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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > November 2016 > Spend a Perfect Weekend in Stockholm with a chill in the air and a cup of coffee

Spend a Perfect Weekend in Stockholm with a chill in the air and a cup of coffee

The Swedish capital and the largest city in Scandinavia, Stockholm is often called a ‘Venice of the North’, with lakes and inlets instead of canals. Even as the days grow shorter and the first breath of winter is in the air, it’s a place that richly rewards explorers on a long weekend, with its historic town quarters, inviting coffee shops, diverse museums, ever-present love of design and an archipelago on its doorstep.

@RGouldingTravel • PHOTOGRAPHS LENA GRANEFELT @lena_granefelt

MAP ILLUSTRATION: NIK NEVES

TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BA, Norwegian and SAS fly to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport from Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester, while Ryanair serves the more out-of-town Skavsta and Västerås airports from Stansted (from £80; ryanair.com). Travelcards for the metro, buses and trams cost £11/£21 for 24/72 hours (sl.se).

Lamps light up the alleys leading to Köpmantorget (Merchant’s Square) in Gamla Stan at dusk

The walk

Stockholm is a city of islands, cliffs and lofty overlooks – a compact place, but not always a flat one. Luckily, walkers have plenty of spots to break for a coffee. At the core of the capital, Gamla Stan (‘The Old Town’) has an island all to itself, its humped shape hidden by tall, closeset houses three or more centuries old. Crossing the Vasabron bridge to its northwest corner, the first sight is the graceful 17th-century design of Riddarhuset, Sweden’s former House of Lords. Deeper into Gamla Stan, Västerlånggatan is a narrow but well-trodden shopping street, the closest thing Stockholm has to a tourist trap. Smaller alleys lead up to the left, towards the centre of the island, where you can find the best of the quarter’s small art galleries and craft shops. It’s quieter during the day than it would have been in medieval times, when this was the extent of the city and home to all its trades, recalled in names like Järntorget (Iron Square). But when the lanterns twinkle on at dusk, and people leave the cobblestones for the warmth of a tiny bistro, the old town looks truly ageless.

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The November 2016 issue of Lonely Planet Traveller.
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