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4. The 'Millennium' Tour - Elance

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Välkommen till Sverige!
That means 'Welcome to Sweden!' for the uninitiated amongst you.

Travelling on a tight budget? In that case - high-five! - because you have just stumbled across
the perfect travel guide for your wallet. This is the ideal literary tour guide for the poor student
or the Gap-Year traveller, whether you're a seasoned tourist or still relatively new to the game.
It doesn't matter if you haven't yet picked the perfect destination or if you've just booked your
flights and are already planning your trip, this guide can give you an inside look into the best
places to visit.
'Why Scandinavia?' you might well ask. Why Sweden? Why Stockholm?

Just trust me when I say that Stockholm is the bomb; the travelling equivalent of winning the
Euromillions jackpot. The nightlife is fantastic, the food delicious, the locals beautiful, and the city
memorable. If you make the (very) wise decision to explore Stockholm, you will find it to be an
astonishingly beautiful city, one with remarkable architecture and locals who very much live up to their
reputation for being blonde bombshells.

Have a great trip!

5 things to avoid
With every tourist destination, there are certain areas or attractions which you should avoid at
all costs. They might be overpriced, overrated, jam-packed or underwhelming. Whatever they
are, the five listed below are the ones to steer clear of...

1. Gamla Stan shopping district
One word: 'Chaos'.

Unless you are especially keen on paying a fortune for overpriced tat, avoid this at all costs.
There are better places to shop, and while the old town is a great place to wander around, its
better to window-shop than to proceed to the cash-desk.
2. The traditional Swedish Spa
It depends what you're looking for, of course, but in my experience the traditional Swedish Spa
has an awful lot to answer for. Anyone expecting to find a Spa filled with nubile Swedish babes
will be disappointed; the one that I went to was a holding-pen for creepy, elderly, alarmingly
hairy men. I had been expecting something more along the lines of that scene from the film
'Eastern Promises' in which a naked Viggo Mortensen wrestles an equally-naked russian ganster
in a steam room. Like I said, it really depends what you're looking for. A typical visit will set you
back a small fortune, and its better to save the hairy men and the facials for when you have
money to burn.
2. French resturants
Swedish food is so damn good - why bother eating at a place where you know that the service
will be predictably...French.

3. Swanky clubs
I've never really understood the need to go to the swankiest club you can find, because in my
experience they are usually populated by suits on a corporate jaunt. Be warned! It is quite
normal for revellers queuing for the most expensive clubs, pubs, bars and restaurants in
Stockholm to be kept waiting for hours outside in the snow, and then to be turned away
regardless, because the bouncer is inexplicably dissatisifed with your form of identification. If
you are aiming for a glamourous night, turn up before midnight to be in with a chance of entry;
take multiple forms of ID (no matter how old you are or respectable you look), also, don't get
too drunk, because Stockholmian bouncers take themselves very seriously.

4. Taxi ranks
A taxi will only eat a massive hole in your budget (a typical five-minute rate is SEK 50-100), and
there is really no need to take one when the public transport is so reliable. Avoid at all costs,
and if you really must take one, then make sure that it isn't an illegal minicab. The legal taxis
carry a red verification card in their windows.

5. September-January (unless you have a serious coat)
I can't emphasise enough just how cold it gets in Stockholm at times; a pair of sneakers and a
rain mac won't cut it. You need goose down, and lots of it.
Airport
The main international Airport nearest to Stockholm is Arlanda Airport, but there are three other
Airports near to Stockholm - 'Västerås', 'Skavsta' an0d 'Bromma' - which may also serve you
well. Both BA (British Airways) and SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) fly to Stockholm, as well as the
cheaper 'budget' airlines such as EasyJet, RyanAir, and BMI Baby.

Arlanda

Arlanda is within easy distance of Stockholm, a mere 40 km (25 mi) north of the city itself, and
there are various ways to get from the Airport to your hotel or youth hostel. It is well-worth
investigating your transport options to-and-from the airport, because if you aren't careful,
this can take an unexpected chunk out of your holiday savings. If your flight is scheduled to land
at Arlanda, you can take a taxi (pricey), a dedicated train line (less pricy), a coach or shuttle bus
(even less pricy), or a national rail line (the cheapest mode of transport and therefore the best!)
in order to reach your destination.

You can easily reach Stockholm by the normal trainline. Trains run from Arlanda Central Station
(located between Terminals four and five at the airport) for the bargain price of SEK 95. Ask for
the Uppsala commuter train (known as Upptåget), which connects to trains running to the
centre. This journey takes around 35 minutes and you can buy tickets at the station itself.
Please note that you may well have to pay a station access fee (SEK 20-40, depending on your
age), and also that the trains only run once every hour, so you don't want to be late!

By dedicated train line, the Arlanda Express Train will take you to Stockholm Central Station for
a ticket price of around SEK 240 (children and adults), 250 SEK (two adults on the weekend) or
SEK 120 (ISIC card-holders) for a single. The Express Train leaves from the basement level floor
of each terminal, a journey lasts only twenty minutes and trains leave every quarter-of-an-hour.
Tickets can be purchased on the platform or online; buy one on-board and you risk paying a
surcharge.

