Sweden's capital is not cheap, so keeping a budget is a challenge. But don't be discouraged.
Built on 14 small islands connected by bridges, Stockholm is like a cross between Venice and St. Petersburg, with fresh Scandi. People may be expressionless, but they are impeccably polite.
And there's a lot to do, from visiting museums and galleries to exploring the islands. For adventurers, the way to get around is on the electric scooters that dot the sidewalks. Just follow the instructions – and you're out.
Stockholm, pictured, is the Swedish capital. It is built on 14 small islands connected by bridges.
WHERE TO STAY
There are several floating hotels in Stockholm that offer good cheap accommodation if you don't mind sharing a bathroom with strangers. From this you wake up in the morning with a fantastic view of the city across the water. Fold from £ 40. Sodermalarstrand (rygerfjord.se)
This stylish hotel in central Ostermalm is well-situated and serves a great breakfast. The decor is quirky and fun and the staff efficient and helpful. Fold from £ 80. Tulegatan (birgerjarl.se)
Hotel with Urban Deli
Loved this nice hotel, although not for everyone. There are fashion prints on the walls; the rooms are underground and without windows; the corridors are designed to look like streets with door knockers; and so on. The excellent restaurant is worth a try, whether or not you are staying at the hotel. B&B doubles from £ 93. Sveavagen (hotelwith.se)
Golden Goat Hotel
There could be no better location than the simple, family-run hotel in the middle of Gamla Stan, the oldest part of town. There is no breakfast, but there are cafes on the doorstep. Fold from £ 75. Trangsund (gyllenegeten.se)
Stockholm is like a cross between Venice and St. Petersburg, with Scandi added
WHERE TO EAT
Ritorno Konditori Etc
If you want to eat cheap in Stockholm you basically can't – unless you stick to snack bars. This is good in the modern Vasastan area. Popular with artistic types, it serves excellent shrimp sandwiches and other Odengatan snacks (ritorno.se)
Kalf & Hansen
Run by a parent-child team, this fine dining restaurant in the modern Sodermalm serves excellent and affordable organic dishes. Try the fish quenelles (the dish is called Oslo) for £ 8. Mariatorget (kalfochhansen.se)
For those with a weakness for bottom pizza (10 to 16), this place is worth looking for. In a nowhere street with basic decor, it specializes in home cooking for hangover Sundays. A guilty pleasure. Fridhemsgatan (ilpicchio.se)
WHAT TO DO
Take a cruise
One of the best ways to see Stockholm is to take a city island cruise
Control yourself with the Royal Canal Tour Boat Tour. This 50-minute cruise departs from the city center and takes you on a picturesque circuit of two of Stockholm's best islands. The excellent audio guide, which is included in the £ 17.70 ticket price, will tell you the local history of Stroomkajen (stromma.com)
Sail back in time
Completed in 1628, the battleship Vasa was designed to symbolize the military grandeur of the Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus. But no one dared to say she was dangerously heavy. Vasa sank a few minutes after launch. Refurbished and restored in the sixties, the ship is now the focus of a fascinating museum (entrance £ 13). Vasa Museum, Djurgarden (vasamuseet.se)
Like the celebrating pop group, ABBA's museum (entrance £ 21) is both cheerful and bland. Sweden's passionate playwright August Strindberg was none of that. For a considerably lower price (£ 6), you can visit his apartment, genuflect his desk and admire his melodramatic oil paintings. ABBA the Museum, Djurgarden (abbathemuseum.com); Strindberg Museum, Drottninggatan (strindbergsmuseet.se)
In Stockholm's modern art gallery, a large Matisse is surrounded, for no good reason, by photographs of Cartier Bresson. However, the quirky curatorship gives the place its own mood. The collection also features the amazing double portrait of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach. And it's free. Modern Museet, Skeppsholmen (modernamuseet.se)
Pop by the palace
The imposing Kungliga Slotten or Royal Palace. It is close to the medieval streets of Gamla Stan
The imposing Kungliga Slotten, or Royal Palace, is vast, takes hours to visit and costs 15 pounds to enter. Instead, just admire him outside and schedule your visit to coincide with the guard's solemn change at 12:15, which won't cost him a penny. Then walk south and explore the medieval streets of Gamla Stan, the old town. Slottsbacken (kungligaslotten.se)
Take the plunge
Like another toast? Bathing in the Baltic may seem almost suicidal, but in the high summer the water is pleasant. Locals travel to the tree-lined island of Langholmen in the city center and relax on the grass as if on St Tropez beach. Stroll the trail that surrounds the island and find a more secluded spot.
Norwegian Airlines returns from Gatwick to Stockholm Arlanda from £ 100 (norwegian.com)
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