Stockholm – a visitor’s guide
Stockholm is the capital and largest city in Sweden. The entire urban area has about two million inhabitants. The city has its origins in the thirteenth century and has experienced its most important growth in the sixteenth century. In the old town there are still enough streets that remind of earlier times. However, Stockholm is primarily a well-designed modern city, where there is enough space for a number of spacious squares and the necessary green within the city. Stockholm offers its guests a good infrastructure, beautiful museums and beautiful buildings such as the City Hall and Stockholms Castle.
How to get there?
Arlanda airport is the main airport for getting to Stockholm. From the airport you can take the flybussen or the Arlanda Express train to reach the city center.
To get around the city has a metro system called the Tunnelbana, symbolised with a blue T on a round white sign. However on a warm day, getting around by bike also is a great option since the Swedish capital (as with most Scandinavian capitals) isn’t as busy and heavily-trafficked as other European major cities.
When to visit
Despite being located in Northern Europe, Stockholm has mild temperatures for most of the year. Another consequence of this northerly location is that the variation of sunlight highly depends on the time of the year. Summer in Stockholm is known for having more than 18 hours of daylight while during the winter months these heavily decreases.Therefore summer is the peak season for visitors as they end up getting most out of their day.
Things to see
In the center of the metropolis Stockholm lies the island ‘Stadsholmen’. On this island you can actually find the original and now old center ‘Gamla Stan’ of the city. It is therefore not surprising that the royal palace is located here. Some parts of the old city date back to the 13th century. There are a number of historic buildings to be found including Storkyrkan Cathedral, a large Stortorget square and a German church Tyska Kyrkan.
The Royal Palace of Stockholm was built on the foundations of a former medieval castle. About 57 years old has been built on this oldest palace in the world which is still inhabited by the royal family. In the basement of this palace a museum has been created where you can learn more about the royal family. The changing of the guard attracts many visitors every year. You will find this palace in the old city ‘Gamla Stan’ on the water.
The most famous and largest square in the city is ‘Sergels Torg’. Regularly different markets are organized or demonstrations are held here. The square is actually split into three parts. A pedestrian zone, a roundabout and an open space towards the busiest road from the center ‘Sveavägen’. In the middle of the roundabout is the obelisk Crystal, which is beautifully lit at night.
Birthplace of the Stockholm syndrom
Nowadays this place is a hotel where you can stay, but back then, this was a bank that was the site of a robbery that took place in 1973. The robbery at Norrmamstorg took a bizarre turn when the hostages started sympathizing with the criminals. It was the spawn of a bizarre psychological phenomenon.
In this very interesting museum is a ship from the 17th century. This ship ‘Vasa’ sank in 1628 on its first trip. You can still see that the ship has been under water for at least 300 years before it was exhibited in this museum. The entire history of this ship can be found in this museum. The ship Vasa was built under the guidance of the Dutch ship carpenter Henrik Hybertsson. Regularly there are various changing exhibitions in this maritime museum.
In the district Norrmalm in the center of the city, lies the beautiful Royal Opera building ‘Kungliga Operan’. On the stage of this imposing building, the greatest ballet and opera pieces of the world pass by. Both outside and inside, the appearance has been carefully handled.
Stockholm metro Gallery
Stockholm has an extensive public transport network. But besides taking commuters to several corners of the city, the metro network has doubled as an art gallery for decades. The only entrance ticket you need to pay is a train ticket and then you can start exploring.
If you did not know that this majestic building is a museum, you would probably think that this is the Royal Palace of Stockholm. In this beautiful building you will find the Nordic Museum which tells you everything about Scandinavian history.
This cemetery is so special that it is a cultural heritage and is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. You can find this cemetery in a suburb of the city. Most striking is the sublime combination between landscape and architecture. According to many, this cemetery has been an example for many others around the world.
You will find this green part of the city east of the center. In this former hunting area you can visit a number of special museums, including the maritime Vasa Museum, the Skansen open-air museum and the Noords Museum. For children it is also very nice. There is also an amusement park ‘Grona Lund Amusement Park’ and a zoo
Where to eat?
Lily’s Burger In the middle of Södermalm you will find a small piece of America between the coffee shops. Behind a row of hysterical umbrellas and benches in all kinds of colors is Lily’s Burger. Vintage signs on the wall, red leather sofas and a bright yellow petrol pump; you can imagine yourself here in an American roadhouse. On the menu you can find burgers in all shapes and sizes. You can create your own menu by choosing different toppings such as avocado or bacon and a tasty snack like fries or fried sweet potato. Keep some space for a sweet ending: Lily’s Burger also sells typical American sweets. Come on with those peanut butter cups!
Anyone who follows his nose will probably come to Fabrique, the Swedish bakery that is spread throughout Stockholm. Here you will find a counter full of sandwiches in all shapes and sizes. Especially the Kanelbulle, a typical Swedish cinnamon bun, is delicious and one of the most traditional sweets that you will eat in Stockholm. Slide on the vintage chairs for breakfast, lunch or the famous fika; coffee with something tasty.
Walls full of vintage paintings and posters, retro chairs and an old jukebox where music shines. Älskade Traditioner is not only recommended to eat in Stockholm; just because of the interior is a nice place to settle down. You can feast on freshly baked waffles with Nutella, fruit and ice cream, but you can also go for a typical Swedish meal here.
Where to stay?
Scandinavia has a reputation for being very expensive. Though Stockholm may well be the cheapest city of them all. In Stockholm there are more than 60 youth hostels and hostels. However, a hotel room in Stockholm does not have to be that expensive either. For example, the prices of hotel rooms from mid June to August are considerably lower than in other months in the year. Sometimes a hotel room in Stockholm is just as cheap as a bed in a dormitory in a youth hostel. You can sometimes spend more nights in Stockholm on weekends because many hotels charge a discount. In many hotels and youth hostels in Sweden, children under 17 stay free when traveling with someone aged 18 or older. These “family offers” can be very advantageous because a group of young people with one older person can also benefit from this family benefit.
Around Stockholm Central Station you will find the most cheap hotels and hostels. The area around the station is a lively neighborhood. You will find many small shops and cafes and restaurants with terraces in the streets. Also in the district of Norrmalm you can find a reasonably cheap hotel. The Norrmalm district is just north of the historic center of Stockholm, Gamla Stan. Norrmalm is the modern, beating heart of Stockholm. It is always busy and hectic here.