Stockholm travel guide
The Swedish capital, Stockholm, is not only Scandinavia's largest city but also its most enchanting, with its centuries-old alleyways and squares spread across an archipelago of 14 islands. Locals are extremely proud of the fact that in Stockholm one can go ocean-fishing in the heart of the city.
This historic metropolis with a small town heart boasts a multitude of museums, restaurants, parks, fun fairs, a never-ending nightlife (licensing hours extend into the early hours) and a rich cultural tradition. It all adds up to 'never a dull moment', particularly in the summer when the sun virtually never sets because of the city's position in the far northern latitudes.
Most tourists are initially drawn to the quaint Gamla Stan (Old Town), a warren of narrow cobblestone streets overshadowed by historic houses, radiating out from the sumptuous Royal Castle, where Swedish monarchs have resided since the 13th century. However, despite the rich medieval heritage, Stockholm is no staid, old-fashioned enclave. Citizens have developed a reputation for being trendy, daring and innovative, especially in the global realms of IT and fashion, often setting the pace in the design and technology fields.
Stockholmers are also immensely concerned with the environment, and the cityscape is made up of one-third water, one-third green space, one-third buildings, and some of the cleanest air of any city in the world. Take a deep breath, pack a picnic, hop aboard a ferry, and make for one of the parks where you will undoubtedly be treated to a free concert; or head for the legendary shopping districts of Biblioteksgatan (exclusive European boutiques), Odengatan (antique treasures), and others. There is culture to be soaked up too, with more than 150 museums to visit, art festivals galore, architecture to be admired (including the beautiful City Hall where the Nobel Prize banquet takes place), and a world-renowned opera or jazz concert to attend.
It may be old, but Stockholm is a destination for the young and energetic, as yet not overrun with tourists like many other European capitals.
Stockholm's main attractions are conveniently packaged close to
the heart of the city on the island of Djurgården, crammed with
entertainment options, museums, restaurants and wooded green space.
Once upon a time the island was a royal hunting ground. Now
visitors can hunt for souvenirs at the Handarbetets Vanner
(handicraft centre); browse the art galleries; enjoy the exciting
Gröna Lund amusement park; explore Sweden's past at the Skansen
open-air museum; meet Nordic wildlife at the zoo; and watch folk
Also on the island, accessed by a pleasant stroll along the waterfront, is the Junibacken fairy-tale fun centre, the National Museum of Cultural History, and the fascinating Vasa Museum featuring a fully rigged, fully restored 17th-century galleon raised from Stockholm harbour. Top off the day with a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants, some of which are situated on boats and provide excellent views over the water. Djurgården is one of Sweden's most loved recreational areas for locals and foreigners and the island attracts more than 10 million touristic visitors a year. Just a stroll around the island, on the many walking paths, nature trails and waterfront promenades, is a joy.
Address: A 10-minute walk from the city centre across the Djurgarden bridge.
Royal Palace and Gamla Stan
The official Swedish royal residence is one of the largest and
grandest palaces in Europe, dating back to 1754 (although it was
built on the remains of an earlier medieval castle). The Baroque
edifice is in the heart of Gamla Stan, the old city, and many of
its 608 state rooms are open to the public all year round. Visitors
can admire the Hall of State, the Royal Treasury, the Apartment of
the Orders of Chivalry, the Gustav III Museum of Antiquities, the
Kronor Museum, and the Royal Chapel. In front of the palace the
changing of the guard ceremony takes place (Wednesday and Saturday
12:15pm; Sunday 1:15pm) with splendid pomp and ceremony that rivals
the similar tradition played out at Britain's Buckingham Palace.
Visitors should note that the palace is used for most of the
Swedish monarchy's official ceremonies and receptions and closes to
the public during these events - check the calendar on the official
website to avoid disappointment.
Gamla Stan itself is a treasure trove of Swedish architecture, much of which dates from the 17th century. Today tourists throng the alleyways once notorious for brothels, but now lined with shops and restaurants, peddling up cutting edge designs and traditional swedish fika. Other attractions in Gamla Stan include: The Nobel Museum, which offers a moving account of one of the world's most coveted prize in literature, economics, chemistry, physics, and medicine; the Royal Coin Cabinet, a museum dedicated to the history of money which contains some fascinating ancient artefacts; and Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm, from which the current city grew, where visitors can marvel at street performers and the iconic, multi-coloured building facades for which the square is famous.
