Travellers love Stockholm's penchant for style and design. We look at what to visit, where to sleep, what to eat, transport tips and more.
16 August 2012
Stockholm is where Alfred Nobel (of the annual Nobel prizes) was born and it's in Stockholm's City Hall that his revered prizes are distributed for excellence. It's a piece of information that helps set the scene of a city able to embrace so much of what is good.
Design-hungry shoppers are making their way to Smaland – a picturesque, densely forested region in the southern heart of the country – to buy their designer furniture and making a saving into the bargain! IKEA was born here and the world-famous designer, Bruno Mathson has a studio here. Even hotels offer designer bedrooms in which to rest your heads. Designers such as Tomas Sandell and Jonas Bohlin helped create rooms at Hotel Birger Jarl where design weekend packages are available.
But for those who simply want a wonderful weekend away, style can be witnessed by just walking around the streets that have lakes so clean that you can fish in the heart of the city. Different styles compliment each other. For instance the modernism of the seventies captured in the 'glasshouse' Kulturhuset (House of Culture) sits neatly by the seventeenth-century Royal Castle and the thirteenth century Storkyrkan (cathedral).
A few minutes away are Parisian style boulevards and squares in Sudermalm, the romanticism of the Stadshuset (City Hall) and edifices of Norrmalm. The northern cliff reached via Katarinavugen, is ideally suited for a romantic evening walk, with stunning views across to Gamla Stan and Djurgarden.
As Stockholm is located in the archipelago (a feast of some 24,000 islands), the waterways make an obvious boat tour such as the two-hour 'Under the Bridges' (SEK240 per person).
On land, shoppers will love the designer shops and culture vultures have over 170 museums and galleries to choose from including the Museum of Modern Art.
The cobbled roads of Gamla Stan (The Old Town) are the city's medieval heart and offer a fabulous walk past timbered buildings comprising boutiques and eateries.
Just a short ferry trip away is the Djurgarden Royal Park which offers an open-air museum and zoo of Skansen. If time allows, visit the Vasamuseet located on the waterfront on Djurgarden. Admission is SEK110. It houses almost complete remains of the massive seventeenth-century warship, the Vasa, which was raised from the depths of the harbour in the Sixties, 350 years after it sank. It sank in the harbour in 1628 because of its overly ambitious and top-heavy design. It took 30 years just to restore it.
Licensing laws mean many bars are attached to restaurants but there are over 1500 restaurants to choose from. Alcohol tends to be expensive so take advantage of happy hour, usually between 6pm and 7pm.
Try the local delicacy of surströmming – Herring is fermented in the container which comes complete with unforgettable aromas.
Get into the swing of recycling or get told off.
Toilets are unisex.
Where to eat
Fast food street vendors are popular. Try Tunnbred, a Lapland speciality – a giant dough cone filled with bangers and mash.
Kryp In, Prestgatan 17, Gamla Stan.
Run by the leader of the Left Party – formerly the Communists has a folky atmosphere, and serves traditional dishes like reindeer steak and lingonberries.
Bon Lloc, Regeringsgatan 111, Ostermalm.
Serves Swedish and Mediterranean fusion cuisine.
According to Wikipedia, Stockholm has the most expensive-to-use public transport in the world. A single ticket on a metro costs about SEK20 (SEK100 for a 24-hour travel card), includes buses and is valid for an hour. For a lot of sightseeing, invest in The Stockholm Card : for 24-, 48- 72- and 120-hour periods, costing SEK450, SEK625, SEK750 and SEK950 respectively. As well as transport, it covers free admission to 80 museums and atrractions, free Royal Canal Tour and free bicycle tours. Taxis are expensive. A high tariff charge makes short journeys expensive.
Hotels in Stockholm
Budget: Långholmen Hotell
Långholmen Hotell is in a 19th century prison building on Långholmen Island in Stockholm. It offers free parking and unique prison cell rooms with flat-screen cable TVs and free Wi-Fi access.
Mid-range: Nordic Light Hotel, Vasaplan
The Nordic Light is a modern design hotel just 330 ft from the Arlanda Airport Express Train at Stockholm Central Train Station. It offers in-room light therapy and free internet access.
Luxury: Birger Jarl, Tulegatan
The stylish Hotel Birger Jarl is 300 metres from Rådmansgatan Metro Station and the Stockholm Observatory. It offers traditional Swedish cuisine and free Wi-Fi.
Flights to Stockholm
Stockholm is served by 4 international airports: Arlanda (40km North), Bromma (8km West), Skavsta (100km South) and Västerås (110km West).
From Arlanda Airport, the airport bus (Flygbussarna), which leaves every five-10 minutes, takes 40 minutes to reach the city centre and costs SEK198 return. The Arlanda Express leaves every 15 minutes, takes 20 minutes and cost SEK490 return.