Those peering out of their plane windows, as their London to Stockholm flights come in to land, will be treated to a preview of what such a special city Stockholm is. Cast over 14 islands around Lake Mälaren, and swaddled in deep-green pine forests, Stockholm has a picture-book prettiness even from the air. Once you've had a chance to explore Sweden's capital, you'll soon realise it exceeds even that lofty promise. From the heart-melting gorgeousness of Gamla Stan – the old-town island at its heart – to the designer chic of its modern downtown, Stockholm is a city that proves contrasts needn't jar.
Prices for flights can double from the time they go on sale until the day before departure, so timing your London to Stockholm booking is essential, if you're looking to save money on your travel costs. But those price rises don't really kick in until a month before your leaving date. The seasons don't swing prices too much in Stockholm (except at Christmas), but the cheapest months to fly are in October, November or January. Even better for your wallet is to travel on a Wednesday morning.
Stansted hosts the cheapest routes to Stockholm, with most landing at Arlanda Airport (ARN). To travel the 30 miles north, catch the Stansted Express train from London Liverpool Street. EasyBus also provides transport to the airport from across London, including Victoria Station. Alternatively, you can drive up the M11 motorway.
London Stockholm flights take on average two hours to cover the 890 miles. Add an extra hour onto your arrival time, as Stockholm is one hour ahead of London. Ryanair and Swiss Air fly this route, but Norwegian Airlines offers the best deals.
There are four terminals at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, with international arrivals landing at Terminals 2 and 5. The airport is located 25 miles north of the city and you can be in Stockholm in as little as 20 minutes on the Arlanda Express. This train departs from the lower level of each airport terminal every 15 minutes. It costs about GBP 25 for a one-way ticket, or about GBP 48 for a return ticket.
Stockholm deserves better than to be rushed. That said, most of its sights are clustered around its walkable, compact city centre. It's hard not to start with an amble around Gamla Stan, with its multi-coloured townhouses that simply ooze Scandinavian magic. The Baroque Royal Palace is also a fantastic place to spend an afternoon, you might even bump into a member of the royal family. The Museum of Modern Art on the neighbouring island of Skeppsholmen deconstructs Stockholm's prettiness with a stark contemporary, Swedish cool. And if that sounds too serious, try the warm glow of nostalgia at the ABBA Museum.
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