Address: Slottsbacken 1, Gamla Stan.
Transport: Metro stop Gamla Stan, or bus 2, 43, 55, 71 or 76 to Slottsbacken station
Opening time: Open daily 10am-5pm (14 May to 25 September), Tuesday to Sunday 10-4pm (26 September to 13 May). Royal Apartments may close fully or partly in conjunction with official receptions of His Majesty The King.
Stockholm City Hall
Stockholm's main landmark, the distinctive red brick City Hall
(Stadshuset) building, has stood on Kungsholmen (King's Island)
since 1923 and become world-renowned as the venue for the annual
Nobel Prize Banquet. A visit to Stockholm's City Hall is a must for
architecture lovers: the rather practical and austere façade,
dominated by three golden crowns atop a tower, hides an
extraordinary interior. The plush council chamber itself has a
vaulted ceiling resembling an inverted Viking longboat, echoing the
Viking tradition of using overturned vessels as shelter in winter.
Most impressive, though, is the magnificent Golden Hall, its walls
covered with handmade mosaics, while the view of Stockholm from the
tower is unsurpassed.
The Stockholm City Hall can only be visited on a guided tour, which can be done by joining one of the public tours that depart every day, or by arranging a private tour. Accredited guides can also bring groups into the City Hall for tours. The public tours last about 45 minutes; private tours can explore at their own pace.
Address: Hantverkargatan 1, Stockholm, Sweden.
Transport: Underground station T-Centralen/T-Rådhuset, or bus 48 and 62
Opening time: Tours are available every day.
Museum of National Antiquities
Sweden's history from prehistoric times to the present day is
fascinatingly laid out in the Museum of National Antiquities in
Stockholm (often just called the Swedish History Museum), which
contains a hoard of archaeological artefacts and treasures,
including an impressive collection of gold objects recovered from
the tombs and treasure caches of the Vikings (in the basement Gold
Room), going back all the way to the Stone Age. The museum's most
prized possession dates from the Middle Ages: the splendid gold
reliquary, set with precious stones, which contained the skull of
Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia.
The museum has a good gift shop and cafe with plenty of seating. Photography is allowed in the permanent exhibitions but tripods are not permitted. Free audio guides in English, German, French, Spanish and a number of other languages can be downloaded on your phone or borrowed from the front desk. Guided tours are also available. The displays are well laid out and there is sufficient information for English speakers, but the audio guide greatly enriches the experience. This world-class museum can occupy visitors for a few hours at least, and even kids enjoy the experience.
Address: Narvavagen 13–17, Stockholm.
Transport: Metro station Karlaplan; bus 44 and 56
Opening time: Open daily 10am to 6pm (June to August); open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 5pm, Wednesday 11am to 8pm, and closed Mondays (September to May).
Visitors can explore Sweden's past at the Skansen open-air museum, the oldest in the world, where historical buildings dating mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries have been relocated from around the country. Strolling from north to south visitors move through five centuries of Swedish history, gaining a real sense of the nation's character and past. The exhibits include a full replica of a 19th-century town complete with craftsmen in period dress who demonstrate the arts of tanning, shoemaking, baking and glass-blowing. Many shops are available to visitors, selling everything from blown glass to cinnamon buns, making Skansen a good place to shop for souvenirs. On summer evenings there is often folk dancing and other cultural displays to enjoy. Skansen is also home to an aquarium and the World of Monkeys within the Skansen Zoo, which focuses on Scandinavian animals such as reindeer, wolverines, elk, lynx and brown bears. Every December the central square hosts a Christmas market that attracts thousands of visitors every weekend. The various restaurants and shops have their own opening hours, which can be confirmed on the website; the many special events held at Skansen also make it worthwhile to check the website before planning your visit.
Transport: Bus 47 from Central Station, vintage tram 7, or ferry from Gamla stan.
Opening time: Daily 10am-10pm (20 June to August), 10am-8pm (May to 19 June and September), 10am-4pm (March, April and October); the rest of the year 10am-3pm (until 4pm on weekends). Market days 11am-5pm on weekends. Opening times are likely to vary frequently - check website for details.
