City guide: Stockholm

Viking history, trendsetting style and modern commerce shape this waterside capital.

Stockholm has a reputation for setting trends—visitors can enjoy truly cool bars, innovative restaurants and the city’s very own fashion week. But history is at the heart of this 700-year-old capital, where the Swedish monarchy lives on and the country’s Viking heritage is a point of pride. Commerce traditionally has been connected to Stockholm’s waterside location (the city is spread across 14 islands), and that’s still key for many businesses. But today the city thrives as a financial and technology hub with a growing life-sciences sector.

Getting to and from the airport

Stockholm Arlanda Airport is approximately 42 kilometers (26 miles) to the north of the city center. Visitors can take a metered taxi from outside all airport terminals. Fares within specified boundaries cost a maximum of 625 Swedish kroner or SEK (approximately US$99). Passengers are free to choose which taxi company they wish, as taxi fares are deregulated. You are not obliged to choose the first taxi in line.

Public transport options include the Arlanda Express train which takes 20 minutes to reach Stockholm Central Station. Two Arlanda Express stations serve the airport—Arlanda South is in terminals 2, 3 and 4 and Arlanda North is in Terminal 5. Passengers can choose fare options for weekend returns and multi-trip cards, but the standard fare is SEK260 for a single and SEK490 for a return.

Getting around Stockholm

Stockholm boasts a highly efficient and extensive public transport system, run by SL. Choose among buses, the metro, local trains, trams and ferries. The fastest and easiest way to get around the city center is the metro. The city is divided into three zones, and in-zone tickets are good for several trips within the hour.

Prepaid cards are the best alternative if you intend to make several trips. You can buy one-, three- or seven-day cards, which allow unlimited travel in all zones. Another option is the Stockholm Card, which allows unlimited travel and free entry to 80 museums and attractions in the city. Cards are valid for one, two, three or five days, and they include bonus benefits such as free sightseeing tours by bicycle.

Where to stay

For a luxury option, try Hotel Diplomat Stockholm, Strandvagen 7c, Stockholm 104 40, Ph: +46-8-459-6800.

Upscale accommodation choices include Radisson Blu Arlandia Hotel Stockholm-Arlanda, Benstocksvsgen 1, Stockholm 190 45, Ph: +46-8-50684000; Berns Hotel, Nackstromsgatan 8, Stockholm 111 47, Ph: +46-8-56632200; Clarion Hotel Stockholm, Ringvagen 98, Stockholm 111 20, Ph: +46-8-462-1000; Courtyard Stockholm Kungsholmen, Ralambshovsleden 50, Stockholm 112 35, Ph: +46-8-441-3100.

Midscale options include, the Best Western Plus Stockholm Bromma, Ulvsundavagen 193 A, Stockholm 167 67, Ph: +46-8-6844-8400; Hilton Stockholm Slussen Hotel, Guldgrand 8, Stockholm 104 65, Ph: +46-8-5173-5300; Comfort Hotel Stockholm, Kungsbrom 1, Stockholm 111 22, Ph: +46-8-5662-2200.

You’ll find an economy stay at the IBIS Styles Stockholm Odenplan, Vastmannagatan 61, Stockholm 11356, Ph: +46-8-1209-0000.Kristin Karlsson

Things to see and do

Kristin Karlsson, sales and account management coordinator for BCD Travel, and Zoran Milosavljevic, director of strategic sales, are long-term residents of Stockholm. Here they share their personal recommendations for visitors:

Skiing in the city? Yes, it’s possible in Stockholm at the Hammarbybacken ski resort. Access is easy via bus, tram or boat, and visitors can rent skis and attend the ski school.

Royal DjugardenTake a walk around the stunning Royal Djurgarden Park on Djurgarden Island with harbor and canal views; it’s popular with both residents and visitors.

Eagerly anticipated by legions of fans around the world, ABBA The Museum opens in May 2013. In the 2,000 square meters of exhibition space, you’ll discover why Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn and Anni-Frid became a worldwide phenomenon, selling more than 380 million albums.

For a different type of cultural experience, visit the Fotografinska, a contemporary photography museum. Check the schedule for upcoming traveling exhibitions.

Delve into Sweden’s Viking heritage by visiting the National History Museum, which claims to be home to the world’s largest Viking exhibition, along with the aptly named Gold Room, containing the country’s most substantial gold and silver hoard.

This year, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden celebrates 40 years on the throne. DiscoverRoyal Palace Sweden’s Royal Palace, which is one of the largest in Europe with more than 600 rooms. It dates from the eighteenth century, and parts of it are open to the public, such as the Rikssalen (the Hall of State) with Queen Kristina’s silver throne and Ordenssalarna (Halls of the Orders of Chivalry). You can also see Gustav III’s Museum of Antiquities, the Tre Kronor Museum and the Treasury. The Royal Palace contains the Armory, with royal costumes and armor, as well as coronation carriages and magnificent coaches from the Royal Stable.

A date for your diary: King Carl’s youngest daughter, H.R.H. Princess Madeleine will be getting married in Stockholm on June 8.

Where to eat

If you’ve developed a taste for the regal lifestyle after visiting the Royal Palace, then head to the Cadier Bar, located in the Grand Hotel Stockholm. You’ll soon feel like a prince or a princess in its elegant surroundings. Brunch, afternoon tea, lunch and a glass of champagne are all on the menu (Blasieholmshamnen 8, Ph: 46 (0) 8 679 35 85).

After touring the Fotografinska museum, enjoy another feast for your eyes by grabbing a table with a view in the museum’s bistro, which has a beautiful waterside setting for lunch, brunch or coffee. (Stora Tullhuset Stadsgårdshamnen 22, Ph: 46 (0) 8 50 900 560)

A popular weekend brunch spot is the Djugardsbrunn bar and restaurant. Brunch is served from 12-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It’s the perfect refuelling stop after a long walk around the Royal Djugarden park (Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen 68, Ph: 46 (0) 8 624 22 00).

Visit the ICEBAR in the ICEHOTEL, Stockholm for a unique environment in which to enjoy a drink. You’ll be wrapped up in a warm cape and gloves to handle the -5°C environment. Everything in the bar, including the glasses, is made from ice, harvested from the Torne river in Jukkasjärvi, Swedish Lapland (Vasaplan 4, entrance in the lobby of Nordic Sea Hotel, Ph: 46 (0) 8 50 56 35 20).

If you prefer cozy to cool, try Daphne’s restaurant, a snug neighborhood eatery serving seafood and European cuisine (Artillerigatan 56, Ph: 46 (0) 8 662 35 62).

New to the Stockholm restaurant scene in 2013 is Nosh & Chow in the Berns’ Hotel. You’ll find global cuisine prepared with fresh local produce. It’s open for lunch and dinner, and reservations are recommended (Norrlandsgatan 24, Ph: 46 (0) 8 503 38 960).

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