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Things to do in Stockholm

  • Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet) Vasa Museum Stockholm, Sweden
    The Vasa Museum is located in Stockholm, Sweden, on the island of Djurgarden, and is a maritime museum that contains the most complete 17th century vessel that has ever been salvaged. The 64 gun Vasa was a warship that sank on her first voyage in 1628, and is proudly showcased at the museum that opened in 1990, and has become one of the most popular museums in the Scandinavian peninsula. During the period from 1961 to 1988, the ship was held in a temporary building called Wasavarvet, the Vasa shipyard in English, and her, the ship was treated with polyethylene glycol to preserve it from further deterioration. Visitors that wanted to view the magnificent ship could only look at it from two levels, and the closest they could get to the ship was 17 feet. The Swedish government realized that a more permanent structure was necessary to gain the full exposure and appreciation of the gorgeous vessel, so in 1981, they organized a contest to get the best architectural designs possible. With 384 architects sending in their ideas and models, the winners were Goran Mansson and Marianne Dahlback with Ask or Box. The construction started by the old dry dock area of the old naval yard, with the inauguration ceremony done by Prince Bertil in 1987. The Vasa was towed into the flooded dry dock under the structure in 1988, and then in the summer of 1989, visitors were permitted to come and view the construction site that was only half way completed; and 228,000 attended that opening. It was officially opened in June of 1990, and more than 25 million visitors have come to view the vessel and museum. In 2008, alone, there were 1,143,404 visitors to the museum. The main hall is where the Vasa rests and numerous displays that pertain to the archaeological discovery of the ship and early 17th century Sweden. The ship has been fitted with winter rigging, new bowsprit and three new masts, and some parts that were missing or severely damaged were replaced or repaired. These replacements haven't been treated or painted, so can be clearly recognized against the original material that had darkened, sitting in the cold water for three centuries. The museum contains exhibits for four other floating museum ships; the rescue boat, Bernhard Ingellson 1944, the ice breaker Sankt Erik launched in 1915, the torpedo boat Spica launched in 1966 and the lightvessel Finnngrundet launched in 1903. The new museum building has a marvelous copper roof with stylized masts that represent the real height of the Vasa when the vessel was completely rigged. Other parts of the structure are covered by wooden panels that have been painted in dark green, ochre yellow, dark red, blue and tar black. The inside is also decorated likewise, with many sections of big bare, unpainted concrete, as well as the complete ceiling. The Vasa is now viewable from six different levels, from the keel to the tops of the stern castle with many displays located around the ship that highlight the construction, location and finally, the recovery of the fantastic ship. Numerous displays are about the history of the nation during the 17th century with much background information about why the ship was constructed. Now, the museum, is in the midst of publishing an 8 volume archaeological report to honor the 50th anniversary of salvaging the ship. Vasa I: The Archaeology of a Swedish Warship of 1628 has been published since 2006, with more books being published each year.

  • Millesgarden
    Millesgarden is one of the art museums and sculpture gardens in Stockholm, Sweden, but is located on the island of Lidingo, on the former estate of Carl Milles and his wife, artist Olga Milles; both of whom are buried here. Carl Milles was a Swedish sculptor, famous for his fountains and married to Olga, brother to Ruth Milles and half brother architect Evert Milles. Carl was responsible for creating the Poseidon statue in Gothenburg, the Orfeus group outside the Stockholm Concert hall, the Gustaf Vasa statue at the Nordiska museet and the Folke Filbyter sculpture in Linkoping. The museum contains three different environments for exhibitions; the small studio, the art gallery and the artist's home. Currently, there is a temporary exhibition with Claes Hake's sculptures and paintings that run until the end of August 2010 in the art gallery, with numerous famous sculptures to his credit. Claes is well known for his big sculptures in granite and other stones, that have been installed in more than 60 sites in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, United States and Germany. Inside the artists' home is the display entitled, "The Women at Millesgarden: Images of Olga and Ruth; Olga being a portrait painter and Ruth a sculptress and illustrator. Both of these marvelous women and artists have magnificent works in the house/museum, in numerous forms, as well as sketches and drawings, letters and more. These two women were well educated and influenced much of Carl's works, as well as their own; and became very involved in starting Millesgarden. The couple, Carl and Olga, purchased their property in 1906, on cliffs that looked out over the island of Lindingo and Lake Vartan, dreaming of constructing a beautiful home that would include their artistic studios. The house was designed by Charles M. Bengtsson and constructed in 1908. During the next 50 years, the house, grounds and future museum was enlarged with the help of Carl's half brother architect, Evert. During the period from 1911 to 1913, the first addition was built, which was an open-air studio in the shape of a loggia wing, created to improve Carl's work environment, since he had contracted silicosis from inhaling dust from his previous carving. As their income increased, the estate would grow, gaining lands along the slopes in the 1920s, with a middle terrace and small studio being constructed. It is a wonderful museum with spectacular works of art and inviting to all that hear about it and the beautiful works that are housed here and located throughout the estate grounds.