By Taxi, the journey to Stockholm takes around 45 minutes. This is the most expensive option in
terms of getting you to-and-from the airport, and not an option that I would reccommend
unless your flight arrives particularly late and you have to get to your destination a.s.a.p. A
typical taxi journey to Stockholm from Arlanda will set you back about SEK 450-500, but you can
usually negotiate the firm down to SEK 350-450 if you make sure to book in advance! For
reasons known only to Swedish Taxi Drivers, the return journey from the hotel to the airport
costs around SEK 100-200 less.

For further information, please contact any of the following taxi companies: Airport Cab (+46 8
25 25 23) Taxi Solna (+46 8 280 280).

You can also take an Airport coach (look for signs reading 'Flygbussarna') which runs passengers
to the Central Station in 40 minutes. These cost about SEK 75-110, depending on your age, or
SEK 190 if you wish to go directly to your hotel doorstep (selected hotels only). Visit
www.airportshuttle.se for details.

Västerås

Västerås Airport is further away from Stockholm - 100km (62m) - but is well served by transport
links to and from the city centre. Ryanair flights frequently fly to Västerås from London
Stanstead. You can take an airport coach to Stockholm which takes 75 minutes, and costs SEK
150 (single), SEK 249 (return).

Skavsta

Skavsta Airport is also well-served by Ryanair, and is a similar distance to Stockholm as Västerås
is. You can take a coach to the Stockholm City Bus Terminal with either Airport Coaches (SEK 89
single, SEK 178 return) which has a bus leaving every 20 minutes. Or a cheaper option for
multiple travellers: two people can travel with FlyByCoach (SEK 90 single, SEK 170 return) which
also includes free WiFi onboard.

Bromma

Bromma Airport is located within Stockholm city itself, about 10 km (6 mi) west outside the
center. Bromma is mainly used for domestic flights, however certain international flights do run
within Europe. In terms of getting to your hotel, you can take an Airport coach to the City Bus
Terminal for SEK 79. Alternatively, a cheaper way to get there is by taking the 152 bus to
Sundyberg Station, and then a connecting train to Stockholm Central Station, which costs a
wallet-friendly SEK 26-40.

If you haven't booked your flight yet, its a good idea to check out the SkyScanner website
(please see: www.skyscanner.net), which is an excellent online tool to seek out the best deals
where flights are concerned.



5 things I love about Stockholm
1. The Architecture
Just walking around Stockholm is an absolute treat for the eyes; the city itself is over 700 years
old, and laid out across fourteen islands. The best way to get to know it is just to negotiate it on
foot, which is easily done, but you can also take a boat trip which will give you a better look at
some of those beautiful buildings.

2. The Archipelago
An 'archiplago' is a large body of water with many islands, and the Stockholm Archipelago is a
collection of some 24,000 small islands (some bigger than others), of which only 1/24th are
inabited. It is truly an impressive sight to behold, and a world away from the syringe-laden
London Thames! A must-see.

3. Coffee and the Cafe Culture
You really haven't tasted coffee until you've had a cup of coffee in Stockholm. Its difficult to
describe, but it tastes stronger, fresher, and a whole lot better than any other coffee that you
have ever had before. Not only that, the coffee houses are a great place to people-watch and
you won't find a Starbucks or a Costa amongst them!

4. The Ice Bar
I can't recommend this particular attraction enough; you get to drink from a glass made of ice
(don't worry, your tongue won't stick to it!), and you'll get some brilliant photos out of the
experience to show off to your friends back home. The IceBar is the sister-bar to the IceHotel
up in Jukkasjärvi, and trust me when I say that it is a beautiful sight to behold; the ice sculptors
work their magic using only ice and some well-chosen fairy lights, and the result is rather
romantic.

5. The locally-brewed drinks
The most difficult thing is knowing which bottle to take back home with you! The sale of
alchohol in Sweden is strictly guarded by the Swedish government, and you can only purchase
alcohol at great expense from specialised alcohol shops known as 'Systembolaget', which has
limited opening hours which are resolutely controlled. It is possible to purchase weak lager
from the supermarket (3.4% proof), but your best bet is to just get into the swing of things and
have a bottle ready in stock. The good thing about Systembolaget is that buying alcohol
becomes something of an event, so you can head out to your nearest shop and check out the
local specialities, which make great presents to take home. Its worth mentioning that you have
to be aged twenty or over to purchase alcohol from the Systembolaget.

Attractions

1. The Vasa Museum
One word: Awesome. The Swedes get super-excited about the Vasa, on Galärvarvsvägen 14, probably
because they spent so much time and effort lugging this wrecked warship from 1628 out of the depths
of the ocean. The exhibition features re-constructed ship personnel, based upon skeletons found within
the wreckage. Go and visit it quickly, because the timber from which the Vasa is constructed is decaying
at an alarming rate, such that in a few years it will disintegrate. Its really quite a spooky sight to behold,
and is, I believe, perhaps the only museum that displays forensically reconstructed corpses as part of the
exhibition. Excellent.
See: www.vasamuseet.se

Tickets: SEK 110 (Adults), SEK 80 (Students), Children 17 and under go free

To get there, take the number 47 bus from the central terminal.



2. The Historical Wine and Spirit Museum
The Wine and Spirit Museum, on Dalagatan 100, might sound a little gimmicky, but its actually a
fascinating insight into the Swedish relationship with alcohol and why their alcohol consumption is so
tightly-regulated. You can also take the 'vodka smell test', if you want a less serious approach to the
concept of historical drinking!

