Shore Excursion and Port Information
Stockholm, Sweden Waterfront
Language and Currency
What is Stockholm Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
A valid passport is required for entry but no visa is necessary for stays of under 90 days
The official language of Sweden is Swedish, however, English is widely spoken as it is the first foreign language that is taught in all schools. The currency is the Swedish krona, but major credit cards are widely accepted and many places will accept Euros.
Stockholm, Sweden Canal Bridge
The capital and largest city in Sweden, Stockholm is built on 14 islands located between the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. Connected by over 50 bridges crossing open bays and narrow channels, it is often referred to as the “Venice of the North”. This attractive city is filled with lush parks, wide boulevards and majestic structures of contrasting colors. Ancient dark, stone buildings sit next to modern sky-scrapers of glass and block. Add the onion domes, red washed houses, painted roofs, persimmon spires and curved gables make this modern city an architectural delight.
Stockholm has typical northern European summer weather, warm but not hot between May and September. Summer temperatures range from 51-73°, and a brisk breeze is possible anytime. The weeks just before and after the summer solstice promise to provide almost 24 hours of sunlight.
The Century Docked in Stockholm
There are actually three separate areas that ships can dock. Generally, they will dock at Stadsgarden pier in one of the canals about a mile or so from Old Town. Smaller ships can sometimes dock right at Old Town, and when traffic is heavy some ships will dock in the commercial harbor some three to four miles from downtown Stockholm. If you are boarding your cruise in Stockholm, I would strongly advise you to carry your cruise line's Stockholm contact information and reconfirm the ship's location before leaving your hotel to board the ship. It is not uncommon for pier changes to be made due to traffic.
Old Town, Stockholm Pedestrian Shopping Street
Oh boy! First, make your way to the Royal Palace either by walking, or by taxi. From the entrance to the palace (on top of the hill) the pedestrian streets of Old Town (to the west and south downhill) are lined with hundreds of shops that cater to tourists offering everything under the sun. You could easily spend the entire day in Old Town and never exhaust the potential to find something new. Its little cubbies, archways, nooks and crannies just add to its unique shopping experience.
Return to the same spot at the Royal Palace, walk north to the parking lot that overlooks the road and canal a little further. You will see a bridge that enters a huge archway. This is the entrance to Drottninggatan, a pedestrian mall that runs the entire length of downtown Stockholm. It is lined with department stores, boutiques, shops, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and coffee shops. Its parallel and side streets also offer tons of shopping opportunities.
Finally, from the parking lot, look at where the bridge of the street that fronts the Royal Palace crosses the canal (where the tour boats and busses are). If you continue up the street for the full length of the park (on your left) to the first 4-way intersection, you will come to another street that offers several department stores, shops and boutiques to your left.
Drottninggatan, The Main Shopping Street in Stockholm
Continue up the street for two blocks and you are surrounded by an area (known as the Designer District) offering numerous department stores, shops and boutiques. All of the shopping is within easy walking distance of the Royal Palace.
Swedish crystal is outstanding and the obvious choice of many. However, silver jewelry, china, porcelain, Swedish furniture and household items, dolls, designer clothing, wooden handicrafts, luggage, clothing accessories, toys, table linens, cutlery, hand woven sweaters and mittens in Nordic patterns, Swedish clogs and Christmas ornaments and figurines are all available.
Old Town, Stockholm Square
Stockholm is a city that has much to offer, but if you only have one day it is best to concentrate on Gamla Stan (Old Town) and the surrounding downtown area. A walking tour of Gamla Stan, beginning at the Royal Palace, at the foot of the Norrbro Bridge, is the best way to start. Just make sure you schedule your walk so that you return to the Royal Palace at noon for the changing of the guard.
The Parade of Guards
The Parade of Guards with military band can be viewed daily during the summer months and is a definite “must see”.
The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is the official residence of the King of Sweden. Tours of the Royal Apartments, the Treasury and the Royal Armory are available daily and worth a visit. Begin your walking tour by standing in front of the Royal Palace at the Obelisk.
Old City Sidewalk Cafes and Scenery
From there, look for the yellow building which is the Finnish Church and check out the small park in the back. “Iron Boy”, the smallest statue in Stockholm at 14 cm high resides there. From there you can wander to the Stock Exchange which houses the Nobel Library; visit the Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Stockholm’s oldest church; step through the arch into Västerlånggatan, the main shopping street in Old Town; meander through the winding cobblestone streets making sure to look at the ceilings of the shops.
Just One of Stockholm's Quaint Shopping Streets
(Many still have glass ceilings and others are beautifully hand painted.) Take time to stop at one of the numerous outdoor cafés to savor the tranquility. Then, if time remains, exit Old Town and visit Riddarholms Church which has been the Royal mausoleum for 400 years or explore City Hall, which is also the City Museum of Stockholm.
The small island of Djurgarden, can be reached either by bus from the city centre or by ferry across the harbor. Of particular interest is Skansen, the open-air museum that contains 150 buildings that represent Swedish life, as well as an open air zoo and an aquarium. Near Skansen is perhaps one of the most popular attractions in Scandinavia, the Vasa Museum. It houses the fully restored, wooden warship Vasa, the only remaining intact 17th century ship. Not far from the museum is Gröna Lund, sister theme park to the famous Tivoli Gardens. The Nordic Museum can also be found on the island.
It should be noted that there is a convenient hop on-hop off, double-decker tour bus with frequent departures that makes 14 different stops and allows you to visit most of the tourist stops mentioned above.
The Parade of Guards at the Royal Palace
Yes, do not miss the Parade of Guards at the Royal Palace presented daily at 12:15 in the summer months. Truly awesome! Combine your viewing of the changing of the guards with a stroll thorugh the streets of Gamla Stan.
Yes, not one in particular, but enjoying a latte in one of the sidewalk cafes as all of Sweden's population wanders by is my idea of a perfect way to relax in the sunshine.
The Gasgrand 4 Restaurant
On my last visit, we stumbled upon a great dining discovery in Gamla Stan that begs to be shared. The Gåsgrãnd 4 (which also happens to be the address and means Grey Goose in English) is a small, intimate café that provided an excellent Swedish dining experience. Although limited to only two chef’s choices at lunch, both were outstanding!
Gåsgrãnd 4's Medieval Dining Room
Ask to visit the underground dining room (only open in the evening) for a glimpse of a unique medieval, candlelit dining venue. There is an Irish pub directly across the small alley that is also well worth a stop.
Monica J. Pileggi, Off Day in Stockholm,
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