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Local Restaurants in Stockholm
  • Pontus Frithiof
    First; garden salad with mixed green leaves; toast Skagen with hand peeled prawns & whitefish roe; char is smoked char with green peas, trout roe, new potato crème & lemon vinaigrette; veal is blackened veal Carpaccio with butter fried chanterelles, artichoke crème. Entrees; prawn salad with baked egg, avocado, Rhode Island & croutons; COD is steamed line-caught cod loin, hand peeled prawns, horseradish & browned butter; organic meatballs with creamy gravy, lingonberry & potato puree; Pontus burger 200g with cheddar cheese, bacon, tomato & French fries; lamb is grilled shoulder of lamb & lamb sausage from Hallista Farm with green asparagus & crushed potatoes with sour cream & herbs; sirloin steak is grilled sirloin steak with herb & onion butter, tomato salad & French fries.

  • Operakallaren
    Entrees; garlic gratinated langoustine tails, served with roasted aubergine puree, tarragon & lemon foam & garlic chips; organic duck liver terrine with smoked brisket of beef, rhubarb, orange & spiced honey combo dressing; variation of tomatoes (terrine, cold soup & mousse of olive oil; pan-fried sea bass, artichokes, broad bean risone, hibiscus jelly, leek & shallot foam; roasted filet of Swedish beef, pork & shiitake mushroom sausage, marrow sauce & an Amarone miroir; open lasagna of celeriac, artichokes & tomato vinaigrette; pepper glazed knuckle of veal with Guinness sauce & our garnish of the day.

 

Grilled Lamb Shoulder Pontus Frithiof Stockholm, Sweden

 

 

Roasted Filet of Swedish Beef Stockholm, Sweden

 

