If you don’t mind a little cold, Stockholm in winter is one of Europe’s best destinations.
This urban paradise in Sweden is the definition of coziness (though the Swedes would call it mysigt — don’t call it hygge here).
From exploring the museums, stopping for coffee breaks (fika) and Swedish pastries, visiting Christmas markets, and enjoying scenic boat rides through canals, there are plenty of fun things to do in Stockholm in winter!
|⌛ Planning your wintery Stockholm trip in a hurry? Here are my quick picks.
❄️ Best Stockholm Tours & Experiences
1. 4-Hour Nordic Food and Walking Tour
2. ABBA Interactive Museum
3. 2.5-Hour Stockholm Archipelago Sightseeing Cruise
🛏️ Best Stockholm Hotels
1. Grand Hotel Stockholm (luxury hotel with 2 Michelin star restaurant)
2. Scandic Upplandsgatan (popular Nordic chain with nice amenities)
3. City Backpackers Stockholm (nice hostel with shared sauna)
Arriving in Stockholm by plane? Book your airport transfer here with Welcome Pickups.
I first visited Stockholm in February and despite the winter weather, it was actually warmer in Stockholm than in New York, where I was coming from!
Still, while Stockholm isn’t that cold in the winter, it’s likely that you’ll want to spend some of your time indoors warming up and exploring the museums and indoor markets.
If you have a few days in Stockholm, it makes the most sense to buy a Stockholm Go City Pass.
This gives you unlimited access to most museums and public transportation and allows you to skip the lines at popular attractions.
Although admittedly, one of the perks of visiting Stockholm in winter is the lack of other tourists!
17 Best Things to Do in Stockholm in Winter
Stroll through the Christmas Markets in Stockholm
If you visit Stockholm in late November or December, try to time your vacation around the Christmas markets.
The Christmas lights and cheer somehow make the snowy, dark Swedish days feel a little brighter!
Enjoy a genuine Stockholm winter experience by visiting the most charming Christmas Market in the city, in the Stortorget (Big Square) in the heart of the Old Town of Gamla Stan.
Here, you can nrowse through the adorable red-painted wooden stalls that sell Christmas crafts and ornaments, as well as Swedish food and hot mulled wine.
This is also the perfect place to pick up some Swedish souvenirs or creative Christmas gifts — there are tons of handicrafts and decorative ornaments for sale in the markets.
Especially if there’s a dusting of snow on the ground, this couldn’t be a more magical place to get in the winter spirit in Stockholm!
2023 Update: As per the official Visit Sweden website, the Christmas market in Gamla Stan will be open every day from November 25th to December 23rd, 2023.
See the Vasa Museum’s incredible restoration work.
Let’s not beat around the bush: winter in Stockholm is pretty dang cold.
You won’t want to spend that much time outdoors, so make the best use of your time by going to some of Stockholm’s coolest museums.
One of the city’s standout indoor landmarks that’s perfect for escaping the cold is the iconic Vasa Museum — you can book tickets online here.
The centerpiece of the museum is the ill-fated Vasa ship, which met its watery demise in 1628, just mere minutes (yes, minutes!) after its maiden voyage began.
Even the Titanic had more sea time than this ship!
What’s astonishing is that even after languishing beneath the water for almost three centuries, the ship was salvaged and found to be remarkably preserved — purely thanks to Stockholm’s distinct brackish waters.
This resulted in a near-perfect preservation, almost like a fossil, with the Vasa now boasting an incredible 99% originality, utterly remarkable for how long it spent submerged.
This captivating museum delves deep into the ship’s history, offering engaging exhibits, videos showing the history and restoration of the ship, and guided tours.
There’s also a surprisingly delightful and affordable restaurant – a rarity in Stockholm.
It’s an incredibly unique experience that can only be had in Stockholm, so make sure you add it to your winter itinerary.
Marvel at the awe-inspiring Stockholm Palace.
Wanting to escape the cold? The Royal Palace (or Stockholm Palace) stands out like a jewel on the icy streets, at the heart of colorful Gamla Stan.
