Cities in Six: Stockholm, Sweden

Visual, virtual visiting—six photos at a time

Stately Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and its most populous city.  The city is spread across fourteen islands in southeast Sweden, adjacent to the Baltic Sea.  There has been settlement in the area since at least the Stone Age.  Thirty kilometres west of the city is the Viking-age trading centre of Birka, which was founded around 750 AD and is an active archaeological site (open to the public) with UNESCO World Heritage status.

With its grand buildings, museums, waterways, and green spaces, Stockholm is a delightful city to explore.  We had mostly sunny weather for our visit there in August 2012.

Water connections.  Stockholm is linked by waterways both to inland Lake Mälaren and out to the Baltic Sea.  Ferry routes to Finland, Estonia, and Russia leave from this port, and cruise ships often visit here.


Grand architecture.  The waterways in central Stockholm are lined with stately buildings.  This is the Grand Hotel, one of several opulent waterside hotels that we didn’t stay at.

Gamla Stan (old town).  The narrow, cobbled streets of Stockholm’s old town are lined with shops and eateries, and are often crowded with tourists.  Gamla Stan is also the home of the Nobel Prize Museum, Stockholm Cathedral, the Royal Palace, and the House of Nobility.  One of the oldest restaurants in the world, Den Gyldene Freden (“The Golden Peace”), has been operating in the same location in Gamla Stan since 1722.






Museum town.  In addition to the National Art Museum shown here, Stockholm boasts the Swedish History Museum (with its amazing Gold Room), the Vasa Ship Museum, the Viking Museum, and, of course, the ABBA Museum, among dozens of others.

Work hard, play hard.  Stockholm’s area consists of around 30% waterways, with another 30% being greenspace.  Most waterways in Stockholm are lined with boats for work and boats for pleasure.  Here, a lone kayaker passes between rows of pleasure craft that are ready to scoot off to their owners’ cottages.

The King’s cottage.  Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family (their official residence is the Royal Palace in Stockholm’s old town.)  Drottningholm (which means “Queen’s islet”) is at the western edge of Stockholm and its grounds and part of its interior are open to the public.  The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel note:  Stockholm’s Arlanda airport is 40 km north of the city and has a high-speed train link to downtown Stockholm.  From the railway station, travellers can continued on to other areas of Sweden, or further afield to Oslo, Norway, or Copenhagen, Denmark.  A number of ferries and cruise ships dock in the middle of Stockholm, also.  We purchased a 7-day SL Access card which gave us unlimited use of public transit during our stay; cards for shorter periods are also available.