Gröna Lund is Sweden's oldest amusement park and an amazing attraction for families. Built in 1883, the park features a number of rides including classics like bumper cars, carousels and ferris wheels of varying thrill levels for adults and children of all ages. There are also several fast-paced roller coasters, including the Jetline and the Twister, and many other high-adrenaline rides to keep adults entertained. Height charts for the rides are available on the park's website so parents can see what is available to their children before going. There is an on-site baby care centre for parents to use. A great selection of restaurants and eateries, ranging from fine dining to buffet and fast food options, ensures nobody will go hungry in the park. Gröna Lund hosts plenty of live music concerts during summer evenings, with some serious performers attracting big crowds. The amusement park only opens seasonally; a calendar detailing opening days and times can be found on the official website listed below. Those likely to be enjoying lots of the rides should buy the ride pass which allows access to all rides all day, because buying the coupon booklets as required usually works out to be much more expensive.
Address: Lilla Allmänna Gränd 9, Stockholm, Sweden.
Transport: Ferry boats operate off Södermalm in the summer, while buses operate regularly from T-Centralen.
Opening time: Open between June and August and for part of May and September. Opening times vary according to season, but in peak summer the park is often open from 10am to 10pm. Confirm opening dates and times on the official website to avoid disappointment.
One of the most popular attractions in Sweden, the 17th-century
warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and was salvaged in
1961, with thousands of artefacts, including coins, tools, clothing
and other historical items. The ship has been carefully restored,
and half the upper gun deck, along with the admiral's cabin and the
steering compartment, have been recreated.
Exhibitions detail the hardships of life at sea, and showcase the primitive supplies and medical equipment sailors had to contend with. There is even a museum garden where the vegetables, herbs and flowers once used by the crew for food and medicine are grown in season. Guided tours are included in the entrance fee. They are conducted in English and Swedish several times a day and take about 25 minutes, but the schedule varies according to season and day so travellers should check the website before visiting. Groups of more than nine people will need to book guided tours in advance for a fee.
There is a restaurant and a shop at the museum for refreshments and souvenirs. The Vasa Museum is consistently one of the top rated tourist attractions in Stockholm and is an intriguing place to visit for people of all ages.
Address: Galärvarvsvägen 14, Stockholm, Sweden.
Opening time: Open daily 10am to 5pm, and Wednesdays 10am to 8pm (September to May); open daily 8:30am to 6pm (June to August).
Stockholm is an extremely child-friendly city, with many activities and attractions for children of all ages. Amusement parks like Gröna Lund and Junibacken are a great treat for children in Stockholm after a day or two of museums and galleries, while a rainy afternoon can happily be spent at the child-friendly Babybio movie theatre. A bit further out, the open-air museum, Skansen, has a children's area featuring a petting zoo and miniature train.
There are a number of parks and open spaces in Stockholm where children can run a
round and expend some energy. Gärdet is a large open space ideal for playing games, while several stables near the city offer horse and pony rides.
The city of Stockholm has a vast selection of attractions to offer visitors. During summer there are extensive hours of daylight for sightseeing outdoors, and on winter days there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit.
Popular sightseeing attractions in Stockholm include the Royal Palace and the distinctive City Hall (Stadshuset), both of which can only be visited on a guided tour, and are well worth exploring. Skansen open-air museum is an original concept with some great historical value, and the Vasa Museum, housing the 17th-century battleship of the same name, is a favourite with visitors. Both museums can be found on Djurgården island which is a hub of activity for travellers, with numerous museums, galleries and other attractions to explore, including the endlessly popular Gröna Lund, the oldest amusement park in Sweden.
If the weather turns, the Museum of National Antiquities is another interesting Stockholm attraction where the ancient finds can enthrall visitors for hours; however, if the outdoors call, an excursion to any of the 24,000 archipelago islets will not be forgotten.
The Stockholm Card is a great investment for tourists planning to do plenty of sightseeing, allowing free admission to more than 80 museums and attractions, free travel on public transport and much more. The card can be purchased online or bought from numerous outlets in Stockholm. However, without the card certain museums (like the Nobel Museum) are free to the public on certain days of the week.
The city of Stockholm stretches across 14 islands, but the
archipelago, of which they form but a tiny part, consists of more
than 24,000 islets, famed for their natural beauty, wildlife,
fjords and spectacular channels and straits. A highlight of any
visit to Stockholm is exploring this unique natural wonderland,
whether independently or on one of the many organised boat tours on
The standard tour is the 'Thousand Island Cruise', lasting about 11 hours, which takes you to the outer islands and allows passengers to spend time on some of the larger islands, like Nämdö, renowned for its handicrafts. Those with less time to spend can opt for a shorter cruise from between two to six hours, or travel on the high speed 'Cinderella' waterjet boats that service many of the islands. Do-it-yourself travellers can make use of the regular Waxholmsbolaget ferries that service the inhabited islands.