While its exterior is impressive, its interior is even more gobsmacking. With over 600 rooms, it’s easily one of Europe’s largest palaces.
Draped in intricate Baroque detailing, gold accents, and opulent interior design, the palace’s staterooms are inexpressibly impressive.
With art and tapestries adorning basically every square inch of wall, it’s hard to stop taking in detail at the Stockholm Palace, making this a great place to kill quite a bit of time on a cold day.
You can also visit the Treasury to see the royal regalia as well as the Palace Church, which is a quiet little place of peace.
Visit the Skansen open air museum
The lovely Skansen Museum and Zoo stands proud as the world’s first open-air museum, showcasing historic Swedish homes and native animals like the moose and brown bear.
Set against the backdrop of Stockholm’s breathtaking archipelago on the island of Djurgården, Skansen offers panoramic views of the surrounding islands in a frosty wonderland!
During a visit, you can immerse yourself in Swedish history, discover local wildlife, and appreciate traditional goods and crafts.
And don’t let the chilly Stockholm winter deter you from the concept of an open-air museum; the long-suffering Swedes have mastered the art of coziness in the winter!
With crackling fires and steaming beverages on offer, Skansen provides a warm environment even on the colder winter days.
I suggest purchasing tickets online to bypass long lines, especially during busy weekend visits when this is an especially popular spot for local families!
Eat your heart out at one of Stockholm’s food halls.
The Östermalms Saluhall is a great place to dine when in Stockholm.
Head to the indoor market, where you can find a variety of Swedish meats, treats, and beverages.
This traditional Scandinavian covered market hall sells all sorts of traditional Swedish dishes as well as prepared goods like spread salads, smoked fish, cured meats, and other favorites.
Östermalms Saluhall is great any time of year, but it’s especially convenient in the winter, since it’s cozy and warm indoors so you can stroll around leisurely, searching for whatever snack you’re craving.
Hotorgshallen is another popular food market filled with vendors selling fresh fish, meats, cheeses, teas, and coffee.
Besides traditional Swedish goodies, it offers a wide variety of international snacks such as falafel, sushi, French cheeses, and more.
Take a Nordic food tour.
Want more guidance than just being told about two of Stockholm’s food halls?
There’s a Nordic food tour that also encompasses these traditional Swedish market halls!
Starting at Östermalmshallen, Stockholm’s old market hall, you’ll try local cold cuts and cheeses to get you started on a 4-hour food odyssey through Stockholm, tasting both classic and innovative Swedish dishes.
You’ll also try a plate of different Swedish seafood presentations and other small bites, followed by a few different sweets, like local chocolates and Swedish candies.
Your tour ends in a lovely Gamla Stan courtyard, enjoying a cup of coffee with the city’s best cinnamon roll!
Get learned at the Nobel Museum.
Stockholm is chockful of excellent museums, and the Nobel Museum stands out as one of the city’s most unique offerings.
Every city has an art museum, but how many cities can say they’re the birthplace of Alfred Nobel, the man who lent his name to the most prestigious awards one can ever hope to win?
Visiting the Nobel Museum is not just a way to escape the winter cold and learn about the inventor, but also to learn the history of some of the most groundbreaking achievements in various fields, each awarded this prize.
So, why Nobel Prizes? Upon his death in 1896, Nobel’s will dictated that most of his wealth should be used to gift prizes to who benefited humanity in the fields of Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature, and Peace.
The museum honors all the Nobel laureates of every field, learning their stories as well as connecting with the laureates through objects they’ve donated that show a little glimpse into the ordinary life of these extraordinary people.
Plus, the rotating exhibits feature different laureates and celebrate particular advances in detail, making it a fun way to learn more about some of humanity’s sharpest minds.
Go on a Gamla Stan walking tour.
Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s Old Town, which still preserves its medieval roots in great condition — one of the best in Europe, in fact!
Stockholm was founded here allllll the way back in 1252, and you can feel the history in each one of its winding streets.
So taking a walking tour of Gamla Stan is the perfect way to unwind nearly 800 years old history!
