Difference between revisions of "Stockholm"
Revision as of 17:14, 8 July 2013
Stockholm  is the capital and largest city of Sweden, with nearly 2 million inhabitants within its vicinities. The inner city is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren, which flows into the brackish Baltic Sea, and passes the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands and islets.
The city is a cosmopolitan place with both classical and modern architecture, and a captivating Old Town, Gamla Stan. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways, and another 30% is made up of green spaces. Air and water are said to be the freshest of any European capital.
Most venues are found in the inner city, "innerstaden", historically the zone within the city tolls. The Municipality of Stockholm extends beyond the inner city, including the western and southern suburbs.
The inner city
Suburbs and bordering towns
Stockholm is not the oldest town in Sweden. As Sigtuna, Sweden's first capital, was sacked by pirates in 1187, the Swedes built up fortresses along the inlet of Mälaren, and Birger Jarl (Jarl is a title corresponding to British Earl) had a fortress built on an island later known as Gamla Stan. The first records of Stockholm were written in 1252 by Birger. As the land raised, the Stockholm straits became the only waterway between Mälaren and the Baltic Sea during the 15th century, replacing Uppsala as the effective capital. Since King Gustavus Vasa liberated Stockholm in 1523, Stockholm has remained Sweden's most important centre of commerce, though Gothenburg later became the largest international port. During the 17th century, Stockholm was the base of the Swedish Empire, with a land area twice the country's current size, nearly encircling the Baltic Sea.
The city contains buildings from all ages since the 15th century. Like the rest of Sweden it was untouched by the World Wars, but particularly between 1955 and 1975, hundreds of old buildings in Norrmalm were demolished in a large-scale modernization process, encouraged by similar projects in other European cities. Since then, only infills and a few areas have been developed with new architecture in central Stockholm.
Despite its northern location, Stockholm has fairly mild temperatures throughout the year. As a result of its northerly latitude, the city sees a dramatic seasonal variation in sunlight, from more than 18 hours of daylight around midsummer, to around 6 hours of daylight in late December. Stockholm enjoys an average of nearly 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. Average yearly precipitation is 539 mm (21.2"), with July and August slightly the wettest months.
Throughout the summer, the average daily high temperatures reach 20-25°C (68-77°F), with lows of 12-15°C (54-59°F). However, summer heat waves are frequent and temperatures above 25°C+ (77°F+) are not uncommon. Autumn tends to be rather cool and often rainy; in October, average daily highs dip to approximately 10°C (50°F). In the winter months, from December through early March, average daily temperatures fall between -3 and 3°C (26-38°F). Milder periods occur, but so do cold spells with temperatures around -10°C (14°F). Snowfall can occur from late November to early April, but the amount of snowfall varies greatly from year to year and through the winter season. Deep snow cover throughout the winter is rather uncommon. Spring is the driest season, with average daily temperature reaching highs of 9°C (48°F) in April and 16°C (61°F) in May.
The main station, Stockholms Central, serves both commuter and long-distance routes. It is located in lower Norrmalm, connected to T-Centralen, the central hub for the subway system, and Cityterminalen, the long-distance bus station. The national rail company, SJ, has a store located inside the station, and a travel planner with ticket booking service on its web page .
Internationally, there are services from Copenhagen (Denmark) (5 h) and Oslo (Norway) (6 h) with several direct connections daily. A daily overnight train is available from the northern Norwegian city of Narvik (14 h). From Trondheim, a quick change in Östersund is needed.
There are numerous direct domestic services to Stockholm from most major cities. The major ones being high-speed X2000 services from Gothenburg (3 h), Malmö (4½ h), Sundsvall (3½ h) and Östersund (5 h). Conventional trains mostly follow the same routes, and run slightly slower, but can slash prices considerably. Most other mid-sized cities in Sweden have a train connection with Stockholm. Domestic night trains are available from Malmö, and from the northern cities of Luleå, Kiruna and Umeå.
The rail line has some very scenic views just south of Stockholm, passing over several bridges.
If looking for a bit of luxury, then a new train named Blå Tåget (Blue Train)  now travels the route Gothenburg-Stockholm-Uppsala daily except Fridays. It's slower than regular trains, taking a lengthy 4½ hours to reach Stockholm but has first class seatings and a real restaurant onboard. WiFi is included in the price.
The City Terminal (Cityterminalen ) is the main bus terminal, directly connected to Stockholm Central and the T Centralen subway station. There are multiple daily departures to most other cities in Sweden, as well as a few international routes. Swebus Express  operates routes to Copenhagen and Oslo with several daily departures, and a twice-weekly service to Berlin. Eurolines  has some departures to Copenhagen. Smaller operators offer connections with Prague, Budapest, Zagreb, Banja Luka among other cities.
