a wonderful and tranquil park to wander through.
It was established by King Johan III in the 16th century and was home to many plants that are native or grown in the area.
Many parts of this garden were opened to the public in the 17th century, for recreational purposes. With walking pathways, surrounded by greenery this park is an amazing visit to soak in the Nordic air!
Warm-up with a Swedish Lunch
Lunch is the most popular meal in Sweden, so make the most of it with a delicious bite to eat at Albert & Jack’s.
Or head to Nybrogatan 38 if you want to experience a fusion of French and Swedish cuisine.
Restaurant Sturehof serves the best fish specialties in the area, and Beirut Café is the perfect spot if you’re a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine.
Head to Södermalm for a few hours
Södermalm is the island for hipsters, vintage lovers, and creative types. It’s the largest island in Stockholm, and it has a wonderfully laid-back atmosphere.
Snap Insta worthy photos from Monteliusvägen
Need to get a couple of breathtaking snaps for your Instagram? You can find a gorgeous view over the city on the hiking trail Monteliusvägen.
If you’re visiting in summer, Medborgarplatsen has plenty of beautiful outdoor terraces to enjoy.
Need more photo ideas for social media? Book this Instagram Tour.
The City Hall, Stadshuset, is arguably the most famous building in Stockholm – so make sure you tick that off your list during your stay!
It looks extra special with the festive Christmas lights and decorations in the evening.
Pro tip: Enjoy a leisurely stroll or a relaxing picnic in the beautiful Vasaparken while you’re in the neighborhood.
Visit Djurgarden on a day trip
If you have some time left on your trip, make sure you pay a visit to the greenest island in Stockholm: Djurgarden. It’s the first national park in the world that lies in the middle of a city!
Enjoy a peaceful stroll through this beautiful nature reserve, or visit one of the many museums.
The ferry is the fastest way to get there. Or you can book this guided tour.
Tip: For a slice of delicious cake, you simply have to go to Flickorna Helin & Voltaire while you’re in the neighborhood.
Other places for a day trip from Stockholm: Smedsuddsbadet. This is a nice little beach close to the city.
Eat and drink in the old town and the city center
When hungry or thirsty, Stockholm offers a lot of variety in the culinary scene.
At the old town:
If you’re feeling thirsty, grab a coffee in one of the photogenic houses of the city Kafekoppen or Chokladkoppen.
For a unique dinner with a difference, visit the restaurant Djuret. The chef prepares an entire animal, from head to tail. To prevent waste, a different seasonal animal is on the menu every month.
Another restaurant that utilizes wonderful seasonal produce is Pharmarium. Their dishes are made for sharing, and their cocktails are delicious.
At the city center:
When you’re feeling peckish, make sure to check out the Hötorgshallen – a covered food market with a variety of delicious national and international specialties.
If you’re a chocolate-lover (just like me), make sure you pay a visit to Chokladfabriken. They have all kinds of unique chocolate, with the most creative selection of flavors!
In need of some good coffee to warm up? Esaias Café or Wilmer Kaffebar are the places to be!
For a nutritious meal, head to 8T8 near the Mariatorget Park, to enjoy a meal created with ecological delicacies. There’s also a noodle bar for a satisfying hot lunch. Woodstockholm is the perfect restaurant if you’re craving a vegetarian lunch!
Go souvenir and Christmas shopping
Looking for some toys or souvenirs to take back home? You can easily buy Christmas goodies and traditional souvenirs from markets and city center stores.
However, do make sure to visit Krabat, a store filled with sustainable and traditional toys.
If you wish to take home some unique and quirky souvenirs from your trip to Stockholm, visit Upplandsgatan – a street packed with antique boutiques!
Taste the old-fashioned Swedish white-red peppermint sweets at the Polkagrisar candy shop, and bring back some home.
So there you have it – these are all the fun things to do in Stockholm in winter! Be sure to pack your woolens, layer on, and have a great time in the capital city of Sweden!