The Royal Guard on parade at the Royal Palace
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. It is situated in the central part of the country on the border between the provinces Uppland and Sörmland, on the east coast, between lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea. The municipality of Stockholm has approximately 750 000 inhabitants, the greater metro area 1.7 million. The population grows with around 20 000 people each year.
- Arlanda Airport - The main international airport, situated north of the city. The taxi ride from central Stockholm is approximately 45-60 minutes. The airport buses run frequently to the City Terminal, just next to the Central Station (approx. 40 mins) and cost about SEK 89. They make a few stops in the northern suburbs along the way. The Arlanda Express train, which leaves from the lower level of each terminal, costs SEK 190 (SEK 100 for people under 27 years of age) one way, but gets you to the Central Station in 20 minutes and departs every 15 minutes during the day. You can reach the airport also by local transport.
- Skavsta Airport - Used by Ryanair. Lies 100 km south of Stockholm. A shuttle bus (80 mins) overland link between the City Terminal in central Stockholm and Skavsta airport. Costs about SEK 139 one way and SEK 199 round trip.
- Bromma Airport - Is a small city airport; mainly used for domestic flights and european city hops to cities like Brussels and Paris. Just as for the other airports, shuttle buses run to the City Terminal.
The main station lies directly in the city centre near the waterfront. It's connected underground to T-Centralen, the central hub for the subway system.
Ferries go to Finland and Estonia every day.
- Viking Line ferries to Helsinki and Turku leave from Stadsgården port to the south of the city. Buses shuttle passengers to T Slussen station, or you can get there on foot by following the coast line north for a kilometer or so.
Stockholm Transport (SL) runs a wide subway, communal train and bus system as well some tram and ferry services. SL website offers a journey planner (but you need to know the destination).
There is an efficient metro system called the Tunnelbana (T-Bana). With exactly 100 stations, it is quite extensive for a city of this size and will get you around almost all of the inner city as well as most nearby suburbs. Trains run until almost 1 AM weeknights and around 3.30 AM weekends. There are passes available for 24 hours (95 SEK) and 72 hours (180 SEK), and a coupon strip for 145 SEK, good for 4-10 rides depending on the number of zones travelled through. When you purchase the 72 hour transit pass, you also receive free admission to Kaknästornet (observation tower) and Gröna Lund (Stockholm's amusement park). 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 busses, trams, subways and commuter trains, as well as the Djurgården ferry, for 600 SEK.
The Stockholm Card allows free transportation and parking and gives admission to the 70 museums in Stockholm.
There is also an extensive commuter train system which connects the city center to nearly all the suburbs and office parks.
Bus & Ferry
Stockholm has an extensive bus system to reach everywhere the Tunnelbana does not go. There are also a few ferrys that go to Djurgården and Skeppsholmen. Bus and ferry travel is included with any 24 or 72 hour transit pass as well as the month pass.
Taxis are on the expensive side. The Stockholm taxi market was deregulated several years ago, so no pricing regulations are in effect. This means that small operators can, and sometimes will, charge outrageous prices. Try to stick with the major companies (Taxi Stockholm, Taxi Kurir and Taxi 020) to avoid being ripped off. If you hail a taxi from any other company it might be a good idea to ask for a price estimate before commencing your journey. Expect to pay about 100 SEK for a 5 minute trip.
Late nights in the city center, you might be offered a taxi ride with a 'Black 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. However, 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, too, 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 even his employer. The money (payed in cash) will go straight into the driver's pocket, which means that you can often get a cheaper ride. If you don't know the area well enough to estimate the regular by-the-meter price you might get ripped off, though.
Stockholm's Old Town with the Tyska Kyrkan (German church)
- Stockholm's Old Town (Gamla Stan) is the beautifully preserved historical heart of Stockholm. T Gamla Stan station is on the west side of the compact quarter, which is best covered on foot. Riddarholmskyrkan is a beautfiul preserved medieval church.
- The Royal Palace, built between 1697 and 1754 and located on the east side of the Old Town, is open to the public. The Royal Apartments, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Treasury and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities cost 70 SEK each, with the sumptuous Apartments being the main draw; if royal regalia is your thing, you'll probably want to pay 110 SEK for a combination ticket and visit the Treasury as well. Open 10-16 daily in the summer, 12-16 and closed Mondays in the winter.