The Baltic Sea ferries, locally known as finlandsbåtar ("Finland boat"), link Stockholm to Helsinki, Mariehamn and Turku in Finland, Riga in Latvia and Tallinn in Estonia every day. Stockholm is the main Swedish terminal for the Baltic Sea cruises. They are by far the cheapest way to get to and from these cities from Stockholm.
Note carefully that cities and places are written and pronounced differently in Finnish and Swedish. For instance: Helsinki-Helsingfors, Turku-Åbo, Ahvenanmaa-Åland, Maarianhamina-Mariehamn. This is a lesser case with other Baltic Sea countries.
If you intend to use the boats to travel to- or from- Stockholm, it is almost always cheaper to book a cruise (kryssning), or even two head-to-head cruises and discard the returns, rather than buy one-way tickets. Tickets can be had for as low as 80 SEK for a full 4-person cabin, making it practically the cheapest accommodation one can find in a high-income country - at 10 SEK/night/person for a two-night Stockholm-Helsinki return cruise (provided you book early or last minute during the weekdays), and rarely (even for a weekend cruise in high season) exceeds 400 SEK for the cheapest 4-bed cabin. A one-way ticket, for a shared berth, in comparison, usually exceeds 1000 SEK.
Storstockholms Lokaltrafik, SL (Stockholm Public Transport)  runs an extensive subway, commuter train and bus system as well as some light rail and ferry services, all using an integrated ticket system. In an attempt to cut down Stockholm now operates a RFID card called "SL Access". The card costs 20 SEK to purchase and can load all tickets available in the SL fare scheme.
There are two forms of ticketing, pass-based or coupon-based. Travellers need 2, 3 or 4 coupons, depending on how many zones the trip goes through. Single tickets are cheaper when bought in advance (22 SEK, 14 SEK for children/seniors) rather than when bought from the clerk, and mean making one trip in one zone costs at least 44 SEK for adults. There are strips of 16 coupons (förköpsremsa) for 200 SEK (120 SEK for children/seniors). Strips can be shared as long as you go to the same destination. All these tickets are valid for one hour, during which you can make unlimited changes. Note that children under 12 travelling with adults travel free from mid-day Friday to midnight Sunday.
There are also passes available for 24 hours (115 SEK, 70 SEK for for children/seniors), 72 hours (230 SEK, 140 SEK for for children/seniors), 7 days (300 SEK, 180 SEK for for children/seniors) and if you are going to be in Stockholm for a while, go ahead and purchase a 30-day card, which allows unrestricted access to all of the buses, trams, subways, and commuter trains, as well as the Djurgården ferry, for 790 SEK.
When you purchase the 72-hour pass, you also receive free admission to Gröna Lund (see "See" below).
The Stockholm Card  allows free public transport as well as free admission to 80 museums and sights in Stockholm, free sightseeing by boat and other bonus offers. Adult 24 hours 450 SEK, 48 hours 625 SEK, 72 hours 750 SEK, 120 hours 950 SEK. Children (7-17 years of age) 24 hours 215 SEK, 48 hours 255 SEK, 72 hours 285 SEK, 120 hours 315 SEK.
The SL website has detailed ticket and price information, and a journey planner. It is always updated.
Stockholm has a metro system called the Tunnelbana (sometimes abbreviated T-Bana or just T on signs). With exactly 100 stations, it is extensive for a city of this size, and will get you around almost all the downtown places as well as many inner suburbs. Trains run from 05:00 to 01:00 on weekdays and around the clock on weekends. Night buses replace the trains on weekdays. The metro is probably the fastest way to travel to many inner suburbs not served by suburban rail, as well as offering a scenic view from the bridge between Gamla Stan and Slussen.
The SL website offers a guide to the artwork that is featured in many subway stations, with nearly all stations offering some form of artwork on display. The artwork on the blue line in particular is of note.
Directions in Stockholm are often accompanied by the name of the closest subway stop, using T as an abbreviation for "Tunnelbana", e.g. "T Gamla Stan". This practice is followed below when appropriate.
Stockholm also has a suburban rail network (Pendeltåg) reaching 53 stations, including Uppsala, Knivsta and Bålsta in Uppsala county, plus Gnesta in Södermanland county. There are four lines:
Off-peak sees 4 tph (trains per hour) on lines 35 and 36 (2 tph in the bracketed sections), 2 tph on line 38 (only peak services run Älvsjö-Tumba) and 1 tph on line 37. Additional services run during peak hours, giving the core section Karlberg - Älvsjö a peak frequency of 14 tph.
In the north-east, the Roslagsbanan narrow-gauge rail network connects the central Östermalm district with suburbs in the Danderyd, Täby, Vallentuna and Österåker municipalities.
Off-peak sees 4 tph (1-2 tph in the bracketed section) on lines 27 and 28, 2 tph on line 29. Stockholms östra is directly adjacent to T-Tekniska Högskolan on the red line towards Mörby C.
