Abba: The Museum

Even the name of Stockholm’s newest attraction is amusing, a play on the film Abba: The Movie. This museum on Djurgården, close to the Vasa, celebrates the Swedish supergroup that enjoyed massive success in the 1970s, slipped into being considered unfashionable in the 1980s, returned to popularity via Muriel’s Wedding in the 1990s and then enjoyed astounding global success as a result of Mamma Mia!

Aerial View-Artipelag ,Stockholm, Sweden


Camouflaged into the Stockholm Archipelago is Artipelag, a striking modern art museum located on the island of Värmdö (90 minutes by boat or 20 minutes by car from the city center). Opened in 2012 on a donation from BabyBjörn founders Björn and Lillemor Jakobson, the over 100,000-square-foot art center blends into the pine tree–laden island and includes a design shop, two restaurants, temporary exhibition gallery and Artbox, which hosts concerts, lectures, conferences are more events. The rotating exhibits—past shows have included The Legacy of Andy Warhol and one focused on the works of William Wegman—are expertly curated, but Artipelag is worth visiting even for non art-lovers. The stunning natural landscape can be explored thanks to nature trails through the forest and a 2,600-foot-long boardwalk that traces the water’s edge.

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Day Trip: Vaxholm

Enjoy a short ferry ride from Stockholm for a day trip to Vaxholm, a historic, charming seaside town filled with pastel wooden houses and quaint cafés.
Exterior View - Drottningholm Palace,Stockholm, Sweden - Courtesy Ola Ericson

Drottningholm Palace

This impressive and beautifully maintained mini-Versailles was inspired by 17th-century French architecture and has some of the best untouched Gustavian interiors. Take the one-hour sedate old-steamer trip from Stadshuset (City Hall), and enjoy cloudberries and vanilla ice cream and a glass of wine in the dining room as Stockholm slips from view. Visit the palace interiors, which include Sun King–style libraries and bedrooms, then walk to the intimate Gustavian opera house to see a performance of a work by Handel, perhaps, or Monteverdi. The gray-painted interiors and stage sets are all original to the 18th century. (Warning: the audience also sits on the original benches.) During the extended intermission, walk through the formal gardens to see the vividly painted Rococo Chinese Pavilion, where the Swedes’ love of Chinese decorative arts is powerfully evident.

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Aerial View-Fotografiska ,Stockholm, Sweden-Courtesy Visit Stockholm


Fotografiska, the photography museum, has quickly established itself as one of the most popular places to visit in the city by staging a series of exhibitions by big name photographers (Helmut Newton, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David LaChappelle) as well as other less-known artists. Even if you don’t love the photos, the stunning views and cuisine from the top-floor restaurant are worth visiting for.

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Exterior View - Gripsholm Castle,Stockholm, Sweden

Gripsholm Castle

This fortified castle, which dates from 1537, is situated on Lake Mälaren in Mariefried, forty-three miles southwest of Stockholm. The centerpiece is the circular theatre, an elaborate confection of gilt and mirrors built in the neoclassical style during Gustav’s reign. Today it is still magical, and it’s one of the best-preserved period theaters in Europe. In summer, it’s especially lovely to take the ferry (call Mariefreds Ångfartygs AB: 46-8-669-8850) here from City Hall.

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Gustav III's Pavilion

International designers such as John Saladino and Paul Wiseman claim that Gustav III’s Pavilion (also called Haga Pavilion) has the most elegant interiors in the world. Gustav’s pleasure retreat, built for summer entertaining by Olof Tempelman, is filled with light streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows and feels airy and modern. Gustav was a guest at Versailles in 1784 and was infinitely impressed. He returned to Stockholm with the finest French artists, architects and furniture makers to create this magnificent building and its gilded interior in the style favored by Louis XVI. Marie-Antoinette gave him a portfolio of drawings of the Petit Trianon that he used for inspiration. One drawing is now in the Royal Library in Stockholm. Note Gustav’s original desks, draped bed, klismos chairs and highly detailed Pompeii-inspired murals. Guided tours only; call ahead to check times of English tours.

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Hallwyl Museum

This Swedish national museum is located in the former winter home of Count and Countess von Hallwyl, who kept their significant art collection here. The estate, located in the city center, was donated to the state in 1920 and opened as a museum in 1938, under the condition that its original design and architecture remain preserved over the years. A stunning model of how the upper classes lived in Sweden at the turn of the 20th century, Hallwyl house has a historic, Renaissance-style exterior and the latest modern trappings at the time of its construction (electricity, telephones, central heating). The lavish rooms are fitted with over 50,000 objects that the countess sourced during her global travels, including some 800 porcelain pieces from the 1700s.

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Indagare Tours: Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Tour

Set in Stockholm, Stieg Larsson’s sensational trilogy covers significant ground in the city, especially on the island of Sodermalm. Fans of the books can visit major sights like Lisbeth Salander’s loft and Michael Blomqvist’s home. The tour stops at key places from the books, but also touches on many of Larsson's social and political comments about Sweden that are still true today.

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Dedicated to Swedish children’s literature, the Junibaken most closely follows the work and characters of Astrid Lindgren, the beloved novelist behind Pippi Longstocking (and many more fictional youths). The cultural center aims to ‘awaken the desire to read’ in kids, which it does through many interactive exhibits including a Story Train ride through one of Lindgren’s most popular tales. The end of the ride lets guests off at Villa Villekulla, the hodge-podge home of Pippi, where kids can explore her colorful, well–lived-in estate and pose for a picture atop a model of her horse. The museum is also home to the largest children’s bookstore in Sweden.

