Temperate, enchanting and aesthetic with an eclectic mix of fairytale-medieval and ultramodern, a stroll through the streets of Stockholm lends itself to moments of captivating sightseeing and fulfilled wanderlust.
But, for some of Stockholm’s truly stunning sights, you have to venture off the quaint cobblestone streets and dig deep—multiple meters underground.
Consider this a mole’s guide to the can’t-miss sights in Stockholm, a city with a surprising number of interesting subterranean spots.
Almost all of Stockholm’s subway system actually doubles as an art gallery—suddenly public transit doesn’t seem like such a drag. As the world’s longest art exhibit (110 kilometers long), you could spend a significant portion of the day below ground being dazzled by a myriad of sculptures, mosaics, installations, engravings and paintings without ever having to venture outside. While 90 of the 100 stations showcase art, the absolute can’t-miss station to visit is….
Smack-dab in downtown Stockholm, Kungsträdgården is the terminus of the blue line and looks to be straight out of a fantasy novel. The interior aesthetic of the station is comprised of a representation of the historic site above it—the former grounds of the Makalös Palace. Imagine if the Grateful Dead toured through The Hobbit, and you have a starting point for some of these subway views: replica statues and pillars stand guard against a backdrop of vibrant patterns adorning the much of the faux caverns. Beyond the art, the station also harbors a surprisingly self-sustaining ecosystem of strange cave-dwelling denizens. This is the only place the rare cave dwarf spider Lessertia dentichelis is known to reside in all Northern Europe, so think twice before swatting at any you encounter.
If your trip to Sweden happens to coincide with a special event or festival like Stockholm Open House, then plan a visit to the country’s first nuclear reactor. Residing 25 meters directly below the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Reaktor 1 was Sweden’s modest venture into the Cold War’s nuclear arms race. Formally closed since sometime in 1970, the hollow reactor hall today often houses concerts and art installations, proving to be a goosebumps-inducing venue—the perfect fodder for future conversations.
After a long day cave-dwelling, it’s only fitting to soak your weary bones in one of Stockholm’s many soothing bathhouses. For a surreal subterranean spa, seek out the hall of Storkyrkobadet. Semi-hidden within the heavily-trafficked Old Town, Storkyrkobadet is a grotto-oasis a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city above. Located in a vault in a basement of a storied building, this bathhouse dates back to the 17th century—back then, it was a coal and wine cellar for a Dominican convent. Today, it’s pool and sauna, perfect for unwinding.
Can’t wait to dig into all of Stockholm’s sights, sounds and discoveries? Our travel agents can help. Between their expertise, knowledge and connections to premier travel industry partners like Norwegian Cruise Line, you can focus your energy on deep-diving into discovery instead of worrying about how to plan the perfect trip.