Travel to Stockholm, the Venice of the North

Stockholm City, Sweden Photo by Tyler Durden (Creative Commons)

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden as well as the country’s largest city, with more than 2 million inhabitants.  It is often called the Venice of the North because the inner city is comprised of 14 islands connected by about 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren.  The lake flows into the Baltic Sea, past the Stockholm archipelago, which has 24,000 islands, large and small.  Stockholm is a cosmopolitan city with both classical and contemporary architecture and a charming Old Town at its heart, known as Gamla Stan.  Over 30 percent of the city area is made up of waterways, and almost one third is comprised of green spaces.  The air and water quality in Stockholm are said to be the freshest and cleanest of any European capital.

Principal sights

Gamla Stan features charming old buildings and quaint cobbled streets; it is home to the Royal Palace and the Swedish Parliament.  Nearby Östermalm has several of the city’s major tourist venues, including the Skansen Open Air Museum, the Vasa Museum and the Science and Technology Museum, as well as Gröna Lund amusement park.  The Stureplan Square is the city’s main upscale shopping and nightlife hub.

Stockholm (creative commons)

Where to stay

Stockholm’s most famous boutique hotel, Berns, has welcomed many celebrity guests over the years and is in a lovely location near the best bars and clubs and exclusive shopping outlets, as well as the Opera House.  Another traditional hotel, the Grand, has a fabulous waterfront location overlooking Gamla Stan and the Royal Palace.  For a contemporary alternative, the Nobis Hotel in Norrmalmstorg Square offers quality accommodation, great Italian food and an American bar, while the Story Hotel mixes new and vintage furnishings in an eclectic blend of contemporary and traditional style.

Getting there 

Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the country’s principal international airport and is located about 25 miles north of Stockholm.  The Arlanda Express Train travels to the city center in about 20 minutes and provides regular daily service.  There are also other train services available for those travelling northwards to Uppsala or southwards towards Älvsjö or the suburbs of Tumba and Huddinge.  With a variety of regional rail services, local bus services and airport coaches, visitors also have the option of taking a taxi or a shuttle bus service.

Car rental is popular with visitors who want to explore the hinterlands of Stockholm city.  Travelling by car has the advantage of taking visitors to places that can sometimes be difficult to reach by public transport or tour.  Cars also afford the convenience of choosing to travel a preferred route at a pace that suits the traveler, and making the journey by car can often be cheaper than public transport alternatives, especially if visitors are travelling as a couple or a group.  With one way car rental, it is possible to pick up a car at Arlanda, for example, and explore Stockholm, its suburbs and bordering towns, then drive to another city for onward travel.  The journey by car from Stockholm to Oslo in Norway is approximately 325 miles, and visitors can stop by many towns along the way.



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