Discover Stockholm: 7 spectacular hidden gems

Anyone visiting Stockholm will want to bookmark this list.

Discover Stockholm: 7 spectacular hidden gems
Enjoy a drink by the water at Hammarby Sjö. Photo: Mikael Sjoberg/

Stockholm is blessed like few other cities when it comes to intertwining natural and urban spaces, as well as old and new. 

Hip downtown restaurants one minute; secluded, tree-lined beaches the next. Centuries-old monuments across the street from dazzling modern architecture. Stockholm puts it all at your fingertips.

And discovering the city is also a breeze – the Arlanda Express train takes you from the airport to downtown Stockholm in only 20 minutes, quickly connecting you to an extensive public transit network that is a destination in and of itself, touted as the world’s longest art gallery.

It’s no wonder that tourism is booming – as more and more travellers discover the marvels of the capital of Scandinavia. 

Most people already know about Stockholm’s main attractions like the Vasa Museum, City Hall, Old Town, and Skansen (just to name a few). But for anyone looking to dig a little deeper and broaden their Stockholm experience, here are some hidden gems outside the city centre you simply won’t want to miss.


Known as the gateway to Stockholm’s famed archipelago, this island is a mere 20 minute boat trip from the city. Be sure to snap a few iconic pics of Old Town from the water. Upon arrival, explore the many working artist’s studios, grab some seafood by the water at the Rökeriet restaurant, or simply find a spot on the rocks and grab some sun. It’s just that easy to make your archipelago dreams come true.


A post shared by @jolantaensuisse on Jul 9, 2017 at 11:50am PDT


Långholmen is an island nestled on the northwest corner of Södermalm island, walking distance from the nearest metro. It’s perhaps most well-known as the sight of a former prison that’s been converted to a hostel. Out front is a pleasant beach where you can take a dip in the waters of Lake Mälaren. The island also has plenty of secluded walking paths that make it easy to forget you’re just minutes from the bustling city centre.


Långholmen. Photo: Tove Freij


Summer evenings at Långholmen. Photo: Tove Freij/


Start your Stockholm visit with Arlanda Express tickets

Hammarby sjö 

This lake connects Södermalm with a nearby urban district south of the city that features a wonderful mix of modern residential architecture and waterfront tranquillity. Wrapped by boardwalks, the small is the centrepiece of the eponymous Hammarby sjöstad which emerged from a major redevelopment project that transformed the once industrial area into one of the city’s trendiest neighbourhoods. Cosy cafes and scrumptious eateries abound (many with views of the water) – and don’t miss the Nya Carnegiebryggeriet, a craft brewery and restaurant perched on the harbour’s edge, just steps from where the ferry boat that can take you back across to Södermalm.

Haga Parken

This wide swathe of green sits like a jewel perched on the northern edge of the city and is part of the Royal National City Park. It features vast lawns and meandering walking paths that take you from thick forests to the idyllic waterfront of Brunnsviken Lake. Speaking of royalty you might catch a glimpse of Crown Princess Victoria and her family, who make their home in Haga Palace. And if weather forces you indoors, take cover in the tropical Butterfly House (Fjärilshuset) on the park’s north end. There you can walk among swarms of exotic, free-flying butterflies – or check out one of the largest shark aquariums in Scandinavia.


The lawn at Haga Parken. Photo: Peter Isotalo/

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Arial; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}



Located on the southwestern edge of Södermalm island across the street from the Hornstull metro station, Tantolunden is another green area popular among Stockholm dwellers looking for a break from the bustling city. The sprawling park features a swimming area, plenty of picnic spots and playgrounds, as well as mini-golf and disc golf. You can even rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and get a view of the park from the water. And don’t miss the array of charming 1920s-era cottages in the park’s allotment garden area.



Summer house at Tantolunden. Photo: Holger Ellgaard/


p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 11.0px Arial; color: #000000; -webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none}

Simplify your Stockholm visit: download the Arlanda Express app



Combing modern art, cultural activities and stunning views of the archipelago, Artipelag lets you get your fix of natural and man-made beauty all in one place. It’s located among the majestic pines of Värmdö, overlooking the waters of Stockholm’s archipelago and is easily reachable by bus or boat. The brainchild of Björn Jakobson, the man behind the iconic ‘BabyBjörn’ baby carriers, the compound features two restaurants and nearly 3,000 square metres of exhibition space, making or a one-of-a-kind outing.



Artipelag Main Entrance. Photo: Benjamin Horn



A mere 15-minute bus ride from Slussen lands you at Hellasgården, a recreation area on the western shore of Källtorp Lake in the middle of the tree-filled Nacka nature reserve. Enjoy a tranquil forest walk (or brisk jog), take a dip in the lake, and enjoy a sauna. You can even play a quick round at the 9-hole golf course or try your hand at fishing. Hellasgården also has a hostel so you can stay the night and enjoy the beauty of Swedish nature before breakfast. 

Summer offer

With so much to do in Stockholm, why not make getting there as fast and easy as possible by booking your airport transfer with the Arlanda Express, the fastest route between Arlanda Airport and downtown (a mere 20 minutes).

So why not download the Arlanda Express app or head to the Arlanda Express homepage so you can make your Stockholm airport transfer smoother.

Book Arlanda Express tickets here

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Arlanda Express.



IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images