Though inhabited as far back as 8,000 BC, the Ice Age drove people away and kept the modern site of Sweden's capital uninhabited for millennia. Stockholm as it exists today was settled by Vikings around 1,000 AD and quickly became a hub of commerce. The city plays a role in many Norse sagas, including those of the legendary Swedish king, Agne.
Stockholm is situated on 14 islands, where the freshwater Lake Malaren flows out to the Baltic Sea to the east. It's one of the cleanest and most sustainable cities in Europe, and locals are quick to remind visitors that the water flowing through the city remains clean enough to swim in. No trip to Stockholm is complete without a trip to the archipelago of islands surrounding the main city - 24,000 islands of varying sizes and populations provide diverse ports of call to explore.
Must see: The 600-room Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) and the Tre Kronor museum should be on any visitor's list. Old Town (Gamla Stan) surrounds the palace, and is one of the best-preserved medieval city squares in Europe.
Packing Tips: The Swedes are fond of a saying that roughly translates to, "there is no bad weather, only bad (wrong) clothing."It's a good idea to layer accordingly when you're out, as the weather can be unpredictable.
Lodging: Grand Hotel Stockholm - if you're looking for classic luxury as an escape from the everyday, the Grand Hotel is the place to find it. Each room has its own decorations, color, and distinctive history, and the hotel is situated on the waterfront, facing the Royal Palace.
Cuisine: Not everyone's a fan of the Swedish staple pickled herring, and Stockholm is prepared with plenty of other culinary offerings. Give the shrimp sandwiches a try, or sample the signature pea soup and savory pancakes. Lingonberry sauce is a popular complement to many meat dishes.
Ground Transportation: The SL, Stockholm's public transportation system, is always a reliable bet to beat any traffic congestion, and it has long been praised for its cleanliness, efficiency, and safety. A trip on the number 69 bus or number 7 tram is a superb way to discover Stockholm, as the lines stop near many museums and attractions.
Recommended Books: If you haven't yet read the bestselling series of novels by Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, your private jet trip to Stockholm is the perfect time to start reading! There are numerous tours in the city featuring real-life locations from the novels.
Currency: The Swedish krona is the local currency.
Calling Code Sweden: 46
Best Travel Dates: The seasons in Stockholm are similar in timing with those of the eastern United States. Winters can be gray and harsh, and late spring to early summer (late May to early June) generally provides the best weather conditions. It's also important to remember that Stockholm's hours of daylight change from about 18 hours of light in the middle of summer to about 6 hours in December.