Suburban trains are included in Stockholm's transport ticket system, with the exception of Knivsta and Uppsala on line 38, which employ Uppsala's local transport fares. It costs 60 SEK (35 SEK for youth) to get there if you already have an SL travelcard.
Light rail, tram, bus and ferry
There are also ferries going to Djurgården and Skeppsholmen. Bus and light rail is included in any SL ticket or pass, and travel with the Djurgården ferry is included with any 24- or 72-hour pass, 7-day pass as well as the monthly pass. Suburban ferries, airport buses, the Arlanda Express and regional trains are not part of the SL network, and thus not included in any of these tickets.
Cycling is an attractive option during warm seasons, and there are many bikepaths. On a bike, a journey across the inner city takes no longer than 30 minutes, and can be faster than travelling by subway or car. There are cycle paths along most major streets and drivers are generally considerate towards cyclists. In winter, when paths can be covered by ice, extra care should be taken. Bikepaths have a bicycle painted on the ground and/or round blue signs with a white bike. Make sure you bike on the right hand side of the street, just as the cars.
Taxis are on the expensive side. Even worse is the fact that some small dodgy operators charge outrageous prices: unsuspecting visitors have been charged thousands of SEK for a trip from the airport. The antidote is to always check the black and yellow price sticker on the rear window. The price shown in large digits is the maximum (for instance during night hours) fare for a 10 km, 15 minute journey and reputable companies charge around 300 SEK for this. If the sticker shows a much higher price, stay away or be ripped off. The taxi market was deregulated several years ago which made it considerably easier to find a taxi but the downside is that the rip-offs aren't even illegal, just "supply and demand"!
As long as you check the sticker you'll be fine, but if you're still nervous choose the major companies TopCab, +46 8 33 33 33; Taxi Kurir, +46 8 30 00 00; Taxi 020, 020 20 20 20 (free calls from Swedish phones); and Taxi Stockholm, +46 8 15 00 00. Note that many minor companies use "Stockholm" in their names to mimic their competitor, so look for the phone number 15 00 00 which appears below the logo on all Taxi Stockholm cars.
Most taxi firms operate a fixed price regime between central Stockholm and Arlanda airport, mirroring the rates for the journey into town of around 450-500 SEK. It is a good idea to check with the driver that you will get the fixed price before you set off - the meter price for the same ride may cost twice as much. Note that the taxis often have big stickers advertising their airport price: do not confuse them with the black and yellow price sticker pictured in this article.
Authorized taxis have yellow license plates. Late at night in the city centre, you may be offered a ride with an unauthorized taxi, svarttaxi (literally "black taxi"), usually by discrete whispering of "taxi". Most of the time this will get you home for roughly the same cost as ordinary taxis, just don't ask for a receipt. Rumours say that these cabs are usually controlled by organized crime, and some unpleasant episodes have been known to happen to passengers, so try this at your own risk, and preferably not alone.
It's often possible to negotiate a price with a licensed taxi driver before entering the cab. In this case, it's implied that you won't receive a receipt, and the driver won't be paying any taxes or his employer. The money (paid in cash) will go straight into the driver's pocket, which means that you can often get a cheaper ride. However, if you don't know the area well enough to estimate the regular metered price you might get ripped off. Negotiating the price also undermines the Swedish tax and wage legislation system, which will be considered very rude by many (not all) Swedes.
Cars driving into or out of central Stockholm between 06:30 and 18:29 on weekdays are charged a congestion tax  of 10 to 20 SEK. Some car rental companies charge their customers separately for the cost of toll passages, while others don't. Foreign-registered cars are exempt from the tax. Driving in Stockholm is easy compared to many larger capitals in the world. Just make sure to use your indicators when changing lanes. Fees are not charged at all in July, on holidays (such as Sundays) or on the day before a holiday (such as Saturdays).
Parking is restricted and expensive in the centre of the city, and free parking is scarce even in the suburbs, except at external shopping centres. It is recommended for peace of mind to make use of SL services to avoid parking and congestion charges.
There are two hop-on/hop-off boat tours that run loops between various sites in Stockholm. Both cost approximately 100 SEK for a day long pass and have approximately 8 stops, including the cruise terminal, Gamla Stan, the Vasa Museum, Skansen, and Skeppsholmen.
The Stockholm archipelago is served by two major shipping companies.
Waxholmsbolaget runs inexpensive public transit ferries, slowed down by stops at several different docks. Waxholmsbolaget also runs two steamboats, that offer even slower, but genuine, round-trips with classical Swedish cuisine. http://www.waxholmsbolaget.se/visitor/archipelago-traffic/plan-trip/
Strömma is a private company, aimed at international tourists, with fast boats and audioguides. http://www.stromma.se/en/Skargard/Stromma-Kanalbolaget/
Stockholm has many spectacular tourist attractions, ranging from the interesting architecture of the City Hall to the stunning natural beauty of the archipelago. In the several Royal Palaces (Stockholm Palace, Drottningholm, Haga and several others) visitors can get in close contact with traditions of the Swedish monarchy. Among the wide range of museums, the Vasa museum with its 17th century warship and the Skansen open air museum are unique experiences.
