Can you really see Stockholm in a day? Yes, here’s how

Connecting flight? Time to kill? Whether you arrive first thing in the morning or just as the sun is setting, The Local has your Stockholm sightseeing plans sorted with tips for even the briefest of stopovers.

Can you really see Stockholm in a day? Yes, here's how
Photo: Henrik Trygg/

If you only have a day in the city, there’s no time to waste. As soon as you touch down in Stockholm, hop aboard the Arlanda Express, recharge your phone and make use of the wifi onboard; in just 20 minutes you’ll be at Central Station, ready to start your whirlwind tour of Stockholm.

Here in the morning? Stop off at Stadshuset and saunter around Södermalm

Now you’re slap-bang in the city centre, make your way to nearby Stadshuset (City Hall). View the stunning architecture, including the famous Golden Hall which is covered from floor to ceiling with 18 million gold tiles, and discover stories about the building’s history on a guided tour. If you don’t mind heights, scale the tower during the summer months for magnificent views of the city.

City Hall. Photo: Henrik Trygg/

Get from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm in just 20 minutes

When you’re done, head to the hipster-chic island of Södermalm for breakfast at Greasy Spoon, where you can chow down on a traditional English fried breakfast (when in Sweden, eh?), or Nytorget 6, for a taste of classic Swedish fare, including plenty of filling frukost (breakfast) options.

Take a short walk around the SoFo area for a spot of people watching, ducking into the quirky shops on your way to Fotografiska, the internationally-renowned photography museum. With four major exhibitions every year, you’re sure to catch something new and exciting.

View from Södermalm. Photo: Ola Ericson/

For the best views on Södermalm, check out Fjällgatan or Monteliusvägen. With beautiful 18th century Swedish buildings on one side and picture perfect views of the island of Djurgården, these are the best spots to sneak a peek of Stockholm in all its glory.

Here at midday? Ferry from historical Gamla stan to idyllic Djurgården followed by retail therapy in Östermalm

Once you step off the Arlanda Express at Central Station, it’s just a stone’s throw to the picturesque cobbled streets of Gamla stan (the Old Town). Wander the winding alleyways until you reach the large square, Stortorget. Here you’ll find the Nobel Museum and some of Stockholm’s oldest and most iconic buildings. You can even explore the nearby palace and its Royal Armory.

Book your Arlanda Express tickets before you touchdown in Stockholm

Once you’ve found your way out of the maze of streets in the Old Town, jump on the ferry from Slussen to the island of Djurgården. Once the royal hunting ground, this lush, green island is a favourite recreational spot for Stockholmers and is now home to many museums including the world’s largest open-air museum, Skansen, complete with a zoo and Swedish architecture dating from as early as the 16th century.

Djurgården. Photo: Jeppe Wilkström/

You’ll also find the Viking museum, Vikingaliv and the Vasa Museum, dedicated to a seventeenth-century ship that was fully recovered from the seabed 333 years after it sank. Thrill seekers will revel in the chance to ride the rollercoasters and giant drops at the theme park, Gröna Lund.

Remember, this is the city where Swedish pop legends ABBA formed, so don’t miss the chance to take a picture outside the museum dedicated to the band (let’s be honest, who hasn’t dreamed of being Benny, just for a minute?)

By now you’ve probably worked up an appetite. Take part in the most Swedish of traditions by going for fika (i.e. coffee and a snack) at Rosendals Trädgård or Villa Godthem. If a cinnamon bun just won’t cut it and you fancy something a bit heartier, they also have lunch options available.

After a jam-packed afternoon traipsing around Djurgården, head to the upmarket area of Östermalm to rest those weary legs at the luxurious Sturebadet with a spa treatment. You will also find many shops around this area, so if you’ve been eyeing up that designer handbag, now’s the time to treat yourself.

Top off the afternoon at Instagram-worthy café, art gallery and concept store Snickarbacken 7 for a cocktail or a bite to eat in this prime example of Scandi-cool.

Here for the afternoon/evening? Keep it central!

If you arrive a little later in the day, drop by ultra-hip ‘wine cafe’ Tyge & Sessil. Owned by celebrity chef, Niclas Ekstedt, this new kid on the Stockholm block opened in 2017 and prides itself on its wine list featuring independent, small-scale producers. It’s your chance to try out ‘natural wine’, a craze currently taking the city by storm.

Cherry blossom trees on Kungsträdgården. Photo: Nikke Lindqvist/Flickr

Take an after-drink stroll to Kungsträdgården, famous for its shopping centres, the luxurious Nordiska Kompaniet (known locally as ‘NK’) and Gallerian, Stockholm’s first and largest galleria, as well as its postcard-worthy cherry blossom-lined square.