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  • Drottningholm Palace and Court Theater Drottningholm Palace and Court Theater Stockholm, Sweden
    Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish Royal family in Drottningholm, Sweden, on one of the islands called Lovon, part of Stockholm's county and is only one of the numerous Swedish royal palaces. It was originally built in the late 16th century, and was the main residence for the royal family for the majority of the 18th century. It is still the private estate of the family but still available for tours since it has become such a popular attraction in the nation. The name Drottningholm means "Queen's Islet" and was the name of the original renaissance structure that was designed by Willem Boy and built by John III of Sweden for his wife, Queen Catherine Jagellon, in 1580, which had replaced a royal mansion that was called "Torvesund". Hedwig Eleonora, the Queen Dowager Regent, purchased the castle in 1661, a year after she was called the Queen of Sweden, although it would burn to the ground that December. Hedwig then commissioned the famous Swedish architect, Nicodemus Tessin the Elder who designed and started rebuilding the castle, which started in 1662, but in 1681, he passed on, so his son, Nicodemus Tessin the Younger finished the castle and its fabulous interior designs. During that time, Hedwig had been in charge of the still-underage King, Charles XI of Sweden; from 1660 to 1672, and since the nation had become a very powerful country after the Peace of Westphalia, the royal leader would need an impressive place to live, but close to Stockholm. In the reigns of Charles XI and Charles XII of Sweden, the royal court was usually present at the castle, with Charles XI coming there to hunt, and after 1700, Hedwig hosted the royal court when Charles XII was in the Great Northern War of 1700 to 1721. It had become the royal court from 1720 to 1792, and after Hedwig had passed on in 1715, Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden and King Frederick I of Sweden had their courts at the palace until 1744. It was then given to the Crown Princess, Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, who then became Queen in 1744, when she would marry Adolf Frederick of Sweden; who was crowned king in 1751. During Louisa's ownership of the estate, she had the interior transformed into a more French rococo style, and had the palace theater reconstructed into a grander scale after the original had been burnt down in 1762. Louisa and her king would continue to reign from there until 1777, when she sold the estate to the Swedish state. King Gustav III of Sweden, son of Louisa, would live in the palace during his court, although it still belonged to the state, and while Gustav was king, the palace and estate had its heyday and was used for a summer residence, where the ceremonial court was held. During the reigns of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Charles XIII of Sweden, the palace was used sparingly, since they thought it represented the old dynasty, and in 1797, Frederica of Baden was celebrated with many great festivals and in 1809, the deposed king would be held prisoner here under the guards in the Chinese parlor for 11 days. During the 19th century the estate wasn't used much and began to decay and fall into disrepair, and in Charles XIV John of Sweden's reign, it would be abandoned altogether. The buildings were terribly damaged by natural forces, and the inventories were either sold off or taken away. The estate was opened to the public, and a tour began in 1819, with people coming here to use the parks for picnics and such. Sometimes the grounds would be used for public events or to receive foreign guests like Josephine of Leuchtenberg when she came to Sweden in 1823, and Tsar Nicolas of Russia. During the reign of Oscar I of Sweden, he showed some interest in the old palace, and stopped it from being destroyed in 1846 by beginning some repairs. Public celebrations were still held here, and in 1858, the future Gustav V of Sweden was born here. Charles XV of Sweden didn't use it at all in his reign, but Oscar II of Sweden continued with the repairs. Oscar I and II were often criticized for modernizing the palace and transforming it to reflect the changes in times, rather than restore it to its original condition, but when Gustav V took over ruling, he restored the palace and grounds to their original condition and 18th century appearance. A four year restoration program started in 1907, and it was returned to its former glory and after that was completed, the court was held there once more. Since 1981, the present Royal Family has used the estate as their primary residence, and has been guarded by the Swedish military like the Stockholm Palace.

  • Royal Armory (Livrustkammaren)
    The Livrustkammaren or Royal Armoury is a marvelous museum located in the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden that houses numerous artifacts of the nation's military history and Swedish royalty. It was started in 1628 by King Gustav Adolphus, after he thought that his clothes from his campaign against Poland should be preserved for posterity and is the oldest museum in the nation. Tours are available and the exhibits are exciting and very interesting. For almost five centuries, the possessions of the Swedish rulers have been kept in the royal armoury, and each generation continued to add to the incredible collection that have included all the various dynasties and famous events in the history of Sweden. In their permanent collections, the oldest relics are the sets of royal state and ceremonial weapons that had been stored in the old Three Crowns Palace during the 16th century. It is believed that the court attendees would be allowed to view the awesome weaponry and riches of the new Vasa dynasty of Gustav Vasa and his sons, Erik VIV, Johan III and Charles XI, and had been renaissance kings that were quite particular about their reputations in Europe, where all consequential courts had elaborate collections of weaponry. Gustavus Adolphus, in 1620, wanted his blood stained clothes to be preserved to show future generations that the king had been both valiant and brave, and preserved in this royal armoury. In the 1850s, the ceremonial costumes of the royal families were brought from the royal wardrobe and incorporated into the Royal Armoury with other numerous ceremonial props that were used for parades, like saddles, that had been on view since the 17th century, and in the 19th century, the royal carriages were brought here from the Royal Stables. The marvelously decorated saddles and harnesses that had been diplomatic gifts from other kings and sultans are located here, as well as the honorary gifts of luxuriant equipped horses that would eventually be replaced by the Orders of Chivalry. Those relics that have been related to the royals during war, ceremonial or political events have been donated to the museum by the royal families involved and since the middle of the 19th century; but still continues to get donations from the public that pertain to the royal costumes. The clothes showcase the difference between royals and the public. The collections can be studied for numerous reasons, including style, craftsmanship and fashion with a royal commission being set up to verify the high quality workmanship that usually has some reliable documentation.