Buildings and structures
Stockholm has a large number of interesting churches, some of them dating back to medieval times. Most of them are in active use by the Lutheran Church of Sweden. There is also a synagogue and a mosque in the city center. The Skogskyrkogården cemetery, in the southern suburbs, is one of the very few UNESCO World Heritage sites from the 20th century.
Stockholm has more than 70 museums , ranging from those large in size and scope to the very specialized, including the Butterfly Museum, the Spirits Museum, and the Dance Museum, to name but a few. Tickets are typically 80 to 100 SEK for adults, less or zero for children. The list below is a selection of widely acclaimed museums.
Beyond the art museums mentioned above, Stockholm has a vivid art scene and offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy contemporary art in galleries, exhibition halls and public places. The Stockholm official visitors guide has a list of galleries .
There is a wide selection of guided tours available, by boat, by bus and on foot.
Stockholm Sightseeing  (part of the Strömma group) has several different guided boat tours.
Alternatively, and cheaply, there is the eight-stop "Hop On-Hop Off" boat service of Stockholm Sightseeing (not promoted as one of the Strömma carriers) -- as near as we can tell (August, 2010), this is the only boat service that honours the Stockholm Card for full fares. Two of the most frequented stops are at the Palace, and at the Gamla Stan, right across the canal from T Slussen. The recordings on this loop service are reasonably informative.
The competing Aphrodite boat service offers a similar hop on-hop off service for a modest fee for 24 hours. (In other sections of this article, a price of 10 SEK is quoted, but this is lower than any prices we heard quoted by a factor of 10 or more.)
City Tours and Open Top Tours (also divisions of the Strömma group) offers bus tours:
Stockholm Excursions  has a few specialized bus tours:
Taxi Stockholm, +46 8 15 00 00, offers a personal guide service , allowing up to 4 people to travel in their own taxi. 1 hour 30 min M-F 09:00-15:00 825 , other hours 900 SEK. 2 hours M-F 09:00-15:00 1100 SEK, other hours 1200 SEK.
Free Tour Stockholm  offers zero-charge guided tours in English year round, find out when through the webpage. It runs completely on tips and you don't have to book in advance, just show up. Highlights include finding out which Nobel Prize is a kind of fake, why Queen Christina had to sleep under her dead dad's heart and how not to rob a bank. This tour is currently the highest ranked tour on TripAdvisor, and since it's free, check it out! It starts from the big staircase at Sergels torg and takes 1 hour 30 min.
Talk of the town offers self-guided walking tours in six languages all year round.
City Tours offers a walking tour in the summer months:
For sightseeing on a higher level, Upplev mer has a special tour:
Gallivant Productions offers year round walking tours including the Viking Tour: Sweden: From the Ice Age to IKEA , which is a performance walk, and runs on weekends throughout the year and daily between May and September. 135 SEK. New this year is and 'Stockholm Syndrome: The City Tour' which runs on Saturday mornings 200 SEK (3 hour tour).
There are several other agencies that offer occasional guided walking tours in English during the summer months. Check with the Stockholm Tourist Centre for information.
Talk of the town offers self-guided bike tours in six languages.
There are several beaches in inner Stockholm, as well as the suburbs. They might be crowded when Swedish people have time. The water in central Stockholm is so clean you can drink it, even though it looks dark. The quality of the water is controlled by Miljöförvaltningen (the municipal authorities) and the reports for all the beaches in the city is available online. Would there be a problem with the water, signs would be posted at the beach.
If the water in Lake Mälaren is too cold for your tastes, you can opt for one of the outdoor swimming pools:
Stockholm also has several indoor swimming pools and spas in very special settings, for instance Centralbadet, Sturebadet and Yasuragi spa.
Stockholm is home to several elite sports teams, and if you're a sports fan you might want to watch a game. The most popular spectator sports are football (soccer) and ice hockey. Also, bandy has something of a cult following. Tickets for all games can be bought online from Ticnet . Speedway is another big spectator sport in Sweden, and it can be experienced only 16 minutes from the Central station by subway, station "Gubbängen" .
The Swedish National football team plays international games on Friends Arena in Solna.
The Swedish top football league, Allsvenskan, is considerably weaker than most of its Western European sister leagues, and Swedish teams generally struggle in the European cups. The fans don't seem to mind that much, and the games can still be an exciting experience. Unlike in continental Europe, the football season starts in April and ends in October. There are currently two teams from Stockholm in Allsvenskan: AIK, playing on Friends Arena, and Djurgården, playing on Stockholms Stadion on Östermalm.
The Swedish top ice hockey league, Elitserien, is one of the top leagues in the world, after North-American NHL and the Russian KHL. The season starts at the end of September and ends with finals in April. Stockholm currently has one team in Elitserien: AIK, playing their home games at Hovet (Stockholm Globe City).