- The Stockholm Public Library at Sveavägen 73 (T Rådmansgatan) was built in 1928 and designed by the most famous Swedish architect Erik Gunnar Asplund. The interior of the cupola-shaped building is spectacular, with three floors of bookshelves covering 360 degrees of circular wall, capped by a high dome. Books (both fiction and non-fiction) are available in many different languages, including English and German. On the cliff overlooking it is the old Observatory, which has a fine view of the city to the east. There is a small cafe.
- The Stockholm City Hall, where the Nobel Prize Banquet takes place every year, is an imposing brick building in the city centre. Guided tours are held daily, and allow you to see the impressive halls used for the Nobel festivities, the Blue Hall and the Golden Hall. (Hantverkargatan 1, Tunnelbana T-Centralen or Rådhuset, buses 3 and 62).
- Although the Royal Palace is situated in the center of the city, the royal family actually lives at Drottningholm Palace on an island in Lake Mälaren, around one hour from the city centre by public transport. The 17th century palace is beautiful, and a lot of it is open to the public. The surroundings are well worth a walk as well. Take the subway (T-bana) to Brommaplan, change to bus 301 or 323, alternatively 177 or 178 to Drottningholm. In the summertime, there is also a regular boat service from Stadshuskajen (the City Hall Quay) to Drottningholm operated by Strömma Kanalbolaget (SEK 110 for a return ticket).
- In the opposite direction, a wide number of ferries depart every day for different destinations in the Stockholm archipelago - skärgården - outside the city in the Baltic Sea, and offer you a beautiful view along the way. Most of them are operated by Waxholmsbolaget and departs from Strömkajen, opposite the Royal Palace. During the summer there you can also use Strömma Kanalbolaget faster and more modern ships, departing from Nybrokajen (by Strandvägen). Many will pass the picturesque town of Vaxholm, on the mainland to the northeast of the city, well worth a stopover if you got the time. The islands, of which there are over 1,000 large and small, offer a wide variety of nature, from the lush green of the inner archipelago to the bare cliffs of the furthermost outposts. Many of the islands have hotels and youth hostels, and some have excellent restaurants. If you want to go on a day trip, Grinda is a good alternative, the ride from 1 hour 15 minutes to nearly 3 hours depending on your choice of boat. During part of the summer Strömma Kanalbolaget offers a day cruise (11 hours, SEK 775 including lunch, dinner and guided tours) as well as a shorter, 2.5 hour boat excursion (SEK 190), both departing from Nybrokajen (by Strandvägen). The latter will not take you far out, and you will miss the 'real' archipelago. Möja, Sandhamn and Utö are popular destinations further out. If you plan to go island-hopping there is a 16-day card entitling you to free travel (SEK 490).
- There is a hill near Zinkensdamm subway station providing beautiful panorama of Gamla Stan and Stockholm city centre. When exiting the station turn back and head to the north. Walk along a small street on the right and climb up the hill. It is worthy! Sometimes too windy but perfect for having a coffee or a beer.
Stockholm has more than 70 museums all around: Butterfly Museum, Army Museum, Dance Museum to name but a few.
- Vasamuseet features Vasa, an original warship from 1628 which sank just after being launched. Retrieved from the water in 1961, the ship is almost wholly preserved and unique in its kind in the world. A must-see, especially since it is uncertain whether current methods of preservation will be able to maintain her condition in years to come.
- Kulturhuset The House of Culture - with exhibitions, several theatre stages, restaurants, an art bookshop and much more. On ground level there is an Internet café (called Access IT).
- Moderna Museet (The Museum of Modern Art) is headed by Lars Nittve, formerly of London's Tate Modern. Although its Stockholm counterpart might not have as vast a collection, there is still enough to satisfy both the modern art buff as well as the curious amateur. And entrance is free. Also, the building, by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, is a sight in itself.
- For those more interested in classical art, Nationalmuseum (The National Museum) offers pieces by Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and Gauguin, as well as well-known Swedish artists such as Carl Larsson, Ernst Josephson, C F Hill and Anders Zorn. The museum also has a collection of applied art, design and industrial design. The museum is situated in a beautiful 19th century building and has a nice café in its atrium.