Bed and breakfast accommodation is available for those seeking a longer getaway and perhaps wanting to stay a few days to experience island life. Although most visitors opt to cruise the archipelago in the summer, there are winter cruises available that showcase the area's nature in a unique way.
Address: Archipelago tour information is available from the Tourist Centre, Sweden House, Hamnagatan 27
Sweden's largest island, Gotland was once an independent kingdom
taken over by Denmark in the 14th century and ceded to Sweden in
the 17th century. Located in the middle of the Baltic Sea, Gotland
is a popular holiday destination for Swedish tourists. The medieval
atmosphere of farmlands and churches and the old walled city of
Visby (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) draw foreign tourists, while
locals holiday at the beaches along the coast.
Boat tours around the island are available to interesting locations like the karst limestone formations of Lummelunda Grottan and the dwarf forests and moors of northern Gotland and Fårö. For visitors to Visby interested in the ancient history of the island the Gotlands Museum is a must; it is a fairly small museum but boasts some fascinating picture stones and Viking relics as well as some interactive sections geared towards children. The beautiful national park island of Stora Karlsö, a 30-minute ferry ride from Klintehamn, just south of Visby, is definitely worth a visit for nature lovers; a night or two can even be spent in the lighthouse on this unspoilt gem of an island.
Daytrips are easy to arrange between early May and the end of August.
Sala Silver Mine
Formerly a working silver mine in Västmanland County, Sala
stopped major production in 1908, and has since been transformed
into something of a tourist attraction. Guided tours are conducted
down the mine, which also hosts concerts and other events. There is
even an unusual hotel room located several hundred metres below
ground, said to be the world's deepest hotel room! There are a
number of different mine tours to choose from, descending to
different depths and ranging between one and three hours. Tours
should be booked in advance via phone or email. It gets very cold
down in the mine, with ice formations in some areas, so visitors
should come prepared with warm clothes and good shoes. Some of the
tours are suitable for people with limited mobility and are
accessible to wheelchairs.
Above ground, many buildings in Sala have been converted into shops, art galleries, and museums. The town hosts Christmas markets on weekends in December, while in July the Mine's Days are celebrated. As if mine tours weren't exciting enough, there are sometimes high wires, ropeways, hanging bridges and other adventure activities set up at the mine, allowing visitors to play high in the air, as well as explore deep underground.
Address: Drottning Christinas väg, Sala, Sweden.
Sweden's most beloved of festivals, Midsummer's Eve is
celebrated around the country with great gusto. In Stockholm,
thousands enjoy the festivities laid on at the Skansen open-air
museum, which centre around the raising of a garlanded maypole.
Dancing and singing around the maypole is spurred on by the
consumption of plenty of schnapps and beer, although the festival
is also greatly enjoyed by children and is an affair for the whole
The festival has its roots in ancient, pagan fertility rituals, but for modern Swedes it is an excuse to enjoy a merry party as they emerge from the long, dark winter. Many locals migrate out of the cities and towns for Midsummer celebrations, seeking out festivities in the countryside. Flowers and ribbons feature prominently and there are many traditional songs and dances to enjoy. Those who buy into the stereotype about Swedes being dull and serious should visit the country during Midsummer's Eve to see how much fun they can have! Midsummer celebrations tend to last for a few days. Although it is not officially a public holiday Midsummer's Eve is widely celebrated throughout Sweden and many shops and businesses close for the day.
Venue: Skansen Museum.; Date:20 June 2017;
Stockholm Jazz Festival
After more than 20 years the Stockholm Jazz Festival has earned
a reputation for being one of the biggest and best events of its
kind in Europe. Top international and local jazz, blues, soul, funk
and Latin stars perform over the seven-day festival on the island
of Skeppsholmen. The Jazz Festival has already grown a huge amount,
now taking place over a full week, including about 20 different
venues and more than a hundred concerts. Skeppsholmen is still the
main venue, giving the festival its beautiful trademark backdrop of
the Stockholm harbour.