Bandy is a sport popular mainly in Sweden, Finland and Russia, and slowly gaining popularity in Northn America, played outdoors on ice with sticks and a small ball. The field is roughly as large as a soccer field, and the rules show some similarities. If you visit Stockholm sometime from November to February, and want an exotic experience, this is for you. Remember to dress warm, the game is played in two 45-minute halves. Stockholm currently has only one team in the top men's bandy league: Hammarby.
There are many opportunities to do sports in the Stockholm area.
The Stockholm area contains several semi-artificial ski slopes. The height is modest, but the view is usually great, well worth a hike anytime during the year. Tracks for cross-country skiing are available throughout Stockholm.
There are few stables close to the city where you can ride ponies and horses. Both available for adults and children with various riding-experience.
There are many golf courses in the Stockholm region, several of them open for green-fee.
There are many open fields in Stockholm. Gärdet (T Karlaplan or T Gärdet) is a good one for outdoor sports. Just bring a ball of your choice.
Stockholm has several national stages, such as the Royal Swedish Opera (Kungliga Operan), and several playhouses staging international musicals.
There is also a growing scene for stand-up comedy in Swedish and English. The Big Ben Bar, Folkungagatan 97, has a free-entrance comedy club in English each Thursday at 20:00. Skrattstock is an annual free-entrance comedy festival on Långholmen, always in May/June on the same day as the Stockholm Marathon, with at least one hour of English-language comedy.
There are many cinemas in Stockholm. With the exception of children's movies, films aren't dubbed but subtitled, so if your English is good enough this is a good leisure activity. Many cinemas are THX certified. A ticket is around 100 SEK.
Many of Stockholm's most charming classic cinemas have been closed in recent years, victims of the competition from modern multiplex screens. The elegant Röda Kvarn on Biblioteksgatan was recently transformed into an Urban Outfitters store, and Astoria Nybrogatan was closed in 2007. A few splendid venues are especially worth a visit: Park, Rigoletto, Grand Sveavägen, Saga, Victoria and Skandia.
Stockholm International Film Festival
In November, Stockholm hosts an annual international film festival  that draws large crowds.
The Stockholm International Film Festival also hosts an open air cinema in the Tantolunden park during one week in August .
Amusement park and children's activities
Attitudes towards homosexuality are generally tolerant. In the summer (generally late July/early August), there is an annual LGBT pride festival, Stockholm Pride , which is the largest in Scandinavia. The national LGBT organization, RFSL , can provide information on other events and venues.
With about 80,000 university students at more than twenty universities and university colleges, Stockholm is the largest university city in the Nordic countries. The largest institutions of higher education are Stockholm University (Stockholms universitet), the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga tekniska högskolan), and Södertörn University College (Södertörns högskola). Karolinska institutet is a world-class medical university. There are also several fine arts university colleges. Study in Stockholm  has information about university studies in Stockholm. Studying in Sweden is free for EU-citizens.
As in the rest of Sweden, VISA and Mastercard are accepted by nearly all stores, and ATMs are readily available. There are even ATMs inside some bars and nightclubs (which might accept payment in cash only). Only a few places accept foreign currencies, such as Euros or US Dollars.
Sweden is internationally known for its design, and Stockholm has many stores where you can find Swedish-designed clothes, textiles and interior decoration items. Hand-made and hand-painted glassware is also a famous Swedish speciality.
Popular Swedish clothing brands that you can find in several major stores include Acne Jeans, WESC, Cheap Monday, J Lindeberg, Whyred, Tiger and Filippa K. Recent years have seen an explosion of young designers starting their own small labels. Many of these can be found in the small shops in the SoFo area (see below). Examples are Nakkna, Jenny Hellström, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and The Stray Boys.
Drottninggatan in Norrmalm is dominated by major brands down at the Sergels Torg end before giving way to smaller and more specialised shops further north.
Also connected to Drottninggatan is the square of Hötorget (T-Hötorget). Here is a daily fresh food market outside as well as Hötorgshallen, an indoor food market.
Mood Stockholm  on Norrlandsgatan opened in 2012. This mall contains a lot of interesting boutiques not represented elsewhere in the city. (Mon-Fri 10:00-20:00, Sat 10:00-18:00, Sun 11:00-18:00).
From Norrmalmstorg on Hamngatan which is accessible from T-Kungsträdgården station or Spårväg City from Sergels Torg up to Stureplan in Östermalm is a collection of high end shops including Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton amongst others.
In Östermalm is the main square Östermalmstorg, a square which possesses Stockholm's best food hall, Östermalms Saluhall Östermalmshallen at T-Östermalmstorg. (Mon-Thurs 09:30-18:00, Fri 09:30-19:00, Sat 09:30-16:00).