See: www.vinosprithistoriska.se

Tickets: SEK 50 (Adults), SEK 40 (Students), (Children 17 and under go free

To get there, take the tube to Subway to Odenplan, from there take the 65 bus to Norra
Stationsgatan, and then finally take either the no. 40 or no. 2 to Vanadisvägen.


3.   The Royal Palace
The Swedish Royal Family are every bit as glamorous as the British Monarchy, only slightly
better-behaved. The Palace ('Kungliga Slottet'), built between 1697 and 1754, is every bit as
glamorous and impressive as you would expect it to be, and is well-worth taking a tour around,
especially since the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria got married on 7th June 2010 to her
husband Daniel, after much anticipation. The plush apartments are the best bit! You can find
the Palace itself in the old town on Slottsbacken 1.
See: http://www.royalcourt.se

Tickets: SEK 100 each (Adults), SEK 50 (Students and children under 17) for the Tickets to The
Royal Apartments, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Treasury, and Gustav III's Museum of
Antiquities; or SEK 140 for a combination ticket.
To get there, take the Underground to Gamla Stan and follow the signs. Its about a 5-minute walk from
there.

4.   The 'Millennium' Tour
If you're a big fan of Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium' trilogy, then the Stockholm Millennium tour is
an absolute must. You get to see where Mikael Blomkvist 'lives', where Lisbeth Salander goes to
drink coffee, and where the chase scenes all kick off. Its great to put a name to a face, so to
speak. Tours are organised by the Museum of Stockholm, and take around two hours.
See: http://www.stadsmuseum.stockholm.se

Tickets: SEK 120 (available from the Stockholm City Museum and also the Stockholm Tourist
Centre, or you can buy in advance from: www.ticnet.se.

To get there, take the tube to Slussen or Mariatorget and go to Bellmansgatan 1, in Södermalm, in
time for the 11.30 start time.

5.   The Island 'Långholmen'
Långholmen is where the Swedes go to swim and chill out on sunny days - you are never far
from water in Stockholm. Långholmen is a bit of a beauty spot; you can picnic there, walk
around and look at the buildings and also take in the wonderful views.
See: http://beta.stockholmtown.com/en/To-Do/Attractions/l%C3%A5ngholmen/1168

Tickets: Free; just the price of the coupons to travel there!

To get there, take the tube to 'Hornstull'.


6.   Go to a game of 'Bandy'
'Bandy' is a traditional Swedish sport, not dissimilar to ice hockey, which features players using sticks
and a ball on ice, and is growing increasingly popular in the US. Bandy is already relatively well-known in
Scandinavia, and if you fancy checking out a game you should do so now to get ahead of the crowd!
Games are played at the Zinkensdamms IP Sports Hall, on Ringvägen 16, in Södermalm.

See:
http://www.stockholm.se/KulturFritid/Idrottsanlaggningar/Idrottsplatser/Idrottsplatser-i-innerstaden/Zi
nkensdamms-IP-/
Tickets available from ticketweb (http://www.ticnet.se/index.php): SEK 90-110 (Adults), SEK 50-60
(Students and Children).
To get there, take the tube to 'Zinkensdamm'.


7. Boat Tour: 'Under The Bridges of Stockholm'
A great way to see a completely different side of Stockholm is to take a boat tour; this particular
tour is a very good way to take in all of the most famous and spread-out islands of Stockholm,
and is also a handy way to get your bearings.
See: http://www.stromma.se/en/Sightseeing/Stockholm/Boat-tours/

Tickets: Prices vary between tours, but around SEK 140-200 (SEK 190 (Adults) for the Bridges tour; SEK
95 (children)
To get there, take the tube to Kungsträdgården and the tour kicks off in front of the Royal Castle
(opposite side of the street). Each tour lasts about one hour, fifty minutes.



Drink
Boy, are you in for a treat. I can say, without a hint of shame, that the Stockholmians really
know how to have a damn good time.
Local beer & wine

The Swedish are skilled brewers, and Sweden offers an excellent variety of
domestically-produced Beers and Spirits. You may well be relatively familiar already with the
traditional 'Schnapps', which the Swedes like to bring out at any given opportunity, be it a
special occasion, dinner with friends, or, um, breakfast.

Schnapps is a sweet, fruit-flavoured liquor, and is often taken alongside crayfish during a
'Sittning', which is a type of old-school Swedish dinner party, in which the seating plan is
guarded over with an iron fist by the host.

Pear cider is dirt cheap (SEK 15-25) a bottle, and is drinkable enough. I got through enough of it
while I was there, but I guess its the Swedish equivalent of 'White Lightning' or 'Blue Nun.' Its
sweet and a little sickly; the sort of thing that an alcoholic five-year-old child would drink.

Glögg is the Swedish equivalent of mulled wine, except that the Swedes have clearly decided at
that a simple glass of mull wasn't alcoholic enough for their tastes, because Glögg has a slosh of
brandy in it, and a small, steaming glass of the stuff can knock you to the floor. In a good way...

