The 9 Best Stockholm Tours to Book in 2018

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Beautiful Stockholm is Sweden’s largest city and one of Europe’s most charming capitals. With historic architecture, a vibrant arts scene, delicious culinary offerings of all kinds, and famously friendly people, Stockholm really is a must-visit for urban travelers from around the world. As with any large city, though, getting a lay of the land can be a bit tricky, and digging deeper than the typical touristic offerings is even trickier. A high-quality tour can solve both of these problems, offering you a guided overview of the geography of a neighborhood or the city as a whole, and also offering you a local window into the best things to see, hear, and eat throughout your vacation.

Stockholm has many different tours on offer, with different transportation options, themes, and even target audiences. Have a look at these, the very best that Viator has to offer — odds are good that one (or more!) of them will suit your fancy and enhance your Stockholm visit tremendously.

01 of 09

Best Hop-on/Hop-off Tour: Stockholm Bus and Boat Combination Hop On Hop Off

Stockholm Royal Palace

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Hop-on/hop-off tours are generally an ideal choice if you’re trying to get a broad sense for the available tourist attractions in a city, and this one is a shining example of their convenience. With 21 different bus stops and seven different boat stops, you can see all of Stockholm’s major attractions — everything from the Royal Palace to ABBA the Museum — at your own pace, taking the time you need at each, and skipping the ones that don’t interest you entirely.

The bus and boat are both equipped with audio commentary in 10 languages, so you can learn about what you’re seeing as you head from stop to stop, or simply relax and take a full loop while listening. The bus and boat also both offer Wi-Fi, so you can upload all of your fresh selfies from each stop as you travel to the next. The ticket is good for 24 hours (a 72-hour upgrade is available) and the vehicles run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

02 of 09

Best Walking Tour: Stockholm City Walking Tour, Including the Vasa Museum

Stortorget

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The best way to see the historic center of Stockholm, with its cobbled streets that were designed for horses, not cars, is on foot. This tour pairs you with an expert local guide who will show you around their beloved home city and give you thoughtful insight into its history and culture.

The tour begins at Stortorget, the oldest town square in Stockholm, where you’ll meet your guide and set off. You’ll visit the Storkyrkan (Coronation Church) and see its famous statue of St. George slaying the dragon, the Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace), still the home of Sweden’s royal family, and other sights of Gamla Stan (Old Town).

After you’ve explored this area with your guide, you’ll hop a quick ferry to the small island of Djurgården, where the Vasa Museum, one of the world’s greatest maritime museum, stands. Your guide will introduce you to the circa 1628 warship who sank on her maiden voyage and was pulled from the waters just outside the Stockholm harbor in the early 1960s, largely intact. After your half-hour guided tour, you’ll bid farewell to your guide, and you can head back to your hotel or continue exploring this fascinating interpretive museum, which explores Swedish history through the lens of this remarkable salvage.

03 of 09

Best Bike Tour: Stockholm Bike Tour

Stockholm Bike Tour

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Stockholm, like most of Northern Europe, is ultra-bike-friendly, with thousands of Stockholmers commuting via bicycle daily on dedicated lanes and roads that weave through the city. This tour takes advantage of the fact that bikes can cover a lot of territory fast, but allows for the sort of deep exploration that can’t be done from the bulk of a vehicle, especially in the older parts of the city.

It’s not necessary to be a serious cyclist to take the tour, but it does cover about nine (almost entirely flat) miles over the course of three hours, so you should be comfortable with that level of exertion. You’ll begin your tour at a bike shop in central Stockholm, where you’ll be fitted with a bike and helmet. From there, your guide will lead you into Gamla Stan (Old Town) to view some of the city’s more striking historical monuments, including the Royal Palace and the Swedish Parliament.

From there, you’ll ride through historic residential neighborhoods, along the waterfront pathways of the city’s many islands, and past major tourist attractions, gaining a deep sense of the city, from top to bottom. It’s a particularly excellent way to orient yourself to the city’s geography, so do it early in your trip if you can.

04 of 09

Best Cruise: Stockholm Bridges Cruise

Stockholm

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It wouldn’t be a proper trip to the “Venice of the North” if you didn’t get on the water at least once, and this comfy (and surprisingly affordable) sightseeing tour gives you the opportunity to really get in and around the many waterways that lace through this archipelago city.

Climb upon your sightseeing boat at Strömkajen and find a seat on either the open deck or in the windowed cabin. You’ll be provided with an audio headset that will introduce you to 15 of Stockholm’s most picturesque bridges as you pass under them, all of the neighborhoods you pass by, and even give you some insight into the complicated and genuinely fascinating lock system that allows boats to pass between Lake Mälaren to the west and the Baltic Sea to the east.

Definitely bring your camera, as the views of the city from the water — Gamla Stan in particular — are exquisite.