Nordiska Kompaniet, NK , is a classical department store on Hamngatan near T-Centralen. (Mon-Fri 10:00-20:00, Sat 10:00-18:00, Sun 12:00-17:00).
Another famous department store is PUB at Hötorget, T-Hötorget. (Mon-Fri 10:00-19:00, Sat 10:00-18:00, Sun 11:00-17:00).
Suburban shopping centers and malls
There are a number of shopping centers and malls in the major suburban centers. While different in size, they all have a similar profile, with cheap restaurants, supermarkets and major fashion, electronics and interior design chain stores, as well as some smaller shops. There is no obvious reason to venture outside the city centre, except perhaps for the possibility of Sunday evening shopping at Kista Galleria when inner-city shops all have closed.
Brand stores of Swedish fashion labels:
Music and media
On Sunday evenings from September to May at Skeppsholmen near the city center there is live Swedish folk music at Folkmusikhuset. Just go there and listen or why not dance some Swedish folk dances. It is free entrance.
Furniture and design
Many antiquties shops are located close to T Odenplan. Good place to stroll around.
If second hand is an option many Stadsmissionen and Myrorna (the Salvation Army shop) have fun and unique products that also contributes to a good cause. Especially Stadsmissionen Stortorget (T Gamla stan) has handpicked design and classical furiture.
Stockholm features a large variety of restaurants. However, dining in Stockholm can be expensive, if you aim for something else than the fast food bars, the run-of-the-mill British-style pubs or the ethnic restaurants that dominate the budget bracket. Be prepared to pay around 175-250 SEK or more for most main courses at quality restaurants. If you are on a tight budget, self-catering is probably the best option.
Most hotels and hostels have a good breakfast buffet, in many cases included with the room.
Most restaurants have "dagens rätt" - a lunch offer, normally including a non-alcoholic beverage, bread, butter, salad and coffee M-F, usually 11:00-14:00. Expect to pay between 65-100 SEK. Generally more expensive downtown and cheaper in the suburbs. Many Asian, Indian, Mexican and fast food restaurants offer rather cheap "all you can eat" lunch buffets. Office workers usually go for lunch at noon, so try to show up just before, or past 13:00.
Most restaurants' kitchens close at 22:00 even on weekends, so don't get out too late. Alcohol in restaurants is expensive. A glass of house wine can cost more than 100 SEK, or 450 SEK for a bottle. Sweden has enforced non-smoking in all bars, pubs, restaurants and enclosed areas. Smoking is usually permitted outdoors, or in designated smoking rooms/outdoor seating.
Many Stockholm restaurants are closed for vacation for a few weeks in July and/or early August. In December, many restaurants offer a "julbord" ("Christmas buffet"), a variation of the classic Swedish smörgåsbord with traditional seasonal dishes such as ham, pickled herring, "lutfisk" (stockfish from cod or ling, prepared with lye) and much more, which might require advance booking, costing around 400-600 SEK, beverages not included.
In this cosmopolitan city, traditional Swedish cuisine, known as husmanskost or husman can be hard to get by. Many fine diners have a not-too-expensive husman course: some other places to eat Swedish are the Nystekt strömming wagon (meaning "freshly fried herring") at Slussen, Ät gott (S:t Göransgatan 74, Kungsholmen) and Tennstopet (Dalagatan 50, Norrmalm).
Guide Michelin recognizes six Stockholm restaurants: Two-star Frantzén/Lindeberg  and Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen (including one-star Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren) , and one-star Esperanto , Fredsgatan 12  and Lux .
Taking a break for coffee and a biscuit is a Swedish tradition, commonly called fika in Swedish, and there are many coffee-bars around the city. Traditional Swedish filter coffee is relatively strong when compared to American, but a far cry from the Italian espresso. Espresso, caffe latte, cappuccino and other varieties of Italian coffee are generally available. If you prefer tea, note that many cafés only offer a few flavours, but generally some black, red and green teas.
Although you won't find the largest international franchises such as Starbucks and Costa among Stockholm's coffee shops, there are several Swedish counterparts - Wayne's Coffee, Robert's Coffee and Espresso House are the most common names here - that are strikingly similar in design. Just as everywhere else, the small local cafés offer a more personal experience, and often better coffee. Expect to pay anything from 20 SEK and upwards for a cup of regular black coffee.
Don't hesitate to ask for a refill (påtår in swedish) at self-service cafeterias, as it is often free.
Drinking alcohol is generally allowed in public areas, with some obvious exceptions, such as schools, playgrounds, indoor malls and public transport areas. In some parks, drinking is prohibited from midnight. Map of dry areas
Bars and nightclubs
The cost for drinking out in Stockholm can vary a lot. Expect to pay around 30 SEK in the cheapest pub (55-75 SEK in a trendier club or pub) for a beer or cider, and at least 95-150 SEK for a long-drink or cocktail in a club. Bars usually have no cover charge, but may have an arbitrarily set (and arbitrarily enforced) minimum age limit (usually 21 or 23, sometimes as low as 18, other times as high as 27), while clubs usually charge 50-200 SEK at the door (or more at special performances). Long, and very slow moving lines tend to form outside most popular clubs - expect having to wait as much as 1 hour or more if going to a trendy place after midnight, even if raining or snowing. Don't forget to bring an ID, as bouncers could at anytime ask for identification at the door in both pubs and clubs.