As a bonus, in winter in Stockholm you will definitely find it to be much less crowded than in the summer.
Full of restaurants, cafes, bars, and souvenirs shops, you’ll never run out of things to do in Stockholm while you’re wandering around Gamla Stan.
It’s amazing to walk around the narrow streets led by an expert guide who will tell you all the enduring stories of this hallowed part of Stockholm.
Sweat the winter day away in a sauna.
One cool thing about visiting places like Sweden and Finland is just how common saunas are — they’re not purely for luxury hotels, and even some hostels have them, like the one I stayed at in Abisko!
Even if you’re not staying in a hostel or a hotel with a sauna, you can a wonderful sauna or public bathhouse around the city.
Centralbadet (Central Bath) is one of the most beautiful, with Art Nouveau décor and plenty of saunas and heated swimming pools to choose from.
Check out their website here for more information; you can get a day pass for around 450 SEK ($41) on weekdays and Friday before 3 PM or for 650 SEK ($59) on weekends and Fridays after 3 PM.
You can also do this fun winter tour that combines a kayak on the Stockholm Archipelago, a fika break, and some sauna time — a classic Swedish winter day if there ever was one!
Take a Stockholm archipelago boat tour.
Stockholm itself makes up 14 islands, joined by 57 bridges, which makes water such an important part of any trip to Stockholm – even in winter.
Which is why taking a 2.5-hour Stockholm archipelago cruise is a fantastic way to spend a winter day!
Your guide will tell you all the stories and rich history of the landmarks you pass along the way.
You’ll board at Strandvägen, where you’re cruise on board either M/S Östanå I, a classic vessel from 1906, or the S/S Stockholm, dating back to 1931.
During the cruise, you can even treat yourself to hot or cold beverages and sandwiches available at the onboard cafeteria.
As you traverse the mesmerizing waters of the Stockholm archipelago, the second largest in the Baltic Sea, you’ll be totally transfixed!
Go on a trip to Drottningholm Palace.
The dazzling Drottningholm Palace, a short distance from Stockholm, is a magical escape during the winter months.
Constructed in the late 16th century, this UNESCO World Heritage site — the current residence of the Swedish royal family — gets a snowy makeover each winter, making its baroque facades stand out even more.
The expansive gardens surrounding the palace become even more lovely under a blanket of snow, not least the Chinese Pavilion.
This ornate structure, a blend of East Asian architecture set against a Nordic backdrop, assumes a dreamy otherworldliness when surrounded by snow.
Additionally, features like the Guard’s Tent and the Drottningholm Palace Church gain a unique charm during winter, as they see fewer tourists, giving you a more intimate experience.
Visit the ABBA Museum.
If you’re a fan of the Swedish musical group ABBA, you’ll have the time of your life dancing and singing your way through the ABBA Museum.
Not your average museum, the ABBA Museum is ultra-interactive with loads of photo opps and interactive experiences.
Here, you’ll do more than just observe; you’ll virtually try on iconic costumes, participate in quizzes, star in your own music videos, and even take the stage alongside virtual ABBA members.
The hands-on activities are so immersive that by the end of your visit, you’ll feel like you’ve become the unofficial 5th member of ABBA.
The museum is a treasure trove showcasing the legendary group’s original costumes and memorabilia as well.
There are video and audio recordings of your trip that you can access from the website after you go home, so you can have the ultimate Sweden souvenir!
There’s also an audio guide you can rent that has the actual group members narrating stories from their lives – a must for huge ABBA fans – though this is not included in your entry ticket.
The ABBA Museum is one of Stockholm’s most popular places to visit and as a result there are often lines – yes, even in winter!
Book your tickets online in advance to skip the lines and jumpstart the fun!
Shop til you drop in Södermalm.
The funky Södermalm area is one of Stockholm’s trendiest neighborhoods and a great way to spend a cold winter day in Stockholm.
Walk up and down the main street, Götgatan, and window shop… or actually shop, if you’re feeling flush, just remember that Stockholm is expensive!
Swedish fashion is minimalist and focuses on quality rather than quantity, so it’s pricy but classic.