Apart from the best jazz musicians Scandinavia has to offer, the festival attracts heavyweight international stars. Past performers include the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, BB King, Stan Getz and Miriam Makeba. Although the festival embraces a loose definition of jazz, and includes some related genres, there is a drive by locals to ensure the event ultimately remains about jazz, which will keep purists happy. No festival pass is available so tickets must be bought for individual concerts. Tickets are sold at each venue and online. More than 30,000 people attend the festival annually. Prospective attendees should check the official website for the full programme.
Venue: Main venue: Museum of Modern Art, Skeppsholmen.; Date:6-15 October 2017; Website: www.stockholmjazz.com
The largest Pride celebration in Scandinavia is the week-long
rainbow carnival that turns Stockholm into a free zone for the gay
and lesbian community. The action is centred on the largest island,
Södermalm, where the Pride Park arena is set up at Tantolunden
featuring a stage, restaurants, shops, and varied attractions. The
highlight of festival week is the spectacular, colourful parade
through the city, usually starting at 3pm on the Saturday.
In recent years about 60,000 people participated in the Pride Parade, and as many as 600,000 came to offer their support. The festival includes many exhibitions, lectures, seminars, debates, theatrical performances, and film screenings, which make it an interesting academic and artistic event (as well as a huge party). Famous international musicians and artists often perform at the event. Tickets for Stockholm Pride can be purchased online via the official website listed below. Many of the city's gay clubs host their own celebrations to mark Stockholm Pride, with themed parties and pageants. As the festival is wildly popular, it is recommended that travellers book tickets and accommodation far in advance to avoid disappointment.
Venue: Pride Park (Tantolunden), Pride House (Medborgarplatsen) and various other venues around the city. The parade starts at Blasieholmskajen next to the Grand Hotel and the National Art Museum and ends at Pride Park.; Date:31 July - 6 August 2017; Website: www.stockholmpride.org
Nobel Prize Day
Although it is not open to the general public, Nobel Prize Day
in Stockholm has the eyes of the world on this northern city when
the most prestigious awards for medicine, literature, physics,
chemistry and economics (the coveted Peace Prize is presented in
Oslo, Norway) are presented each year by the King at the Stockholm
Concert Hall, followed by the lavish Nobel Prize Banquet at the
The Nobel Prize is the legacy of Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist and the inventor of dynamite, who left his huge fortune as a prize-fund to reward those who improve human life through contributions to science or humanitarianism. The award winners are announced in October and the presentation takes place on the anniversary of Nobel's death. Each recipient of the award presents a lecture in the days prior to the award ceremony. These lectures, the ceremony, and the celebratory banquets are prestigious and important international events which attract many world leaders and other famous people, so security inevitably tightens up around the official venues in Stockholm and some delays at airports and general traffic disruptions can be anticipated.
Venue: Stockholm Concert Hall, Hötorget 8, Stockholm, Sweden.; Date:10 December, annually.; Website: www.nobel.se
Stockholm is a delight for foodies, with superb traditional Swedish fare as well as trendy international restaurants. Stockholm's Old Town, Gamla Stan, is a great place to start when eating your way around the city, but it is a good idea to explore the little side streets for gastro pubs frequented by locals, as these are both more authentic and less expensive than the touristy eateries on the main drag. Most of Stockholm's main islands have a restaurant scene to investigate. For restaurants with character, the Södermalm district - a trendy, young neighbourhood with a selection of artistic eateries - is a wonderful option.
Unsurprisingly for a city comprised of islands, Stockholm is known for its exceptional seafood. Classic Swedish cuisine commonly includes seafood like herring, salmon and shellfish, but for lovers of red meat the Swedish meatballs and venison are also renowned. Desserts often incorporate blueberries and cloudberries, which are great favourites with the locals.
Although eating out in Stockholm is notoriously expensive, those on a budget can save money by filling up on the generous lunch specials (dagens lunch) offered by many restaurants, especially in Gamla Stan. Of course, there are plenty of fast food options in the city as well, but travellers should opt instead for the reasonably priced markets dotted around the city where fresh, organic produce can be tasted in both local and international flavours.