Acquavit (distilled from potato or grain); Absolut vodka, produced in Åhus, wine made from
berries such as Lingonberry, Mead (a sweet wine), and 'Pommac' a soft drink made from fruits
and aged in oak barrels, are also worth keeping an eye out for.
Nightlife
As mentioned above; I feel that it is my duty to pre-warn you that the Swedes aren't brilliant at
the concept of 'customer service', and you will be expected too wait outside for an hour (or
sometimes more) when you go to certain clubs. This happens even in the depths of winter,
when temperatures fall below zero, so for goodness sake make sure that you take a decent coat
when you go out. Even those of you from Newcastle. Take ID with you, too, because the
bouncers will ask for it irrespective of your age, and they will often ask for more than one form
of identification; getting into a Swedish club is like being vetted to work at MI6. You may have
to pay an entrance fee of between SEK 50-150, but the cloakrooms are usually free.

There are several districts to go out in, including: Stureplan (the most famous; characterised by
rude doormen and hefty club entrance fees of around SEK 100); Bondegatan(fashionable;
where the culture set hang out), Rörstrandsgatan (for the older crowd), and also Rådhuset
(chilled-out, and perhaps the best bet for the traveller looking to feel comfortable and
at-home.)

Where to drink cheap
The best place to go for a budget night out is the Södermalm district, which you can reach by
the underground station 'Medborgarplatsen'. Here, a beer costs about SEK 40, and a cocktail
between SEK 110-150, depending on where you go.

Check out: Carmen, on Tjärhovsgatan 14; Gröne Jägaren, on Götgatan 64, which has a karaoke
facility, and also Kelly's, on Folkungagatan 49. Bear in mind that Kelly's enforces a minimum age
of 23, and is part of the hard rock scene.

Where to get Laid
Fancy bagging yourself some Swedish totty? Go to Kungsholem, which is a reasonably-priced
meat-market. Look for the Fridhemsplan underground station and you will find: Dovas, on St
Eriksgatan 53 A (sells cheap beer for SEK 30 and there is a nightclub opposite); Theodoras, on St
Eriksgatan 53 B, which is slightly-less manic, and also Nivå 22, Fridhemsgatan 17, which has a
smoking area outside.

Be warned that the Swedes are quite gung-ho about picking people up, and you may find that
the slightest of eye-contact means you have to fend someone off all night. It may sound mad,
but try not to look anyone in the eye for too long unless you fancy the pants off them, because
otherwise they seem to think that you are giving them the wrong impression.

The Students all hang out at the student unions; the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan and
University of Stockholm host drinking events on campus. This is a great place to 'get to know
someone better', if you know what I mean. See: http://www.fester.nu/ for details.

Want to splurge on a great night out?

The IceBar, on Vasaplan 4 within the Nordic Sea Hotel, is the coolest tourist-trap going. The bar
is made of ice! It costs SEK 140 to even get in, but you get a free drink with that and some
special clothing to keep you warm. Book in advance or you will have to queue for ages.

Where to eat
Schnapps. Squeezable tubes of caviar. Pickled herring (surprisingly delicious). Pear cider. These
are just some of the delicious and controversial local examples of food and drink which you may
sample when you visit Stockholm. There's certainly lots on offer for the adventurous foodie!

How cheap is it to eat in Stockholm?
Stockholm, like most countries, is an expensive place to eat out. If your budget is pretty tight,
you don't necessarily have to stick to MacDonalds but you might want to avoid dining out,
because the bill can be a hefty whack. A typical restaurant meal costs around SEK 175-250*,
and if you are planning to splash out, be sure to seek out a traditional Swedish Restaurant,
rather than one of the many pan-european Asian restaurants on offer. The most classic Swedish
dish is the infamous 'Smörgåsbord', an open sandwich served with titbits such as ham, pickled
herring and "lutfisk" (a pre-prepared form of Cod or a similar fish).

The bad news? You may have to avoid buying a nice bottle of wine to wash the meal down
with, because alcohol often ends up costing twice as much as the meal itself. Another thing
worth bearing in mind is that most Swedish kitchens close quite early in the evening, at around
9.30-10pm, so I would advise you to arrive early if you don't want to go hungry! Avoid at all
costs the overpriced tourist-magnet areas that are Södermalm & Gamla Stan, and aim instead
for Norrmalm & Östermalm.

*The exchange rate at the time of writing (19.09.10) was as follows: 1£/ 10.89 SEK 11.09.10

Supermarket

The main supermarket chain in Sweden is known as 'Willys' (pronounced 'Villies'), and there is
another called 'ICA' ('ee-kah'). A pint of milk costs about SEK 7; a loaf of bread about SEK 15; a
bottle of wine SEK 67; a beer (domestic origin) SEK 16; a beer (imported) SEK 17; a pack of
cigarettes SEK 46; and a box of eggs SEK 14. Just from my personal experience, I found the meat
available at Swedish supermarkets to be of a rather poor quality, so unless you are desperate
for a steak (average price about SEK 70-90), I'd stick with what the Swedes are good at: fish.
You can get a tube of squeezable caviar (a whole lot tastier than it sounds) for about SEK 40.

Bars and Restaurants

Operakällaren, which has been voted 'Sweden's most beautiful dining room' due to its iconic
view of the Royal Palace, is the place where the Beckhams would go to eat if they went to visit
Stockholm. If you aren't on a Beckingham-Palace style budget, though, you might want to
consider eating at 'Sturehof', a restaurant with a good reputation for fish and seafood. Tel: +46
(0)8 440 5730 or e-mail: info@sturhof.com, you can get sandwiches here for SEK 125 (small) -
SEK 155 (large). The 'Dalarö Sandwich', with smoked herring, vendace roe and egg yolk is
particularly tasty.

