Stockholm has long been one of Sweden's cultural, media, political, and economic centres. In The 2008 Global Cities Index, Stockholm ranked 24th in the world, 10th in Europe, and first in Scandinavia. Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant clean and open water, and its many parks.It is sometimes referred to as Venice of the North.
Stockholm is built across 14 islands and is often called the Venice of the North. With more foreign visitors than any other city in Scandinavia it is also considered to be the Capital of Scandinavia. Stockholm is situated at the point where the vast Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea and was built on this strategic spot in the mid 13th century, enabling the founder to tax merchant vessels going in and out of the lake.
As water covers one third of the city area, the maritime life is an important aspect of the city. There are plenty of bridges, marinas and locks. The water is so clean that you can drink it and catch salmon in the middle of the city. The climate is very much conditioned by the sea winds, so even the warmest summer day will be contingent upon the sea breeze finding its way into the city streets.
Some basic facts: 1,3 million people live in the greater Stockholm area. The average temperature in Stockholm is around -2 C (28 F) in January and about 18 C (64 F) in July.
Gamla Stan is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centers in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.
All of Gamla Stan and the adjacent island of Riddarholmen are like a living pedestrian-friendly museum full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafés, bars and places to shop. Gamla Stan is also popular with aficionados of handicrafts, curios and souvenirs. The narrow winding cobblestone streets, with their buildings in so many different shades of gold, give Gamla Stan its unique character. Even now cellar vaults and frescoes from the Middle Ages can be found behind the visible facades, and on snowy winter days the district feels like something from a story book.
There are several beautiful churches and museums in Gamla Stan, including Sweden’s national cathedral Stockholm Cathedral and the Nobel Museum. The largest of the attractions in the district is the Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in the world with over 600 rooms. In addition to the reception rooms, there are several interesting museums in the Palace, including the Royal Armory, with royal costumes and armor. Don't miss the parade of soldiers and the daily changing of the guard.
Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan are the district’s main streets. The city wall that once surrounded the city ran inside these streets along what is now Prästgatan. In the middle of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm. Stortorget is the central point from which runs Köpmangatan, the oldest street in Stockholm, which was mentioned as early as the fourteenth century. Mårten Trotzigs gränd (Mårten Trotzigs alley) is hard to find. It’s the narrowest alley in Gamla Stan, only 90 centimeters wide at its narrowest point. Make sure not to miss Riddarholmen and the Riddarholmen Church. The church is a royal burial church, and was built as a Franciscan monastery for the so-called Grey Brother monks in the thirteenth century.
The Royal Palace
The Palace is open to the public and offers no less than five museums. The Palace was largely built during the eighteenth century in the Italian Baroque style, on the spot where the “Tre Kronor” castle burned down in 1697. Visit the reception rooms with splendid interiors from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Rikssalen (the Hall of State) with Queen Kristina’s silver throne, and Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chivalry). You can also see Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, the Tre Kronor Museum and the Treasury. The Royal Palace also contains the Armory, with royal costumes and armor, as well as coronation carriages and magnificent coaches from the Royal Stable. Make sure not to miss the parade of soldiers and the daily changing of the guard.
The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world, and a unique art treasure. More than 95 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures.
The 69 meter-long warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628, and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961. For nearly half a century the ship has been slowly, deliberately and painstakingly restored to a state approaching its original glory. The three masts on the roof outside the specially built museum show the height of the ship's original masts.
Today the Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Scandinavia, with over one million visitors a year. There are nine different exhibitions around the ship to tell about life on board the ship. The film about the Vasa is shown in 16 different languages. In addition there is a well-stocked shop and a pleasant restaurant. Tours of the museum take place every day.
Skansen consists of the oldest open-air museum in the world and the Stockholm zoo, with a beautiful location on Royal Djurgården and a view over all of Stockholm.