If you’re not that into fashion, there are tons of home décor shops that have mastered the art of Scandinavian design.
They’re nearly impossible to leave empty-handed from (I caved and picked up a few cute mugs).
Visit the Nordic Museum.
Another museum on the island of Djurgården, the grand Nordic Museum is a great place to while away a Swedish wintry day.
Its majestic, Renaissance-style façade, inspired by Danish and Dutch architectural styles, is even more beautiful in the snow.
Once inside, you’ll travel through centuries of Swedish art, traditions, fashion, and objects of everyday life.
After you’ve seen your fill, the museum’s café is a surprisingly good spot to grab a cup of coffee and perhaps a kanelbulle (cinnamon bun), admiring the view around you.
Fika your heart out.
The Swedes are some of the biggest coffee drinkers in the world!
They love coffee so much that they have a word which can’t really be appropriately translated into English: fika.
Fika can be used as a verb – “to have coffee”, but it’s more than that.
The verb also implies snacking on pastries, enjoying coziness, and chatting with friends.
Fika can also be used as as a noun, as in “the act of having coffee and catching up.”
So whenever you need a break from the cold, pop into a cozy café (they’re never far away) for a coffee and a pastry, preferably a cinnamon roll (kanelbullar)!
Some of my favorite neighborhoods for fika are SoFo and Östermalm.
Anywhere in Stockholm in winter, you surely won’t be the only one pausing for a fika!
Learn Viking history on a day trip to Sigtuna and Uppsala.
Embark on a journey back a thousand years in time to explore the captivating Viking Age, brought to life by seeing historical sites paired with the tales of expert tour guides.
This 8-hour Viking history excursion starts with hotel pickup from Stockholm and takes you to crucial Viking landmarks, including the cities of Sigtuna and Old Uppsala.
A few sites you’ll visit to learn about Sweden’s Viking history are Broby Bro, a prominent burial ground, and explore Jarlabanke Bridge with its enigmatic runes.
You’ll learn the intricacies of Viking society at the Arkil Assembly, a former meeting place of the Viking Parliament.
Reaching Sigtuna, Sweden’s oldest town, you can stroll amidst medieval church ruins and charming alleys, imagining how it was probably similar even centuries ago.
Finally, you’ll end in Uppsala, where you can marvel at the towering Uppsala Cathedral, the largest church in the Nordic countries, before returning to Stockholm.
Ski at the Hammarbybacken ski resort.
Now, I’m not a skier (I hurt myself plenty without strapping myself to planks of wood and trying to fall down a hill, thanks), but Scandinavians love their skiing!
Hammarbybacken is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike during the winter season.
Here you can find a snow park with numerous slopes to snowboard or ski!
There are places as well where you can rent equipment, enjoy the cafes and restaurants, or even stay in a hotel if you want to get outside of the city a bit.
The ski resort offers an incredible experience for all ages and levels on their slopes, while enjoying an astounding view of the city.
2023 Update: The exact dates for the 2023-2024 season are yet to be added, check back on their website here.
Where to Stay in Stockholm in Winter
Budget: For a fun, trendy hostel that won’t break the break, check out City Backpackers Stockholm. It’s one of the more affordable options in the city, plus it has a free sauna – enough said.
Mid-range: You can get a great taste of Swedish décor by staying at one of the popular local chain hotels like Scandic Upplandsgatan, which infuses Nordic sensibilities with a traditional hotel experience.
Luxury: If you are looking for the ultimate luxury experience in Stockholm, Grand Hotel Stockholm has the perfect location, a beautiful lobby, luxurious rooms — oh, and a restaurant with two Michelin stars.
Allison Green is a former teacher who has been travel blogging since 2016. She has a Masters in Teaching and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing. Her blog posts merge her background as an educator with her experience traveling to 70+ countries to encourage ethical, meaningful travel. She has been a speaker at the World Travel Writers Conference and her writing, photography, and podcasting work has appeared in National Geographic, CNN Arabic, CBC Canada, and Forbes, amongst others. Now a full-time traveler, she has lived in Prague, Sofia, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area.