Let me give you some tips about what to see and do in Stockholm at Easter in case you are planning your holidays to the capital of Sweden during that time. In 2018 Easter extends between March 25 and April 1 and a lot of travelers decide to use these days (almost a week or more) to get to know Stockholm. These are my suggestions.
Opening Times at Easter
Something to remember when visting Stockholm at Easter has to do with opening times for banks, Systembolaget (state controlled liquor shops), cafés and souvenir shops and other stores. Many of them will be closed or will modify their opening times to match non-working days. Some stores may be even closed totally from Thursday to Easter Monday. You should check individually all the opening times for the museums and atractions that you would like to visit.
Soon you will realize that in Stockholm and Sweden as a whole a lot of tree branches and twigs are decorated with colorful feathers. This is a tradition from the beginning of the 17th century when people started decorating birch twigs (björk in Swedish) with feathers that invited to remember Christ’s suffer. Kids used to simulate a flagellation with them too. Nowadays in a non-religious Sweden the tradition has survived as a decorative entertainment.
What to See & Do in Stockholm at Easter
Skansen is the main location to visit during this time of the year to get acquainted with Easter traditions in Sweden. This open-air museum and animal park is the center for Easter activities in the city. It may look weird to you if you happen to meet kids disguised as witches but that’s the typical clothing for the season.
In Skansen a traditional Easter market opens between 11 and 4 pm where you will find typical Swedish food, craftmanship and home-decor objects. At Skansen’s website you will find the schedule with all the related activities for these days.
If you are traveling with your kids you will surely want to know where and when the activities suited for them take place. Egg hunting is usually one of the most loved things to do and takes place at different locations like the Royal Palace (where other children events also happen) or at Millesgården art and statue park on Lidingö Island.
The Vasa Museum also has activities for kids included in the entry fee. In 2018 between March 30 and April 8 some of them are:
- Från havets djup: a family show (repeating some times during the day) where kids can learn what means to be a maritime archeologist.
- Bygga, lasta, segla: where kids get to know how the Vasa ship was constructed, what was needed, what seamen brought onboard, etc.
- Bärga en kanon: where kids will experience how divers managed to go down 30 meters into the Baltic Sea to recover the cannons. Every day at 11.
- Gör en platting: where kids learn to tie knots the way it was done aboard the Vasa ship. Every dar at 2 pm
On April 5 2018 at 11:30 there will be a live show with a maritime archeologist where kids will be able to touch a 400-year-old cannon projectile, try a diving mask and get to touch a diving suit and other equipment related to diving.
The Nordic Museum or the Viking Museum called Vikingaliv, both on the island of Djurgården, also have special events during Easter season.
Buy Your Stockholm Pass
If you plan to visit a lot of museums during these days you should take a look at the Stockholm Pass tourist visitor card which grants you access to more than 60 activities among museums, attractions, sights and boat trips. Unfortunately not all the boat trips or day trips to the archipelago are available yet at Easter because the season starts a little later. For instance, you cannot take the boat to Artipelag – the art museum in the archipelago that I love – or the Historical Canal Boat Tour or the day trip to the viking city of Birka to get to know what life was for the vikings back then but you can get on board to visit Stockholm on the Stockholm Winter Tour or the Royal Canal Tour (from the end of March).
Another interesting option is getting onboard and enjoy a 3-hour boat trip to the archipelago with the Archipelago Tour With Guide available from Friday to Sunday and public holidays at 10:30, 12:00 and 1:30 pm. This boat trips departs from Strandvägen between Berzelii Park and Djurgårdensbron Bridge. Look here for the rest of boat trips in Stockholm and their dates.
Remember that even if you hold an Stockholm Pass you should get your ticket before boarding and being holidays it is advisable to get up early and get your ticket in time.
You can also use the hop-on hop off buses with three daily departures 10:30, 1:00 and 2:30 and get to know the city from the bus getting by the City Hall, the Royal Palace, the Old town of Gamlta Stan, the wealthy Östermalm neighborhood, Långholmen Island and Djurgården Island where the vast majority of museums in Stockholm are located.
