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Stockholm Pictures Guide
Sweden

 

 

European cities | Stockholm

Stockholm city panorama, Sweden

 

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Visiting Stockholm

This is Scandinavia's most handsome, sophisticated and liveliest city, and also incidentally, the cleanest city in Europe.
Because of its unique location on fourteen islands surrounded by water and with parks and gardens all around, Stockholm has super-fresh air and a delightfully pure atmosphere.
This 700 year-old 'Northern Venice' offers wide, calm streets lined with stunning buildings both modern and medieval, more than 70 museums, and a good selection of pricey cafes and restaurants.
Everything in the city is within easy walking distance, most people speak perfect English and the summer's midnight sun makes Stockholm city a great destination for short tourist breaks.

 

Downsides

• Stockholm can be chilly even in summer time and wet in August.
• The traffic system is a nightmare if you're driving as signs are in Swedish, roads are a tangled web and parking restrictions may be invisible. e.g. you must not park within 10m of a pedestrian crossing, tho' there are no warning signs to that effect.

 

Stockholm's Royal Palace, Sweden

Stockholm's Royal Palace

 

Stockholm weather

Best: May- August, with lots of sunshine, not too much rain or heat. Mid summer temperatures average highs of 22C (72F) and lows of 11C (52F).
Worst: Winter, quite cold with averages running from zero to -5C (23F), with short, dark days (about 6 hours of daylight each day) and plenty of precipitation, though much of it snow.

Click for Stockholm, Sweden Forecast

Current Stockholm temperature and time.

 

people kayaking in  Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden's capital city is a cool, smart, clean and well preserved, whether it's royal buildings...

 

Gamla Stan area, Stockholm, Sweden

...or the little old town centre of Gamla Stan.

Gamla Stan is a charming maze-like triplet of islands, with pastel-coloured Renaissance buildings and narrow medieval alleys - one of Sweden's few tourist choke points.

 

Main Attractions

***Gamla Stan

The old town is a charming maze-like triplet of islands, with pastel-coloured Renaissance buildings and narrow medieval alleys making one of Sweden's few tourist choke points.
Gamla Stan's main sights are:
***Stortorget, the main plaza with 17-18th century houses.
**Storkyrkan (The Great Church), a glorious 14th century cathedral where the Swedish kings and queens are married and crowned (check out organ recitals).
**Kungliga Slottet (the Royal Palace), the world's largest royal residence, which is still in use. Not so imposing from the outside but it has a marvelously elaborate interior. The Royal Treasury, apartments and Changing of the Guard are highlights.

***Djurgarden island

Djurgarden encloses a beautiful green space and a couple of stunning museums, Vasa Museum and Skansen are not be missed. See Museums & Galleries section below.

***Millesgarden

On Lidingo island this is an awesome outdoor sculpture garden.

 

Drottningholm Palace near  Stockholm, Sweden

Drottningholm Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

***Drottningholm

Drottningholm, 'the Versailles of Sweden', is a magnificent 17th century royal residence in a superb lakeside location. It's not only where the royal family still live but also a tourist attraction. Travel there by ferry in 50 minutes, or by bicycle on dedicated path, or by car.

 

the Changing of the Guard in front of the Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden

The Royal Palace Guard, photo A.Trepte

Some visitors watch the Changing of the Guard in front of Kungliga Slottet, the drab Royal Palace but it's lacking in the colour and drama of London's display, though the interior of the palace which is used mainly for administrative purposes these days is apparently lavish).

 

Vasa Museum warship, Stockholm, Sweden

The Vasa Museum. Photo by G. Dembowski.

 

Museums & Galleries

***The Vasa Museum, a fascinating exhibition of the sunken 17th century warship - the Swedish version of Titanic.
***Skansen, a vast open-air museum (the oldest in Europe) of Swedish life over the centuries, with historic buildings, working farms, a zoo and aquarium.

Nordiska Museet also offers an interesting look at Swedish cultures through the ages.

 

Djurgarden canal. Photo by Arild Vagen

Activities

- Walking and picnics in Stockholm's many parks. One of the best is Haga Park.

- Kayaking, canoeing or varied boating around the many islands. The water is clean enough to swim or fish too.

- Cycling is a delightful way to wander around the tranquil streets and parks, rentals are easy to find. Try to get a cycle map from the tourist office.