Fun Fact: Adult Pippi fans will enjoy discovering the similarities between the redheaded character and another Swedish literary heroine: Lisbeth Salander. Stieg Larsson admitted that he envisioned Lisbeth as the grown-up version of Pippi. Headstrong, independent orphans, both are unlikely protagonists with a flair for trouble.


Set on five acres on the island of Lidingö, Millesgården is dedicated to famed Swedish sculptor Carl Milles, whose home and studio were located here (both of which can be toured). The gardenlike grounds are filled with fountains and sculptures from antiquity and the Middle Ages as well as pieces from the 20th century, many of which were done by Milles himself. The serene setting, with views of the Baltic Sea in the distance, is a great escape from the bustling city.

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Moderna Museet

The victim of a notorious 1958 burglary in which six Picassos were stolen (only three have been recovered), Stockholm’s Moderna Museet is one of the best museums in the city to view contemporary art from the 20th century and today. Located on the bucolic Skeppsholmen island in central Stockholm, the Moderna boasts lantern-lit galleries that are lined with pieces by Swedish and international artists including Picasso, Matisse and Dardel. There is a host of temporary exhibitions as well, and the museum has attracted artists like Yayoi Kusama, who held a hugely popular exhibit here in 2016.

Exterior View - National Museum,Stockholm, Sweden

National Museum

This grand columned edifice overlooking the harbor is the best starting point for immersion in the spectrum of Swedish painting. Particularly lovely are local artist Anders Zorn’s sensual paintings of islands of the Swedish archipelago bathed in summer light. There’s also an impressive Rembrandt room.

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Neighborhood Walk: SoFo

Many who live in the bohemian enclave of SoFo base their businesses there, resulting in a number of one-off vintage stores, unique fashion boutiques, convivial restaurants and coffee shops that are used as meeting and working spaces for local entrepreneurs. That strong community atmosphere is enhanced with SoFo nights (held on the last Thursday of the month), when all the stores stay open late, serve cocktails and traditional Swedish bites and offer discounts. There are lots of stores and restaurants to discover, but some favorites include:

Where to Shop:

  • Pärlans Konfektyr
  • Dr. Demin
  • Grandpa
Where to Eat:
  • Woodstockholm
  • Urban Deli Nytorget
  • Nytorget 6
  • Nook
Interior View - Royal Palace of Stockholm,Stockholm, Sweden

 - Courtesy Alexis Daflos

Royal Palace of Stockholm

With more than 600 rooms, the Stockholm Royal Palace is one of the biggest in the world still used by a head of state: King Carl XVI Gustav. The Baroque palace houses the Royal Apartments, the Hall of State, the Apartments of the Orders of Chivalry, the Treasury, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Armoury and the fascinating Museum of Antiquities of Gustav III. The entrance fee includes a forty-five-minute guided tour.

Exterior View-Skansen,Stockholm, Sweden


Take a walking tour of historic manor houses and town houses from all over Sweden in an elegant royal-park setting. Note their authentic, carefully preserved furnished interiors. The residences were collected toward the end of the 19th century, when scholar and folklorist Artur Hazelius rescued 150 outstanding traditional houses and placed them here among gardens and allées. Of special note: Skogaholm Manor, built in 1680, has superb Gustavian interiors with decorative pale gray paneled walls. There’s even a plaster bust of Gustav III in the salon.

Interior View - Stockholm City Hall, Stockholm, Sweden - Courtesy Yanan Li

Stockholm City Hall

Opened in 1923 after 12 years of construction, Stockholm’s City Hall is one of Sweden’s most iconic buildings showing national romanticism in architecture. The building’s nearly 350-foot high tower is a fixture on the Stockholm cityscape, and it incorporates the finest Swedish materials (granite, marble, copper). Now home to administrative offices and festive halls, City Hall was constructed by architect Ragnar Östberg and built with eight million bricks. Also host to the Noble Banquet each year, the building features many intricately designed rooms including the Golden Hall, which features 18.5 million gold mosaic pieces. (It was completed by 100 workers in just 11 months following the conclusion of WWI, when the Swedish were able to employ expert artisans from Italy and Germany at a very low cost). Note: City Hall can only be visited with a guide. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team to arrange a tour.

Aerial View - The Archipelago,Stockholm, Sweden

 - Courtesy Bjorn Tesch

The Archipelago

If you are in town for more than the briefest of trips, consider taking a ferry out to the archipelago. You need to allow several hours to get out, and the same to get back, but it’s a stunning place to see and there are some excellent traditional inns where you can have a herring lunch, or something similar. Everyone has their favorite islands: Utö, Finnhamn and Sandhamn are always a good choice.

Exterior View - Vasa Museet,Stockholm, Sweden - Courtesy Karolina Kristensson

Vasa Museet

This is, perhaps, the city’s only true must-see sight. The warship Vasa sank just minutes after she launched in 1628 and lay underwater for 333 years until 1961 when she was salvaged and eventually displayed in the Vasa Museet. It’s an extraordinary museum. The best way to experience the ship is to start with the documentary that shows on a loop in the small cinema. It gives you a full understanding of the ship’s origins and the extraordinary work that went into recovering her.

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Aerial View-Waldemarsudde ,Stockholm, Sweden


Once home to Swedish Prince Eugen, this beautiful estate on the island of Djurgården features several Gustavian-style buildings and a park, which affords beautiful views of the water. Eugen loved to paint (he studied in Paris) and the main house is now a museum with his pieces as well as those of others.

Exterior View - Woodland Cemetery, Stockholm, Sweden

Woodland Cemetery

Pay your respects to Greta Garbo and take in the sublime beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Sight that is more of a pine forest with added architecture than a traditional cemetery. Visiting it is a remarkably calming and uplifting experience.

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