Some time ago, I went on a search for the most common questions people have about Stockholm online and made some pretty interesting discoveries. Having discovered a few rather intriguing ones starting with ‘why,’ I thought it would be fun to try and answer them from my perspective as someone who has been exploring the city for several years now and who has spent plenty of time sharing his experiences with others.

1. Why Stockholm is known as the Venice of the North

Södra Blasieholmskajen in Stockholm

Stockholm is built on 14 islands which gives it its unique character and means that water is present everywhere. You can rest assured that the city makes the most of its location when it comes to both landscape and architecture. Stockholmers love their waterfront promenades but also skating and skiing on frozen lakes in winter. Beaches across the town are some of the most beloved hangout areas and places for summer barbecues.

Even the history of the city is closely connected to water with one of the most fascinating museums being the Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) presenting the story of a 400-year-old ship. Ships are also an important part of the exhibition at the Museum of Medieval Stockholm (Medeltidsmuseum) and it was Stockholm’s location which allowed it to become a powerful metropolis back in the Middle Ages.

2. Why is Stockholm beautiful?

Axel Oxenstierna's Palace in Stockholm

Stunning historic old town, beautiful architecture from the late 19th and early 20th century, as well as modern sights, are only a few of the things making the Swedish capital a looker. Accompanied by tonnes of greenery and nature preserves stretching directly in the big city, all of these elements together create one of the most pleasant urban environments I have ever had a chance to experience.

One of my favourite things in Sweden is also the long summer days during which you can enjoy sunlight and fairly warm weather even late in the evening. And if you ask me, the best way to spend a summer evening in Stockholm is on the coast admiring the sunset on the water. The views from many parts of the city are marvellous and I feel like I cannot recommend this experience enough.

Lastly, Stockholm is a very walkable city which makes it easy to discover all of its hidden corners hiding even more beautiful places.

3. Why is Stockholm so boring?

Swedish Parliament House, Stockholm

My obvious answer would be — it is not! However, your experience ultimately depends on what you are looking for and Stockholm may certainly seem somewhat more conservative and polished than for example Copenhagen, which is in many ways similar.

In my opinion, this is what makes some people disregard the city as boring. If you belong in this group, I suggest you try looking past the obvious. For instance, Stockholm features a huge number of restaurants and venues serving dishes from all over the world.

The selection of museums is truly incredible and many of them go far beyond the ordinary. Clearly, not all museums are the same and I honestly believe that you can find at least a few that match your personal interests and taste if you only give them a chance. Many even offer interactive experiences and keep experimenting with new ways of attracting audiences which greatly benefits the visitors.

In case you are after something totally out of the ordinary, try spending some time around Sveavägen on a summer Saturday evening. You should be able to see some insane creations from classic American cars and witness things that are far from boring or sophisticated.

4. Why is Stockholm so expensive?

Stureplan facades in Stockholm

While I can’t give you a specific answer to this question, it is safe to say that this is the way things are around here and it is best to come prepared. Either with a full wallet (or rather a good balance on your bank account as cash barely is a thing in Sweden anymore) or a smart plan.

For instance, drinks out can be multiple times more expensive than in other parts of the world and essentially all services come accompanied by premium price tags. However, it is far from impossible to enjoy Stockholm without spending a fortune. There are many things you can do for free or on a budget including museums, concerts, meetups, and more.

If you do decide to enjoy some of the perks Stockholm has to offer, it may be good to know that price differences between decent and upscale venues tend to be reasonable, so take that into account when choosing from the myriad of options available out there.

5. Why is Stockholm a green city?

Fountain at Prince Eugen's Waldemarsudde in Stockholm

As I briefly mentioned before, the amount of greenery in Stockholm is extraordinary. Parks and even large nature preserves with rich fauna and flora often surrounding beautiful lakes are present in several parts of the city not so distant from its centre.

On top of that, in Stockholm, you can find a unique concept known as the Royal National City Park (Kungliga Nationalstadsparken) which is a large area where development is strictly regulated while nature is being protected despite the enormous value of the land in this lucrative district.

The willingness of authorities to compromise, introduce and enforce strict legislation is what makes it possible for the city residents, as well as its visitors, to enjoy a very pleasant environment all year round. The city landscape gets especially beautiful during warmer months of the year, however, when flowers blossom and trees get green.

6. Why is Stockholm a sustainable city?

Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm

You might have heard that waste management in Sweden blows that of other countries out of the water. Stockholm is no exception and the infrastructure in place, as well as the discipline of the population, contributes to the sustainability of the city.

Another example of how the Swedish capital approaches environmental questions is the impressive neighbourhood known as Hammarby Sjöstad which tends to be denoted as an eco-friendly district. From the early days, the idea behind this district was to build a more sustainable, cleaner, and more self-sufficient urban environment in place of a former industrial area.

Although there are different opinions on the topic, the project was largely successful and today acts as one of the leading examples of eco-friendly urban areas in the world.

Other aspects, such as the exceptional system of public transport, contribute to this area as well.

7. Why go to Stockholm? (Why visit Stockholm?)

Strandvägen in Stockholm

Quite frankly, I do not know why anyone would not want to visit Stockholm.

I think, though, that the city is most appealing to travellers who are willing to look past the obvious. Not that there are not enough historic sites and designated activities to experience but, in my opinion, you need to wander around and explore to truly fall in love with the city.

Get out there and admire the blossoming trees, reflections of the ingenious architecture on the omnipresent water. Take a walk around the Old Town (Gamla Stan), but not only the main streets. Go and cross the narrow ones as well, and you will feel like a medieval nobleman or knight just strolling the streets.

Stockholm is also a fairly relaxed city for a metropolis of its size. The locals rarely miss an opportunity to enjoy some sunshine laying down on the grass at one of the numerous green parks around the city. Oftentimes, they take it up a notch with a barbeque and some drinks under the open skies. So, be like a local too, and you will quickly discover how magical the Swedish capital is.

8. Why Stockholm is the best city

View from Observatoriekullen in Stockholm

This is a tough one to answer even for me. If I were to argue for why Stockholm is the best city overall, I would go with a combination of arguments.

As the largest city in Scandinavia, Stockholm offers everything imaginable. Do you fancy historical architecture? What about top-quality international cuisine? Shopping? Nightlife? Nature? Yes, Stockholm has it all. In addition to that, it keeps an atmosphere which is far more tranquil than that of, for example, Southern European metropolises and many other cities of its size in general.

Excellent public transport makes it easy to move around easily and efficiently whether you are visiting or staying in the city for a longer time while the enormous number of museums and art venues offer cultural experiences for everyone. Even for those who would not normally consider themselves museum enthusiasts.

The geographical position of the city has its pros and cons, but it is hard to argue against the appeal of the city being spread over numerous islands with stunning waterfront promenades and views like no other.

Hopefully, my answers inspire you to come to visit Stockholm or keep exploring the beautiful Scandinavian city further in case you have had the chance to see it before. In case you have any other questions or comments, I would love to hear from you on our social media channels or at juraj.orszag@trevl.eu.

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