Welcome to Stockholm
Stockholmers call their city 'beauty on water'. But despite the well-preserved historic core, Stockholm is no museum piece: it's modern, dynamic and ever-changing.
Stockholm's old town, Gamla Stan, is a saffron-and-spice vision from the storybooks: one of Europe’s most arresting historic hubs, with an imposing palace, looming cathedrals and razor-thin cobblestone streets. The name Stockholm was first recorded in a letter in 1252, written by Birger Jarl, one of the original founders (and whose name you'll see everywhere). Wandering the area today, it's easy to appreciate the old city's origins as a strategically placed fort designed to control the waterway between Lake Mälaren and the sea: Gamla Stan is surrounded by water and is ideally situated to encourage further explorations.
Stockholm’s beauty and fashion sense are legendary. Good design is simply a given – even the humblest coffee shop invests in attractive furniture, strategically placed greenery, sophisticated lighting and richly textured wall coverings. Hardcore fans of industrial design can choose from several museums that cover the subject, but it can be equally rewarding to hit the shops: whether you're looking for fashion trends, interior design or clever packaging, you're in luck, be it at the supermarket or the mall. Keep an eye out for no-fuss functionality, minimalism, natural-looking fabrics and big, bold prints.
Food, Glorious Food
Travellers will quickly discover that Stockholm is a city of food obsessives – no surprise given the bounty of ingredients it draws from the surrounding sea and farmlands. If a food trend appears anywhere in the world, Stockholm is on it: from raw food and açai breakfast bowls to truffle cheeseburgers and wood-fired pizza, all of which are executed with faithful attention to detail. As for traditional Swedish cooking, it's still going strong – fried herring, meatballs, toast skagen and sill with hardbread are all menu standards, although these days many chefs enjoy taking inventive new approaches to the classics.
Though it's spread across 14 islands, Stockholm is surprisingly compact and easy to navigate. Bridges (both foot and vehicle-traffic) connect most of the islands; ferries and the tunnelbana (metro) link the rest. Public transport runs smoothly to every imaginable corner of the city and surroundings. It's also well adapted to wheelchair travel. English speakers will have no difficulty, as nearly all signs are written in both languages and most Swedes speak perfect English. Walking is often the best way to get around – check distances before setting out, as you might find you don't even need a bus or metro ticket.
Top experiences in Stockholm
Food and drink
Woodstockholm in SödermalmSwedish
Ekstedt in Östermalm & LadugårdsgärdetSwedish
Rutabaga in NorrmalmVegetarian
Hermans Trädgårdscafé in SödermalmVegetarian
Rosendals Trädgårdskafe in Djurgården & SkeppsholmenCafe
Grands Verandan in NorrmalmSwedish
Kryp In in Gamla StanSwedish
Hermitage in Gamla StanVegetarian
Gastrologik in Östermalm & LadugårdsgärdetSwedish
Eriks Gondolen in SödermalmSwedish