Solna is a municipality in the north of Stockholm, just a stone’s throw from the capital. As it happens, many of Stockholm’s big tourist attractions and facilities are in Solna. People will take the subway, bus or commuter train to Friends Arena to watch concerts and games, hang out at any of the three former royal estates, or go shopping at the Scandinavian Mall.
You can also enjoy relaxing scenes at Brunnsviken, a finger-shaped lagoon on the east side of Solna, and pay homage to Filmstaden, the filming and editing studio for Ingmar Bergman’s classic films.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Solna:
1. Haga Packan
Located on the west bank of Brunnsviken in the eastern part of the borough, Hagaparken is an elegant English-style landscape park with many monuments within its boundaries.
Founded by King Gustav III in the late 18th century, it was the preferred royal property of later monarchs.
In English style, the park is dotted with pavilions and pavilions, such as the Temple of Echoes, designed from 1790 as Gustav III’s outdoor dining pavilion and the China Pavilion. Since 1922, Hagapacen has been home to the Royal Cemetery, where most members of the Royal Bernadotte family are laid to rest.
Due to its size and the number of internal attractions, Hagaparken is a place you will keep coming back to in Solna.
2. Haga Park Museum
A quirky building for the Royal Guard sits in front of Gustav III’s Royal Pavilion.
Consistent with the 18th-century fascination with all things Oriental, the building has a patterned blue exterior, designed like three Turkish tents, made of copper.
At the center of these tents is the Haga Park Museum.
Here you can see the magnificent designs of Gustav III for the epic neoclassical palace.
Before his assassination in 1792, only the foundations were laid and the building was abandoned.
You can see a large model of the palace and learn about early plans for the park and its many folly and pavilions.
3. Gustav III Pavilion
In summer, take a guided tour of Gustav III’s lush pavilion, considered one of the masterpieces of 18th-century neoclassical architecture in Northern Europe.
The pavilion would serve as a residence while the king waited to build his palace, and was where he left for the masquerade ball where he was killed in 1792. The interior of the pavilion was decorated by French-born painter and interior designer Louis Masrelitz.
During the restoration of the pavilion in the 1940s, Masreliez’s original design was rediscovered: since then, the interior has remained as it was at the end of the 18th century, with original furniture and more.
4. Uriksdal Palace
Not far from Haga is another Royal Palace, this one in 17th century Baroque style.
Queen Hedwig Eleonora designed the palace as a future home for her grandson, Prince Ulrike, but the child died in infancy and those plans were scrapped.
Much of the building was the work of Nicodemus Tessin the Elder, who built many of Sweden’s grandest royal and aristocratic estates of the time.
At the end of the century, Tessin’s son built the orangery as part of the tour, which houses some of the Swedish National Museum’s sculpture collection.
On your visit, you will enter the stables, which house Queen Christina’s coronation carriage, which dates back to 1650.
5. Slottsträdgården Ulriksdal
The palatial park surrounding the palace is a strolling dream, but the most attractive is the kitchen garden to the north.
Fruit and vegetables have been grown for the Royal Palace since the 1700s, and it is now a private enterprise where fresh produce can be purchased in a sublime setting.
Some of the palace’s annexes are here, including the garden workers’ housing and the director’s office.
If you’re just visiting, the greenhouses and gardens are relaxing, and there’s a café where you can bake your own pastries.
6. Solna Church
The North Cemetery Norra Begravningsplatsen is an attraction in itself and the final resting place of some of Sweden’s most notable personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Alfred Nobel, August Strindberg and Ingrid Bergman are just some of the outstanding tombs.
On the southern edge is the extraordinary Church of Solna, which consists of linked buildings of a 12th-century Romanesque fortress.
The rotunda is the oldest part of the church and is topped with a grand dome and dome.
Go and admire the 15th-century ceiling frescoes, painted by the most prominent Swedish painter of the time, Albertus Pictor.
7. Cinema City
Over 400 films were shot in these studios in Råsunda, a pilgrimage site for Swedish film lovers and the work of Ingmar Bergman.
The complex was built in 1919-20 by Svensk Filmindustri (now SF Studios) and is where almost every 20th century Swedish director or actor you can think of worked.
Bergman had a particularly close connection to Filmstaden, who studied his trades in the studio’s various facilities in the 1940s.
Most of his masterpiece The Seventh Seal was filmed here in 1957. Filmstaden is now a residential area full of artsy productions, cinemas and restaurants.
Many old studio buildings are still intact, such as Lilla Ateljén (Small Studio), where all silent films were filmed.
