Why go to Stockholm?
This metropolitan city's Old Town features one of the largest 16th-century neighborhoods in all of Europe
Savings can be found, but Stockholm is expensive, so you'll want to set aside a good chunk of your budget for this port
Despite the potential expense, Scandinavia's largest city is a must-see
Stockholm Cruise Port Facilities?
If your ship docks at Frihamnen, leave ASAP. Except for the contemporary art museum Magasin 3, in a converted warehouse, this bland industrial area has no attractions for tourists. The port is used most often as a terminus for ferries crossing the Baltic Sea. While there is a souvenir shop and free Wi-Fi in the cruise ship terminal, there is no Internet cafe nor ATM; however, the ferry terminal, about a five-minute walk from the cruise terminal, does have an ATM machine. To reach a more charming part of Stockholm, grab a cab just a few yards from your ship or, slightly farther on, board buses near Magasin 3.
If your vessel docks at Gamla Stan, you will find museums, the 600-room Royal Palace, cafes, trinket shops, ATMs and banks, all just minutes' walk from the dock.
Good to Know?
Visiting Gamla Stan means you'll be treading on cobblestones. Leave the high heels and the flimsy sandals back on the ship. To save a few kronor, avoid meals in the most-touristed areas, where price inflation is common: for instance, $27 for a small plate of Swedish meatballs. On the plus side, pickpockets and petty crime are not common in Stockholm.
You can explore Stockholm by electric trolleys (called tram), buses, ferries, the subway and on foot. The city is very walkable, with many of the prime tourist destinations within a couple of miles of one another. Taxis do accept credit cards, which is a plus because cabs can be costly; for example, a ride from Frihamnen to the city center -- near the main train station and central subway hub -- will cost about $25.
Remember, though, that you can use your Stockholm Card on public transport. Just step aboard the bus or tram, and show it to the driver.
Another option is to buy a ticket for the daily hop-on/hop-off bus. Tickets are good for 24 hours and come with a map noting various attractions and their bus stops; you can leave the bus and pick it up again at any of its stops. City Sightseeing offers both a bus-only and bus/boat option, and passengers can board the buses at Frihamnen, among other stops.
Finally, environmentally friendly Stockholm has a municipal bike-rental program that's convenient. Buy a three-day card online, at your hotel or at the main tourist office at Vasagatan 14. Find one of several dozen automated bike racks, which operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and scan your card, which will delete credits and unlock a bike for you. Ride it where you want, for up to three hours, then return it to any of the bike racks.
North American and European flights use Stockholm's sleek Arlanda Airport. It can be reached by the Arlanda Express train in just 20 minutes (some days the train offers two-for-one fares), by the direct bus known as Flygbussarna and by cab. The train and bus arrive at the Central Train Station. Rental cars are available at the airport.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The Swedish krona is the unit of currency. For up-to-the-minute rates check www.xe.com or www.oanda.com. Denominations of paper krona are 20, 50, 100 and 500. Amounts below 20 krona are settled with coins. ATMs are abundant in the city, as are currency-exchange shops, most prominently the company named Forex. Occasionally there are ATMs immediately outside Forex offices. Banks will also exchange currency.
Officially, it's Swedish, but English is a mandatory subject for several years of school, as is a choice of a third language. (French and German are the favorites). Consequently, workers in areas frequented by visitors speak more-than-adequate English.