Stockholm is well worth a visit and high on the eGuide list of the best cities in the world. It is a city that offers art, design, food, music, fashion, shopping, nightlife and sightseeing. Do take your camera, as it is paradise for a photographer as we found with the images collected.
Exploring Stockholm is easy as it is a very manageable size and most of what you need is walkable or can be done on a bicycle. In the summer months, bikes can be hired from Stockholm City Bikes, a system of connected cycle stations where bikes are borrowed for short periods.
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Founded in 1187, it was built on 14 islands that form part of the Stockholm archipelago at the mouth of Lake Mälaren. ‘Stock’ is the Swedish word for log and ‘holm’ means islet, both natural things that you spot immediately with its beautiful parks full of trees, and water everywhere.
Where to start? If the weather is kind, walk around the Old Town (Gamla Stan), which was built on the central island next to Helgeandsholmen over 700 years ago. Much of the original town still stands, or at least goes back hundreds of years. Explore the narrow alleyways where the sun hardly penetrates.
There are many buildings and the ones to look out for include Tyska kyrkan, a German Church; the Riddarhuset, in English, the House of Nobility; Bonde Palace; Tessin Palace and the Oxenstierna Palace. The oldest building in Stockholm is the Riddarholmskyrkan that dates from the 13th century.
Once you have had enough walking, or in bad weather, the hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus takes in most of the main sights. Alternatively, use the hop-on/hop-off sightseeing boat that stops at many piers in central Stockholm.
Over 30% of Stockholm is water so a trip on the waterways is a must. It is sometimes nicknamed the ‘Venice of the North’. There are many options from short canal trips to day-long cruises of the islands. Most start at Stromkajen or Nybroplan.
A longer trip is to the Stockholm archipelago with about 30,000 islands. The easy way is on an organised cruise, but regular ferries operate to the main islands and between them. The large Stockholm archipelago is served by the Waxholmsbolaget archipelago boats.
The central municipality of Norrmalm is a type of ‘extension’ to the Old Town, but with much use of concrete. The town square, Sergelstorg, has a distinctive fountain that is lit up at night. The surrounding streets are the main shopping district.
To the east is Östermalm, the most affluent district of Stockholm and containing many museums. A good street to take a stroll through is Strandvagen, where the Royal Dramatic Theatre is located.
Djugarden is an excellent island to explore with lots of walking. Originally the royal hunting grounds, but now an island of parks, palaces and gardens. Whilst here, have a look at the Swedish warship at the Vasa museum. The ship, built in the 1600s, sank just a few minutes into her maiden voyage and so has been easy to restore.
Sodermalm is the island that has the more unique shops. It is the home of artists, actors and entertainers, so it has a different and more lively feel . This is also the place for nightlife.
There are over 100 museums, so we have not visited them all! The main one is the National Museum, which has a significant art collection that dates to Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. You will also find examples from Rembrandt and Antoine Watteau here.
In contrast to the historical sights, Gröna Lund is an amusement park located on the island of Djurgården. It can be easily seen from many locations and has over 30 attractions and restaurants.
Wherever you walk, it is hard not to notice the work Stockholm has completed to make it one of the cleanest capitals in the world. That extends to reducing pollution by limiting cars and encouraging the use of public transport and bikes.
The Stockholm Metro has 100 stations and covers 105.7 kilometres, making it one of the biggest in Europe. There is ticket system that allows travel on all forms of transport and includes the ferries, trams, trains, buses and the metro, with a range of ticket options available. For best value, get one of the travel cards that start from a 24 hour duration.