Sturehof is the perfect mix of elegance and relaxation, decked
out with multiple bars, a streetside cafe, and stylish interior
dining rooms. The contemporary, brasserie-style restauarant is
famous for its seafood, serving only the freshest marine delights
like Grebbestad oysters, succulent Norwegian salmon, and Swedish
classics such as skagen (Prawns, mayonnaise, and dill, served on
There's also more to Sturehof than just good food. Sturehof was established on Stureplan in 1897, and played host to first meeting to establish the Volvo automotive company. Fit for foodies and history buffs alike, Sturehof is open daily for lunch and dinner. Visitors can find the restaurant on Stureplan, the entertainment and nightlife centre of Stockholm, just near the well-helled district of Östermalm.
Address: Stureplan 2, Stockholm, Sweden.; Website: www.sturehof.com
Operakällaren is the epitome of high-society, old-world
grandeur. Occupying a magnificent, high-ceilinged room within the
old opera house, many of the original finishings are still in place
with frescoes and elaborate gilt-panelling. A dinner jacket and
evening dress are recommended at Operakällaren, which has high
prices to match its excellent reputation for food and service - a
reputation responsible for its Michelin star.
In the main dining room guests can choose from a seven-course degustation menu, a five-course chef's menu, or three courses à la carte (all with or without wine tasting). The food itself is a delightful combination of classic french cooking and seasonal Scandinavian ingredients, which means the food is meticulously prepared using only the freshest flavours. As an epicurean partner to the food, the huge wine list at Operakallaren is consiodered to be extyensive and particularly interesting. The main dining room is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6pm and offers beautiful views of Gamla Stan.
Also in the same complex diners can find The Opera Bar, which mixes Art Nouveau with a 'smokey', gentlemen's club atmosphere, as well as Bakficken, which caters to a younger, edgier crowd with countertop dining at reasonable prices.
Address: Operahuset, Karl XII’s Torg, Stockholm, Sweden.; Website: www.operakallaren.se
For the two owners of Lilla Ego, a relative newcomer to
Stockholm's culinary scene, fine-dining is a thing of the past.
Instead this popular, no-frill bistro focuses on plying patrons
with delicious, quality food that is both seasonal and carefully
prepared. Think smoked veal with celeriac and chorizo, or fresh cod
with cabbage and grape. Lilla Ego asks diners to forego the
niceties and instead tuck into some seriously nice food.
Lilla Ego can be found in Vasastan, a previously-residential neighbourhood to the north of central Stockholm which is firmly establishing itself as place where food dreams come true.
Address: Västmannagatan 69, Stockholm, Sweden.; Website: http://www.lillaego.com/
This well-known waterfront restaurant is an institution in
Stockholm, with celebrity chef Erik Lallerstedt serving up
neo-Swedish cuisine and French specialities in a dining room that
hangs beneath a 100-foot (30m) high walkway, much like the gondola
of an airship. The unusual setting allows for dining with a
spectacular view over Gamla Stan, Lake Mälaren and the Baltic
Erik's opens for lunch on Saturdays and lunch and dinner during the week. Examples from the menu are shellfish soup, fillet of venison, and Kaluha cheesecake.
Address: Stadsgården 6, Stockholm, Sweden.; Website: www.eriks.se
Meatballs for the People
In a country where every traditional dish is "the most Swedish",
there is one that has special kind of prominence: the Swedish
meatball. There is really only one place to go, and that place is
Meatballs for the People, where chunck of carnivorous beauty is
made from hand selected game and poultry which is ethically sourced
and full of Scandinavian flavour.
Meatballs for the people can be found in Södermalm, a trendy neighbourhood with a focus on grungy-chic and student-friendly prices. They are open every day from 11am to 10pm.
Address: Nytorgsgatan 30, Stockholm, Sweden.; Website: http://www.meatball.se/en-se
Stockholm has a vibrant nightlife with a multitude of bars, clubs and jazz venues to enjoy. Admission and drinks prices are quite high in Stockholm but the opening hours are long (many nightclubs stay open until 3am or 4am, and big clubs stay open as late as 5am), ensuring a good night out. Stockholm has a busy theatre calendar that runs from mid-August to mid-June, with a few special summer performances in between.
The most popular nightlife venues in Stockholm are in Stureplan and surrounds, while many of the most popular indoor and outdoor events are held in Djurgården. Adventurous (and warmly-dressed) visitors will want to have a drink at Stockholm's permanent Ice Bar, located near the Central Station.
There is also a thriving gay nightlife in Stockholm, with many nightclubs and bars concentrated on the island of Södermalm. Stockholm Pride attracts tens of thousands of people to Stockholm in August every year, for the massive party and parade centred on Pride Park in Södermalm.