- A very nice museum is the Tekniska Museet, the museum of Science and Technology. Also commendable to smaller children. (Bus 69.)
- Nobelmuseet has lots of material on the Nobel prize, including videotaped speeches by laureates. Located in Börshuset (old Stock Exchange house), Stortorget, Gamla Stan. Open till 17:00, Tuesdays till 20:00. NB: some of their material claims that they are open until 18:00, but that is incorrect.
- Skansen The first open air museum of the world, as well as a zoological garden specializing in Nordic fauna, such as moose, reindeer, bear, wolf, lynx and wolverine. Located on the island of Djurgården it features over 150 historic buildings from the last centuries. Hosts and hostesses in historic costumes are a further attraction and domestic occupations such as weaving, spinning, glass blowing are demonstrated. Usually open 10 AM to 4 PM, with longer hours until 10 PM in the summer; pricing is equally variable but figure on SEK 70 in summer and SEK 50 in the winter. Get there on bus 44/47, or a ferry from Slussen.
- If you're interested in older Scandinavian history, from the Stone Age to the Vikings, you might want to visit Historiska Museet (The Museum of History) at Narvavägen 13-17 (buses 44 and 56 to Historiska museet, buses 47, 69, 76 to Djurgårdsbron/Historiska museet). In the Gold Room, you'll find Gold treasures from the Bronze Age to the 16th century.
- For the real Viking buff, there's also Birka, the place of a viking city with around 1,000 inhabitants situated on Björkö, an island in lake Mälaren. Today, however, traces of the settlement are hard to spot and the small museum (+46-8-56051445, closed during winter) is really only worth the ride if you are genuinely interested in the subject. Boats to Björkö are operated by Strömma Kanalbolaget.
- Maybe not for everyone, but an still entertaining - [Sparvagsmuseet] or Transport Museum, which is a museum of all public transportation of Stockholm. Walking through historical busses and subway cars is quite fun but not enough is in English for many travelers.
Walk around. Stockholm is a very easy city to enjoy by foot with no steep streets. Particularly in the summer months (which can be a very short time), the city shows itself at its best.
Stay informed. You can find internet cafés and terminals at many locations with prices between 15 and 20 SEK for an hour.
Watch a movie. There are many Cinemas in Stockholm. Most movies aren't dubbed but subtitled, so if your English is good enough this is a good opportunity to spend some time.
Famous for glassware and design.
"Gamla Stan", the old town, is very popular area in which to shop. Västerlånggatan is where you find all the tourist oriented shops but also some nice establishments. If you don't like this crowded street try Österlånggatan instead for a calmer experience.
There are many department stores like Åhléns City, PUB and NK (Nordiska Kompaniet) in the city center as well as a couple of shopping malls: the biggest is Gallerian, the most expensive is Sturegallerian and the newest is Västermalmsgallerian at Kungsholmen. For a set of nice fashion shops Biblioteksgatan is worth a visit.
- Science Fiction Bokhandeln is a bookshop at Västerlånggatan 48 in Gamla Stan selling sf, fantasy, horror, role-playing games, some popular science, and a lot of it is in English. http://www.sfbok.se/
Stockholm features a big variety of restaurants, including Asian, Indian, Mexican and fast food, many of them offer rather cheap but good 'eat all you can'-lunch buffets. It is far more difficult to find authentic Swedish cuisine, though. For vegans, Vegan Stockholm has a good list of vegan restaurants and cafes. http://www.veganstockholm.se/lang_eng/eat.php
- Buddha Bar. Very nice restaurant; eating there is very good. Downstairs is the Buddhabar, with good music. http://www.buddha.se
- Gondolen. Gondolen is a fancy and expensive restaurant run by the famous chief Erik Lallerstedt. But there is an inexpensive branch Köket in the same premises where you can eat the best of Swedish cuisine with a glass of wine for no more than 100 sek. http://www.eriks.se
As the Swedes like drinking coffee, there are many coffee-bars all around. Beware - Swedish coffee is strong compared with the way it is prepared in in the US and UK.