8. Karlberg Palace
On the Karlberg Canal at the southernmost tip of Solna, there is a manor used by the Swedish royal family in the 17th century.
The palace we see was built in 1634 and has been a military academy since the end of the 18th century.
The interior is usually closed to the public for this reason, but the park is open during the day and the paths along the canal are lovely.
In summer, boats come and go, and people barbeque by the water.
A few things to look for in the park are an 18th-century goofy building, a Temple of Diana, and a tomb belonging to Pompeii, the dog of Charles XII.
9. Swedish Museum of Natural History
Located on the east bank of Brunswicken, this renowned museum was founded in 1819 and has been housed in the existing building since 1916. Children will be excited about dinosaur fossils, and most of the museum’s exhibits are suitable for young people to visit.
Permanent exhibitions cover topics such as human history, human anatomy, fossils and evolution, life in water, Sweden’s natural world, polar tribes, climate change and geological wonders such as meteorites.
At Cosmonova, you can enjoy 3D movies in the IMAX theater, Sweden’s largest planetarium.
10. Bergianska Trädgården
Also on the east side of Brunswicken, there is a magical garden facing the water.
Built for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Bergian Garden dates back to 1791 and moved to its present location in 1885. Within a few years, wonderful structures in the garden began to sprout, such as the Victoriaväxthuset (Victoria Grow House), named after the giant water, which contained lilies and an old orangery with tropical plants.
The larger Edvard Andersons Växthus (greenhouse) opened in 1995 in honour of a benefactor of the Royal Academy, providing shelter for Mediterranean, rainforest and desert flora.
Outside, you can walk through vegetable gardens, Japanese ponds and woodlands from across the northern hemisphere, and sit and meditate by Brunnsviken.
11. Friends Arena
Inaugurated in 2012, this new multipurpose stadium is home to the Swedish national football team and local team AIK Solna.
With a capacity of over 54,000 people, it is the largest football stadium in the Nordic region.
If you’re wondering about the name, Friends Arena is sponsored by Swedbank and takes on the name of the anti-bullying charity, one of the non-profit organizations sponsored by the bank.
The stadium has a retractable roof and has hosted concerts by various artists including Bruce Springsteen, Guns N’ Roses and Ariana Grande for the past five years.
If you’re a football fan and want a matchday experience, the Allsvenskan season runs from April to November.
12. Scandinavian Mall
Next door to Friends Arena is a huge shopping mall that became Scandinavia’s second largest shopping mall when it opened in 2015. There is very little in this complex that compares to most shopping malls.
One is the size of the storefront, which is eight meters high, combined with the ultra-modern interior to bring a little spectacle to your shopping trip.
All the big international chains like H&M and Zara are here, as well as more than 20 restaurants and endless leisure facilities.
There’s a bowling alley, crazy golf and a 15-screen movie theater.
Also be sure to see what’s showing in the record-breaking 500-seat IMAX theater.
13. Edsburg Castle
A smooth drive to Edsviken’s North Shore will take you to another luxury property.
Edsburg Castle is easy to spot from a distance because its yellow façade was ordered by soldier and politician Thure Gustaf Rudbeck.
The house is closed to the public, but the location is all the motivation you need to travel.
In summer, the view over Edsviken from the balcony is a treat.
Another option is Café Brygghuset in the park, where you can sit down for a mackerel, meatball or shrimp sandwich, or simply sip coffee and indulge in a selection of homemade cakes.
14. MC Collection
One of the outbuildings of Edsberg Palace hides an excellent motorcycle museum.
In private collections spanning more than 100 years, motorcycles are regarded as mechanical works of art.
Among the many retro models are Indians, Harley Davidsons and Husqvarnas, but there are also modern race cars and some futuristic concepts to show the advancement of technology.
The museum stocks 400 bikes and updates 140 exhibits every few months to keep things fresh.
All bikes come with a descriptive information board to point out their origin, story and manufacturer.
For those with limited time, we did our best to condense Stockholm into one paragraph.
The old town, Gamla Stan, takes your attention with its quaint old streets and passages, giving it the feel of an outdoor museum.
Skansen has a true outdoor museum dating back to 1891, as well as blueprints of similar attractions in Scandinavia and around the world.
It’s a small world in Djurgården, a cultural and family destination, from the Vasa Museum and its 17th-century warships to the Gröna Lund amusement park.
Since water is such an important part of the Stockholm environment, a Mälaren ferry or canal cruise must be considered in your plans.
One idea for sailing might be Sodermalm, which overlooks the water to Gamla Stan and has the hippest part of the city.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Solna, Sweden
Lowest price guaranteed.