How many days: 4 Days
When: August 2018
Stockholm is Sweden's capital and largest city, with nearly a million inhabitants in the city proper, and 2.3 million within Stockholm County. The inner city is made up of 14 islands across Lake Mälaren and three streams into the brackish Baltic Sea, with the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands, islets and skerries. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways, and another 30% is made up of green areas. Air and water are said to be the freshest of any European capital.
Stockholm is the hub of most Swedish rail and bus traffic and has two of the country's busiest airports nearby, so it is a good starting point for visiting other parts of Sweden.
Stockholm has a rapid transit system called the Tunnelbana [ˌtɵnəlˈbɑːna] (sometimes abbreviated T-Bana or just T on signs). With 100 stations, it serves most of the inner city, as well as many inner suburbs. Trains run from 05:00 to 01:00 on weekdays, and around the clock on weekends. Night buses replace the trains on weeknights. It is in most cases the fastest mode of transportation. Stockholm's metro system is known for its art installations, with nearly all stations offering some form of artwork on display. The art on the blue line in particular is of note. Directions in Stockholm are often accompanied by the name of the closest metro stop, using T as an abbreviation for "Tunnelbana", e.g. "T Gamla Stan". This practice is followed below when appropriate.
Buses serve most populated areas where metro, rail or tram does not reach. Four inner city main lines numbered from 1 to 4 are operated by large blue buses (weekdays every 3–10 minutes), the other, generally less frequent lines (weekdays 7–20 minutes), by red buses.
The blue bus lines are:
line 1 - from Frihamnen in Östermalm via Hötorget in Norrmalm and through Kungsholmen to the island of Stora Essingen in the latter district.
line 2 - from Vasastan through western Norrmalm and the Gamla Stan to Sofia in eastern Södermalm
line 3 - from Karolinska Institutet through eastern Vasastan, Kungsholmen, eastern Norrmalm and the Gamla Stan to western Södermalm
line 4 - from Vasastan through Kungsholmen directly to Södermalm
Apart from those four, several lines running through outer districts and suburbs of Stockholm are designated as blue buses - apart from the colour, they are distinguished by the middle 7 in their three-digit line number.
There are also ferries to Djurgården and Skeppsholmen. Travel with the Djurgården ferry is included with any 24- or 72-hour pass, 7-day pass as well as the monthly pass.
Sjövägen is a passenger ferry with hourly rides from Nybrokajen (Norrmalm), calling at several docks in Nacka, and Lidingö, ending in Frihamnen (Östermalm). All SL passes are good on the ferry. A single ride costs 40 SEK for adults, 25 SEK for children. The ferry has a cafeteria with tea, coffee, snacks, beer and wine, and gives a great view of the inlet of Stockholm.
Sjövägen is a great option for budget sightseeing.
Cycling is an attractive option during warm seasons, and there are many bike lanes. A bike ride across the inner city takes no longer than 30 minutes, and can be faster than travelling by metro or car. There are cycle paths along most major streets and drivers are generally considerate towards cyclists. In winter, when paths can be covered by ice, extra care should be taken. Bike paths have a bicycle painted on the ground and/or round blue signs with a white bike. Make sure you bike on the right hand side of the street, just as the cars.
Warning: Never step into a taxi without checking the yellow price sign on the rear window first! Taxi drivers are legally allowed to charge rip-off prices as long as they are stated clearly on the sign. The taxi to the left is twice as expensive as the one to the right. The price tag should say around 300 SEK for a Stockholm cab. Taxis are rather expensive. Even worse is the fact that some small dodgy operators charge high prices. The antidote is to always check the black and yellow price sticker on the rear window. The price shown in large digits is the maximum (for instance during night hours) fare for a 10 km, 15 minute journey and reputable companies charge around 300 SEK for this. The price can legally be up to 499 SEK; if the sticker shows a much higher price, stay away or be ripped off. The taxi market is deregulated, making it considerably easier to find a taxi, but the downside is that the rip-offs aren't even illegal, just "supply and demand"!
Despite its northern location, Stockholm has fairly mild temperatures throughout the year. The city sees a dramatic seasonal variation in sunlight, from more than 18 hours of daylight around Midsummer, to around 6 hours of daylight around Christmas. Stockholm has an average of nearly 2,000 hours of sunshine a year. Average yearly precipitation is 539 mm (21.2"), with July and August slightly the wettest months. Snowfall can occur from late November to early April, but the amount of snowfall and snow on the ground varies greatly from year to year, and through the winter. No date is a safe bet for snow in Stockholm; for real Scandinavian winter, visit Dalarna or Norrland.
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