There are 24,000 islands in all and you are free to camp on any of them. The bigger ones have campsites; the smaller ones you can have all to yourself. Buy a five-day Batluffarkortet archipelago ferry pass, for about £25 and use taxi boats to get to the smaller islands.
Despite it's reputation as a haunt of the supercool and the sometimes exorbitant alcohol prices, there are plenty of places in Stockholm in which to find a real party. Located near the theatre, the Soap Bar has a very trendy mixed crowd, who you will be joining in dancing on the tables by 9pm at the weekend. Further out from the centre but worth the trip is Cliff Barnes, named after the character from Dallas whose picture adorns one of the walls of the bar. It's very busy at the weekend but has a great atmosphere.
Hostel af Chapman must be one of the few hostels that is actually a sailing vessel. It's located right in the centre of Stockholm, has recently been refurbished and is extremely reasonably priced in an expensive city.
Västra Brobänken, Skeppsholmen, on Skeppsholmen;
tel: 08 463 22 66;
We couldn't get on board here as it's really popular, but it comes highly recommended. It's a hostel on board a beautiful old sailing ship right in the middle of the city. Book well in advance if you want to get a room.
Flaggmansvägen 8, Skeppsholmen, Stockholm
On a sunny day, rent a bike (or inline skates) from the waterside hire shop by the bridge to the island of Djurgarden. Traffic is banned from the island at weekends, and you can ride through beautiful green spaces, just a stone's throw from the city centre.
By the bridge to Djurgarden.
A very swanky bar which boasts a fantastic view over Stockholm. It is quite pricey and gets very busy in the evening, but go there for an afternoon drink and you can enjoy the magnificent view pretty much alone.
Tranan serves old-fashioned, home-made meatballs with lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers, at a very reasonable price. If they're not on the menu, just ask for them. After dinner you can go downstairs to the bar and enjoy cool music while rubbing shoulders with trendy media-types.
Karlbergsvägen 14, T Odenplan
0046 8 527 281 00
This swanky area on the north island is really nice to walk around. From the bridge to Djursgaten island, walk or cycle north along Narvavagen. When you get to the roundabout turn left onto Karlavagen. The side streets along this route between Karlavagen and Narvavagen are beautiful, with several
boutiques and lovely cafes.
This converted prison on the small island of Langholmen was home to Stockholm’s most notorious criminals until 1975. It now serves as an inexpensive hotel/hostel where the former cells have been turned into rooms, complete with original doors and small windows (minus the iron bars). Rooms are pretty basic, as you’d expect, but the building itself is impressive and has retained loads of authentic features. It’s absolutely vast, and has a restaurant, bar, cafe and museum. The traditional Swedish breakfast is worth paying extra for but we were disappointed not to see porridge on the menu.
Langholmsmuren 20, Gamla Kronohaktet, Langholmen; nearest station is Hornstull;
A great restaurant-cum-bar-cum-gig venue overlooking the island of Gamla Stan and beyond. We visited on a Friday night and dined in a cosy alcove with a buzzy atmosphere and saw a Swedish blues band perform live in front of an arty/folky audience. The venue also plays host to comedians and magicians, which can make for an evening of random fun.
Walk up the hill from Slussen or take the Gondala lift for about £1 and walk accross the Mosebacke bridge;
Mosebacke torg 3, 116 46;
tel: 08 5560 9890
A small - and always packed - bar in Gamla Stan. It's nominally gay, but always has a very mixed crowd with a real buzz. Like all bars in Sweden, it also serves food and here it's not just a thoughtless add-on to the bar: good, imaginative, fusion food. Your only problem will be finding a table.
Österlånggatan 7, Gamla Stan; tel: 08 206 055; nearest metro: Gamla Stan
Step off the Arlanda Express or bus from the airport and head for a deep chill in the Ice Bar, located near the central station in the Nordic Sea Hotel on Vasaplan. Sip ABSOLUT vodka cocktails from ice glasses whilst wearing oven mitts and a snug poncho complete with a furry hood fit for the occasion. Chilly, touristy and incredibly funny.
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