City View
City View

Stockholm – What to see and why to go?

Stockholm (Stockholm) – the Swedish capital, which is recognized as one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. The name of the city is translated as “log island”. For its picturesque location on 14 islands surrounded by the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren, it is also called the “Venice of the North”, and for the importance that Stockholm plays in Northern Europe – the “Capital of Scandinavia”. The ancient houses of the Old Town are perfectly combined with ultra-modern buildings, without disturbing the overall flavor of a small medieval town that preserves world-class cultural heritage monuments.

The city was founded in 1252 by Jarl Birger, an associate of the king and founder of the Folkung dynasty. It was this place for the Stockholm castle that Birger chose to protect Sweden from attack from the Baltic. However, later the city fell under the control of Denmark, until in 1523 Gustav Vasa conquered Stockholm and made it the main city of the Kingdom of Sweden. Stockholm officially became the capital only in 1634, but after that it was overwhelmed by plague and fires that destroyed the city. However, since the end of the 19th century, this most tolerant and open city in Europe began to actively develop and became the “gateway” to Sweden. Today, the population of Stockholm itself is about 900 thousand people, and the population of the entire metropolitan area is 2 million people.

Facades of the city
Facades of the city

Why to go to Stockholm?

Arriving in Stockholm, you are immersed in a modern fairy tale. Here tourists will be greeted by “a man in the prime of life” Carlson with stunning panoramas of the roofs of the Old Town and the mischievous Pippi long stocking of children’s writer Astrid Lindgren will not let adults and children get bored in numerous amusement parks and children’s museums.

At night, you can wander the narrow streets of the city in search of ghosts, visit the first ice bar and the most beautiful metro in Europe, which is open 24 hours a day on Friday and Saturday, and in the morning arrange a moose safari or go dog sledding. Stockholm is one of the most fashionable and stylish design cities in Europe and at the same time a gastronomic Mecca for lovers of exquisite and unusual dishes. The symbol of Sweden is the royal family, which is considered the most modern monarchy in the world. Sweden has long earned the status of a country of exemplary democracy and the monarchy here has strong roots and good public support. King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Sylvia live in the UNESCO-protected Drottningholm Palace.

Grand Hotel
Grand Hotel

When is the best time to go to Stockholm?

The best time to visit the northern capital of Sweden in summer and December-January for Christmas markets and sales, but not during Christmas itself, when the city is dying out. Since May, water trams, amusement parks and summer café verandas open. Since June, all museums have been working and excursions around the city and the surrounding area are held, various fairs and festivals are organized, the famous Midsummer (a midsummer festival is an analogue of our Midsummer’s Day) is held with round dances and walks in nature and, of course, the folk holiday on June 6 is the day national flag (National Day of Sweden).

In August, you can swim right in the city, jumping from specially equipped bridges. In the autumn months, it is rather cloudy and rainy, and the daylight hours are reduced by several hours and only film festivals and various concerts keep the excitement among tourists and celebrities for Stockholm. From December, the Christmas bustle begins and preparations for the popular Swedish holiday – St. Lucia’s Day, which is accompanied by a beauty pageant.

On Christmas Day, Stockholm dies out, as the Swedes consider this a purely family holiday, but on December 27 sales and premiere film screenings open. Despite the warm Gulf Stream, which keeps the average winter temperature at -5 ° C, Stockholm is cold and windy for long walks, but you can go on an ice rink overlooking the Royal Palace and warm up in local coffee shops or the hotel’s sauna.

Vasa Museum
Vasa Museum

Before the trip:

A dinner with wine in a good restaurant in Stockholm will cost an average of 40-50 euros per person, and a double room in a 4 * hotel in the center will cost 180-220 euros. It is better to take euros with you, which can then be exchanged for crowns at Forex exchange offices or a bank card, which is accepted in all shops and stores. 

Stockholm is famous for its convenient transport system, and one-time tickets will be valid on all types of public transport in 3 zones dividing the city. Tickets can be purchased at SL centers (Storstockholms Lokaltrafik – Stockholm City Transport), the metro and at Pressbyrån newsagents. Most bus stops are equipped with ticket machines that accept both coins and bank cards; the bus driver does not sell tickets.

It is beneficial for a tourist to buy either a transport card for 1, 3 and 7 days or a Stockholm card (Stockholmskortet) for a period of 1 to 5 days, which makes it possible, in addition to travel by public transport, to visit more than 80 museums and sights of the city for free, as well as discounts on excursions. The Stockholm metro operates around the clock on Fridays and Saturdays.

Mariahissen Historical Landmark
Mariahissen Historical Landmark

What to try. Food and drink in Stockholm?

Traditional Swedish cuisine includes homemade meatballs (meatballs) – köttbullar, served with pickles and lingonberries, meat and potatoes – pytt and panna (Pytt i Panna) and cabbage rolls – kåldolmar (kåldolmar). Every Stockholm table has dishes of herring (sill), herring (strömming), salmon (lax), cod (torsk), including its caviar (sikrom) and pike perch (gös). Swedish oysters stewed with lobster, shrimps and mussels are considered a delicacy. If you see Janssons frestelse (“Janson’s Temptation”) on the menu, be sure to order – it’s hot potatoes with anchovies and sour cream sauce. From meat dishes in Sweden, venison and elk are well prepared, which is served with lingonberry jam. Pork dishes are very popular in the form of sausages (falukorv) and in pea soup (ärtsoppa). 

