A lively, modern and cosmopolitan Scandinavian capital, Stockholm offers a rare blend of stunning medieval cathedrals, spectacular fairytale palaces and contemporary stone-and-steel maritime museums. Add in the city’s burgeoning reputation for elegant designer fashion, ultra-minimalist design, world-class gastronomy and buzzing nightlife, and Stockholm has all the features you could want from a large European metropolis.
The best time of year to visit Stockholm
The period between June and August can be surprisingly warm with temperatures up to the high 70s, making this the ideal time for sightseeing. And with the sun visible almost all day long (it tends to disappear for around an hour each night, although the sky still remains light), you can enjoy Stockholm anytime you like.
The colder months are quite different. It’s almost always dark (the sun appears for just a couple of hours) and bitterly cold (average temperature of 3 below), but the snow-covered Old Town looks just beautiful at this time of year and the city’s Christmas markets are some of the best in Europe. So as long as you bundle up and take a flask full of cocoa with you, a winter tour around Stockholm can be immensely enjoyable.
Spring and autumn are the quietest times to visit, mainly because both seasons can be quite rainy and are therefore not particularly popular with tourists. However, in a place with as much nature as Stockholm, watching the flowers bloom or the trees change color can also be lots of fun — and you might feel as though you have the city all to yourself.
Languages spoken in Stockholm
Swedish is the official language of Sweden, but almost everyone in Stockholm speaks English. While you may not need to learn the local lingo to get around, it never hurts to bring a phrasebook or to teach yourself a few key words before your visit.
Another language bonus: if you decide to catch a flick while in Stockholm, you won’t have to search for a theater that shows English-speaking films — almost every cinema in the city shows its movies with subtitles.
What to pack for a trip to Stockholm
In addition to your passport, money and a visa (if required), you’ll want to bring along a few pairs of comfortable shoes. Stockholm is a very walkable city, if a little spread out, so be sure to bring some sneakers for long treks and flats for exploring the bars after nightfall.
The Swedish capital city is extremely fashion conscious, but a nice pair of jeans, some stylish tees and a trendy leather jacket should hold you over just fine. Be sure to bring along a coat and some sweaters just in case the temperature drops.
Tipping etiquette in Stockholm
Traditionally, tipping is not a common practice in Sweden. Almost everyone makes a living wage and service charges will generally be included in your tab.
However, it has become more prevalent to tip at restaurants in recent years, so if you really enjoyed your meal, leaving 5 to 10 percent gratuity (or just the change) is appreciated. A small tip at a bar may also result in faster service.
Should visitors rent a car in Stockholm?
The short answer is: No, you shouldn’t. Stockholm is built on islands, and going from point A to point B in a car can be quite a hassle.
The city boasts an efficient public transportation system of subways and buses that make getting around a breeze. The only downside is that fares can add up, so visitors will want to purchase an SL Access card and pre-load it with a multi-day ticket package.
The SL Access card is a great investment, especially if you plan to return to Stockholm within a few years of your initial visit. The pass can be reloaded with more tickets for your next trip.