Time, unfortunately, is not standing still as it is on the clock above in Gamla Stan, so get ready for a full day of touring Stockholm at a respectable pace.
You’ll see a lot, but you’ll only skim Stockholm’s surface if you’re visiting for the day on a cruise that calls on the Swedish capital.
You’ll leave wanting more. So while you’re touring, know that you can’t see it all on this trip and plan to come back to cruise from Stockholm, arriving a few days before your cruise so that you can experience all that this wonderful city has to offer.
For now, however, here’s how to spend one perfect day in port, without overwhelming yourself.
Start in Gamla Stan. If you do nothing more than wander aimlessly for an hour, you’ll find your time the Old Town well spent.
Have A Fika. What’s that? A Swedish social institution where catching up with friends meets coffee and cakes. Try the kanelbulle, the Swedish cinnamon bun, and a cappuccino. Where? Chokladkoppen at Stortorget (square), near the Nobel Museum and Royal Palace.
Head for City Hall for an overview from City Hall Tower. While there, admire the Blue Hall, where the Nobel Prize banquet is held annually, and the Golden Hall, with its more than 18 million glass and gold mosaic piece.
Alternatively, have a reasonably priced lunch at Gondolen while admiring the city built on 14 islands from high above (one of my favorite restaurants).
Next, take the ferry from Gamla Stan to Djurgarden, which gives you a view of Stockholm from the water while getting you to the museums at the world’s first national city park. After disembarking the ferry, you can do a whirlwind tour of Skansen in, gasp, one hour. Founded in 1891, the world’s oldest open-air museum features 150 historic buildings from all over Sweden and a zoo. It’s “miniature Sweden” all in one place.
Plan on at least an hour at the next “don’t miss” attraction, the Vasa Museum, where you’ll find the Swedish warship that sank in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later, then restored to create the only museum of its kind in the world.
If you’re up for a 15-minute walk, point the tips of your shoes to cross the bridge (you’ll see it) and head to the left along Strandvagen, one of Stockholm’s favorite strolling streets. If you’re not up for a walk, take the ferry from near the Vasa Museum to Nybroviken. Either way, you’ll arrive at the same place, in front of the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern (the Royal Dramatic Theater.)
You’re only appreciating the theater in passing, however, as you walk alongside it up Nybrogatan, situated on the left side facing the theater. Head to Saluhallen, which opened as a market in 1888. Step inside this “Seattle’s Pike Place Market meets Your Upscale Grocery Store and Food Court” for culinary treats that are a feast of the eyes and the tummy.
Return to Strandvagen for shopping at Svenskt Tenn, a classic design shop featuring printed fabrics and furniture designed by Josef Frank as well as a selection of goods that you will not find in other stores.
Sorry, you’re out of time, but you’ll enjoy more of Stockholm as you cruise the archipelago back to the Baltic Sea. Pull up a chair on your stateroom balcony and watch the Swedish capital recede in your wake as you vow to return.