The two most beautiful times to visit Stockholm are (in my view) the white nights around June and the magic lights around Christmas and year-end.
The capital of Sweden becomes a true winter wonderland in December when the temperature dips below freezing, allowing the snow and the ice to enhance further the Old Town beauty.
You’ll additionally enjoy great food, a beautiful Christmas Market, and many touristic shops if you’re looking for stuff to buy… like Dala horses 😊 🦄
As usual, my post aims to flag a non-exhaustive list of great spots to visit with a travel photography bias. So here are my “top 15” spots in that amazing city
Stockholm Old Town (Gamla Stan) remains one of the best-preserved historic districts in Europe and the Stortorget square is the most famous place.
It is the oldest square in Stockholm, on which the medieval city gradually came into being.
Its colorful houses (and the Christmas market of you are there during the two weeks before Christmas) are a paradise for photographers, especially during twilight.
-2- Royal Swedish Opera
The Kungliga Operan is an opera and ballet company based in Stockholm. The building is beautiful, especially when lighted at night
It lies on the banks of the Norrström river near the Royal Palace and is as well a place to see when the sky gest dark (don’t worry, “sunset” is around 3 PM in December 😢 😂)
-3- Mariaberget observatory
For a different (and most beautiful) perspective on the city / Gamla Stan, get south and uphill to the popular Mariaberget observatory
There is a nice walkway that provides a stunning panorama non only on the old town but as well on the City Hall (Stadshus) and its park, Noor Malarstand colorful houses, and the city
The best time to visit in winter is mid-morning when the sun may light the Old town that would then reflect on the ice (with a bit of luck and a bit more perseverance to climb up there a few times 😰
-4- Skinnaviksberg hill
As you went uphill to Mariaberget observatory above, take 15 minutes more to visit the very popular Skinnaviksberg hill (As you don’t need to get fully down and up again 😊)
Be careful, the rocks are quite slippery 🤕
-5- Vasa Museum
After many hours of shooting or walking in the cold, you deserve a break inside. The Vasa ship sank in Stockholm in the 17th century and spend more than 300 years on the seabed. It is today the world’s best-preserved ship and one of the most visited museums in Scandinavia.
For the photographers, many cool details all around the ship so you can easily spend an hour there
-6- Riksdagshuset parliament
The impressive Riksdagshuset grand Swedish parliament building is situated in the tiny Helgeansholmen island just north of Gamla Stan
Stockholm is spread on 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges, earning the nickname “Beauty on the Water. That create endless photography opportunities for the Riksdagshuset and many other landmarks
-7- Sankt Jacobs Kyrka
The beautiful Saint James’s Church (Sankt Jacobs Kyrka) is another great spot. The church is dedicated to the apostle Saint James the Greater, patron saint of travelers -so another reason for me to visit 🤩.
-8- Skeppsholmen Island
Skeppsholmen is a small island located in Stockholm city center, a short walk from Kungsträdgården Park. The Skeppsholmsbron bridge to reach it offers great views on Gamla Stan
As for many other locations in Stockholm during winter, twilight and dusk remain good times to go around (Yes, I know it is even colder but 😄…)
Skeppsholmen island has a beautiful little harbor providing many photography opportunities.
Climb around the Toy Museum and Moderna Musset for a gorgeous perspective over the city as well!
There is a lot to discover there on foot so definitively a great spot not to miss in Stockholm.
-9- Skeppsbron piers walk
Walking along Skeppskrokajen and the piers gives nice perspectives on Skeppsholmen island ( with the beautiful Toy Museum building)
Again, it is beautiful and different at different times of the day and night
The view over the Katarina-Sofia neighborhood is as well very nice from there.
–10- City Hall Stadshus
The Stadshus is another iconic monument in the city.
it is very famous for its garden (Stadshusparken) and the beautiful statues in front of the Riddarfjärden Bay
That might be nicer in Summer (the Dansen statue naked in the freezing cold fog agree 😂)
-11- Kungsträdgärden isbana
Gliding around this ice-skating rink in the middle of the city is a must for many winter visitors to Stockholm. The rink is free, open to all, and quite busy.
This is an amazing playfield for travel photography as well, especially with Sankt Jacobs Kyrka in the background (Saint of travelers you remember?)
Especially around Christmas and year-end, the surrounding park is quite magic…
-12- Soder Malastrand
Below Mariaberget observatory, the piers of Soder Malastrand can offer beautiful views over Gamla Stan old town
There are many colorful boats there as well for travel photography lovers.
-13- Royal Palace
Of course, the Royal Palace is an iconic place not to miss in Gamla Stan. Cheating a bit with an image from a summer trip as I like it much better with flowers around 😇
-14- Royal theater
Sweden’s national theatre is a beautiful building located on the waterfront at Nybroviken bay. A cool place to visit or at least to pass by
-15- Noor Malarstand
This is another nice place to visit for its elegant waterfront houses along Norr Mälarstrand.
So here it is for my selection of spots in the winter wonderland of Northern Europe. If you’re interested in going further north, read my article about the Swedish Lapland fairytale landscape and Northern lights.
As said it is amazing around Christmas and year-end but do not hesitate to go to Sweden as well during the white nights around June for warmer shooting conditions and visits 🤩