All Your Questions About Stockholm Answered

By Teo Spengler

Discovering the eclectic beauty of the Capital of Scandinavia

All Your Questions About Stockholm Answered

Stockholm is old and young; calm yet vital; vibrant and happening. From the cobblestone streets and ocher-colored buildings of Gamla Stan, Stockholm's oldest district (and one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in the world), to the city's 14 islands and 50 bridges, Stockholm is full of contrasts, color and surprises. Learn the basics before you arrive so you can hit the ground running.

Q: What country is Stockholm the capital of?

A: Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, a Scandinavian country in northern Europe. It borders Norway and Finland and is linked to Denmark by a tunnel. Sweden is a member of the European Union.

Q: How do you say "Stockholm"?

A: In American English, the name of Sweden's capital is pronounced in two syllables. You say "stock-home," making the "l" silent. In British English, the final syllable is pronounced with the "l" slightly audible.

Q: What is there to see in Stockholm?

A: The Royal Palace, also called the Stockholm Palace, is a must-see in Sweden's capital city. It's the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden, but parts of it are open to the public. The palace is largely built in the Italian baroque style, as you will see in the reception rooms with their splendid interiors from the 18th and 19th centuries. Don't miss the Hall of State with Queen Kristina’s silver throne. Catch the changing of the guard for a great photo op.

Up for another big palace? The Drottningholm Palace is an astonishingly well-preserved 17th-century palace, the Swedish royal family's permanent residence and also a World Heritage Site.

  • Drottningholm Palace has gorgeous salons, exceptionally beautiful baroque gardens and a unique palace theater, the Drottningholms Slottsteater, the best preserved 18th-century theater in Europe. The palace and the park are mostly open to visitors year-round, and you can take guided tours and even see performances in the theater during the summer.

Q: What is there to visit in Stockholm?

A: With some 70 museums in Stockholm, you may resort to eeny, meeny, miny mo unless you make plans in advance. Don't miss the Skansen, the world’s first open-air museum, or the contemporary art museum Moderna Museet with works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali as well as video art and installations.

  • Skansen represents Sweden in miniature. Founded in 1891, its 150 houses and numerous exhibits give visitors a glimpse into how Swedes once lived.

Another top museum is the Historiska Museet, an engaging historical museum with a fascinating collection of objects spanning some 10,000 years of Swedish history. For something a little different, visit the charming house of gardens of Millesgården, the former home and art studio of sculptor Carl Milles. You'll find his whimsical pieces dotting Stockholm's landscape.

Another eccentric museum you aren't likely to confuse with any other is the Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet). It was a massive warship build in 1628 that sank within minutes of the start of its maiden voyage, taking its passengers to the bottom of the sea. The ship was raised to the surface in 1961 and reassembled, then made into an intriguing museum.

Q: What is the weather like in Stockholm?

A: The weather you will find in Stockholm depends entirely on when you go, since the city definitely has seasons. Although this northern nation is not that far from the Arctic Circle, you'll find that the proximity to water works wonders to soften the climate.

The average temperature in the summer months is above 60 degrees F, with lows in the 50s, and the days are long, with beautiful light. In April and May, as well as in September and October, it is cool but not too cold, with highs and lows some 10 to 20 degrees lower than in summer. Winter temperatures dip into the 20s, with snow.

Summer gets the most rain in Stockholm. Winter (November through March) gets the most snow.

Q: What is the currency in Stockholm?

A: Stockholm, like the rest of Sweden, uses the Swedish krona.

Q: How many airports are in Stockholm?

A: You'll find three airports in and around Stockholm. The small Stockholm Skavsta Airport, southwest of the city, is used by budget carriers like Ryanair. The main airport is the Stockholm Arlanda Airport, while the Bromma Airport is located to the west of the city. It is serviced only by a few airlines and primarily flies domestically.

  • Stockholm Arlanda Airport, Stockholm's main airport, is located 28 miles north of downtown Stockholm. It has two terminals dedicated to international flights and two dedicated to domestic flights. 

Q: How do you get from Arlanda to Stockholm Central Station?

A: You'll have several transportation options for getting from the Stockholm Arlanda Airport to the Stockholm Central Station. The fastest way to make the trip is by a train called the Arlanda Express. It leaves from the underground train station in the airport (follow the yellow signs to get there). Board the train and 20 minutes later you are in Stockholm Central Station. Purchase tickets in advance on the internet (although you won't be able to use the student discount) or from the yellow machines in the airport arrival hall.

Another option is to take a shuttle bus (Flygbussarna) from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm Central Station. This is cheaper, but takes twice as long. Buses depart just outside the airport arrival hall. Take care to board the right one because there are shuttles heading to lots of places. You'll want the one to Stockholm City. No student discounts are available on the shuttle, but passengers under age 26 get a price break.

Q: What sea lies east of Stockholm?

A: Directly to the east of Stockholm lies the Baltic Sea. The city includes 14 islands off the coast that rise from its waters. Across the Baltic Sea from Stockholm are the nations of Estonia and Latvia.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between French Basque Country and California.