- Muggen in Götgatan 24 (Slussen)
- Cafe Panorama in Kulturhuset's 5th floor overlooking the always crowded Sergelstorg with a nice open terrace.
Can be summed up in three words: expensive, expensive and expensive.
If arriving from outside the European Union and visiting relatives, friends or even just business colleagues, a bottle of whisky, gin or vodka makes a very acceptable gift.
- IceBar in the "Nordic Sea Hotel", Vasaplan. Entrance: 125 sek., including warm clothes and one drink.
- Kvarnen, Tjärhovsgatan 4 (T Medborgarplatsen), 643 03 80. A Stockholm beer hall with old traditions. Popular with fans of the southside football club Hammarby. In recent years this place has expanded, adding more modern, trendy bars in adjoining rooms. Has a wide selection of beers and food at decent prices.
- Pelikan, Blekingegatan 40 (T Skanstull), 556 090 90 (Reservations 556 090 92). An old style working-class beer hall with a very authentic feeling, for those traditionalists who think Kvarnen has sold out in recent years. High noise level but quite a friendly crowd. Also offers simple and authentic Swedish food at a reasonable price.
- Sjögräs bar, Timmermansgatan 24 (T Mariatorget). Next door to a decent, if a bit expensive, restaurant by the name 'Sjögräs' (Sea weed), specialising in Caribbean fare, this small bar offers a wide selection of rum brands. The standard European beers is still the most popular choices for the young and rather trendy clientele, however.
- Indigo, Götgatan 19 (T Slussen), 643 58 59. A really small bar with an eclectic color scheme, usually drawing a rather young crowd. Situated in the centre of Södermalm, this is a good place to start the evening.
- Lydmar, Sturegatan 10 (T Östermalmstorg). Though this is the hotel bar of one of Stockholms most trendy design hotels, this place still is one of the more relaxed hangouts in the Stureplan area, surrounded as it is by posh nightclubs frequented by people with a lot of money and people who want to have a lot of money.
Strong alcohol including starköl (beer which contains more than 3,5% alcohol) can only be purchased in the state-owned liquor shop chain called Systembolaget. They have short opening time and sometimes funny queue-number system.
- Rex Hotel, Luntmakargatan 73 (near Metro Rådmansgatan), +46(0)16 00 40. Nice small mid-range hotel north of the city center. http://www.rexhotel.se
You should have an STF or Hostelling International membership card since you get discounts in Swedish youth hostels (vandrarhem). The standard is quite high.
- Långholmen, Långholmsmuren 20 (metro: Hornstull), 08-720 85 00 [email protected] Spectacular hostel built in an old prison where you actually stay in the old cells (making them limited to the size). The place is clean and the staff in nice and friendly. The prices are fair and atmosphere is really one of a kind. It is also a hotel and the breakfast buffet holds top-standard and is worth its 75 SEK. They have guest kitchen, internet terminals, laundry machine/dryer and there are a lot of grean areas around. Subway stop is about 7 minutes by walk. http://www.langholmen.com/
- Zinkensdamm, Zinkens väg 20 (metro: Zinkensdamm), 08-616 81 00. Very nice and fairly big youth hostel and hotel. It's very clean, the staff is helpful and friendly and the prices are fair, however the rooms are rather small. Features a fairly big guest kitchen, a nice garden, internet terminals, laundry machine/dryer. http://www.zinkensdamm.com/
- Backpacker's Inn, Banérgatan 56 (metro: Karlaplan), 08-660 75 15, [email protected] is actually a school, more or less converted into a youth hostel in summer. Its large (320 beds) and really central, close to the subway (200m) and walking distance down town. There is a shopping mall and several supermarkets neraby. The showers are in a separate building (since the only ones available are those at the gym hall), the sleeping rooms (14 beds) are classrooms. Breakfast (decently priced) and Internet (expensive - go to an internet cafe instead!) available. If you need a cheap place to stay (130 SEK in the dorm) and to meet a lot of people, this is for you. http://www.backpackersinn.se/
- af Chapman on Skeppholmen is just 15 minutes walk from city centre. Advance booking suggested.
- Millesgården on Lidingö island displayes many works of the famous sculpturer Carl Milles in his former residence (house and studio). New extension was recently build where temporary exhibtions are held.