Peckish? Nearby Eataly has something for everyone. Enjoy shopping for fresh produce at their market, eat fresh and authentic Italian food, watch a cooking demonstration or roll up your sleeves and get in on the action with hands-on cooking classes.

Take one last glimpse of the cityscape from TAK, the popular rooftop bar near T-Centralen, before sitting back on the comfortable Arlanda Express. You’ll be back at the airport in the blink of an eye!


This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by Arlanda Express.

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Why are fewer British tourists visiting Spain this year?

Almost 800,000 fewer UK holidaymakers have visited Spain in 2023 when compared to 2019. What’s behind this big drop?

Why are fewer British tourists visiting Spain this year?

Spain welcomed 12.2 million UK tourists between January and July 2023, 6 percent less when compared to the same period in 2019, according to data released on Monday by Spanish tourism association Turespaña.

This represents a decrease of 793,260 British holidaymakers for Spain so far this year.

Conversely, the number of Italian (+8 percent), Irish (+15.3 percent), Portuguese (+24.8 percent), Dutch (+4 percent) and French tourists (+5 percent) visiting España in 2023 are all above the rates in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. 

German holidaymakers are together with their British counterparts the two main nationalities showing less interest in coming to Spanish shores.

Britons still represent the biggest tourist group that comes to Spain, but it’s undergoing a slump, with another recent study by Caixabank Research suggesting numbers fell particularly in June 2023 (-12.5 percent of the usual rate). 

READ ALSO: Spain fully booked for summer despite most expensive holiday prices ever

So are some Britons falling out of love with Spain? Are there clear reasons why a holiday on the Spanish coast is on fewer British holiday itineraries?

According to Caixabank Research’s report, the main reasons are “the poor macroeconomic performance of the United Kingdom, the sharp rise in rates and the weakness of the pound”.

This is evidenced in the results of a survey by British market research company Savanta, which found that one in six Britons are not going on a summer holiday this year due to the UK’s cost-of-living crisis.

Practically everything, everywhere has become more expensive, and that includes holidays in Spain: hotel stays are up 44 percent, eating out is 13 percent pricier, and flights are 40 percent more on average. 

READ ALSO: How much more expensive is it to holiday in Spain this summer?

Caixabank stressed that another reason for the drop in British holidaymakers heading to Spain is that those who can afford a holiday abroad are choosing “more competitive markets” such as Turkey, Greece and Portugal. 

And there’s no doubt that the insufferably hot summer that Spain is having, with four heatwaves so far, has also dissuaded many holidaymakers from Blighty from overcooking in the Spanish sun. 

With headlines such as “This area of Spain could become too hot for tourists” or “tourists say it’s too hot to see any sights” featuring in the UK press, budding British holidaymakers are all too aware of the suffocating weather conditions Spain and other Mediterranean countries are enduring. 

Other UK outlets have urged travellers to try out the cooler Spanish north rather than the usual piping hot Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol destinations.

Another UK poll by InsureandGo found that 71 percent of the 2,000+ British respondents thought that parts of Europe such as Spain, Greece and Turkey will be too hot to visit over summer by 2027.

There’s further concern that the introduction in 2024 of the new (and delayed) ETIAS visa for non-EU visitors, which of course now also applies to UK nationals, could further compel British tourists to choose countries to holiday in rather than Spain.

READ MORE: Will British tourists need to pay for a visa waiver to enter Spain?

However, a drop in the number of British holidaymakers may not be all that bad for Spain, even though they did spend over €17 billion on their Spanish vacations in 2022. 

Towns, cities and islands across the country have been grappling with the problem of overtourism and the consequences it has on everything from quality of life for locals to rent prices. 

READ ALSO: ‘Beach closed’ – Fake signs put up in Spain’s Mallorca to dissuade tourists

The overcrowded nature of Spain’s beaches and most beautiful holiday hotspots appears to be one of the reasons why Germans are visiting Spain in far fewer numbers. A recent report in the country’s most read magazine Stern asked “if the dream is over” in their beloved Mallorca.

Spanish authorities are also seeking to overhaul the cheaper holiday package-driven model that dominates many resorts, which includes moving away from the boozy antics of young British and other European revellers.

Fewer tourists who spend more are what Spain is theoretically now looking for, and the rise in American, Japanese and European tourists other than Brits signify less of a dependence on the British market, one which tends to maintain the country’s tourism status quo for better or for worse.