Skansen is a favorite both among Stockholmers and visitors passing through, and it’s a perfect family outing. At Skansen you can learn about traditional crafts and traditions. This is the place to visit historic Sweden in miniature. 150 farms and dwellings from different parts of the country were disassembled and transported here. You’ll find charming town districts with glass blowing, pottery, a tinsmith’s workshop and a bakery, a gold-colored manor house, the Skogaholm manor house, the beautiful eighteenth-century Seglora wooden church and the The museum shop is a must for fans of traditional handicrafts. You can also see all of the animals native to Scandinavia such as moose, bears, lynxes, wolves, wolverines and seals. There is also a terrarium, a monkey house and a children’s zoo.
Swedish traditions such as Midsummer, Walpurgis Night and Lucia are celebrated at Skansen. Skansen in the Christmas season is a special event, with a Christmas market, traditional Swedish julbord (Christmas buffet) and hopefully snow. Those who want to enjoy a traditional Swedish smörgåsbord can have their wish at the Solliden restaurant. Skansen has several restaurants and charming cafés.
City Hall, with its spire featuring the golden Three Crowns, is one of the most famous silhouettes in Stockholm. Guided tours are available all year round.
Stockholm City Hall is one of the country’s leading examples of national romanticism in architecture. The City Hall was designed by the architect Ragnar Östberg, and opened on Midsummer Eve in 1923. The City Hall is built from eight million bricks, and the 106 meter tall tower has the three crowns, which is the Swedish national coat of arms, at its apex. Behind the magnificent facades are offices and session halls for politicians and officials, as well as splendid assembly rooms and unique works of art. Stockholm’s municipal council meets in Rådssalen, the Council Chamber. The great Nobel banquet is also held in City Hall. After dinner in Blå hallen, the Blue Hall, Nobel Prize recipients, royalty and guests dance in Gyllene salen, the Golden Hall, with its 18 million gold mosaic tiles.
The City Hall shop features specially designed souvenirs and presents that commemorate City Hall and Stockholm.
The City Hall is open to the public through guided tours only. Guided tours are held daily in Swedish and English at certain hours. During summer months the tours are available in several other lanugages. During the same period you can also climb up inside the tower and enjoy a fantastic view over the city. Tours can be canceled with short notice due to events.
Junibacken’s story book world on Royal Djurgården is based on beloved characters by Astrid Lindgren and other children’s authors.
The Story Train takes you on an exciting trip through Astrid Lindgren’s magical story book world. At Junibacken you’ll meet Pippi Longstocking, Madicken, Emil, Karlsson on the Roof and many others.
There is also a children’s museum devoted to story books and a theater with several performances every day. Don’t miss the kid-friendly café and the wonderful children’s bookstore.
Kungsholmen is an island that makes up the western part of the inner city. On its eastern tip, the impressive redbrick Stockholm City Hall stands by the water. Further west, a collection of rather relaxed neighbourhood bars and restaurants can be found. West of the Fridhemsplan transport hub and the new Västermalmsgallerian shopping mall, the island becomes more suburban.
The green island of Djurgården, close to central Stockholm, is beloved by both Stockholmers and tourists. Djurgården is a calm oasis which has been royal land since the fifteenth century.
There are fine areas to stroll, for example around the Djurgårdsbrunn canal and Blockhusudden. Djurgården is also home to several of city’s top museums and attractions, as well as enjoyable cafés and restaurants.
It’s easy to reach Djurgården on foot, by the Djurgården ferry boat from Gamla Stan/Slussen, by tram from Norrmalmstorg or by bus.
Carl Milles is one of Sweden’s most famous sculptors. Millesgården is Carl and Olga Milles’ artist’s home on the island of Lidingö. There is an exhibit about the artist at work in the large studio, while works by Olga Milles and Carl’s sister Ruth Milles are exhibited in the small studio.
The art gallery exhibits modern and contemporary art. Next door is Annes Hus, the couple's home during the 1950s with intact decor from Svenskt Tenn. Don’t miss Millesgården's sculpture park, where famous works by Carl Milles are set on terraces and in fountains. The sculpture park also provides a beautiful view over Stockholm and the harbor entrance. Millesgården also has a pleasant outdoor restaurant and bistro.
