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Things to do in Stockholm

Kayak the Stockholm Archipelago

Home to almost 30,000 islands, Stockholm’s vast archipelago is a slice of the seaside a stone’s throw from the city centre. Although exploring the network of pint-sized islands and teeny islets can be done via organised tours and boat trips, rent a kayak from Dalarö Kajak (tel +46739741034; www.dalarokajak.se) and explore for yourself.

See a concert in Stockholm's stylish concert hall

In a city of such style, it is no surprise that Stockholm Concert Hall (tel +468 506 677 88; www.konserthuset.se) - one of Sweden’s most notable landmarks - is so architecturally chic. Neoclassical in design, this beautiful blue building houses the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and plays host to annual Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony. Tours are available.

Stop for a fika

Stockholm is famous for its coffee culture and the locals regard the ritual of stopping for a slurp of the black stuff (accompanied by a cinnamon bun) with something approaching religious fervour. Known as fika by the Swedes, the experience should also involve at least half an hour of chat.

Sweat it out in a sauna

Swedes are relaxed about getting their kit off, and the city’s many public saunas offer an abundance of choice. The classic smoke sauna is fuelled by fragrant pinewood; there are several examples in Stockholm, although most are modern electricity-powered numbers. Leave your modesty at the door.

Tuck into a Swedish smörgåsbord

The smörgåsbord is Sweden’s answer to the Middle Eastern mezze and usually includes a dollop of köttbullar (meatballs), rye bread, herring and cheese. Also worth looking out for is pyttipanna, a dish composed of chopped meat, spices and potatoes, topped with a fried egg and pickled beetroot.

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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Queen's Hotel

With cheap stays hard to come by, this budget-friendly, family-run hotel on one of Stockholm's main shopping streets is a real gem. Newly updated, all rooms now come with free Wi-Fi and run from clean and cheerful singles to wildly spacious superior stays.

Elite Hotel Arcadia

This design hotel (part of a chain with five other properties in the city) has a central location in Östermalm, not far from Stockholm Stadium. The elegant 1950s property has been transformed into a sparkling, 4-star stay with Scandinavian minimalism throughout. With free Wi-Fi, a decent gym, a lovely restaurant and breakfast included, it's hard to better.

Castanea Hostel

Notable for its central location and suitability for lovebirds on a serious budget, the Castanea is set among the cobbles and historical lanes of the Old Town. There are 55 beds in total with a number of single and twin rooms, making it a cut above the usual snip-price joint.

Hotel Rival

This boutique hotel occupies a former cinema - hence the huge black and white photographs of Swedish film stars gracing the walls of the 99 bedrooms. The Rival is owned by Benny Andersson, of ABBA fame, who has turned it into one of the most rock 'n roll places to stay in Stockholm.

Clarion Hotel Sign

It's not small, but somehow the 558-room Clarion Hotel Sign feels as if it is – something that could be down to the individually designed rooms. The angular glass exterior, designed by acclaimed Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh, shouts modern which is followed up in the rooms. A bonus is the rooftop spa which has an excellent sauna.

Grand Hotel

The 310-room Grand Hotel has long been the most glamorous place to stay in the city and is justifiably one of the world's greatest hotels. Opening in 1874 its 21 luxurious suites are still popular with visiting celebrities and royalty - famous past guests include Theodore Roosevelt and Douglas Fairbanks.