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...
Stockholm destination guides
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...
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.
Stockholm Viking-Themed Walking Tour
This walking tour is your chance to go on a fun and unique journey in the beautiful city of Stockholm. Your local Viking guide will lead you past Stockholm's most famous landmarks, such as the Royal Palace and the Parliament Building, while telling you stories about the Vikings and their powerful influence on Sweden's history.
Six ways to experience Stockholm
From crafts and medieval architecture to haute cuisine and cocktails, enjoy the very best of Stockholm with Lonely Planet Magazine's guide. Experience Scandinavia’s design capital From the upmarket stores of Östermalm to the jumbled bric-a-brac shops of Upplandsgatan, this is a city that has style hard-wired into its DNA...