Visit These Museums
If you have not been in Stockholm before and would like to make the best out of your trip besides Skansen where you will spend some hours I would include the following museums and places to visit in this order. Remember that visiting more than 3 or 4 museums each day might prove to be a difficult task because they have tight opening times too. If you are staying for 4 days try to visit these 12 museums. If you are 3 days try to visit 9 of them and so on …
1) The Vasa Museum
2) The ABBA Museum & The Swedish Music Hall of Fame
3) Nordiska museet
5) Moderna Museet (free entry)
6) ArkDes – Architecture & Design Museum (free entry)
7) Royal Palace and the change of guard every day at 12:15
8) Stockholm’s City Hall
9) Rotal Armory (free entry)
10) Historiska museet (free entry)
11) Spritmuseum – The Liquor and Spirits Museum
12) Junibacken (if traveling with kids) otherwise Millesgården, an art gallery like Liljevalchs or Unesco’s World Heritage cemetery Skogskyrkogård where Greta Garbo tombstone is located and a creation of the Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund (who also designed the exceptionally beautiful City Library, one of the 24 Free Things To Do When Visiting Stockholm on a Budget that I wrote about).
If you prefer to be outdoors and visit the city I can recommend you discovering Stockholm running with a guide or having a free tour of Stockholm. If the weather is not good then take your time to contemplate on your own the art located at almost every underground station in the local metro network. Or if you prefer there are also guided visits in English.
What to Eat in Stockholm at Easter
During the season, like everywhere in Northern Europe, eggs are prominently featured. Not just chocolate eggs but “real” eggs too. These are the ones you will find at every smörgåsbord or even for breakfast at the best hotels in town.
A lot of marinated herring and salmon prepared in different styles (cold-smoked, smoked, boiled, marinated) and Jansson’s temptation a dish made of potatoes, onions and anchovies served with Swedish schnapps a kind of digestive liquor (generally Akvavit in case you want to buy a bottle for yourself to bring back home). As always Swedish meatballs, paté, sausages and lamb are always present in every Swedish festivity.
This Easter bufé can be enjoyed in places like Grand Hotel Stockholm. Its renowned restaurant Verandan has a theme week dedicated to Easter with a unique smörgåsbord. Last tear they serve elderflower-marinated salmon, poached egg with marinated spargus and braised beef with stewed mushrooms. At Easter Thursday from 6 pm to 10 pm. Easter Friday 12 to 3 pm, 3:30 to 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm to 10 pm and Easter Monday 1 pm to 4 pm and 6pm to 10 pm. Price around 585 SEK (59 € / $71 /£60). Children 6 to 12-year-old pay 260 SEK (26 € / $32 /£23). Grand Hotel is located at one of the shores of Blasieholmen towards Skeppsholmen Island.
Another great place to enjoy a Easter buffé and a beautiful lookout over Stockholm is restaurant Fåfängan on Södermalm. The menu costs 435 SEK (44 € / $53 / £38) and includes they typical dishes for the season and other delicatessen. Besides a dessert buffé is included. They have a cheaper brunch version at 325 SEK (33 € / $40 / £28). Fåfängan is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday with brunch at 11 and 1:30 and Easter buffé at 5:30 pm and 9 pm. Easter Monday they serve just brunch at 11 and 1:30 pm. Fåfängan is best reached from Slussen underground station by bus (nr. 53 or any other bus bound for Nacka). Get off at Londonviadukten and climb up the stairs up the hill.
Lastly a third place to enjoy a Easter table is restaurant Villa Källhagen. This restaurant is located in a zone called Norra Djurgården close to the Museum of Technology, the Museum of Ethnography and the Maritime Museum Sjöhistoriska. Easter buffé is available from Easter Friday to Easter Monday from 12 to 2 pm and 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Price is 295 SEK (30 € / $36 /£25) except on Saturday where it is priced at 325 SEK (33 € / $40 / £28). Villa Källhagen does not lie very far away from the city center and is well served by bus number 69 from the Central Station (at Klarabergsviadukten bus stop) to Källhagen bus stop. If you hold a public transportation travel card or period ticket these buses are included.
Of course, you cannot leave Stockholm without trying the local fika culture in some of the best cafés in town. My recommendations are: Vete-Katten (close to Hötorget square and the Central Station), Bröd & Salt at Gamla Stan’s main street or Chockladkoppen at Stortorget, the main square in the Old Town where the beautifully colored houses are located. Generally Easter establishes the end of the seasons for the typical semlor buns made of marsipan and whipped cream that you should try.
Where to Sleep in Stockholm at Easter
At Villa Källhagen you don’t just get to taste the Easter buffé but also find accomodation in one of the 36 rooms that combine well-oriented design with a sweet enjoy of the nature in the surrounding area due to its giant windows. Some hotels like Freys Hotel have accomodation packages with discounts for the season.
If you are looking for a place to stay check these offers:
I hope this article will help you find what to do and see in Stockholm at Easter. If you are staying longer you could even take a day trip to Sigtuna, Sweden’s first city and old capital. Feel free to drop me a line in the comment section below if you need help with preparing your trip or have any comment or question related to your stay in Stockholm or other destinations in Sweden.