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  • Hallwyl Museum (Hallwylska Museet)Hallwyl Museum Stockholm, Sweden
    The Hallwyl Palace/Museum is the historical structure that is located in the heart of Stockholm, Sweden, in Hamngatan facing the Berzelii Park and was constructed in the period from 1893 to 1898, designed by Isak Gustaf Clason for the Count Walther von Hallwyl and his wife, Wilhelmina. The magnificent structure was constructed to handle the office of the count and the fantastic art collection that his wife had acquired. The exterior and court are historical in style; borrowing architectonic elements from various medieval prototypes and Renaissance Venice and technically modern when it was finished. That included electricity, bathrooms, central heating, telephones and late an elevator was added also. The countess would acquire her marvelous artworks when she traveled the world in hopes of beginning an art museum, and the palace itself was donated to the state in 1920, some10 years before she would pass on. Her magnificent collection contains about 50,000 objects of art, with the museum open to the public for their viewings.  Wilhelmina von Hallwyl is considered one of the most articulate art collector of the nation, amassing a great collection of art and handicrafts during the 1900s that were acquired while she traveled in Africa, the Orient and Europe. She collected specifically to begin a marvelous museum and the idea was made real when she and her husband, Walther von Hallwyl gave their home and all of their collections to the city in 1920, with Wilhelmina cataloguing her pieces in such a wonderful way to help those future directors to comprehend the complexity and extant of the collection; that was finally completed with 78 bands. This catalog was printed in 110 languages, and is available in most museum and libraries of the world's finest. Wilhelmina belonged to one of the period's richest families, with her father, William Kempe, becoming a successful businessman in the travareuexportens business. He started the Ljusne Woxna Company Limited and the business has been taken over by his son. The Hallwyl collection of European porcelain contains more than 800 pieces from the 1700s to the 1800s, and is considered to be one of the best known in the world.

  • Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet)Royal Palace Stockholm, Sweden
    The Stockholm Palace or Kungliga Slottet is the official residence and main royal palace of the Swedish monarchy, with the Drottningholm Palace being the private home of the royal family, also located in Stockholm. The Stockholm palace is in Stadsholmen, Gamla Stan, Stockholm and is located next to the nation's parliament, Riksdag. The offices of the monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, as well as other members of the royal family and the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are all located in this palace. It is usually used for representative purposes by the King as he performs his duties as the head of state. The southern facade faces the grand style slope Slottsbacken; while the eastern borders Skeppsbron, a marvelous quay that sits on the eastern waterfront of the older part of the city, with the northern front Lejonbacken, an array of ramps that were named after the lions that stand on the stone railings and the western wing that borders open space called Hogvaktsterrassen. The first building that was built on this site was the fortress that contained a main tower that was constructed in the 13th century by Birger Jarl so that he could defend Lake Malaren; and grew into a palace that was called, "Tre Kronor" or Three Crowns. During the late 16th century, King John III had a lot of work done to transform the fortress into a more modern renaissance style palace, and in 1690, the monarchy decided to rebuild the structure into a palace with a baroque style that was designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger. Work on the northern row started in 1692, and finished in 1697, unfortunately, the majority of the palace would be destroyed by fire in May of 1697. Tessin had the damaged area rebuilt, and the transformation continued during the next 63 years. Half round wings were constructed around the outer western courtyard and finished in 1734, with the church for the palace being completed in the 1740s. In 1754, the outside was finished and the royal family moved in when the remainder was complete. The palace is guarded by the Hogvakten, a royal guard group from the Swedish Armed Forces, that dates back to the early 16th century.  The palace is constructed of brick, with the midsections covered by sandstone and roof covered by copper and surrounded by a stone balustrade that goes around the entire main structure. It contains 1430 rooms and is one of the biggest palaces in the world that is still in use and has four rows, east, west, north and south. The southern facade represents the country, the northern represents the common royal, the west is the king and the east represents the queen. On the eastern row, going down the stairs, is the Livrustkammaren, the nation's oldest museum that houses the uniforms, old weapons and crown jewels. The northern row houses the king and queen's suites that have bedrooms, anterooms and wardrobes. The southern row has the church and the Riksslaen and down these stairs are the crown jewels. The northeast wing contains the antikmuseum from Gustav III, that is the museum of antiques which have some of the best ancient sculptures from Italy.

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May 11, 2011