Hop On Hop Off Stockholm: Do You Really Need It?
With only a few days in Stockholm, I wanted to make the most of my time and decided to purchase a ticket for the hop on hop off Stockholm bus. There are two different buses in Stockholm – the red bus and the Stromma Open Top Tours green bus. For 300 SEK (approx. $35 USD), I’d get a 24 hour bus ticket to enjoy the city with free commentary and WiFi. The complete tour of the city takes 100 minutes and buses arrive every 30-60 minutes at each of the 17 designated stops.
I chose to ride on the top level for the best views of Stockholm. The weather was a little chilly and the sky was overcast so I’m glad they decided to keep the roof on the bus.
The layout of the bus route is a simple one: The bus tour begins at The Royal Opera and stops at various attractions along the way like Gröna Lund, Skansen, Fjällgatan, City Hall, Abba Museum, Ice Bar, the Royal Palace, Old Town as well as several shopping districts. I began my tour at Hötorget, a city square in the center of Stockholm. My plan was to ride the bus and get off near Herman’s Vegetarian Restaurant, have lunch, and then finish out my tour of the city.
I did get to Herman’s successfully, but after lunch I waited only a few minutes for the bus at a nearby bus stop #21. The bus pulled up, I stood at the door, and yes — even after I banged on the doors it still pulled away. Back to the bus stop I went to wait for nearly an hour before the next bus arrived.
TSG Tip: Tickets for the hop on hop off Stockholm green bus tours are also valid on the red City Sightseeing Worldwide buses. Had I known that, I would’ve jumped on one of the three red buses that came by instead of waiting nearly an hour for the next bus.
Remember I said there’s free commentary? On the buses that I took, there wasn’t much commentary to be had whatsoever. Any of the information on this page with regards to what I saw was only because I researched the sites on my own afterward. Basically I rode a bus for over an hour with no concept of what it was that I was looking at.
Djurgårdsbron Bridge was built for the Stockholm World’s Fair by Carl Fraenell in 1897. This bridge creates a southern extension to boulevard Narvavägen thereby connecting mainland Östermalm to the island Djurgården.
Kungstrãdgården (King’s Garden) is a park in central Stockholm filled with outdoor cafés, monuments, and ice rink. Concerts are also held here in the summer.
Must be nice to be a member of the Royal family. The House of Nobility (Riddarhuset) is a corporation and a building for the main purpose of maintaining records and acts as an interest group on behalf of the Swedish nobility. Wonder if I mentioned I was on the hop on hop off Stockholm bus if they’d let me in? Probably not.
On the right is Riddarholmskyrkan, the burial church of the Swedish monarchs. No longer used as a regular church as of 1807, the church today is used only for burial and commemorative purposes.
The Royal Palace is situated on Stadsholmen, in Gamla stan in Stockholm near the Riksdag building. Construction on the building began in 1697 and was completed in 1760. Inside the Royal Palace are the apartments for the Royal families and a total of 1,430 rooms.
This is where our bus sat for 20 minutes at stop #1. Why? No reason told to us other than they had to stop. The driver got out to chat with other drivers during this time. When I asked why the WiFi on this bus wasn’t working, the driver didn’t even know it wasn’t working.
At the center of Gustav Adolfs torg (Gustav Adolf’s Square) in Stockholm stands and equestrian statue of King Gustav II Adolf. It was erected in 1796 by French sculptor Pierre l’Archevêque,
Stockholm City Hall (Stadshuset) stands on the eastern end of Kungsholmen Island. Inside it houses offices, conference rooms, ceremonial halls and Stadshuskällaren luxury restaurant. It is also the venue of the Nobel prize banquet.
The stainless facade on the Stockholm Waterfront Building is eye catching immediately. The complex is built for three functions, called Waterfront Building (for offices), Radisson Blu Stockholm Waterfront (for hotel) and Stockholm Waterfront (for congresses).
Soon we were back where I first boarded the bus in Hötorget and I couldn’t wait to get off. One of the most striking sights of the day was the Orpheus Group (Orfeusgruppen) in Hötorget in front of the Concert Hall. This bronze fountain sculpture was created by Carl Milles from 1926 to 1936. Why Orpheus? Orpheus in Greek mythology represented music, the arts, and the lyre.
From skulptur.stockholm.se: “Placing Orpheus outside the concert hall is logical in that the myth deals with the power of music, with how Orpheus using only his lyre can tame wild animals, stop rivers flowing and move mountains closer so they can hear better. In his Orpheus Fountain, Milles has interpreted the power inherent in music to raise us above our daily lives. The main figure of Orpheus hovers six meters up in the air. He raises the group that surrounds him using only the power of the lyre, a movement that is reinforced by the bubbling water of the fountain. The law of gravity is repealed.”
Hötorget Market has been a staple in Stockholm for hundreds of years. Whether you’re looking for fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, or cheese, you can find it here. On Sunday the produce stalls are replaced by a flea market.
My day ended with a stroll through Hötorget market before heading back to my hotel. What started out as a day full of excitement for seeing all of the sights on board a hop on hop off Stockholm tour bus didn’t turn out as great as I expected. The lack of commentary to help me navigate about the city was lacking as well as the WiFi, both things that are advertised by the company. But the biggest problem that I had with the Stromma Open Top Tours green hop on hop off Stockholm bus was that the buses didn’t come around every 30-60 minutes as they said they would and when they did, they didn’t always stop.
Overall, I found the price of the tour to be grossly overpriced for what I received. While I sometimes like taking the hop on hop off sightseeing buses when I travel, this is one that I can’t recommend at all. You might be better off taking the local bus and getting on and off at your leisure. In the end I feel that this service didn’t help me to learn about Stockholm or its history at all and it only cost me time and money.
Have you ever taken one of the hop on hop off Stockholm buses? What was your experience like?