Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, is a relatively small city in Northern Europe, with a population of just under one million. The size of the city means it’s quite easy to get around and enjoy the many wonderful things to do in Stockholm. Whilst definitely European, there are plenty of aspects of Stockholm which set it apart from other cities in Europe.
One of the first things that you’ll notice when you arrive here is just how easy it is to communicate. For starters, most Swedes speak very good English, so the language barrier that exists in other countries is never a problem here. Also, there is a huge cultural influence from other countries, such as the UK and USA, and English music, movies and TV are everywhere. Even when things are in Swedish, such as restaurant menus, signposts and museum plaques, there is usually an English translation.
Scandinavia isn’t generally visited for its weather, but you may be surprised by how mild Stockholm is for most of the year, and in summer it can be delightful. While other parts of Europe swelter in thirty-plus degrees with high humidity, Stockholm peaks about twenty-five degrees with a cooling breeze from the sea. The air too, is incredibly clean and healthy, as there are very few factories in the area and the traffic is light for a major city.
Another thing that sets Stockholm apart from many other cities across Europe is the huge amount of water. Whilst many cities are located on rivers or close to the sea, Stockholm is actually built on fourteen islands which make up a small part of the Stockholm archipelago, a series of thousands of small islands. This makes the city a great place for walking around as you traverse bridges and islands. There is also a huge amount of cruise options around the islands and a boat trip is absolutely essential while you’re here.
Some people consider Sweden to be a somewhat pretentious country, with the people having a taste for alternative clothing, music and art and Stockholm is of course at the heart of this. In fact, it is a cultural haven for those seeking something a little different than you get in other places in Europe. It is definitely alternative in many ways, but also inspiring and creative. The subway train network is almost an gallery in itself, with thousand of modern art paintings and murals adorning the walls of the tunnels. The city also has one of the biggest concentrations of museums in all of Europe, with around one hundred in the city catering to every kind of interest.
If there are a lot of museums in Stockholm, that’s nothing compared to the amount of coffee shops. There is one on practically every corner and many in-between. For the ultimate Swedish experience, visit a coffee shop for a ‘fika’. This involves coffee and cake enjoyed with friends and gossip. While you can have a coffee break anywhere, no-one else in Europe does it quite like the Swedes. For the complete fika, try seven different kinds of cake and buns with your coffee.
There are many things that make Stockholm unique among Europe’s cities, making it a great place to visit. There are regular flights to Stockholm from the UK. Why not take a first look at SAS’ website on www.flysas.com/en/uk and check their flights online? Also it’s a very easy place for a tourist to get around and communicate in. With such a wealth of options, this is one corner of Europe that should not be missed.