• Sumo

If you ask anyone what impresses them most about the Swedish capital of Stockholm, it doesn’t take long for them to mention their love of this city’s pedestrian-friendly nature. With well-groomed streets, narrow laneways and sidestreet shortcuts, getting around on foot is remarkably easy. But what might not be apparent to travellers visiting this fine city for the first time is just how accessible it is by water.

Experience Stockholm by water on a Hop On Hop Off Boat Tour. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

Much of Stockholm is surrounded by water. In fact, it’s almost a little reminiscent of Venice, with plenty of canals, rivers and inlets that criss-cross throughout the city. So it may come as no surprise to learn that Stockholm offers some fantastic Hop-On-Hop-Off boat tours.

Looking very much like the canal boats in Amsterdam, these hop-on-hop off boats aren’t just a good way of sightseeing, they’re also a great mode of transportation. Much like the ‘hop-on-hop-off’ busses that roam the streets of cities like New York and London, Stockholm’s HOHO boat tours offer visitors the convenience to embark or disembark at any stop along the route. Tickets are valid for a full 24 hours, and cost just 100 SEK.

So where can you go on these tours? Here’s just a few of the sights you can expect to see. Note – we’ve listed these stops in the order they’re typically presented. You can embark and disembark from any of the listed areas; with multiple stops, there’s certain to be one near your hotel or location.

1. Nybroplan – This is the “official” starting location, and also the site of some major shopping opportunities along Hamngatan and Biblioteksgatan streets. The latter literally means “Library Street” in Swedish, and is known for having some of the highest retail rent in the entire city. Many luxury brands can be found here, along with the Royal Library and the Army Museum nearby.

The Vasa Museum boasts an authentic, 17th Century ship called the Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. Photo courtesy of the Vasa Museum.

2. Vasa Museum – Your next stop is the breathtaking Vasa Museum, located on the island of Djurgården. One of the most visited museums in all of Scandinavia, the crown jewel of this fascinating maritime museum is the only near-fully intact 17th century ship to have been successfully salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that went down on her maiden voyage in 1628.

3. Skeppsholmen – Another picturesque island, Skeppsholmen boasts not one but three museums: The Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities and the Museum of Architecture. If you like museums, plan on spending some time at each of these world-class attractions.

A roller coaster in Stockholm? That's right - and you can experience it via the hop-on-hop-off-boats. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

4. Djurgården – Hop off at Gröna Lund and into an unexpected experience: the enormous roller coaster and other carnival-esque attractions located here. If you’re heading out on a cruise, chances are you’ll sail right past the amusements later – and the inner child of those who haven’t been may gaze longingly across the water.

The Viking Ferries berth in Stockholm, seen from the deck of the departing Wind Spirit. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

5. Cruise Berths / Viking Ferries – A stop is made near Skeppsbron, where most cruise ships will tie up. Larger ships will dock south of the Viking Ferry terminal, where ferries (that resemble and are often marketed as cruise ships) transport passengers between Sweden and Finland.

6. Fotografiska – A stop is made at Fotografiska, one of the largest photography museums in the world. It also plays host to a magnificent exhibition dedicated to the works of famed photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Lose yourself in Mårten Trotzigs Grand, the smallest street in Stockholm, located in the Gamla Stan district. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

7. Gamla Stan – This “old town” stop is not to be missed on any visit to Stockholm. Lose yourself in the historic streets of Gamla Stan, lined with shops, eateries and cafes. For those looking to take in one of the Steig Larsson-inspired Millennium Tours, this stop is the ideal location to access these, many of which begin in nearby Sodermalm.

Part of Stockholm's Royal Palace. Photo © 2011 Aaron Saunders

8. The Royal Palace – another “must see” destination, the Royal Palace is sure to be of interest to history buffs and anyone curious about Stockholm and Sweden. Be sure to hang around for the Changing of the Guards, explore the Royal Apartments, or visit the tombs of Kings’ past.

The next time you’re in Stockholm, make sure to hop-on and hop-off this convenient method of transportation. You just might be surprised at what you’re able to experience in a single day!