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Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden, with nearly 2 million inhabitants within its vicinities.
The inner city is made up of 14 islands connected by some 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren, which flows into the brackish Baltic Sea, and passes the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands and islets.
Despite its northern location, Stockholm has fairly mild temperatures throughout the year. As a result of its northerly latitude, the city sees a dramatic seasonal variation in sunlight, from more than 18 hours of daylight around midsummer, to around 6 hours of daylight in late December.
Stockholm-Arlanda Airport, commonly referred to as Arlanda (ARN) is the main international airport and is located 40 km (25 mi) north of the city, in the Sigtuna municipality.
There are several methods for travelling between Stockholm and Arlanda, listed in order of popularity:
Flygbussarna runs buses frequently to and from the City Terminal, just next to the Central Station. The journey takes 40 minutes. The buses make a few stops in the northern suburbs, as well as Vasastaden, along the way.
Bromma Airport, (BMA) is a smaller airport, located inside the city about 8 km west of the centre, mainly used for domestic flights, but also Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark, Oslo and Skien in Norway, Tallinn in Estonia and Brussels in Belgium.
Skavsta Airport (NYO) mostly used by Ryanair and Wizzair, and offers flights from cities such as Berlin, Belgrade, Brussels, Budapest, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Madrid, Rome, Skopje, Tallinn, Vilnius and Warsaw. Located 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Stockholm, near the town Nyköping.
The main station, Stockholms Central, serves both commuter and long-distance routes. It is located in lower Norrmalm, connected to T-Centralen, the central hub for the subway system, and Cityterminalen, the long-distance bus station. The national rail company, SJ, has a store located inside the station, and a travel planner with ticket booking service.
The port of Stockholm consists of several port areas. In the summer Stadsgården, Skeppsbron and Frihamnen are the ports favoured by the international cruise liners (see cruising the Baltic Sea). Year round Värtahamnen, Frihamnen and Stadsgården have extensive ferry services, including the local Baltic Sea ferries.
Storstockholms Lokaltrafik, SL (Stockholm Public Transport) runs an extensive subway, commuter train and bus system as well as some light rail and ferry services, all using an integrated ticket system called "SL Access". The SL Access RFID card costs 20 SEK (good for six years) and can load all tickets available in the SL fare scheme. The paper strip coupon ticket system was discontinued as of 2013.
Stockholm has a metro system called the Tunnelbana, commonly abbreviated T-bana, and symbolised with a blue T on a round white sign. With exactly 100 stations, it is extensive for a city of this size, and will get you around almost all the downtown places 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 weekdays. The metro is probably the fastest way to travel to many inner suburbs not served by suburban rail, as well as offering a scenic view from the bridge between Gamla Stan and Slussen.
Cycling is an attractive option during warm seasons, and there are many bikepaths. On a bike, a journey across the inner city takes no longer than 30 minutes, and can be faster than travelling by subway 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. Bikepaths 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.
What to see
Stockholm has many spectacular tourist attractions, ranging from the interesting architecture of the City Hall to the stunning natural beauty of the archipelago. In the several Royal Palaces visitors can get in close contact with traditions of the Swedish monarchy.
Stockholm's Old Town is the beautifully preserved historical heart of Stockholm. T Gamla Stan station is on the west side of the compact quarter, which is best covered on foot. Riddarholmskyrkan is a beautifully preserved medieval church.
The Stockholm archipelago is one of the world's most spectacular. Stretching 80 kilometres east of the city centre, the archipelago comprises 24,000 islands, islets and rocks. Regular ferries are operated by Waxholmsbolaget and from April through September also by Cinderellabåtarna.
Buildings and structures
The Ericsson Globe is a white spherical building. Occasionally, at least at game-nights, it is lit by coloured light.
The Sweden Solar System is the world's largest scale model of any kind. With the Globe as the Sun, models of the planets are displayed at Slussen (Mercury), the Royal Institute of Technology (Venus), the Natural History Museum (Earth & Moon), Mörby Centrum (Mars), Arlanda Airport (Jupiter) and Uppsala (Saturn).
Kungliga biblioteket (The RoyalLibrary) is the national library of Sweden. It was designed by Gustaf Dahl and is located at Humlegården T Östermalmstorg.
The Stadsbiblioteket (The City Library) by architect Gunnar Asplund is a beautiful building in the short gap between the styles of classisism and modernism, close to T Odenplan or T Rådmansgatan.
The heights of northern Södermalm give a great view of central Stockholm. Get off the underground at Zinkensdamm, walk up the street Ringvägen and then the old and partly cobbled Yttersta tvärgränd until it terminates just next to an abandoned stone quarry on the right.
Get off the underground at Slussen and walk up Katarinavägen and then on to the lovely Fjällgatan, where tourist coaches make a stop to let everyone enjoy the most popular vantage point.
Högdalstoppen, a man-made hill south of the city. See Stockholm/Southern Suburbs.
Kaknästornet contains Stockholm's highest observatory floor and restaurant, giving a good view of the central town.
Bars and restaurants with a good view: Gondolen, Herman's, Och himlen därtill, or the penthouse lounge of Sjöfartshotellet on Södermalm, or the SAS Radisson Hotel Skybar on Norrmalm.
What to do
Outdoor Tours and activities
There are many companies involved in outdoor tourism in and around Stockholm county.
Cross country skiing. Stockholm offers great opportunity for cross country skiing. There are lots of skiing tracks that are well taken care off.
Ice skating. Skating on natural ice is a popular way in Stockholm to enjoy the winter. Inland lakes freeze up and sometimes there can even be skated out in the archipelago.
Winter hiking. There are lots of nature reserves in and around Stockholm where hiking is possible and allowed. Some places become more accessible during winter when the lakes are frozen.
Mountain Biking. Stockholm has become a very popular destination for mountain biking. There are a lot of tracks in forests and nature reserves where mountain biking is allowed.
Kayaking. The archipelago in Stockholm is an important tourist attraction, and kayaking is a popular way to experience the archipelago.
Kitesurfing is one of the biggest growing sports in Stockholm and in the world right now. In stockholm with its many coastlines and beaches there are plenty of spots to prectice and watch kitesurfing during Spring, Summer & fall.
Hiking. Hiking during summer time is very popular among Swedes. There are lots of good hiking trails and off the beaten track areas which allow hiking. There are also long hiking trails running past Stockholm such as Sörmlandsleden.
Camping. Camping in nature is allowed in many places in Sweden because of the 'every man's right'. Although in nature reserves this is only allowed at certain places.
There is a wide selection of guided tours available, by boat, by bus and on foot. Stockholm Sightseeing has several different guided boat tours.