The capital of Sweden, Stockholm has long been admired for its blend of history, modernism, culture and art. Read more.
The capital of Sweden, Stockholm has long been admired for its blend of history, modernism, culture and art. The city is beautiful all year round, although the Swedish people will tell you to visit in summer when the days seem to stretch on forever and the festivities are as free-flowing as the schnapps.
Delve into history
Stockholm is built over 14 islands that lie in the Lake Mälaren, and can be explored on foot over its many bridges, or by water. Start your day with a fortifying Swedish coffee (be prepared, the Swedes like their coffee strong), before walking through the city’s old town, or ‘Gamla Stan’. Founded in the 13th century, it’s said to be one of the best preserved medieval centres in the world. Navigate the maze of tiny alleyways, find the baroque-style Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet), and when your feet are weary, pop into a tavern for a refreshing local brew. The old town is also home to the Nobel Museum, proudly chronicling the history and recipients of the illustrious prize. Stockholm’s Moderna Museet (modern art museum), holds one of the finest collections of contemporary art in the world, with permanent pieces from Picasso, Pollock, and Dali, as well as outstanding temporary exhibitions. At Vasamuseet, you can see the old warship Vasa, which sank 20 minutes into her maiden voyage in 1628. The ship was raised in 1961 and restored, and is now a fast favourite with visitors.
Stockholm has a number of accessible day trips. Set aside at least a day to visit the open-air museum of Skansen, where costumed characters demonstrate pre-industrial Swedish life. The museum also has a Nordic zoo housing Scandinavian animals. Or, take a day to explore the city and its famous archipelago by boat. The Stockholm Archipelago is the largest in Sweden; over 30,000 islands that stretch to the east of the city. When you return to the city at night, sample herring, a favourite local dish, and enjoy a drink in the bar at the top of the historic Katarina Elevator where you’ll have panoramic views of the capital.
Stockholm has four airports that are all well connected to the city by public transport routes. The largest, Arlanda Airport, is just 20 minutes from the centre by express train. In the city visitors can buy 1, 3, or 7-day transport cards for the network of buses and underground trains. An alternative option is the Stockholm Card, valid for 1, 2, or 3 days, and allowing free travel and free entry to 80 museums and attractions in the city.
Where to Stay
Visitors can stay close to the heart of Stockholm in the historic Gamla Stan and the tiny island of Riddarholmen that lies adjacent, while fantastic shopping can be found in the hub of Norrmalm, or in upmarket Östermalm. Another popular area is colourful Södermalm, once a working-class area, it’s now busy with cafes, galleries, boutiques and bars.