Fancy something stronger? A beer will set you back between SEK 40-140. I made the mistake of
offering to buy a round as a student in a relatively nondescript bar, and the bill for three beers
came to an astonishing SEK 500 (!), so be sure to take a peek at the drinks menu before you get
a round of drinks in. Of course, it may well have been magic beer..

Coffee

Drinking coffee is a bit of a Swedish institution, in fact they even have a word for it: 'Fika' which
refers to the practise of taking a break for a cup of coffee and a biscuit. The best coffee in
Stockholm is thought to be served in the Mellqvist Bar, which is a great way to get a taste of
Sweden without shelling out a wad of cash (find it on your map: Rörstrandsgatan 4.
Alternatively, the rather wonderful Konditori Valand, which was designed in 1954 and still
boasts its original interior design, is another good option. Call +46 8 30 04 76 for details. A cup
of coffee usually costs between SEK 30-80, and you can get a free refill in most places.

€ Cheap eats
One way to side-step the hefty price of restaurant-dining in Stockholm, is to opt for a lunchtime
special ('dagens rätt') which will buy you soft drinks and a light lunch weekdays between
11AM-2PM, and costs about SEK 60-80. For example 'Simons Skafferi', Kungsstensgatan 12, is
open from Tuesdays to Saturdays and sells dishes made from local, organic, in-season
ingredients. Lunch SEK 110. Phone: +46 8 612 38 40.

Alternatively, Planet Food, found inside the Deli market 'Östermalmshallen', offers fresh wraps,
salad and juices for around SEK 55, in an otherwise up-market and pricey section of Stockholm.

Another option is to go for a buffet-style lunch at one of the many Asian restaurants which offer
excellent value-for-money. For example Kungshallen, on Kungsgatan 44 offers a buffet lunch;
prices vary widely between restaurants in this food hall SEK 18-180. See:
http://www.kungshallen.nu/ for info.

If you really want to find a place to eat in Gamla Stan ('the old town'), then the Creperie fyra
knop, Svartensgatan 4 is a relatively inexpensive option. Its just a stand which sells Crepes, but
its quite famous and often overcrowded, so be sure to book in advance. Open 5PM-11PM every
day, and you an eat for about SEK 70-92.

In the cellar of the Royal Library ('Kungliga Biblioteket ') in the Humlegården park (T
Östermalmstorg) you will find Restaurang Sumlen, which caters to poor students. Meals here
cost around SEK 58, but its worth noting that the restaurant closes in July. Open M-F
9:30AM-4PM. The area around the park is usually rather expensive, as is the 'Old Town' ('Gamla
Stan'), so this is a particularly good find.
€€ Super Cheap Eats
For a bargain basement meal, you may want to check out the local takeaways. Don't be
discouraged by the idea of a dodgy kebab, the Swedes themselves are particularly partial to a
felafel wrap, which comes with a delicious garlic sauce (ask for 'vitlök') for around SEK 15-25 a
pop. Just as a reference, a sandwich usually costs between SEK 60-80 so this is just about the
cheapest snack that you can get.

Why not try a Swedish hamburger? Max, located in Stockholm Central Station and
Norrmalmstorg, serves a selection of fast-food eats for between SEK 30-60. Not only that, Max
offers customers free Wi-Fi, toilet facilities and coffee too!

Like Subway? Then you'll also like 'Sandys', which has several outlets all over Stockholm,
including on Sergelarkaden 6, Klarabergsgatan 31, Stureplan 2, and Götgatan 28. Sandwiches
are SEK 49, and you can also get extra-large versions for an extra ten krona; salads available for
SEK 65.

If you're after something a bit different, then Gooh! might be your best bet. Gooh! serves up
microwave dishes for between SEK 39-69 that you can choose to either eat in or takeaway. The
restaurant is open weekdays 9AM-6PM, ca be found on Klarabergsviadukten 49,
Norrlandsgatan 15. Tel: +46 8 21 08 50 for details.


How much to tip?

Tipping is such a minefield in other counties, isn't it?

Obviously if you're pushed for cash, you won't be depositing SEK 1000 notes left, right and
centre, but if you've just received excellent service and want to leave a little 'thank you' behind,
a good guideline to follow is the usual 5-10% of your total bill. The typical Swedish custom is to
round up the bill, so if your meal comes to SEK 51.80, you'll leave SEK 60 etc. The gratuity for
hairdressers and hotel staff is always included in the bill, so you only need to worry about
restaurants and bars, and also taxis, if you are feeling flush.
Find a cheap hotel

Most of your money goes on accommodation when it comes to holidays, so take your time
when it comes to choosing your hotel or youth hostel. A hotel room can cost the earth so your
best bet is to plump for a hostel, of which there are multiple good examples to be found in
Stockholm.