The park areas around Brunnsviken lake are part of Nationalstadsparken, the National City Park. They’re popular for picnics, swimming and recreation.
The area features a beautiful rolling park setting, a botanical garden, cafes, palaces and several buildings of historic interest.
Haga Park, on the western shore, was laid out between 1771 and 1793 on the initiative of Gustav III. The park has promenade streets along the shores and beautiful avenues.
Many buildings of historic interest are located here: Gustav III’s pavilion, the Copper Tents, Haga Castle and the Butterfly and Bird House. Haga Park is one of the leading examples of English parks in Sweden. This style of park developed in England as a reaction to the rigid gardens of the Baroque period. The philosophy was that parks should be based on natural features instead.
As its name implies, Bellevueparken on the southern shore is situated high above the parks and Brunnsviken lake, with a view over these features. The studio and museum of the sculptor Carl Eldh are also located here.
Attractions on the eastern shore include the Bergius Botanic Garden and several boat clubs, as well as the Swedish Museum of National History and Stockholm University.
Right in the middle of the Old Town, you can learn about the Nobel Prize, Alfred Nobel, and the Nobel Laureates and their visions. Guided tours, interesting films, and diverse objects take you on a journey from idea to the Nobel Banquet.
Kafé Satir serves Swedish specialties and Nobel ice cream. The museum shop has something for everyone. Visit the Nobel Museum and be inspired by ideas that changed the world.
Experience one of Europe's foremost collections of art from the twentieth century to today, featuring works by artists including Picasso, Dali, Derkert and Matisse.
The museum's large collections and temporary exhibitions present contemporary art side by side with the modern classics. Moderna Museet is located on Skeppsholmen island, a setting of natural beauty. The building was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. The museum offers a first-class program of temporary exhibitions, a children's workshop, a store and an enjoyable restaurant with a beautiful view of Djurgården and Strandvägen.
The leading museum of art and design in Sweden, with collections of older paintings and sculptures as well as drawings, graphics, handicrafts and design up to the present day.
Experience the works of Sweden's most prominent artists such as Carl Larsson, Hanna Pauli, Anders Zorn and Bruno Liljefors, and international masters such as Rembrandt, Rubens, Goya, Renoir, Degas and many others. You can also acquaint yourself with modern Swedish design classics from 1900 to today in the permanent exhibit ”Den moderna formen 1900-2000” (Modern Design from 1900 to 2000). The exhibit shows developments in Scandinavian design and handicrafts.
Seeing Stockholm from the water is an enjoyable must. Fortunately, there are many tours to choose from depending on your interests.
Under the Bridges of Stockholm, Royal Canal Tour, Historical Canal Tour, and the early Good Morning Stockholm Tour concentrate on central Stockholm and take from 50 minutes to 2½ hours. The Good Morning tour is given in Swedish and English only. Other tours are also given in German, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Chinese, and Japanese. The number of tours is limited during the winter.
Hop On Hop Off is a flexible way to see Stockholm from the water. The ticket is good for an unlimited number of trips over a 24-hour period. It can also be combined with bus (Open Top Bus Tour).
Archipelago Race is for those who want to see the archipelago but do not have much time. In a fast Speedo boat, you get a feel for the archipelago and its 30,000 islands in less than 2 hours. The tour is given in Swedish and English. Tickets can be purchased online.
The world’s first national urban park is a green lung forming an arc more than six miles long, stretching around and through the city.
The park abuts the adjoining forests around the city, ensuring an exceptional wealth of species. You can encounter deer and hares, even foxes and moose, and spot rare birds, butterflies and insects, right inside the city. You can walk for days through the Ekoparken, discovering ever new lovely spots.
There’s an abundance of things to see: museums, an amusement park, theaters and entertainment, castles, inns and hotels, sports facilities, numerous residences from different historical periods, hills with centuries-old oak trees, lakes, streams, bays, marshes and canals, meadows with grazing cows, horses and sheep, secluded swimming spots, rocky hilltops and areas with wild, virgin nature where you will have difficulty imagining you’re
in the middle of a big city.
