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Unique and alternative things to do in Stockholm

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Stockholm streets

Stockholm’s reputation certainly precedes it; being known around the world as a city of wonderful elegance and history. There is so much for visitors to look forward to on a Sweden cruise holiday, but many might be surprised by how unique some of the attractions are. For those looking for some alternative things to see and do during their visit, this guide is for you. From ancient warships to trying rare but tasty dishes, it’s easy to put together a list of unique and alternative things to do in Stockholm. 

Vasa Museum

It’s not every day that you get to lay eyes upon a 17th-century warship, but that is just what is on offer at Stockholm’s Vasa Museum. The ship after which the museum was named capsized in 1628, staying on the seabed for more than 300 years before it was salvaged. Today, the Vasa ship is the world’s best-preserved vessel of the period and one of Scandinavia’s most cherished treasures. With a fascinating story behind it, this massive warship provides a fascinating glimpse into the past. The team at Vasa Museum spoke to us about what makes the museum special and what visitors can look forward to seeing:

“The Vasa Museum displays the only salvaged and preserved 17th-century warship in the world. It is 98% original. The museum tells the story of Vasa, from the people who built her and the fatal sinking on her maiden voyage to her more modern history of how the ship was found, salvaged and restored. Visitors can walk around the ship in a purpose-built museum, and the story is told through guided tours, documentary movies, exhibitions and artefacts. The ship is decorated with more than 600 carved sculptures and ornaments carrying symbolic meanings. Vasa is not only a preserved warship but also a preserved time capsule from 1628.”

Discover underground art

A hallmark of any visit to a new city is discovering its art. This most often happens in a gallery, but Stockholm has something a little bit different up its sleeve. For a truly unique cultural experience, visitors will need to head underground to the city’s various subway stations as these are home to some incredible art installations. They truly have to be seen to be believed and make riding the subway a unique and enjoyable experience. Almost 100 of Stockholm’s underground stations have been transformed with vibrant paintings, sculptures, and mosaics – each one boasting a different theme.

Stockholm underground subway

Drink at the world’s first permanent ice bar

As with many of Europe’s most attractive cities, Stockholm has its fair share of exciting bars but one of the best places to grab a drink is most certainly it’s most unique. ICEBAR Stockholm is unlike your normal bar experience, carved out of 40 tons of natural ice from the Torne River, it is also the world’s first permanent ice bar. Not only is the bar itself made from ice but so is the glass that your drinks are served in. It’s a chilly experience but the entry fee includes a free drink, as well as a cosy cape and gloves, it’s an experience not to be missed. Their menu is comprised of suitably themed cocktails as well as shots and alcohol-free drinks.

The team at ICEBAR Stockholm told us a little more about what visitors can expect: “When visiting the ICEBAR you can expect beautiful art and storytelling made out of pure ice, cool drinks and a constant temperature of -5°C (23°F). The ICEBAR is completely redone every year in April. This year's design is a tribute to all the people who have left their homes in the search for something better; inspired by the wave of Swedes migrating to the United States in the 19th century.”

Try a taste of reindeer

Stockholm certainly has its unique traits and quirks, and this most definitely extends to its culinary scene. There are some fabulous restaurants and delicacies to try in the city but one of the most unusual has to be reindeer. Reindeer is a very common dish in Sweden and although it might sound odd to visitors, it’s a truly delicious dish and absolutely worth trying to sample life as the locals live it. You won’t find it hard to find establishments serving up reindeer, but the restaurant Fem Små Hus definitely does it in style. This beautiful and historic restaurant has links to the 17th century and their fillet of reindeer – “spiced with lingonberries and bay leaves,” and served with “pumpkin puré, mushrooms, blanked onions, potato croquette and port wine reduction” – will make for a memorable meal.

Enjoy a rooftop tour

Of course, you can see Stockholm the traditional way by walking its historic streets and gazing up at the marvellous architecture, but for a slightly different view of things, you should certainly consider a rooftop tour. Taking to the roofs of Stockholm will provide a unique perspective of the city that you can’t get any other way. This cool experience can be yours with the team at Stockholm Rooftop Tours, taking place on the roof of the old Parliament Building. With stunning views of Stockholm, certified and trained guides, and a great insight into the city’s history, enjoying this elevated tour is a must. This will be an hour of your time well spent, indeed!

Unique attractions and activities in Stockholm:

  • Vasa Museum

  • Discover underground art

  • Drink at the worlds’ first ice bar

  • Try a taste of reindeer

  • Enjoy a rooftop tour

As you can see, Stockholm is no ordinary city, and it's a delight to visit on a Nordic Treasures cruise. With its plethora of unique things to see and do, there are some wonderful alternatives to your traditional sightseeing activities. If a 2024 cruise holiday that stops in Stockholm is in your future, consider some of the above for a truly special stay.

For more tips, advice, and guides, make sure to take a look at the rest of our blog.

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