Hotel
Hotel prices in Stockholm are expensive, but you might be able to find an affordable place
outside of the city centre. The basic guide price for a three-star-hotel room usually starts from
around SEK 750-1000/night. If you want to stay somewhere memorable, take a look at Hotel
Mälardrottningen, a hotel constructed from a former Yacht. Room hire starts from SEK
750/night (Summer), and there is a sauna in the hotel which you my use free-of-charge,
although this isn't unusual in Sweden, where they seem to view a sauna as a necessity, and not
a luxury. Got to love those Swedes!
See: http://www.malardrottningen.se/ for info.

E-mail receptionen@mallardrottningen.se. Tel: +46 (0)8 54 51 87 80

Another reasonably-priced option is, the Kungsbron Hotel (translating literally as 'King's Bridge')
on Västra Järnvägsgatan 17, which is located slap-bang in the centre of Stockholm. A single
room here costs SEK 795/night (Winter); SEK 995/night (Summer). Plan your trip well in
advance to be in with a chance of staying here, though, because its very popular.

See: +46 8 654 28 00, or; <<<<www.kungsbronhotel.se>>>>         for details.

Or you might want to check out the Sundyberg Hotel, to be found on Lötsjövägen 2a, which
provides self-catering apartments. Rooms typically cost around SEK 995/night.

For details go to: http://www.hotellsundbyberg.se/

E-mail: info@hotellsundbyberg.se

Tel: +46 8 29 42 80

Check out: http://www.expedia.co.uk/Hotels for some good deals accommodation-wise!

Hostel
If you want a central location, you should consider: Långholmen, on Långholmsmuren 20. This
hostel, a former prison, is clean and the staff are friendly. You even get to stay in the former
cells! The underground is about a 5-minute walk away, the hostel serves a top-quality breakfast
buffet for SEK 75, and there are washer-dryer facilities and internet available.

Telephone: +46 8 720 85 00 or e-mail: vandrarhem@langholmen.com for details.

Feeling adventurous? Why not give the Backpacker's Inn, on Banérgatan 56 a try? This hostel is
actully a school which rents out classrooms during the summer. It is 200m from the
underground, has a supermarket and shopping areas nearby. SEK 135 in the dorm for STF
members.

Phone: +46 8 660 75 15    or e-mail info@backpackersinn.se.

Perhaps you want to be placed right in the centre to cut down on transport costs? In that cast
you might want to book with the Archipelago Hostel, on Stora Nygatan 38, which has a
convenient central location.

Telephone: +46 8 22 99 40 or e-mail: info@archipelagohostel.se).

Live in Stockholm
Taken a bit of a shine to the place already?

Why not make the move to Stockholm permanently?
If you're looking to rent an appartment in Stockholm, take a look at some of the following
websites, which will point you in the right direction.

      http://www.thelocal.se/noticeboard/ (has the advantage of being in English)

      http://www.andrahandsguiden.com/

      http://kopochsalj.eniro.se/

      http://www.jagvillhabostad.nu

You need to select the options for 'Stockholm' (obviously!), and 'Bostäder'. Its rather helpful if
you can speak some Swedish to get through these property listings, since most of them are in
Swedish. Your best bet its to enlist the help of a Swedish friend who can run through the
available rooms with you.

A bedroom (with shared kitchen and bathroom) costs about SEK 4600 (city centre), SEK
2,800-3,700 (suburbs), but you would be very lucky to find one in the centre of Stockholm. You
are far more likely to find a place in the suburbs or the outer-reaches of the city, so checkout
the following areas: Vasastan (in Norrmalm) which attracts a young crowd and offers a bit of
shopping/nightlife; Lilla Essingen and Stora Essingen (Kungsholmen); Västerort; Söderort; Solna
and Sundyberg; and Lidingö. I would advise you to trawl through the accommodation sites
above just to see whats out there within your price range. Don't wait too long to reply to an Ad,
though, because they get snapped-up very quickly.

Don't feel bummed out if you can't find anywhere in central Stockholm, almost all
Stockholmians rent, and the market is notoriously competitive!

Need a mobile phone? Go to Telia, the Swedish network-provider: www.telia.se

Need a job? Go to:

      http://www.monster.se

      http://www.manpower.se

http://www.thelocal.se


But bear in mind that there is a high-unemployment rate (about 20%) for the unemployed age
15-25 in Stockholm, so make sure that you are prepared for a little competition!

Language
You can safely expect the Swedes to put you to shame with their level of spoken English, but if
you want to work in Sweden I would advise you to get to grips with the basics. Swedish is
relatively similar to German, so if you studied German at school you may be able to get by in
terms of reading street signs and understanding a menu. The spoken language is a bit more
difficult to master, but there are some good websites for day-to-day phrases and language
tutorials:

http://www.ielanguages.com/swedish.html

Public transport
Stockholm is well-served by public transport, which is a convenient, easy-to-use, and
inexpensive way to get around the city. Depending on your target destination, you may choose
to get around by underground, district or commuter train, bus, tram, ferry or taxi. The entire
system (known collectively as 'Lokaltrafik') is priced based on the zone being travelled to, and
journeys require between two and four 'coupons' per distance traveled.

You can buy coupons en route, but its cheaper to buy them in advance from http://sl.se/, and
you can get hold of travel maps, bus routes and timetable information here. In order to get
from 'A' to 'B', there are a whole host of confusing ticket options, but if you are serious about
getting your culture on, you might want to consider investing in the rather brilliant 'Stockholm
Card'.