Chanterelle dishes and sauces appear in July, and crayfish in August.

The strangest Swedish delicacy can be called surströmming – pickled herring fermented. 

The most popular desserts in Sweden are blueberry pie (blåbärskaka), cheesecake (ostkaka), pancakes (plättar) and hot waffles (våffor), and for Christmas, pepper biscuits (pepparkakor) with warming glögg (glögg). Cold rosehip soup with ice cream (nyponsoppa) should be considered a specialty national dish. The vegetarian menu in Sweden is monotonous with only salads, omelets and cheeses, but Stockholm has many ethnic restaurants with a richer plant-based menu.

Night Stockholm
Night Stockholm

What to bring as a gift from Stockholm?

The best gifts from Sweden will be traditional painted bright red wooden horses from Dalarna, wooden clogs and designer carved watch cases. Glass and crystal products are very popular. Edible souvenirs include such delicacies as herring rollmops, cloudberry jam and Swedish Läkerol sweets. As for alcoholic gifts, you should buy the Swedish Absolut vodka and liqueurs. Alcohol is sold only in special stores with the Systembolaget sign. 

Stockholm is famous for its antique and vintage boutiques, so there is a scattering of options for lovers of original and unusual things. The widest range of national Swedish souvenirs can be found in Bohusslöjd, Designtorget, and souvenir shops on the Gamla stan island, where the Old Town stands and sells many postcards, T-shirts, toy and glass trinkets with symbols of Sweden and Stockholm.

Old Town
Old Town

Where to eat inexpensively in Stockholm? Restaurants in Stockholm

The famous Fish Market (Östermalms Saluhall) serves the freshest seafood to go. Going to the Sardin restaurant, you can taste Mediterranean and Scandinavian dishes at 275 CZK (~ 32 euros) for lunch. Networked 7-Eleven kiosks can come in handy for snacks and are open from 7 am to 11 pm daily. Locals prefer street eateries with Swedish sausages and sausages (korv, falukorv), which are much tastier than simple hot dogs, such as Östermalms Korvspecialist at 57 Nybrogatan (Nybrogatan, 57). The Strömmingskiosken herring kiosk near the Slussen metro station is considered popular in the capital. But only ethnic establishments opened by immigrants can boast the most budget food in Stockholm – eateries with Lebanese, Kurdish, Thai, Indian and Mongolian cuisine and, of course, various kebabs that keep up with the quality of Berlin.

Old Town Square
Old Town Square

Shopping in Stockholm

The most shopping in Stockholm are the pedestrian tourist street Drottninggatan, the area near the central square of Sergels Torg and the Kungsträdgården park, as well as the pedestrian street with boutiques Biblioteksgatan. There you can buy budget items and real designer masterpieces, interior items, souvenirs, clothes, shoes and antiques, and if you get tired, in many department stores there is an opportunity to take a breath in various cafes and restaurants. The most famous are the department stores Åhléns City (“Olens City”), PUB, which opened back in 1882 with collections of Swedish designers Carin Wester, Dagmar and Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, j. lindeberg, Filippa K and the world famous Swedish brand H&M and the Gallerian shopping center. In the legendary NK (Nordiska Kompaniet), on the basement floor there are shops with unique Swedish art glass, crystal and tableware from the famous factories Målerås, Orrefors and Pukeberg. They are located in the province of Småland, or as it is also called the Kingdom of Crystal, and have been operating since 1742.

Riddarholmen Church
Riddarholmen Church

Where to go with children in Stockholm?

Stockholm is a city known to children from the works of the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. In the Skansen open-air museum, parents and children can visit the zoo and terrarium with bears, monkeys, deer, snakes, spiders and bats, learn the skills of a glassblower and a blacksmith from craftsmen, and look at old Swedish buildings.

The most popular museum in Stockholm is the unique museum of the warship Vasa (Vasamuseet), which sank more than 3 centuries ago. This is a real treasure of the early 17th century – the world’s only, almost completely preserved, wooden, 69-meter, three-masted ship with an amazing history. At the Aquaria Aquatic Center, children can wander through the rainforest and see sharks. In the Butterfly House (Fjärilshuset) on the territory of Hagaparken Park, hundreds of beautiful butterflies of various species flutter without fences and aquariums, lizards, unusual fish and insects, surrounded by exotic plants, live nearby.

A must-see is Junibacken, a stylized fairy-tale world-museum based on the works of Astrid Lindgren. For lovers of rides and roller coasters, Gröna Lund amusement park is open from May to September. Curious children should be taken to Tom Tits Experiments (30 km from Stockholm) and take part in scientific experiments. The Technical Museum in Stockholm (Tekniska museet) will make you feel like an astronaut, and in the Armory (Livrustkammaren) – a knight or a princess. At the Musikmuseet, every child can play various instruments and even compose their own musical masterpiece.

Storkyrkan (Church)
Storkyrkan (Church)