Stockholm is a city made for lovers of art and photography. From the beautiful old town, to the unique art in metro stations, Sweden’s capital is photogenic and a haven for visual creatives. There are also some great galleries to visit.
I have to be honest and say that I’ve never really been much of an art fan. I tend to avoid art galleries and the like when travelling, I’d much rather go to an interesting museum or just wander around taking in a new place.
When I was putting together my itinerary for Stockholm, I hadn’t initially planned to include any art-related activities, until I was given some recommendations by a friend from university.
Whilst on my trip, somebody staying in my hostel also recommended Fotografiska to me. In the end, my trip was filled with art and photography! Even more than that, I loved the fact that it was and it’s definitely given me a little bit of a soft spot for art after years of complete indifference.
Here’s my pick of the best art and photography based things to see and do in Stockholm:
A free modern art museum, this is well worth a visit. Located in Skeppsholem, close by the Abba and Vasa museums, this gallery contains a vast array of modern and contemporary works by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
The main exhibition is free and it’s open until 8pm on Friday evening. I’d recommend heading there later in the day you’re a solo traveller, it gives you something to do during the evening and there are barely any other people there.
As I wrote about in a post here, the Stockholm metro system is home to a number of different art installations, showcased across its stations. Buy a 70-minute ticket and head to as many stations as you can, you won’t be disappointed. T Centralen was my favourite, followed closely by Stadion.
This was my favourite of all the arty places I visited and one of the best things I saw during my trip. I’ve been getting in to photography more recently but still wasn’t expecting to enjoy the gallery as much as I did! The exhibitions are only around for a limited time but there’s a few different ones to see at any one time.
The standout one for my by far was Paul Hansen’s “Being There”, which has sadly ended. For those of you who haven’t come across this work before (I hadn’t), Hansen is a Swedish photojournalist that has travelled all over the world photographing people and events. The exhibition was filled with amazing but also devastating photographs of people in various places such as Haiti, Syria and Ukraine. Each photograph was accompanied by a short commentary and I found myself holding back tears as I looked around. Truly incredible. You can read more about Paul Hansen here.
Fotografiska also has a gorgeous café restaurant with incredible views over the water and Stockholm. You need to have bought a ticket for the exhibition to enter. Admission costs 135 SEK (or just under £12). Factor in a few hours when visiting to ensure you have plenty of time to really immerse yourself in the exhibitions.
Stockholm Public Library
Ok, so this shouldn’t necessarily be included as an arty activity but I feel like the architecture of the library is so cool that visiting is a must. It’s like an exhibition in itself and you can visit for free. Designed by Gunnar Asplund, the main part of the library is a round hall surrounded by staircases. I’m not entirely sure how members of the public using it as an actual library concentrate; not only is the building beautiful, there are a number of tourists milling around snapping photos.
Get lost in the beautiful Old Town
Let’s face it, no trip to a European city is complete without visiting its Old Town.
Gamla Stan in Stockholm is one of the prettiest old towns I’ve come across in my travel and it’s a photographer’s dream, with gorgeous coloured buildings and cobbled streets.
Head there early morning to avoid the crowds and get lost in it’s winding streets, camera in hand.
There are a number of other art galleries and exhibitions that you could check out whilst in Stockholm that I didn’t make it to, such as:
Artipelag: an art, culture and design venue set in Varmdo in the archipelago.
Liljevalchs Konsthall: art and design exhibition.
Ark Des: national centre for archtecture and design.