Sweden's capital is one of the most beautiful major cities in the world, a mirage of saffron- and terracotta-coloured buildings shimmering between blue water and bluer skies all summer, or covered with snow and dotted with lights in winter. It's also a vibrant, modern city, famous for producing sleek designs, edgy fashion and world-class nightclubs.
The old town, Gamla Stan, is a compact little maze of cobblestone streets apparently built for small, thin people with very sturdy ankles. The stucco walls of its red, orange and vanilla buildings sag toward each other exhaustedly over countless souvenir shops and ice-cream parlours, while the Royal Palace crowns the tiny island. Just to the south of Gamla Stan is another island neighbourhood, Södermalm, where high waterfront hills are graced by lovely old residences and the main drags are lined with bohemian shops, art galleries and rollicking clubs. On the other side of Gamla Stan is the main city centre, a buzzing metropolis whose boutiques and restaurants can hold their own against just about any big city on the continent.
Surrounding all of this is every Stockholmer's pride and joy - the 24, 000 or so rocky islands that make up the archipelago (skärgård).
Stockholmers themselves are almost uniformly polite and friendly, making travel both easy and rewarding. Around 16% of greater Stockholm's 1.2 million people are immigrants, which creates a much more multicultural and diverse cityscape than many travellers might expect. It's certainly not all meatballs, ABBA and Ikea these days!
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Best places to stay in Stockholm
Stockholm Encounter guide
The Stockholm Encounter guide gives you twice the city in half the time. This pared-down number is ideal for quick trips - it's less accommodation, more neighbourhood highlights and the best of local knowledge.
More than meatballs: a gourmet guide to Swedish cuisine
Having a muppet as your main culinary ambassador is a lot to overcome, especially for a smallish, out-of-the-way country like Sweden, whose presence in global pop-culture is fairly limited. Swedish food is and forever will be associated with meatballs, flying utensils and the phrase 'bork bork bork'.
Museums and galleries in Stockholm
Sweden - Stockholm & Around (Chapter)
Stockholm’s good looks and mad style could be intimidating, but this city is an accessible beauty. Gamla Stan is a concoction of storybook buildings, imposing palaces and razor-thin cobblestone streets. The modern city centre shines like a fashion magazine come to life.And it’s all surrounded by pristine forests and an archipelago. What’s not to love?
Stockholm destination guides
Walpurgisnacht: celebrate the arrival of spring with witches and warlocks in Germany
'Walpurgis Night' by alinnman. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike In an excerpt from Lonely Planet’s A Year of Festivals we take a walk on the witchy side at Germany's wonderfully-named Walpurgisnacht, as well as a couple of equally pagan celebrations in the Czech Republic and Sweden.
The Stockholm Card
See more of Stockholm and pay less with a Stockholm Card. With free transport, entry into museums and attractions and other bonus offers, it's the best value for money! Choose between a 24, 48, 72 or 120 hour Stockholm card and enjoy the freedom to customize your own itinerary. Your card includes a free guidebook with helpful information as well as a city map.
Stockholm Grand Tour by Coach and Boat
Take the most comprehensive sightseeing tour of Stockholm available, combining panoramic coach travel and a boat cruise out to sea. Perfect for first-time visitors, you'll see all the highlights on this 3.5-hour tour, leaving you with time in the day free to explore Stockholm on your own.
Stieg Larsson’s Stockholm
With more than 60 million copies of the bestselling trilogy Millennium sold worldwide, late author Stieg Larsson has presented a different side of Stockholm to the world.