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Short breaks in Stockholm – 48 hours of boats, music and waterside palaces

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It’s a compact city, so you can fit in a lot on a Stockholm short break. Follow this itinerary for the main sights and a few lesser-known gems during your few nights in a Stockholm hotel.

Stockholm short break day one, morning

Start your short break in Stockholm on a boat around the islands. Slip out from central Strömkajen past grand historic buildings and small boatyards, under 15 bridges and through two massive locks. Book ahead to jump the long queues. Stroll over the bridge on to Gamla Stan and down through the meandering, medieval streets to the Nobel Museum, celebrating the achievements of the Nobel Prize winners. Linger over an outdoor café lunch in 18th-century Stortorget square.

Start: Strömkajen, Östermalm
Nearest T-bana Kungsträdgården


The majestic Kungliga Slottet, Royal Palace, is on everybody’s list but it’s quieter in the afternoons and you might catch a glimpse of Sweden’s relaxed royal family. The huge building is a mix of grand state apartments and domestic touches. Don’t miss the paintings by the current king’s grandmother hanging in the guest rooms. Continue south on to Södermalm for a different Stockholm. Grittier in feel with old converted warehouses and breweries, it’s got a laid-back vibe and lively bar scene. Along Hornsgatan, try jeweller Efva Attling who counts Madonna as a customer. Stop for coffee at funky Hotel Rival and a possible rare sighting of the owner, Benny Andersson of Abba.

Start: Kunliga Slottet, Gamla Stan
Nearest T-bana Kungsträdgården


Celebrate Söder’s working-class roots over meatballs and aquavit at Pelikan, a wood-panelled beer hall. Then join music lovers at Mosebacke for drinks on the terrace followed by live music.

Start: Pelikan, Södermalm
Nearest T-bana Skanstull


Stockholm short break day two, morning

Djurgården is full of world-class attractions. The shrieks of excited families lead you to Gröna Lund’s amusement park and its gravity-defying rides. Or go bear-watching at Skansen’s open-air museum. Art-lovers should jump on the 69 bus to the Thielska Gallery at the eastern tip of the island for its collection of Nordic art set in a private villa. Blå Porten’s secret garden makes a perfect lunch stop.

Start: Djurgården.
Nearest Bus 47 or boat from Nybroplan


The waters of the archipelago and Lake Malären are part of Stockholm’s soul, which you can experience for yourself if you take the local train out to Torsvik. Carl Milles’ soaring outdoor sculptures set in his villa’s terraced gardens seem to have emerged from the blue waters of the sea.

Start: Torsvik
Nearest T-bana Torsvik


Book ahead for a particular Stockholm treat: an overflowing platter of shellfish and a sea view at Pontus by the Sea brasserie on Gamla Stan.

Start: Skeppsbrokajen, Gamla Stan.
Nearest T-bana Gamla Stan