24 hours in Stockholm
Written by Lola Akinmade Åkerström Illustration by Patrick Hruby
Olympic host 1912 & 1956
It took author Stieg Larsson’s widely popular Millennium crime trilogy to break Sweden’s stereotypical image of blondes driving Volvos and shopping at IKEA; revealing a richly diverse and complex side of the country’s photogenic capital city, Stockholm.
With more than 28,000 islands within its greater archipelago, Stockholm sits on 14 islands – from ritzy Östermalm and wooded eco-paradise Djurgården to old-school Gamla stan and bohemian chic Södermalm – each a testament to its diversity.
Stockholm’s nautical flair means locals are water babies, and often found outdoors sprawled across green parks soaking up any sunlight while digging into seafood sandwiches. Renowned for its sustainable eco-friendly culture, time in Stockholm means dropping cans and food wrappers in separate recycling rubbish bins, making way for bicycles, reusing shopping bags, and limiting your carbon footprint by walking everywhere. Minimalist Scandinavian design and trendy fashion with simple clean lines reign supreme here, fostered by the unspoken Swedish cultural norm – lagom – which means ‘everything in moderation’.
The 1912 Summer Olympics (Games of the V Olympiad) welcomed Japan as Asia’s first participant. Passing out in the heat, Japan’s Shizo Kanakuri could not finish the marathon. Some 50 years later he discovered that he was officially ‘missing’, and returned to post a time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8:32:20.3.
Prime for people-watching, Stockholm’s tunnelbana (T-bana) network conveniently links its islands. Subway tickets are also valid on other public transportation.
Ferries regularly depart from Nybroviken and Slussen towards Djurgården and other islands within Stockholm’s archipelago, and are a fantastic way of enjoying Stockholm.
Ditch the car and stick to your feet. Stockholm’s labyrinth of alleys and pedestrian-friendly streets make it perfect for strolling from island to island.
Blend in with locals and rent a bicycle for roughly €28 (US$36) a day to explore some of the city’s 760+ kilometres of winding bike paths.