City hopping | A swift saunter around Stockholm

The exterior of Stockholm's Maritime Museum

On our cruise itinerary, we were fortunate enough to have three port days in a row. After a day in Tallinn, Estonia, our next port of call was Stockholm – capital of Sweden. It's a place I've always wanted to go. And (less than) a day simply wasn't enough time to take in all the sights, although we certainly got our steps in.

Due to the proximity of the city centre to the cruise terminal, a complimentary shuttle was provided, meaning we arrived in the heart of the city – the main focal point of all exploration. We had no real plans and hadn’t decided what we wanted to do or see – so it proved to be our most disorganised port of call yet.

Street view of Gamla Stan, with Stockholm Cathedral in background

However, one place I knew I wanted to visit was the Old Town – Gamla Stan. I still recall writing a destination description about it on a cruise advert in my last job. And from photos it just looked stunning. Let me tell you, it didn't disappoint. Gamla Stan is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval cities in Europe – and it’s actually where Stockholm was originally founded in the 1250s.

The town is completely pedestrian-friendly, and we saw very few cars. You could easily get lost down its maze of narrow cobbled streets – each one replete with shops, cafes and little pit stops along the way. There were also attractions such as Stockholm Cathedral, a museum and the Royal Palace (more on that later).

A tray with two large lattes and two cinnamon buns on a plate

We walked around Gamla Stan twice – first, as soon as we arrived, when it was much quieter and there wasn't too much open at that point. We then visited on our way back to the bus stop, where, as you can see from the photo above, we stopped for a bucket of coffee and a lovely (and complementary) cinnamon bun. I genuinely could have spent hours here.

Instead, we went to the Vasa Museum, the Maritime Museum dedicated to the 17th century ship Vasa, which sank on her maiden voyage but was later salvaged. It is said to be the most visited museum in all of Scandinavia – and I can see why. There were four floors to explore, and the ship took centre stage, so you could see it from all angles and heights. The carvings on the back of the ship were so impressive – there was a crazy amount of detail.

An image of the Vasa, a wooden ship in Stockholm

Other monuments and points of interest we saw included:

  • Medeltidsmuseet: Stockholm’s Medieval Museum, built around parts of the original 16th century walls
  • Stockholm Palace and Charles XIV John’s statue (in Karl Johan’s Torg, or square)
  • The Nordic Museum (virtually opposite the Vasa Museum, but boasted queues at least 80% shorter)

One thing I will say is things are expensive, which is to be expected for this part of Europe. We visited a burger place for lunch and paid roughly £50 for two burgers, fries (with dip) and soft drinks. Okay, so they were really good burgers, but still. I think the entrance the Vasa Museum was around £30 (380 SEK), and the coffees were £15 (or 198 SEK).

If we had more time, I would have loved to go the ABBA Museum, just to say I’d been there as well as Skansen, the Open-Air Museum. There are so many galleries and museums in Stockholm. Exploring on foot to discover some of the many islands was loads of fun – and it didn't even feel as though you were on a different island. Sailing into and from the capital is pretty special too. After all, Stockholm is made up of 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges.

We then had a couple more sea days before reaching our final port. Sadly, we couldn't get into Skagen, Denmark. Next stop – Aarhus.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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