It is 11:00PM, and we have just landed in the rather small Arlanda airport to discover the city of Stockholm in the springtime.
As soon as we arrive, Scandinavian accuracy and cleanliness jump at us! Before we know it, we find ourselves in the Arlanda Express that links the airport to the city centre. The train is clean, carpeted, comfortable with big seats and roomy luggage areas, and our phones pick up the free wireless instantly. The speed of the train, up to 205km/h, is shown on a screen. In merely 20 minutes, we reach Central Stockholm, walking out of the station towards our floating accommodation at 11:28PM!
The sky is clear and we feel the cold air on our faces. Just like the train, the city looks clean. Its broad streets, bodies of water delimiting the many islands composing the capital, and the fresh sea breeze make it very breathable.
We easily spot her, as soon as we reach the water: the three-mast AF Chapman proudly floats on the waters of the Baltic Sea, on the shore of Skeppsholmen. Its white hull and lit masts contrast with the darkness of the sky and still waters. After traveling all over the world since it first took sea in 1888, this British-born steel-sailing vessel was bought by the Swedish navy and converted into a youth hostel in 1949.
The hull was refurbished with many rooms from dormitories to comfortable officers’ cabins. Comfortable, but small as space is scarse on a boat. With the minutia of boat architects, every inch is wisely leveraged to provide the best possible comfort: closets, two single-beds and a desk, all in original wood, provide basic but classy, functional and authentic decor.
The porthole overlooks the eastern shores of Gamla Stan, the old city that we are impatient to discover. We fall asleep to the sounds of ducks and seagulls, and the gently rocking of the centennial lady.
Marcella & Claire
- The AF Chapman is a very unique accommodation and provides affordable dorms and more luxurious cabins. Make sure to book ahead as the AF Chapman is a landmark of Stockholm.
- There are several ways to reach the city centre from the Arlanda airport. The most efficient one is the Arlanda Express: fast, reliable, and frequent. Tickets can be bought online prior to landing to save even more time. There are cheaper ways to get downtown (buses).
- Beyond Stockholm, Sweden is a fabulous country to visit: get inspired!
- Check out this interactive map (short tutorial) for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!