The Stockholm Card permits you to travel for free on public transport (woop woop!) and also
offers you free entrance to 75 museums and sightings in Stockholm, along with free sightseeing
trips on the network of boats etc. Its a really good option if you want to see as much of the area
as you can, but not so much if you just fancy getting wasted in a different bar than usual. The
price is SEK 395 (Adults for a 24-hour period); SEK 525 (Adult 48-hour period); SEK 625 (72
hours); SEK 690 (30-day-period); SEK 180 (Kids 24 hours); SEK 210 (Kids 48 hours) etc. For
details visit: http://www.stockholmpass.com/

Not the museum type? Fear not, you can get yourself a 24-hour pass for the brilliantly cheap
price of SEK 100, or for 72 hours at SEK 200, or a weekly pass for SEK 260. Its a little like the
London 'Oyster card' system is terms of price. You can also gets strips of 16 coupons for SEK 180
and share them between you. A single ticket costs SEK 15, provided that you purchase it in
advance, or SEK 20 if purchased en route, and the ticket lasts for an hour.

Underground

The underground trains run from 5AM-1AM, and there are numerous stations located around
the city; look for signs to the 'Tunnelbana'. This is the easiest way to travel around.

The commuter train

The commuter train ( known as 'Pendeltåg') also uses the coupon system; trains depart every
fifteen minutes during the day, and every half-hour during the evenings.

Bus

The bus system covers more ground than the Tunnelbana, and within the city centre blue buses
numbered from one to four will take you to most tourist hotspots.
Light Railway

A semi-circular railway line runs from the west to the south-east of Stockholm. Looks for the
signs reading 'Tvärbanan'. These lines will usually bring you to the main underground lines, and
so can be a good connecting service.

Ferry

Ferries run with relatve frequency to the infamous Archipelago, and to the Arlanda Express
Train (so that you can wave goodbye to Stockholm in style!), and it will also take you out to visit
Suburban destinations if you should choose to explore farther afield. Be warned though that
only certain journeys will be covered by the Stockholm card, so be sure to check with the ticket
clerk's beforehand about your particular trip. You can also hop on a boat for SEK 10/day.

Bike

Feeling healthy? Cycling across Stockholm only takes about half-a-hour, and may even prove
faster than public transport. There are designated cycle paths, but be careful in Winter because
an ice-laden pavement can be difficult to negotiate! There are various companies which hire
bikes out, including; Stockholm City Bikes (simply pick up a bike at a standpoint and deposit it at
another which suits you - purchase via 'keycard' for a minimum 3-day-hire at SEK 125) but, just
FYI, these are usable only for periods of up to three hours at any one time; alternatively,
Bikeguide Stockholm may be a good option if you have young children (child carriers/seats
available) for SEK 250/day, for details phone +46 (0)733 9 56 26. You can also hire Rollerblades
and Kayaks from Djurgårdsbrons Sjöcafé, during the summer, which also rents bikes for 250SEK
per day.

Taxi and Car Rental

Taxi's are alarmingly expensive, and not really a viable option when you are travelling on a
budget. A five-minute trip will cost around SEK 100. If you really don't have another option,
stick to the three main companies: Taxi Stockholm, +46 8 15 00 00; Taxi Kurir, +46 8 30 00 00;
and Taxi 020, 020 20 20 20. These are free to call from a Swedish telephone line. You may
choose to rent a car, but once again, this is an expensive option and there is a daily congestion
charge of between SEK 10-20.

Stockholm Tourist Office

If you get stuck, contact the Tourist Office 'Sverigehuset' on: +46 8 508 28 508

The staff are helpful and speak excellent english. The Office is opening hours are as follows:
Monday to Fridays 9AM-7PM, Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday 10AM-4PM.

Shopping
Money burning a hole in your pocket?

Here's something that you may not already know about the Swedes: they are seriously stylish.
So stylish, in fact, that you may well think that your aeroplane has inadvertently taken a wrong
turn and flown you to Milan during the height of fashion week. Because image is so important
to the Swedes, they have some really good shopping on offer, and while it isn't exactly cheap,
its a great way to pick up something a bit unusual and the student market in Stockholm is
well-catered-for on the shopping front.

Whatever it is that you are looking to buy, you will find it in Drottninggatan, a pedestrianised
high street sandwiched in-between the Riksbron bridge and the Observatorielunden park.
There are two Swedish shopping malls here that you should try out; one called 'Åhléns' and
another known as 'PUB'.

Looking for a new oufit on a budget? Then you should definitely visit the Stockholm Fashion
Outlet, which is situated out on Majorsvägen 2-4, in Järfälla. To get there, take the Commuter
train to 'Jakobsberg' and at Jakobsberg take bus 567 to the Outlet Store. Open M-F 11AM-8PM,
Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM. The goods here are much lower-priced than on the high-street,
at around 30 to 60 percent discount.

Bargain-hunters should also check out Stortorget, in Gamla Stan at Christmastime, though
because that's when the Christmas Market is running.


Souvenirs

Sweden is famous for Scandinavian Design; think IKEA! If you are thinking about taking home
some locally-produced items, you might want to consider some interior design pieces, some
clothing (Acne, Cheap Monday and Filippa K are all Swedish designed), or some glassware.

