Stockholm is one of the most charming and delightful European capital cities. A wonderful combination of Scandi cool, elegant European style, and Viking heritage makes this excellent city a must-visit for any visitors to Sweden, or indeed Europe as a whole!
Stockholm sometimes gets overshadowed by Copenhagen when it comes to planning a Nordic adventure, but this excellent city is well worth taking a look at. From the incredible preserved remains of a 17th-century ship at the Vasa to the world-class museums at Djurgarden, Stockholm has a lot to offer visitors. But some of the best sights and experiences in Stockholm aren’t the ones listed in the guidebook, but rather lesser-known attractions off the beaten path.
So if you are planning to board a cruise from Southampton to Scandinavia and want to explore the hidden delights of Stockholm, here are some of the most interesting and unusual places to visit in Sweden’s exquisite capital city.
Sweden is famous for its saunas, but you’ve never seen one quite like this. A shimmering, golden egg houses a gorgeously heated sauna, in the most unique spa experience you will ever have. Originally erected in Kiruna, in frozen Swedish Lapland, this bizarre art project has toured the country, and is now found in Artipelag, a modern art museum in Stockholm. The experience is surreal, a reflective golden surface gives way via a golden staircase to a small, circular sauna with room for up to eight people. A wood-burning, heart-shaped stove heats the structure to 185 degrees, while visitors bask in the warm glow.
Metro Art Gallery
Stockholm is full of excellent art galleries, but to enjoy some of the best art the city has to offer all you need to do is take the metro! Often described as the longest art gallery in the world, every one of Stockholm’s metro stations was designed by a different artist, creating a surreal experience every time the doors of the trains slide open.
R1 Nuclear Reactor
Ever wondered what the inside of a nuclear reactor looks like? Well in Stockholm you can! Reaktor 1 was Sweden’s first nuclear reactor, buried 25 meters below the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 1954, in the very center of the city! This unbelievably risky construction put it roughly half a mile away from around 40,000 people – a risk that nowadays would be unthinkable, but during the Cold War seemed like a good idea. The reactor was closed due to safety concerns in the 1970s and now operates as a visitor attraction and performance space.
Uppland Runic Inscription 3
Stockholm’s Viking past is literally written on the bones of the city, in the form of this fascinating runestone embedded in the rock of a street corner in Gamla Stan, which is thought to predate the city itself! Nearly 1,000 years old, it is unobtrusive, with no interpretation to speak of, but it is a wonderful find if you know where to look. A snake winds its way around the stone, highlighting the inscription which reads ‘Torsten and Frögunn had the stone erected after their son’ in Old Norse.
Snösätra Wall of Fame
Stockholm’s alternative side is best investigated in Snösätra, an abandoned industrial district that now houses one of the largest exhibitions of graffiti and street art in Europe. Nearly every flat surface, wall, and roof in this area are covered in colorful swirls, tags, and murals, creating a vibrant maelstrom of paint and bright designs. Every spring, over 150 artists descend on the area to renew the artwork, ensuring that every visit offers a novel experience.