Stockholm’s medieval Cathedral, built in 1279, houses unique objects such as the St George and the Dragon sculpture (1489), the legendary Vädersoltavlan (1636) and Lena Lervik’s sculpture ”Joseph and Mary” (2002).
Since 1527, the Cathedral has been a Lutheran church. A wide range of religious services and concerts are held. The wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Mr. Daniel Westling will take place on Saturday, June 19, 2010 in Stockholm Cathedral.
Historic environment located high up on the edge of a cliff with a fantastic view of the city. Fjällgatan’s Kaffestuga café is charming and popular.
The blocks around Fjällgatan, Stigbergsgatan, Mäster Mikaels Gata, Fiskargatan, and Södra Teatern are lined with well-preserved wooden buildings from the 1700s on one side and a magnificent view on the other
Fotografiska is one of the world’s largest meeting places for contemporary photography. The museum was opened in May 2010 and initially dsplays four unique main exhibitions and about 20 smaller exhibitions annually. In addition to the main exhibition area, Fotografiska also houses a book and souvenir shop, a restaurant, a photo gallery, and a bar boasting one of Stockholm’s best views.
The world's largest playhouse. Attractions and experiments for all ages, enough to fill a full day.
Feel the speed going down the 44-meter slide, see optical illusions, experience storm winds and earthquakes. Here you can feel, jump, bounce and balance. Two large four-storey buildings and a park (open summer) also have places for peace and quiet. Café, restaurant, lunch room, shop.
Vertigo and unbeatable views await anyone who dares to take a ride with the SkyView.
SkyView is the name of the attraction that takes you on a breathtaking journey to the top of Ericsson Globe, the world’s largest spherical building. From the peak at 130 meters above sea evel, gain a whole new perspective on Stockholm. Restaurant and souvenir shop.
Book tickets through the Globen Arenas website or by calling the number listed next to the picture above. Tickets are free for Stockholm card holders, but there is no pre-booking, so be prepared to wait.
Gröna Lund is one of Scandinavia’s favourite amusement parks, with exciting attractions, first-class shows and beautiful views.
Experience the thrills of Europe’s highest Free Fall, roller-coasters, Haunted House, Crazy House and 25 other fun attractions.
For a genuine Stockholm Christmas, the Old Town’s Christmas market is a must. This market has been held in Stortorget since 1915, and the little red stalls sell warm “glögg”, gingerbread, cheese, candy and craft.
- Open every day 11 am- 6 pm.
A major exhibit with over 300 objects from China’s earliest
Emperors’ tombs is being staged in Europe for the first time.
Selections from China’s terra cotta army are on loan to this unique Chinese history exhibit, which is displayed in the secret rock shelters beneath Skeppsholmen island, that has never before been open to the public.
This versatile, modern club is located at Kungsgatan 18. Several clubs with different styles are gathered under one roof. The biggest part of the club is Ambassadeur White where they play vocal house. Ambassadeur Black focuses on R&B and soul. Ambassadeur Gold’s theme is feel-good retro, with pop hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
The Soap bar has been around a while but is still very popular. On the weekends, it is packed with people and it can be hard to get to the bar. They play all kinds of music, from the latest to the classics. Strict queuing system if you're not a VIP guest.
A large nightclub palace with a disco feel and warm, welcoming atmosphere. The music is mostly classics from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and the décor is pleasant and cozy with large seating groups. Together with radio station Vinyl 107, they arrange the Vinylbaren Club every Friday along with a separate special event every month. Le Bon Palais is aimed at a somewhat older crowd.
Ever since its inception, Marie Laveau has been a great favorite of Stockholm nightlife. Marie Laveau attracts its guests with a lively club scene and an ability to renew itself.
The large bar is well-suited to the after work crowd. Later in the evening well-known DJs take over the helm. Marie Laveau's nightclub, located downstairs, is the setting for some of Stockholm's leading clubs.
