In the Swedish capital, you’ll find everything from an intact but flawed 17th century battleship to the secrets of Swedish home brew at the Wine & Spirits Historical Museum. (Note that many museums in Stockholm are closed on Mondays and open late on Wednesdays during peak tourist season).
Malmö is home to the Form & Design Center, which will delight design mavens, and Leksaksland, a toy museum for the whole family (you’ll have to head across the Östersund sound to visit Legoland in Denmark). Gothenburg boasts the Volvo Musuem, the Universeum Science Centre and the Museum of World Culture, which features exhibitions on topics ranging from AIDS in Africa to eco-fashion.
Visit the decks of medieval ship wreck at the Vasa Museum, a maritime tribute to the warship that never made it further than the Stockholm harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628. Located on the island of Djurgården, the museum is home to the only intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that plunged to the bowels of the Baltic. Opening hours: September 1 to May 31, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 1 to August 31: 8.30 a.m. – 6 p.m.. Closed: December 23-25, January 1. Admission: SEK 95 adults, SEK 50 students, free for children 0-18.
Moderna Museet on Skeppsholmen is Stockholm’s tribute to modern art. Its large collection of contemporary art features work from 1900 to the present day. The photographic collection includes work from 1840. The permanent collection includes works by names such as Duchamp, Picasso, Dalí, Matisse and Rauschenberg (don’s miss Rauschenberg’s tire-encircled stuffed Angora goat, one of the museum’s most notable pieces on display). It also features rotating exhibitions. Upcoming exhibitions include Andy Warhol and a show of contemporary Italian art. Admission fees are SEK 80 full price and SEK 60 reduced price (students and seniors). Free admission for children 18 and under. Closed Mondays, Tuesday 10 a.m. -8 p.m., Wednesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m..
Also situated on the island of Djurgården, the Nordic Museum offers a glimpse into Swedish cultural history and ethnography. Exhibits include everything from historical photos and fashion throughout the ages to Swedish interior design and textiles. Open daily June-August from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. September through May: Open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Admission is SEK 60 for adults and free for children 18 and under.