The Vasa Museum in Stockholm: is it worth visiting?

Stockholm’s most visited museum, the Vasa Museum attracts more than a million tourists every year – each one hoping to get a glimpse of the incredible Vasa warship. 

The Vasa Museum is one of Stockholm's top museums
Ad Meskens (CC)

But let’s face it: Stockholm has a LOT of other attractions. So is the Vasa Museum truly worth a visit?

We’ll answer this question, and explore why the museum remains insanely popular with Swedes and visitors from all over the world.

So, let’s set sail and get ready to embark on an exciting journey to the Vasa!

History of the museum
What to expect
How much does it cost?
When to visit
Visiting with kids
Pros of visiting the museum
Cons of visiting the museum
Tips for your trip

History of the Vasa ship

The story of the Vasa ship is an unfortunate one. 

Built in the early 17th century by King Gustav II Adolf, it was intended to be one of the most impressive warships of its time. However, just a few minutes into its maiden voyage, the ship capsized and sank.

The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is home to an ancient wooden warship
Karlheinz Klingbeil (CC)

The ship lay at the bottom of the harbour for over 300 years until it was finally rediscovered in the 1950s by a team of Swedish salvagers.

In 1961, a large team was able to raise the ship back to the surface, where it was painstakingly restored.

The Vasa plays a significant role in Swedish history. The ship’s construction was intended as a public display of Sweden’s power, and its sinking was a major blow to the country’s pride and reputation.

However, the successful salvage and preservation of the Vasa ship became a symbol of Sweden’s resilience and determination, and today the ship and its story are celebrated as an important part of the country’s cultural heritage.

What can you see and do at the museum? 

The Vasa Museum offers a variety of exhibits that provide visitors with an immersive and engaging account of the ship’s history and significance.

Is the Vasa Museum worth it?
Steven Lek (CC)

The centrepiece of the museum is, of course, the Vasa ship itself. Visitors can walk around and underneath the enormous ship to get a close-up look at it. It really is a sight to behold.

And there are several viewing platforms that provide a panoramic view of the ship from different angles.

The museum also features a range of interactive displays that allow visitors to learn more about the ship’s history and construction. There is a scale model of the ship, and even a large diving bell that you can ring. 

In addition to the ship itself, the museum also features a collection of artefacts that were found with the wreckage.

Tips for visiting the Vasa museum

  • Avoid busy times. To make the most out of your trip, go in the early morning or late afternoon in order to avoid crowds. 
  • Book your tickets in advance. You’ll avoid needing to stand in line for a ticket on the day, and get free cancellation.
  • Use the audioguide. The museum offers self-guided tours in several languages, and these are usually included when you buy your tickets online.
  • Don’t miss the film screening. The museum shows a short film that provides an overview of the Vasa ship’s history and how it was salvaged and preserved. It’s a great way to get an introduction to the museum before diving into the exhibits.
  • Start with the ship itself. The Vasa ship is the museum’s main attraction and can get quite busy, so it’s a good idea to start your visit there before exploring the rest of the museum.

These include two original cannons, various tools and personal items from the crew, as well as other objects from the 17th century.

The museum also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions that explore different aspects of the ship’s history and significance.

These exhibitions may focus on specific topics such as the ship’s restoration and preservation, or the men and women who were involved in crafting the ship.

Overall, the Vasa Museum offers visitors a comprehensive and fascinating account of the Vasa ship and its place in Swedish history.

From the ship itself to the interactive displays, there’s something for everyone to explore and learn about.

How much does the Vasa Museum cost?

Tickets for the Vasa Museum can be purchased in advance online: tickets include a free audioguide and access to all the museum’s exhibitions, both permanent and temporary.

Alternatively, if you don’t mind queueing, you can buy the tickets at the museum’s ticket counter on the day of your visit. 

If you have a Stockholm Pass, entrance to the museum is free. Check out our guide to see if buying the Stockholm Pass is worthwhile for you.

Admission prices for the Vasa Museum

Adults (including senior citizens); October to April190 SEK
Adults (including senior citizens); May to September230 SEK
Silver Membership ticket, giving free access to the museum for a year250 SEK
Stockholm Pass holdersFree
Kids (up to 18 years)Free

When to visit the museum

The museum can get quite crowded, especially during the peak summer season. But don’t let this deter you! There are several ways you can make the most of your visit to the Vasa Museum, even amidst the crowds.

See the carvings close-up at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm

If you want to avoid queueing at the ticket office, you should definitely purchase your tickets online in advance.

If you want to avoid crowds altogether, it’s best to visit the museum right when it opens, or an hour or two before closing. Additionally, weekdays are generally less busy than weekends.

Once inside the museum, it’s recommended that you start with the most popular exhibit – the Vasa ship itself – before the crowds become too overwhelming.

It’s also helpful to use the museum map to plan a route through the exhibits and avoid backtracking or getting lost.

Is the Vasa Museum suitable for kids?

The Vasa Museum is a great destination for families with children of all ages. The interactive displays are engaging, and allow kids to learn about the history of the ship while having fun.

The Vasa Museum in Stockholm is fun and educational for kids.

What about people with disabilities?

The museum is also accessible to visitors with disabilities. Lifts are available to all floors, and wheelchairs can be borrowed at the information desk. Additionally, a hearing loop is available in the large auditorium during film screenings. 

Pros of visiting the Vasa Museum

  • The museum is really a one off (there’s nowhere else quite like it on Earth) and it gives a rare glimpse into Swedish naval history.
  • Because it’s housed in a purpose-built museum, you will be able to see the world-famous ship up close.
  • There is a wide range of activities, including interactive exhibits and artefacts that bring the history of the Vasa to life.
  • The museum provides educational value for visitors of all ages, with engaging displays and activities for children as well as in-depth information for history enthusiasts.
  • There are lots of fun attractions nearby, including the Abba Museum and Skansen.

Cons of visiting the Vasa Museum

  • The Vasa Museum can be quite crowded, particularly during peak holiday seasons, which may detract from the experience for some visitors.
  • Ticket prices for the museum are relatively high compared to other attractions in Stockholm, which may be a consideration for budget-conscious travellers.
  • The whole museum is about one boat. You need to be at least a little bit interested in the story or maritime history for a visit to be worthwhile.

How does the Vasa Museum compare to other big Stockholm attractions?

Compared to other popular attractions in Stockholm, such as the Royal Palace and the ABBA Museum, the Vasa Museum has a more singular focus on a specific historical artifact. 

The Vasa warship is housed in the vast new Vasa Museum in Stockholm

For history enthusiasts, the significance of the ship and the level of preservation make the museum a must-visit destination.

But even if you’re not a history lover, it can still be a great experience to learn not only about the Vasa itself but also a part of Swedish history.

The educational value of the Vasa Museum sets it apart from other more entertainment-focused attractions in Stockholm, and therefore it can definitely be worth a visit despite its drawbacks.

So, is the Vasa Museum worth visiting?

If you’re asking us, then yes, the Vasa Museum is definitely worth visiting! It offers a unique opportunity to see one of the best-preserved ships in the world and learn about the fascinating history behind it.

However, whether or not you should visit the museum ultimately depends on your personal interests and priorities. 

If you enjoy learning about Swedish history or engineering marvels, then the Vasa Museum is a must-see attraction. And, in our opinion, it’s one of the highlights of any visit to Stockholm.

Remember that you can get free cancellation and a free audioguide by booking your tickets online.

See also:
110 cheap and free things to do in Stockholm
The best Stockholm boat tours
5 of the best islands in the Stockholm archipelago

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