Stockholms Lokaltrafik, SL (Stockholm Public Transport) runs an extensive subway, commuter train and bus system as well as some tram, light rail and ferry services, all using an integrated ticket system based on coupons. The minimum amount of coupons needed is 2, and the maximum 4, depending on how many zones the trip goes through. There are passes available for 24 hours (100SEK), 72 hours (200SEK), or 7 days (260SEK), stripes of 16 coupons (förköpsremsa) for 180SEK and the slightly confusing single journey tickets. Single tickets are cheaper when bought in advance (15SEK in advance, 20SEK from the clerk for adults, 9 / 12 for seniors and children), effectively making one trip in one zone at least 30SEK for adults. Single tickets are valid for one hour. Stripes can be shared as long as you go to the same destination and in most cases they are the most cost effective option for tourists. When you purchase the 72-hour pass, you also receive free admission to Gröna Lund (see "See" below). 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 690SEK.
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 395SEK, 48 hours 525SEK, 72 hours 625SEK, 120 hours 895SEK. Children (7-17 years of age) 24 hours 195SEK, 48 hours 225SEK, 72 hours 245SEK, 120 hours 285SEK.
The SL website has detailed ticket and price information, and a journey planner.
The standard of quality among the public transportation services is very high but there are still are a few older trains running during rush hour.
There is an efficient metro system called the Tunnelbana (sometimes abbreviated T-Bana or just T on signs). With exactly 100 stations, it is quite extensive for a city of this size and will get you around almost all the downtown places as well as most nearby suburbs. Trains run from 5AM to 1AM on weekdays and all night on weekends.
The commuter train (pendeltåg) in Stockholm covers much of Stockholm county, as well as some locations in bordering counties. There are currently 51 stations. The busiest routes are along the Kungsängen to Västerhaninge and Märsta to Södertälje lines, with departures every 15 minutes during the day, and every 30 minutes in the evening, and with extra cars during rush-hour. On the other lines, the service is less frequent. Commuter trains use the same tickets and passes as the subways and public buses.
Bus, light rail and ferry
Stockholm has an extensive bus system which reaches areas the Tunnelbana does not. Four inner city main lines numbered from 1 to 4 are operated by large blue buses, the other, generally less frequent lines, by red buses. Tvärbanan is a semi-circular light rail line running from the west to the southeast part of the city. A few other light rail lines connect various suburbs to the metro system. There are also ferries going to Djurgården and Skeppsholmen. Bus and light rail is included in any SL ticket or pass, and ferry travel is included with any 24- or 72-hour pass, 7-day pass as well as the monthly pass. (The ferries to the archipelago, the airport buses, the Arlanda Express train and the SJ regional trains to Uppsala, Västerås, Eskilstuna and other destinations are not part of the SL network and thus not included in any of these tickets.)
Cycling is an attractive option. On a bike, a journey across central Stockholm' will take 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.
Stockholm City Bikes. In the summer months, you can use the city-operated bike loan service by purchasing a key-card. Bike stands throughout the city allows you to pick up a bike in one stand and leave it in another. A three-day (minimum period) key-card costs 125SEK and a season pass costs 200SEK. You may not use a bike for more than three hours at a time, but it is possible to switch to a new bike when returning a used one. Key-cards can be bought at an SL Center.
Bikeguide-Stockhom Bikeguide-Stockholm offers a variety of high quality bikes in the center of the city. From mountainbikes to childrens bikes and city bikes. Child carriers and child seats are available. Helmets are included in the rental price. The bikes have at least 7 gears and are maximum of two seasons old. 3 hours 200SEK. Full day from 250SEK. Narvavägen 13-17. Open 10AM-6PM April-October. Call to rent bikes off season +46(0)733- 09 56 26
Cars driving into or out of central Stockholm between 6:30AM and 6:29PM are charged a congestion tax of 10 to 20SEK. 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.
There are two hop-on/hop-off boat tours that run loops between various sites in Stockholm. Both cost approximately 10 Euro for a day long pass and have approximately 8 stops, including the cruise terminal, Gamla Stan, the Vasa Museum, Skansen, and Skeppsholmen.