Where to go? Try Gallerian, on Hamngatan 37 in the city centre, or Skrapan, on Götgatan 78,
which is geared towards the student market. Alternatively, Monki, on Sergelgatan 16-18 and
Götgatan 78, sells women's clothing at great prices. And by 'great', I actually mean 'cheap'.
There are also a wealth of second hand stores available if you are in the Götgatan area:
Emmaus, and Myrorna.

Weather
If you decide to visit Stcokholm, you really need to pay attention to the weather, which can vary
greatly depending on the seasons. Don't listen to anyone who claims that the Winter in
Stockholm is 'mild', because they are lying to you. It is freezing. Although, for the sake of
impartiality, I should mention that the temperature in Winter varies greatly from year-to-year
(ha!) and also that how cold you feel is really a very relative question. Basically, if you're coming
from California, Florida or Australia, or even the UK, you need too think seriously about
investing in a ski-jacket of some variety. Unless you come from Finland, Iceland, Norway or
Denmark, just assume that you are about to freeze your arse off.

January
Average High: 30ºF (-1°C)
Average Low: 23ºF (-5°C)
Precipitation: 1.50 in. (38.1 mm)

February

The Stockholm Furniture Fair takes place in the first five days of February, and if you are a fan of
that minialist, functional Scandinavian design this is clearly the best time to stay in the city!


Average High: 30ºF (-1°C)
Average Low: 22ºF (-6°C)
Precipitation: 1.10 in. (27.9 mm)

March

National Waffle Day takes place in March. No, I'm not joking. Try one from a street vendor, they
are cheap and delicious, so you can't go wrong!


Average High: 37ºF (3°C)
Average Low: 27ºF (-3°C)
Precipitation: 1.00 in. (25.4 mm)

April

Celebrate the King King Carl XVI Gustaf's Birthday on April 30th; its a national holiday, so I guess
he doesn't have to ask his boss for time off. Lucky!


Average High: 47ºF (8°C)
Average Low: 34ºF (1°C)
Precipitation: 1.20 in. (30.5 mm)

May

Walpurgis Night (may also take place 30th April), is an evening of bonfies and booze;;
celebrations which mark the canonistaion of Saint Walpurga in 870. In Sweden, Walpurgis Night
('Valborgsmässoafton') is a national holiday, and the Swedes generally take to the streets en
masse to drink and get into trouble. The atmosphere is terriffic, and its definitely worth booking
your holiday around.


Average High: 60ºF (16°C)
Average Low: 43ºF (6°C)
Precipitation: 1.20 in. (30.5 mm)
June

Midsummer Celebrations, celebrated with live folk music, dances around the maypole, the
wearing of amusing national costume (lots of emroidered yellow aprons and lederhosen-style
pants), servings of traditional Swedish food (smörgåsbord, anyone?) and the customary
aquavit. There are an awful lot of designated national holidays in Sweden, so take advantage of
them because the Swedes really know how to celebrate in style.


Average High: 69ºF (21°C)
Average Low: 52ºF (11°C)
Precipitation: 1.80 in. (45.7 mm)

July

The Gay Pride Festival kicks off and the streets are flooded with costumed parades.


Average High: 71ºF (22°C)
Average Low: 56ºF (13°C)
Precipitation: 2.80 in. (71.1 mm)

August

The Swedish Water Festival: each year the Stockholmians celebrate the abundance of water
which makes their city so very unique.


Average High: 68ºF (20°C)
Average Low: 54ºF (12°C)
Precipitation: 2.60 in. (66.0 mm)

September
Average High: 59ºF (15°C)
Average Low: 48ºF (9°C)
Precipitation: 2.20 in. (55.9 mm)

October
Average High: 49ºF (9°C)
Average Low: 41ºF (5°C)
Precipitation: 2.00 in. (50.8 mm)

November

Its worth noting that the well-attended Stockholm International Film Festival takes place in
November.


Average High: 40ºF (4°C)
Average Low: 33ºF (1°C)
Precipitation: 2.10 in. (53.3 mm)

December

New Year's Eve celebrations; everyone takes to the streets to go crazy!


Average High: 34ºF (1°C)
Average Low: 26ºF (-3°C)
Precipitation: 1.80 in. (45.7 m)

Best time to visit
The cheapest month of the year to visit Stockholm is probably February, before the Summer
season kicks off, and after the Christmas rush. The best month to visit in terms of weather
would be July. Of course, it really depends what you are looking for, and Stockholm looks
especially beautiful when covered under a veil of snow. There is a particularly useful section of
the Stockholm Tourism website which lists what events are taking place each month.

Please visit: http://beta.stockholmtown.com/en/To-Do/Events/

Alot of the major cultural venues shut down in the Summer (the Opera, Dance, Ballet ad
Theatre), just when you would imagine that the tourist trade would start to kick off. Daylight
lasts until about 11PM in Stockholm during the Summer, which some people tend to find
disorientating but to be honest the longer days are generally seen as quite useful.

About the author
When not neglecting her social life and educational development in favour of watching
televisual detritus, Nicolette enjoys pretending to be interested in her colleagues' children and
reading books rather than talking to actual people. She is still young enough to be
contemplating getting an offensive slogan tattooed on her person, but old enough to rationalise
that this is probably a poorly thought-out plan for the new-and-improved Nicolette of the
future.

To read more by Nicolette, please visit: http://tellybloguscinematicusfantasticus.blogspot.com

				
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