- Beaches. Near the city centre are two popular beaches, Langholmsbadet and Smedsuddsbadet, both with good facilities including food and recreational areas. Busy in the summer of course. Ask your hotel reception how to get there. Swedish beaches

 

Gripsholm castle near  Stockholm, Sweden

Gripsholm Castle

Ferries around Stockholm are one of the pleasures of travel in Sweden, either short trips upriver or out into the 24,000 islands of the Archipelago where there are more sights, spectacular structures, amusements and even beaches.
Mariefred, for example, a peaceful town with wooden houses and narrow lanes is renowned for its spectacular 16th century Gripsholm Castle. It's about an hour by boat or 75kms (47 miles) by road from the city.

 

Other activities in Stockholm city apart from wandering the maze of ancient structures and parks on various islands...

public massage in central Stockholm, Sweden

...include Swedish massage, though it's not as erotic as one might imagine...

 

The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Sweden

...some kind of show at the The Royal Dramatic Theatre that does not involve a lot of Swedish language.

 

Arts/Culture/Night life

Stockholm is Scandinavia's most active city for cultural events. There's no shortage of entertainment from theatre to live music and more at clubs and cafes.
Get 'Stockholm This Week' for what's-on-when listings.

 

Shopping

No need to go to Ikea for souvenirs. In Norrmalm (the centre of Stockholm's new town) there are modern department stores, interior design showrooms and boutiques, by Swedish designers as well as big fashion names.
For local crafts - Swedish materials such as soft furnishing fabrics (e.g. table cloths) and antiques - try small shops in Gamla Stan.

 

Short Trips Out of Town

Ferries around Stockholm are one of the pleasures of this city, either short trips upriver out into the Archipelago. Try to get a boat pass.

***Take a ferry out to a few of Stockholm's 24,000 nearby islands known as The Archipelago; varied sights, fine buildings, castles, amusements and beaches.

**Visit Vaxholm, an idyllic little town with a castle, 1 hour from the city.

*Sandhamn (Sandon), popular among summer sailors, one and a half hours from Vaxholm.

***Mariefred, a peaceful town with wooden houses and narrow lanes, famous for its spectacular 16th century Gripsholm Castle. 1 hour by boat, 75km/47m by road from the city.

**Sigtuna, this small, tranquil town dating from AD 970 is the oldest town in Sweden. 46km/29m from the city.

**Uppsala, a quiet, ancient university town with the largest cathedral in Scandinavia and a few good museums. Forty minutes from the capital by train.

 

Festivals

Please check festival dates, some are not confirmed.
April 30: Walpurgis Night, celebrating the winter's end, fires and fireworks.
Midsummer, June 21: the country's biggest event with lots of dancing, fireworks, boozing.
Late May-August, Summer Music Festival at the Drottningholm Court Theatre.
18 August: Midnight Race, 10 kms (6 miles) starting in Stockholm's fashionable Södermalm district.
September: Stockholm Yoga Festival, Liljeholmshallen.

For some precise dates or more information see: European Festivals or Arts Festivals.

 

Accommodation

Sweden has a good youth hostel and campsite network and there are plenty of budget hotels, but booking ahead is essential in summer particularly at two of the best hostels, Al Chapman (ship cabins) and Langholmen (former prison cells!).
If tourists wish to stay in regular hotels, summertime is actually cheaper than the rest of the year due to lack of business guests.

 

Swedish currency

Local currency is the krona/kronor and easy to acquire from ATMs which are commonplace, do not charge for the service and get a fair exchange rate.
Tips are included in service charges though a 5-10% gift is not uncommon for good service.

 

Food

Stockholm dining is not particularly subtle generally but good and filling, such as potatoes with meat or seafood.
There is no shortage of modern waterfront cafes or charming bistros, but forget about eating cheaply in Sweden with the exception of good-value set menus for lunch, and Chinese food or pizzas for dinner.
Traditional food is wild berries, reindeer, elk and most famously, meatballs.
A wide range of reasonably priced beers is available, but wines are imported and pricey.
Two lively areas for eating and drinking for both locals and tourists are Sodermalm and Kungsholmen island.

 

a large car ferry entering Stockholm port, Sweden

Many tourists arrive in Stockholm from Russia, Germany and elsewhere on a car ferry like this. Photo by H. Ellgaard.

 

a quiet part of  Stockholm port, Sweden

Another more tranquil section of Stockholm's port.

Electricity

230v, 2 round pin plugs, such as in Norway, Finland, Germany, Netherlands (or twin flat pin Schuko plugs).

 

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