As in many other Swedish cities, clubs are quite often arranged illegally and underground outside of the city center. During the summer months, many open air parties are arranged. During fall and winter, there are underground parties in abandoned factories and other industrial buildings, like in many other cities. Some parties are only held once, while others are recurring. These are, naturally, not listed and are often informed of on a word of mouth or online community basis. Generally, such clubs play techno, house and other electronic music, and so, ask locals for advice in legal clubs that play the same genre. The Swedish word for clubs arranged illegally is svartklubb (literally black club). Due to the nature of such events, undercover police presence may be apparent and individuals could be searched for illegal substances at any moment.
Stureplan is a district dominated by posh dancefloor nightclubs, at the crossing of Birger Jarlsgatan, Kungsgatan and Sturegatan, (T Östermalmstorg). The mushroom-shaped rain shelter is a common meeting point. High entrance fees (200 SEK or more) and long lines. Can be difficult to get in to the clubs here if you are considered not fit in.
Södermalm is a district which have many smaller bars and nightclubs focusing on art and electronic or alternative music. Look in nightlife magazines for places around Hornstull (such as Strand), Mariatorget (such as Sidetrack, Marie Laveau and the Wednesday pop-club Baba Sonic), Slussen (such as Debaser, Kolingsborg), Skanstull (such as Trädgården, Under Bron).
Major bar streets are Götgatan (where most places are rather cheap pubs) and Bondegatan (with a younger and more trendy crowd), both on Södermalm, Rörstrandsgatan in western Vasastan (also rather trendy, but drawing a slightly older crowd) and the area around the Rådhuset and Fridhemsplan subway stations on Kungsholmen (with many small, cheaper and relaxed places). There are also many local pubs outside of the city centre, where many locals go and the beer is cheaper. Ask any swedes for directions and they will be happy to help you.
Most restaurants and bars close at 01:00, larger clubs usually at 03:00. There are an exclusive few open till 05:00.
More trendy clubs might have a long queue from midnight till closing time. Get out early (at least before midnight). A few posh and expensive clubs in the Stureplan district have an informal or outspoken dress code, vårdad klädsel. Do not behave drunk in queues, as the guards may not be willing to let you in. Arguing aggressively with bouncers and security staff will certainly lead to serious consequences and is not recommended.
If you can read Swedish, you can get more information about Stockholm's nightlife in the free monthly magazine Nöjesguiden, the newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Thursdays, the free QX gay magazine for LGBT events and the free Metro on Fridays.
As of 2012, Stockholm has harsh competition between up-market (4-star) hotels. Most of these hotels charge 900-1200 SEK for a single room, and they almost always have vacancies, and might give special offers for tourists. Hotels located far from city center are generally cheaper. Try to find one close to public transport.
The cheap bunks are in short supply. Look for hostels at Svenska Turistföreningen,  and SVIF  Advance booking is recommended, especially during summer, and for those in the inner city. Stockholm has some spectacular hostels, such as af Chapman at Skeppsholmen, , Långholmen , Jumbostay  at Arlanda, and Best Hostel at the Old Town waterfront .
The lowest cost per bed can be found on the Baltic Sea cruiseferries.
Phone booths are very rare as are public phones in general as most people have switched to cell phones. Prepaid cards are available and usually also include Internet access at a reasonable price. Coverage is excellent in Stockholm, even in the subway and road tunnels.
There are a number of places where you can access the Internet in central Stockholm.
An alternative for any visitor to Sweden is to buy a pre-paid USB 3G/4G modem. These can be had cheaply (down to 150 SEK) and the 3G/4G coverage in Stockholm is excellent. Expect to pay around 100 SEK/week or 300 SEK/month to use the 3G modem. Data limits are typically high (5 GB/Month but up to 20 GB or more is also available)
If you have your own laptop or smartphone, many cafés, hotels, libraries offer free wi-fi access. McDonalds and the local version Max also offers good free Wifi in there restaurants. The site Wifikartan show most of the free wi-fi access points in Stockholm and most of Sweden as well.
Stockholm is a safe city by international standards. For 2011 it was named as the 6th safest city in the world to live in as part of the Mercer Livability Survey. As in other cities, however, you should avoid late-night walks through deserted areas of the city or through unlit parks.
Stockholm has an exciting night-life. As in most countries, being overly intoxicated is not accepted in most bars and clubs, and could lead to the security staff forcibly ejecting the trouble-maker. Swedish people tend to binge-drink, and as usual, alcohol might fuel violence.