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05 of 09

Best Kayak Tour: Central Stockholm City Kayak Tour

Gamla Stan

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Swedes are famous for their love of the outdoors and enjoy getting as close to nature as possible as often as is practical. Take a cue from them and enjoy this kayak tour through the heart of the city, from which you’ll get all of the great waterfront views of the Old Town while propelling yourself through these ancient waterways with your own two arms.

You don’t need to be an expert kayaker — the calm waters of Stockholm’s protected bays and waterways are ideal for helping novices get their sea legs and learn to maneuver these little boats. You’ll meet your guide at the edge of a bay near the city’s center and be fitted with a life jacket and a kayak, and attend both a quick on-land safety briefing and in-water training session, and then you’re off!

You’ll paddle past Stadhuset (City Hall), Gamla Stan, artsy Södermalm, and more, getting both a beautiful view of the city and a great core workout. 

06 of 09

Best Food Tour: Stockholm Food Tour

Swedish meatballs

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Though Copenhagen is the city most frequently associated with New Nordic Cuisine, the clean, micro-local style that has swept the culinary world for the past decade, the deep culinary traditions and modern innovations of Sweden are very much part of the trend. This four-hour walking tour takes a deep dive into the country’s culinary history and modern movements, with plenty of walking in between stops to keep you hungry.

Your food-loving guide will meet you at Õstermalms Saluhall, Stockholm’s oldest food market, where you’ll get a tour of both the building’s architecture and some of its more delicious stall offerings, including modern Swedish meatballs, a healthy and delicious contemporary take on the classic. From there, you’ll stroll through Stureplan on the way to Kungsgatan, where you’ll eat some delicious fresh seafood while sipping on white wine. Among several other stops, you’ll also visit Chokoladfabriken for cardamom-infused hot chocolate and Fagel & Vilt for smoked reindeer and elk salami.

Your final stop will be for a traditional Swedish fika (afternoon snack) of strong coffee and kanelbullar, a fluffy, buttery cinnamon roll. This tour is ideal for early in your trip, as you’ll get a million ideas for what and where to eat. And you really do gain a tremendous understanding of a culture by learning about their food and eating habits, so you’ll gain much more than just a full belly.

07 of 09

Best Ghost Tour: The Original Stockholm Ghost Walk and Historical Tour

Stockholm

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Any city founded in the 1200s is sure to be chock-full of eerie tales, both ancient and modern, and Stockholm is certainly no exception. This spooky (and pleasantly campy) tour takes you on an evening walk by lantern light through the ancient streets of Gamla Stan, where you’ll hear about unsettled spirits, vampires, murders, public executions, unsolved mysteries, and other spine-tingling tales.

Your guide will illuminate much of the straight factual history of this oldest corner of the city, as well, though the tour is not focused so much on the traditional tourist stops, instead weaving you through back alleys and lesser-known cobbled streets. The tour is in English, and because of somewhat gruesome content, is not recommended for children under eight or the faint-hearted. 

08 of 09

Best Alternative Tour: Private Tour: Bohemian Stockholm Walking Tour

Södermalm

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If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and see some areas of the city that are less traveled by visitors, consider this quirky walking tour of the bohemian areas of Stockholm, one of the world’s most artistically vibrant cities. You’ll meet your private guide in front of the City Museum at Ryssgården and travel with them by ferry to the trendy island of Södermalm. There, you’ll explore hip boutiques, quirky galleries, cozy cafes, and some of Södra Teatern’s fabulous and cutting-edge beer bars.

You’ll see the fictional home of Lisbeth Salander, from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo et al) and the site of some very real public executions. You’ll also visit the beautiful Katarina Kyrka and its cemetery, where many famous Swedes are buried. You’ll climb to the Fjällgatan lookout point for the best views of Stockholm and finally descend into the chic SoFo (South of Folkungatan) district, where your tour will conclude and you can continue on to explore on your own.

Because this is a private tour, there’s plenty of flexibility built in, so don’t be afraid to explain what sorts of things you particularly enjoy, be they clothing boutiques or craft beer, and your guide will be sure to include plenty in your travels.

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09 of 09

Best Shore Excursion: Stockholm Highlights Tour

Stockholm Shore Excursion

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If you’re coming into Stockholm on a cruise ship and want to see as much as you can while you’re in port, consider this fabulous sightseeing tour, which packs an impressive amount of the city’s highlights into just five hours, and even manages to give you a fair bit of free time to explore on your own.

The tour begins with a pickup from the cruise port (all three docking areas are serviced), where you’ll board a comfortable motorcoach for a scenic ride through downtown Stockholm. You’ll disembark for a guided tour of the amazing Vasa Museum, with its preserved antique warship, and then it’s back on the bus for more sightseeing.

You’ll see the Royal Palace, the Royal Opera, the Parliament Building, and other beautiful landmarks before making another stop, this time at Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s oldest neighborhood. Here, you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour before having some free time to eat, shop, or simply wander the narrow medieval alleys, imagining the lives of countless generations of Stockholmers who have walked these streets.

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