Stockholm is very family friendly and a great destination for a city break with kids. In the last few years, I have been twice and while I can’t say I have seen the whole of it, thanks to local friends and cousins who now live there, I was able to visit the city with that special insider knowledge that brings places to life. This post is the result of my experience and theirs and covers what to do in Stockholm with kids, practical info about how to get around and some fun facts about Sweden for kids to get them excited before the trip.
In this post you will find:
- What to do in Stockholm with kids
- Practical info about visiting Stockholm with children: when to go, transport option, accommodation search box
- Fun facts about Sweden for kids
What to do in Stockholm with kids
1. Take a walk in Gamla Stan, the old city
Gamla stan (‘The old town’) is Stockholm’s most famous area and the city’s medieval heart. One of the 14 islands forming the city of Stockholm, Gamla Stan was founded in 1252 and it is one of the best preserved medieval cities anywhere in the world.
Narrow, meandering alleys are what make this part of town special as well as attractions such as Stockholm cathedral and palace. Gamla Stan is fun to visit for kids because of its unusually narrow roads and lively shops, but it can also be stressful if traveling with a pushchair or stroller: a major tourist attraction, the streets of Gamla Stan are full of tourists and especially in the summer there is very little elbow room.
With young kids, my advice is to come early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid peak visitors’ time: the vast choice of cafes and restaurants makes it a good stop for both breakfast and dinner and there is no shortage of family friendly places. Please note: Gamla Stan’s cobbles streets are not kind to stroller wheels: if you can, use a baby carrier or get older kids to walk.
Please note: Gamla Stan’s cobbles streets are not kind to stroller wheels: if you can, use a baby carrier or get older kids to walk.
2. See the city and its archipelago from the water with a boat tour
Stockholm is nicknamed ‘the Venice of the North’ and with its archipelago of over 30 000 islands, it has water, truly, everywhere! There is no better way to see the city and its incredible geography than with a boat tour. The choice is endless: some tours cover the inner part of the city, while others are a whole day affair that will make you discover the outer islands (the archipelago proper).
Both are worth doing and the choice depends very much on the time you have in town: with kids, I believe a short tour is the best option. It is an easy way to get them to rest while seeing beautiful scenery and you can use the opportunity to mark places of interest you might then want to explore on foot.
To get an idea of the kind of beautiful architecture you can encounter while strolling in Stockholm, have a look at this stunning photo story by Europe Diaries here
3. Explore Skeppsholmen
Just in front of Gamla Stan sits the island of Skeppholmen, famous for hosting museums such as the Moderna Museet and the Swedish centre for architecture and design. I made time for it on my second time in town and I find it one of the most pleasant areas of Stockholm for a relaxing walk: a large park, for the most part, closed to vehicles, it offers great views over the city’s seafront, it has lovely cafes and waterside restaurants and some quaint houses and boats that make for great photo ops.
It is a great place for families with kids and offers lovely views over the boats and the elegant city seafront.
If you want to get an idea of the kind of beautful architecthure Stockholm
4. Explore Stockholm’s most famous museums
A short tram ride away from the city centre sits Djurgarden, a gorgeous green island hosting some of the most famous and interesting museums in the whole of Stockholm. Not all the museums here are attractive for kids but some are truly special and are guaranteed to leave them in awe.
The Vasa Museum
The Vasa museum is entirely dedicated to showcasing one ship, the eponymous Vasa. When I first heard about a ship museum I thought I would find it boring and excessively specialised but the Vasa made sure I changed my mind fast: it is, easily, one of the most impressive museums I have ever seen and, for the kids, a jaw-dropping experience.
The Vasa is a seventeenth-century boat that sank in Stockholm waters on its maiden trip and sat on the sea floor for 333 years. Despite being built entirely with timber, because of the very special water conditions of the Stockholm archipelago, with a peculiar mix of saline and fresh water, the Vasa is perfectly preserved and we are faced with a galleon that is very much exactly as built over 3 centuries ago.
As well as interesting the Vasa is beautiful and immense: while too big to be captured in a photo, but I believe the size of the people on the left gives a sense of its scale…
Rather than a child-friendly museum, Junibacken is a museum for children. Build around the fairytale world of Astrid Lindgren’s, author of Pippi Longstocking, Junibacken lures children with toys, houses and dens and a magical storybook train. It is a great place for little kids and a great refuge in case of rain!
Skansen in the oldest open-air museum in the world and it an attraction that will please kids and adults alike. Spread over a vast, green area, the park hosts a reconstruction of old Sweden complete with old artisan shops, windmills, and historical buildings. For the delight of kids, as well as quaint old streets with windows to peek into, Skansen also hosts cute animals such as rabbits, goats and moose.
The Abba museum
An attraction fun for older kids and pop culture fans is the Abba museum, a super colourful space showcasing costumes from Abba concerts, Eurovision contests and Abba memorabilia. What makes this place fun is the interactive activities it offers: do you want to play on stage with Abba holograms? Or record your own Abba song? At the Abba museum, you can! Warning: self-irony highly recommended.