Most crimes against tourists are crimes of opportunity, such as pick-pocketing, bicycle theft, auto theft, and auto vandalism. As always, do not leave valuable items in your car, and watch your bag in crowded places. Most shops and all major taxi companies accept credit and debit cards, so there is no need to carry a lot of cash. Be more aware of your belongings in crowded areas such as festivals, nightclubs, markets, airports, and public transport areas.
Prefer the major cab companies (Taxi Stockholm, Taxi Kurir, Taxi 020 and Topcab) to avoid overcharging, and have a better chance of having belongings lost in the car returned to you.
During summer, groups of street gamblers try to scam their audience on Drottninggatan and in other touristed areas. They use a variety of tricks one of them being planting a few of their own in the crowd. Don't play, you will lose.
Though Sweden has an extensive welfare system, and Stockholm has fewer homeless and impoverished people than other cities of similar size, homeless people can occasionally be seen begging downtown. A responsible way to address their situation is to buy the street paper, Situation Stockholm, for 50 SEK. Beggars feigning disabilities, or handing out laminated begging cards on the subway, might be associated with organized gangs, and should be ignored. Buying food or water for someone begging is also a good way of helping, without risking that your money goes in the wrong hands.
Stockholm is a very friendly to sexual minorities. Homophobic and transphobic attitudes will be met with outright hostility from many swedes. All parties in the Swedish parliament take a radical standpoint against harassment and violence towards sexual minorities. Same-sex couples will have no trouble living openly in Stockholm, which includes holding hands or kissing in public around the city. Despite this fact, common sense should be used late at night in some areas (as in any other city).
Some things to pack:
There are many ATMs in the city, but some foreign card-holders, such as a Canadian, have reported trouble in using them, even when they purport to be connected to international networks their banks are part of, so consider doing some research before you arrive.
There are many locations of a currency exchange called Forex, but they charge a whopping 50 SEK (6,5 €) commission on top of their buy-sell spread.
Credit/debit cards are widely accepted even for small amounts. Most places accept identification and a signature, but PIN-transactions are preferred.
Finding a good toilet in Stockholm can be tricky. Many department stores and fast-food restaurants have clean toilets, often for the charge of 5 SEK. That is also the cost of public toilet booths found in most city squares (though these might be messy) so be sure to carry some 5 and 10 SEK coins. Restaurants' toilets are often reserved for customers, and might be messy depending on the establishment. Some good, clean toilets are found in Max at Norrmalmstorg, and in the bar Sturehof (at Stureplan - the establishment is too big for crew to keep track of people borrowing the toilet). Urinating in town is illegal, but urinals are often free even if you have to pay for a WC. The libraries, museums, and government buildings often have free, clean toilets.
Most major hotels have clean lobby toilets. Some of them might be reserved for house guests and require an access code, but travellers can often get access to them on request.
Since all Swedish apartments either have a washing machine or access to a communal laundry room, there are virtually no self-service laundries to be found in Stockholm, with one exception:
Most youth hostels have washing machines. Some dry cleaners offer to wash shirts and bed linen as well, but this tends to be quite expensive.
Swedish healthcare is generally of high quality, although you may have to face a long wait in emergency rooms. How fast you get to see the doctor is dependent on how ill you are and if others are sicker. If you have a small wound that needs stitches you will wait if there are victims of a car-accident. But if you are in a bad car-accident you know you will get help first. Money, name or title won't help pass the queue.
EU/EES citizens with a European Health Insurance card pay the same (rather low) fee for emergency and necessary care as a local citizen. Others must pay the whole health care cost (which can be between 1,700 and 2,200SEK for a doctor’s visit at an emergency care unit at a hospital). More information on hospital fees can be found on the Stockholm County information site .
In an emergency, always call 112 for SOS Alarm, for ambulance, police, fire service, air and sea rescue, mountain patrol, or priest on call. English-speaking operators are available.
There are two hospitals with 24-hour emergency care units in the inner city:
For less serious illnesses and ailments, getting in touch with a local clinic, vårdcentral, is a much better option than the hospital emergency rooms. The Stockholm County healthcare hotline Vårdguiden (+46 8 320 100, ) can give medical advice and help you find a doctor. While information is officially given in Swedish only, the doctors can often speak some English.
The pharmacy market has recently been de-regulated, giving some competition to the state-operated monopoly chain Apoteket. Certified pharmacies have a green cross sign. You can buy over-the-counter medicine (such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, throat and cough relief tablets or nose-sprays) in almost any supermarket or convenience store.
The tap water in Stockholm is of very high quality. There is no reason for buying bottled water. It is also completely accepted to ask for tap water in restaurants. Many places have a tap and glasses for self-service.
In Uppsala you can see the biggest cathedral in Scandinavia, Linnaeus' botanical gardens as well as Viking royal burial mounds and temple remains from the time when Uppsala was Sweden's capital.