It’s rare that you can say a capital city truly acts as a microcosm for the country it represents, but with Stockholm, it might just be true. The capital of the Scandinavian nation of Sweden, it has it all: a rich history, a thriving cultural scene, a modern and dynamic approach to life, and an abundance of outdoor opportunities. If we had to sum it up quickly, we’d say this: effortlessly trendy, and yet warmly welcoming.
Take in some history: Culture vultures will never be short of things to do in Stockholm - it is home to one of the most well-preserved Medieval towns in the whole of Europe, a 600 room Royal Palace that boasts five museums, numerous museums and art galleries, churches and former noble residences. The Vasa Museum contains the only (almost) intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged.
Embrace the Scandi chic: A city where old and new seem to complement each other flawlessly, Stockholm is also full of innovative modern architecture, sleek rooftop bars and incredible fashion. The Fotografiska, one of the world’s largest exhibitions of contemporary photography, is well worth a visit.
Get outdoors: Built on an archipelago where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, the city stretches across 14 islands, and has almost 100 beaches. Sweden’s constitution grants free access to roam in outdoor areas - as long as you don’t disturb anything - consequently, it’s easy to go camping, swimming, cycling or hiking within the city.
Thank them for the music: Undoubtedly one of Sweden’s most famous exports, the 70s pop band Abba are paid homage to at ABBA The Museum, a permanent exhibition showcasing stage outfits, awards and instruments. You can even record your own performance of their greatest hits, complete with virtual stage outfit.
While it would be easy to think that Stockholm is a land of health-conscious dishes or warm pastries and coffee, it would also be lazy. With literally thousands of restaurants, in a city of just 1.5 million residents, the options are almost endless. The meal smörgåsbord actually originated in Stockholm and is offered by many restaurants and hotels, so be sure to take full advantage; a traditional one will include a selection of herring, salmon and eel.
Unfortunately, eating in Stockholm can be pricey, with alcohol being particularly expensive, but most restaurants do carry a lunch offer, known as a “dagens ratt”, so look out for that if you’re on a budget. On the opposite end of the scale, Stockholm also has a surprisingly high number of Michelin star restaurants for a city so small.
Getting in and out
Stockholm has four airports, and all are connected to the city centre by airport coaches or high-speed train services. The biggest of these four is Arlanda, and is 40km north of the city.
The weather in Stockholm is a story of contrasts, and while there's no bad time to visit they city, it's true that different months will afford different experiences. From June to August the weather is warm, and the days are long - to the point that the sun almost never sets - so during this time, you can take advantage of the city's many beaches and outdoor spaces. The winters, on the contrary, are long, dark and harsh; don't be deterred though, because from late November, Christmas markets will spring up across the city, and it will be covered in a layer of snow that makes everything look cosy.