City Slicker in Stockholm

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The Swedish capital is booming, not least because it is Europe's first designated Green Capital. Sarah Barrell offers a guide for new and returning visitors



Why visit?


Because it's summer in the city and because this year Stockholm has been named Europe's first Green Capital, a new accolade to be awarded annually by the EU Commission to cities that lead the way in environmentally friendly urban living.

Along with workaday achievements such as smart waste management and reductions in noise pollution and CO2 emissions, the Swedish capital also has 95 per cent of its population living within 300 metres of a green space. And you can bet your Swedish-designed Hasbeens eco clogs that this includes your hotel.

The city sprawls across 14 distinct islands, and navigating its neighbourhoods by ferry or cruise boat is a supremely pleasant way to get your bearings, as is cycling (from borrow-and-return City Bikes: citybikes.se). But a bird's-eye view gives the best sense of Stockholm's patchwork lay-out and there's no better place to see it than from the new SkyView, the city's dome-shaped answer to the London Eye.

Stockholm is currently booming with new sights and hotels. More than 1,000 hotel rooms will open in the city this year alone, including one in an old waterfront mill (elite.se/marinatower). Best of all, Stockholm is no longer the budget buster it used to be. Mercer's latest Cost of Living Index gave Tokyo and Moscow the top spots, with plenty of eurozone destinations to follow; Stockholm wasn't even ranked.

Don't miss

Gamla Stan. Even if you're not titivated by displays of jewel-encrusted tiaras and well-polished weapons, the royal palace complex dominating the island of Gamla Stan is a must-see, representing the grandest of Stockholm's old town architecture.

The archipelago. A maritime world of more than 24,000 islands, islets and skerries, of which only about 1,000 are inhabited. Cruises from 45 minutes, to full-day trips and longer. See waxholmsbolaget.se

Vasa. The museum built around a spectacularly well-preserved 69-metre-long warship, which met its end in the city's harbour on its maiden voyage in 1628. See vasamuseet.se

NK department store. A grand building, designed by Ferdinand Boberg, Sweden's leading Art Nouveau architect, sells everything from cutting-edge menswear to mints made from a 90-year old secret recipe. See Nk.se

National Gallery. Along with the Cezannes and Rembrandts, Sweden's largest art gallery is defined by its Scandinavian collection. See nationalmuseum.se

Djurgarden. Hike, bike or laze around this green lung of an island, a former royal hunting ground.

What's new

Fotografiska

A permanent showplace for international photography, set in a restored customs building originally designed by Boberg. The museum opened last month with five exhibitions, including the headlining Annie Leibovitz retrospective entitled A Photographer's Life, 1990-2005. Set near the somewhat remote Stadsgard wharf, the venue is best accessed by strolling along the cliff-top Per Andas Terrace, taking photos of the harbour, Old Town, Skeppsholmen and Djurgarden as you go.

Details: fotografiska.eu

Skeppsholmen Hotel

A new member of Design Hotels, Skeppsholmen is set in an 18th-century house near the Modern Art Museum and is the only hotel on the tiny, peaceful island of the same name. It's set in two long-house buildings that date back in part to the 1600s and used to house the Royal Marines. Apart from the building's exterior and antique wooden floors, the hotel is ultra-modern, decked in lots of marine greys and blues warmed up by sculptural fittings and furnishings from local designers Claesson Koivisto. Rooms from £187 per night.

Details: hotelskeppsholmen.se

B.A.R restaurant

Tiled walls, a huge wet fish bar, rough cotton napkins and a zinc-top bar make this the coolest of Stockholm's new eateries. Open since last November, B.A.R is the third restaurant directed by award-winning chef and gastronomic visionary, Henrik Norström and Peter Johansson (the team behind feted LUX restaurant). This "ocean grill" gets patrons to participate in devising their dishes, by choosing from the ice counter and fish tank, fresh fish, seafood, meat, seasonal vegetables and condiments. Main meals cost SEK25-32 (£20-£27).

Details: restaurangbar.se

SkyView

Take a 20-minute journey to the top of what is pegged as the largest spherical building in the world. This new panoramic ride has two glass gondolas that travel on rails up the side of the Ericsson Globe Arena (on Stockholm's largest island, Sodermalm) to heights of 130 metres above sea level, offering superb city views. Admission: SEK130 (£11).

Details: globearenas.se

The Grand spa

The city's landmark hotel, The Grand, has just opened a birch-scented spa in the Burmanska Palace section of the building. Book a massage, wrap or holistic treatment and you can use the sumptuous pool, wet rooms and Nordic baths that overlook the Baltic and Sweden's Royal Castle.

Details: raisondetrespa.se

Millennium Trilogy Tour

Unless you've had your head in a very big pile of herring, you'll have heard of Swedish author Stieg Larsson and his bestselling Millennium Trilogy, which tells the story of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and computer hacker Lisbeth Salander. Fans can delve further into Larsson's world on a guided tour of Stockholm, taking in story locations (or buy a Millennium Map from the city museum for DIY exploration). Admission SEK120 (£10).

Details: stadsmuseum.stockholm.se

Insider's secret

Pierre Couriaut, founder of the Swedish dating site blickar.se

"Enjoy the late-setting sun at Vitabergsparken, a hilltop park on Sodermalm island, near the bohemian district of SoFo [South of Folkungagatan]. Then move to one of the crowded cafés around Nytorget, rounding off your evening at one of the hundreds of local restaurants. My favourite is Pelikan (pelikan.se), just off the main hub, serving home-style Swedish food (plenty of pickled herring and more), in an atmospheric, old building."

Compact Facts

How to get there

Sarah Barrell travelled as a guest of SAS (0906 294 2772; flysas.co.uk), which offers return fares from London Heathrow to Stockholm from £134, and from Manchester from £136. She stayed at Hotel Stureplan (hotelstureplan.se), which offers B&B in a double room from SEK1,325 (£120) per night.

Further Information

Visit Sweden (visitsweden.com/citybreaks).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Suggested Topics
Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Recruitment Consultant (Graduate Trainee), Finchley Central

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    Day In a Page

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
    Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

    Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

    The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
    La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

    Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape