Stockholm is one of Europe’s fabulous cities. As with many of the world’s cities surrounded by water, Stockholm’s location on several islands provides stunning landscapes. A special treat for those on Baltic cruises is sailing in or out of the city through the archipelago.
Given the dark and cold winters here, the short summer season is a time for celebration in the city, and the white nights of June and July offer daylight most of the night. The ambience of Stockholm is friendly and a bit laid back. From my experience, “no problem” seems to be the by-line.
There no lack of things to do and see (see the post on Stockholm’s museums) and there’s plenty to choose from in terms of cuisine. Certainly seafood (and herring) is a must here. Also, breakfasts usually include wonderful Swedish dark rye breads.
Gamla Stan (Old Town) is a highlight, with its windy narrow streets, many bars and outdoor restaurants, tourist shops and antique shops. On Gamla Stan one also finds the Royal Palace and Armoury, (with the changing of the guard held most days at noon); Storykkan Cathedral with several works of art worth viewing; and the Nobel Museum. It’s fun to wander Gamla Stan’s little streets, and one never knows what surprise or gem may be found around the next corner. (For those into rock music of the 60′s and 70′s, there’s even an incredible shop. “In a Hurry Record,s” with just about everything you can imagine (and have long since forgotten!)
Sodermalm, to the south of Gamla Stan, is not a very touristy area, and a good part of it is called SoFo, named after New York’s Soho, to denote an area that’s more bohemian in nature. Here are a number of vegetarian restaurants, vintage clothing stores, young designer wear, and some craft and art stores. One can tell the difference between Sodermalm’s residents and those from the central city, as dress is more casual. As Sodermalm is on a bluff across from the main city center, there are some good views from here.
To the east is Djurgarden, an island more notable for its entertainments than any residential or shopping areas. On Djurgarden one finds the Wasa Museum, Grona Lund amuseument park, and Skansen, an outdoor re-creation of early Sweden, complete with wildlife.
North of Gamla Stan is Norrmalm and Ostermalm, side by side cosmopolitan centers of Stockholm. Here are major shopping centers including the major department store, NK, the H&M flagship store, while others may find the enormous Culture House an intersting anchor in connecting with the literary and art scene. Various museums can be found in Ostermalm, as well as the well known food court.
For those spending a few days here, the Stockholm Card is a worthwhile investment, providing admission to most sites, plus unlimited transportation on buses and local trains. Trains and busses are clean and efficient.