Everyone should see Stockholm once, but it's not a cheap city for sightseeing. Once you've counted in accommodation costs and a trip to the Vasa Museum, you'll probably have to skip lunches for the rest of your stay (or your life). Maybe even dinners too, if you're in the middle of a shoestring backpacking adventure.
This is where bus number four comes in.
For just 25 kronor (around $4), it takes you on a long and comprehensive trip all around the capital. You can see architectural wonders, breathtaking views, and hipster hotspots. (And you can always stay on the bus if you fear hipsters.)
The humble number four doesn't waste time with the royal palace, the city hall, or the Abba museum – oh no – it trundles along an exclusive and brilliant collection of Stockholm gems, and also gets you into nice residential neighbourhoods – you know, the Stockholmer in her natural habitat.
Leave the rest for the tourists and their Instagram accounts.
And if you time it right, you can do the whole lot on one ticket with a couple of stops along the way. Or, you can just sit on the bus and watch the capital of Scandinavia fly past you out the window.
So here are the ten best bits of the journey – in order.
Photo: Per Larsson/TT
You'll be starting your tour at Gullmarsplan, just a stone's throw from the world's only spherical stadium – Globen. You can take a quick trip up to the top if you're looking for a good view of the city, but let's not mess around. Let's hop aboard the number four.
Hornstull, top right. Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT
After heading north-west through the middle of Södermalm, you'll find yourself approaching Hornstull. The hipsters who are too cool for trendy hipster paradise SoFo in central Södermalm are all here, hiding behind a coffee mug or a pair of sunglasses. This is a good place for a stop. Grab a coffee in one of the funky cafés, do some people watching, and have a little stroll by the waterside. Wear an ironic hat to fit in.
Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT
Next up is Långholmen (seen here in summer – yes, it does exist in Sweden). This is another good option for a stop-off. The island of Långholmen has everything a tourist or local could want, from views of the city, good walks, beaches… and it used to play host to a prison. This is your best chance to stretch your legs, so take it while you can.
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT
This isn't a stop – rather an experience. You'll be heading north at this point so make sure you're sitting on the right hand side of the bus so you can get a stunning view of Gamla Stan across the water. Västerbron, an arched bridge stretching over 600 metres, gives perhaps the best panaromic view you can enjoy from a bus window in the whole city. But be ready with the camera, the traffic is fast up there.
From here, you'll zoom through Fridhemsplan which is great for a spot of shopping and cop-spotting (police HQ and scary remand centre for the crimos around the corner), but once you've passed into Sankt Eriksplan, be prepared for the starkly beautiful Philadelphia church, a good reminder that behind Swedes' hedonistic facade is a long history of spirituality. A few hundred metres down the road, you could pop into the Jewish museum on Hälsingegatan 2.
6. The library
Photo: Ann Törnkvist
Architect Gunnar Asplund was behind this masterpiece – the city library. And it'll be right outside your window. Right outside your right window, in fact, as you travel down Odengatan. Pop in for a quick spot of Stringberg, or else just enjoy the scene from the comfort of your bus. You can probably download the book later anyway. Oh, and try to change to the left hand side from now on.
Photo: Tekniska museet/Flickr
The bus will turn right onto Valhallavägen, where you'll spy Stadion. While this picture shows workers preparing the ice for skaters at Stockholm's Stadion, the arena is most famous for hosting the summer Olympics in 1912. Nowadays, apart from being a beautiful dinky brick of a postcard from the past, it houses the Swedish Olympic Committee.
8. The Royal Institute of Technology
The Royal Institute of Technology, better known as KTH, is another sprawling view on the tour. Research and engineering has never looked so majestic. Founded in 1827, the university plays host to around 15,000 students, so make sure you've got yourself a seat by this point or you probably will miss out.
Photo: WikiMedia Commons
And right at the end of the line we have, mmmm… some commie architecture… well, kinda. Sweden's version of Broadcasting House is actually Radiohuset for the radio reporters while their vid-loving colleagues hang out next door. In times of war, the military will lock this complex down toute de suite because the show must go on. Incidentally, the tour and the history lesson end here. But your day is far from over…
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
You see, from Radiohuset you're about five minutes' walk from the entrance to Djurgården, where you can spend a day checking out museums (including the Abba and Vasa options) and even the Skansen animal park. Or you could treat yourself to a nice restaurant lunch in Östermalm with all the money you've saved.