There is a busy jazz scene in Stockholm, and there is plenty of live music of all types to enjoy, with a number of popular festivals. There is something happening seven days a week, so pick up a copy of What's On, available at nearly every hotel and tourist centre, to find entertainment listings for Stockholm.
Shopping in Stockholm can be an expensive affair but savvy consumers know the classic adage, "you get what you pay for". Treasured souvenirs from Stockholm include Swedish glass products, wooden furniture in blond pine or birch and, of course, wooden and ceramic Swedish clogs. There are a number of shopping areas in Stockholm, some of the trendiest being Gamla Stan, Sergels Torg, Kungsgatan and SOFO. Other good shopping districts in Stockholm include Drottningsgatan, Harrngatan, Hotorget and Stureplan.
Västerlånggatan Street in Gamla Stan has good antique shops, while Kungsgatan is home to the Drottninggatan pedestrian mall. The renowned Gallerian shopping centre in Sergels Torg has a variety of high-street and brand-name outlets to browse through, and nearby department stores include NK and Åhléns. The PUB department store is located in Hötorget.
However, much of Sweden's pop-cultural influence is designed and sold on Södermalm Island, in a little area known as SOFO, "south of Folkungagtan". SOFO is home to some of the most impressive boutique and concept stores to be found anywhere in the world, where shoppers can delight in minimalist, edgy Swedish fashion, or find organic, local cosmetics. But don't be fooled by some of the high prices, SOFO is for the youth and is home to plenty of to plenty of well-priced vintage stores where some interesting classics can be had on the cheap.
Most shops in Stockholm are open 10am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am till lunch on Saturday.
Stockholm-Arlanda International Airport
Location: The airport is situated 28 miles (45km) north of Stockholm.
Time: GMT +1 (GMT +2 from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
Contacts: Tel: +46 (0)8 797 6000 or 797 6100.
Transfer between terminals: Complimentary shuttles operate between the terminals.
Getting to the city: For those travelling to and from the airport there are many alternative modes of transport including high-speed trains (Arlanda Express) and airport coaches/buses (Flygbussarna), as well as commuter and long-distance trains. Long-distance SJ trains leave from Arlanda Central Station, where the SJ railway company offers long-distance train tickets and schedule information. The Arlanda Express train from the airport to Stockholm Central Station takes 20 minutes. Buses go to the city roughly every 10 minutes, taking about 40 minutes to make the journey. Taxis and rental cars are also available.
Car rental: Car rental companies represented at the airport include Avis, Europcar and Hertz.
Airport Taxis: Taxis are available directly outside all terminals at the airport. Most taxi companies offer a fixed rate for the trip to the city centre, which should take about half an hour.
Facilities: The airport is well supplied with banks, bureaux de change, ATMs, restaurants, bars and shops. The SkyCity centre inside the airport complex provides every conceivable amenity for travellers, including a luxury hotel and health club. All the terminals have lounge areas with power points for recharging mobile phones and laptop computers.
Parking: Parking is accessible from all four terminals. There are discounts for booking online in advance and, as prices range dramatically depending on the parking lot, it is advised to visit the website to find out which parking best suits your needs.
Stockholm is easy to navigate, with an excellent public transport system made up of buses, metro lines, trams, and ferries. The metro is generally the most convenient way of getting around the city. Tickets are valid for all types of transport and can be purchased from stations and newsagent kiosks like Pressbyrån. One and three-day passes are good deals for those planning to travel a lot.
Metered taxis are available but are among the most expensive in the world, while driving in Stockholm is easy compared to most large cities, drivers need to be aware of toll passages and an overall scarcity of parking. Walking or cycling are often the best options for sightseeing in the city centre.
In the coldest winter months, between December and February, average temperatures range from about 14°F (−10°C) to 30°F (−1°C), although temperatures do sometimes drop to below −4°F (−20°C). Average temperatures in summer, between June and August, range between 55°F (13°C) and 77°F (25°C), but temperatures can reach 86°F (30°C). Snowfall usually occurs from January to March. Rainfall can occur throughout the year, though the summer months of July and August tend to be the wettest. Stockholm receives about 18 hours of daylight in midsummer, and only six hours in midwinter.
Visitors should always pack some warm clothes on a visit to Sweden, as even summer can be cold; the season will mostly determine how thick jackets and boots should be.
World wide weather
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