Lay of the Land
The Stockholm Archipelago comprises 24,000 islands, but the city itself occupies a mere 14 of them, connected by 53 bridges. One third of the city's area is water. Another third is parkland, including Ekoparken, the world's first ecology park. The remaining third is comfortably human-scalewell-suited to the inhabitant's laid-back, friendly, clean lifestyle. The center of tourist Stockholm is charming Gamla Stan (Old Town).
WHEN TO GO
There's been a lot of snowfall in winter lately, with blizzards most likely in January and February—though bright sun or frequent wet weather (cold or mild) are just as possible. March tends to be damp, but by April, temperatures begin to rise. By May, the city's blossoming and the sidewalk tables are out. In June and July, it never gets completely dark (conversely, on a dull day in December it can barely get light at all, with the sun setting around 3 p.m.). In July and August, the water is warm enough for swimming, and, though some businesses, notably restaurants, take vacation time, high summer is probably the nicest season to visit. Two major annual events take place in the dead of winter though: the Nobel Prize ceremony in the Konserthuset on December 10, and the Stockholm design fair in February.
HOW TO GET THERE
International flights arrive at Arlanda, the largest airport in Scandinavia, about 27 miles north of the city center. The efficient Arlanda Express train (www.arlandaexpress.com) departs for Central Station every 10 to 15 minutes; the journey takes 20 minutes. There are also frequent Flygbussarna buses (www.flygbussarna.com) that take around 40 minutes. Taxis cost about $60 (check the price first—it varies) and reach downtown in about half an hour. There are three further airports that serve Stockholm: Bromma, the nearest at about five miles to the west, has very limited service, but you may find yourself landing at Skavsta (62 miles to the south) or Västerås (68 miles northwest) if you opt to connect through London or another European hub on a low-cost airline like Ryanair.
Stockholm is an easy city to walk, but should time or weather be against you, the subway system is safe and easy. Individual tickets can be bought at the start of the journey for 20 kronor (about $2.75). Once stamped, the ticket is good for one hour's transport on the subway or buses. Alternatively, buy a book of ten tickets for 180 kronor (about $25). Bus routes are also simple to navigate, and single tickets can be bought from the driver. Taxis are expensive. Tipping your driver isn't expected, but if you round up a little bit, however, it will be appreciated.
Visit Sweden tourism bureau
Tel: 212 885 9700