Cosmopolitan Stockholm is a city reveled for it’s subtly. Without the flashy postcard attractions of other leading European travel destinations, the best thing about Stockholm is the sum of its parts. Home to nearly 2 million people enjoying some of the best living standards in the world, Stockholm’s DNA is also made up of some 14 islands connected by 50 bridges. In fact over 30% of the city is made up of waterways with another 30% being green spaces. Add premier museums, elegant hotels, trend-setting design and world-leading fashion to the equation and you’ll quickly understand why Stockholm beckons travelers for repeat visits.
Sophisticated Stockholm is home to a blend of classic and modern architecture, with countless attractions spanning from the well-preserved Gamla Stan (Old Town) to hip Södermalm Island’s many off-beat bars and boutiques. Home to an astonishing 100 museums, top of the list is the open-air Skansen Museum, where you’ll find moose, reindeer, wolves and brown bears enclosures amongst the more traditional displays. Vasamuseet, set on the island of Djurgarden is another not to miss museum and where you can see a well-preserved 17th sunken Viking ship. Add to your itinerary the stunning Royal Palace and interestingly designed City Hall, then marvel at what you’ve just uncovered from the view at the Skyview.
Unlike many other cities where standards drop and prices jump when a tourist is spotted, Stockholm’s main visitor district, Old Town, also happens to be one of the best places to eat. Hungry carnivores will love Djuret (The Animal), while Ardbeg Embassy is another leading Gamla Stan restaurant. Away from Old Town, Restaurang Volt showcases contemporary dining while Restaurang Traditiion is the place to sample the hearty traditional food Swedes call ‘husmanskost’. Nearby Östermalm Food Hall is a fine attraction as well as a tasty place to dine. Housed in an 1880s building, there you’ll find shelves packed with everything from baked goods to Baltic seafood as well as enough coffee stands to sustain you for your busy day of sight seeing.
Where to Stay
Stockholm’s geographic diversity extends to its lodging options. The waterfront and city centre are particularly well frequent with hotels, one of which, Rival, is even owned by a member of Swedish pop group Abba. The city’s flagship hotel, Landmark Grand Hotel is where you’re most likely to see a famous guest while Nobis, Berns Hotel and Grona Gangen all have more affordable rooms. Hotel alternatives include a long list of bed and breakfasts while those that have ever dreamt of living on a Nordic island can for a night at one of the charming archipelago located cottages.
As one of the epicentres of world fashion and design, Stockholm is not surprisingly an excellent place to shop. Uncovering everything on offer would take more than the length of a holiday but you can at least satiate your shopping desires by visiting Hamngatan in Östermalm. As well as being home to numerous major brands, there you’ll find also find the royal family frequented Swedish department store NK and Danish design store Illums Bolighus. Lovers of next year’s looks, explore the uber-hip Södermalm, home to Sweden’s leading independent labels, while Old Town which is another place to shop and has plenty of antique and souvenir shops to break up your sight seeing.
Stockholm Like a Local
Home to some 30,000 islands, traveling by boat between islands in Stockholm’s archipelago is an essential part of the local experience. The city ferries are the best and cheapest way to get around and you can grab yourself an island-hopping map when you buy a ticket to get some insightful itinerary ideas. Of all the picturesque routes and stops to choose from, Vaxholm is the most popular and is where you’ll find ice cream kiosks, narrow alleyways, pretty wooden houses and the Vaxholm citadel.