While a visit to Stockholm’s Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) requires a ticket, the palace’s guards put on a delightful daily floor show that won’t cost you a krona!
The palace is located in the epicenter of Stockholm, perched above the charming island of Gamla Stan. The fact that the royal family no longer resides here shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting, as there are royal apartments, a royal armory, and a museum of antiquities to discover. (The first family lives on another island — Drottningholm, which you may also visit.) These museums, however, are not free.
Stockholm’s Changing of the Guards
The Hogvakten, or “Royal Guards,” are stationed in the palace and feature “Stockholm’s finest boys” (according to Stockholm’s office of tourism). The guard, part of the Swedish Armed Forces, is comprised of 30,000 soldiers. Tourists are invited to watch the daily ritual in front of the palace as one squad of 20 hands over their guardianship to the next squad.
During the summer, the spectacle begins at the Army Museum (Armemuseum, Riddargatan), from which the new squad takes off 30 minutes prior to the palace ceremony. The guards march in snazzy blue uniforms and tight formation to the Royal Palace, often accompanied by a military band. Upon arrival at the palace, they launch into a 35-minute display of precision marching, flag waving, and all-business attitudes.
The Changing of the Guard takes place every day at the Royal Palace. Monday – Saturday, 12:15. Sunday 1:15. (The parade, with band, occurs only during the summer months.)
See also: our recommended budget hotels in Stockholm.