Other museums and attractions for kids
Stockholm has more museums that we were able to visit, but here are some more you might find interesting: the links bring you to their official websites (please note: I have no affiliation with them and the links are for information purposes only). Aquaria water museum, the National Museum of Science and Technology,the royal armoury, where kids can try on costumes and be knights for a day and the Swedish museum of natural history and cosmonova, teaching about the Universe and planet earth. For an adrenalin fix, kids may enjoy the historic amusement park of Grona Lund.
5. Explore Sodermalm
On the opposite side of Gamla stan lies Sodermalm, an area known for being relaxed, creative and trendy (it is also the home of Fotografiska, one of the world’s biggest museums of modern photography). It is a buzzing, dynamic place: its main street is full of shops and cafes but as soon as you step away from the main road you will find peculiar quite corners with a great old Sweden character.
What I loved about Sodermalm is the balance it strikes between trendy and family friendly. After a stroll in its old cobbled streets, late in the afternoon, we sat for an aperitif in an open air terrace overlooking Stockholm (Sodermalm is on a hill) and to our surprise we saw many local families doing the same. Side by side, office workers on their way home, families with strollers, toddlers, and school-age children were all out catching the evening sun, sipping colourful concoctions ranging from juices to Aperol spritz!
To top off the evening, make sure you get the lift to the panoramic terrace of Gondolen (a restaurant, but they will let you have a peek at the view even if you are not dining there), for a birdseye view over the city
6. Have fika
Fika is a Swedish food tradition consisting of a drink of coffee, tea or juice accompanied by a baked good. You will find Fika offered almost everywhere in town and it is a great way to have a snack and feel like you are experiencing local traditions at the same time! Note for families with young children: Stockholm is very family friendly when it comes to restaurants and cafes’: most establishments have high chairs and changing stations in the bathroom and in many places I noticed microwaves for heating up milk and baby food.
Note for families with young children: Stockholm is very family friendly when it comes to restaurants and cafes’: most establishments have high chairs and changing stations in the bathroom and in many places I noticed microwaves for heating up milk and baby food.
Stockholm: best time to go
The most popular time to visit Stockholm is the summer and, more precisely, June and July. At this time, the weather is at its best, you have a high chance of dry days and clear sky and the long hours of daylight make for additional opportunities for sightseeing (in the winter, it gets dark before 3pm, in the summer you still have daylight well over 10 pm). In terms of temperature, the summer is pleasant and much milder than I expected: despite its northern latitude, the temperature averages 18 degrees celsius which make for very pleasant days and mild nights.
Public transport in Stockholm: airport connections and how to get around
Stockholm is served by three airports:
Arlanda: for international flights, the biggest and closest airport to the city is Arlanda, by far your best option in terms of convenience of transport and time of journey. Large and well organised , it is connected to the city centre by bus and train. You can find information and schedule of buses here and all info about the Arlanda Express here. Good to know: Arlanda express tickets are cheaper if booked online in advance. Please note: I have no affiliate or partnership with Arlanda express and the information and advice provided here are basely solely on my personal experience f travelling to and around Stockholm
Skavsta: Ryanair serves this airport and, while very far from the city (100 km) is a good budget option. You can reach it from the city centre by bus and the journey takes a little over an hour in normal traffic conditions. Tickets can be bought at the bus station: arrive early as buses tend to fill up quickly.
Bromma airport: of the three, this is the only one I haven’t experienced personally. It is the city airport and the closest to the centre, but it only serves a selected number of destinations, mostly within Sweden. You can check if it serves your area here.
Check now latest prices and availability of flights to Stockholm:
How to get around. Most of Stockholm can be visited on foot and longer distances can be negotiated by public transport. The city has an excellent network of buses, trams and metro and there are good tickets options including weekend passes and combined transport+museum cards. You can find exact info about transport passes here. Buses and trams are accessible with strollers and pushchairs: most of them have double doors and, at the time of writing, strollers ride free.
Please note: Tickets must be purchased before boarding the bus from one of the many ticketing machines and tills available.
Accommodation in Stockholm
Stockholm offers a vast array of accommodation options. To find one that suits your needs, we recommend our partner booking.com: you can search for their latest deals and offers on this handy search box that includes also the Generator Hostel, where we stayed during our first trip to the city.
Please note: this is an affiliate link and if you make a booking through it, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. We only work with partners we trust and use ourselves and use this small commission to help cover the expenses needed to run this blog.
- As well as Swedish, Sweden also has 5 other official languages: Finnish, Yiddish, Sami, Meänkieli and Romani
- Stockholm archipelago has over 30 000 islands and public transport includes buses, trams, metro and boat
- Stockholm itself is built on 14 islands and had 57 bridges
- Sweden is connected to Denmark by a bridge, The Oresund bridge, crossed by a train
- Because of its latitude, Sweden has few hours of daylight during the winter and exceptionally long days during the summer (up to 24 hours of darkness and/or light depending on the season and exact location)
- Pippi Longstocking is from Sweden
- One of Sweden’s most popular animals is moose and Sweden has the largest population of moose in the world
- One of Sweden’s most popular ice cream flavours is salty licorice
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