MILLIONS of people have read the late Stieg Larsson’s novels. His Millennium Trilogy comprises The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.
Filmgoers have enjoyed the adaptations of his books, the latest being the 2011 American version of his first, starring Daniel Craig. So, what better place to go than stunning Stockholm, where you can go in search of some of the secrets behind Larsson’s success and the reason fans flock to Sweden’s capital.
In historic, trendy Södermalm (Söder), once a working class district, but now one of the most desirable Stockholm neighbourhoods, you can relate to the author and his characters, before visiting other relevant areas, like Kungsholmen, Vasastan, and Sandhamn in the archipelago (Mikael Blomkvist’s cottage).
But Stockholm is not just about the trilogy. One third of it is water and it’s built on 14 islands that are connected by 57 bridges. Sweden’s capital has 100 art galleries and over 100 museums.
And Stockholmers must love their art - most of the stations of the 68-mile long metro are decorated with mosaics, sculptures and paintings - making it well worth catching the tube.
Best vantage points
WE gazed across to the window of Larsson’s heroine, Lisbeth Salander’s top floor, 21-room apartment on Fiskargatan 9, where she lived secretly, with the name ‘V Kulla’ on her door – a reference to Pippi Longstocking’s house. Pippi was a fictional character, from a series of children’s books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.
At the corner of busy Götgatan and Hökens gata, we took in the Millennium’s editorial office. Erika Berger, the publisher of the economic magazine, and girlfriend of Mikael in the books said she wanted her office “where the life is”, looking down on Stockholm. In the book, the office was above Greenpeace; now it is above Transformator Design. Lisbeth shopped for food, Lipton’s tea and Marlboro Lights on Götgatan. From a walkway over the street, we admired Mikael’s apartment on Bellmansgatan 1, with its view of Gamla Stan and the water.
Best tour guides
AT the Stockholm City Museum (www.stadsmuseum.stockholm.se) Ryssgården, Slussen, sited in a 17th-century palace, you can learn about the city’s history, before buying a Millennium Map (SEK 40/£3.70) to go it alone.
Or, you could take an award-winning Stieg Larsson Millennium tour, with superb guide Elisabeth Daude. She is immersed in the Millennium trilogy and what she doesn’t know about it would probably fit on a 50 öre coin. She gave us invaluable information about Larsson, who was ”always on the go, having new projects and new ideas”. A poor boy from Northern Sweden, growing up in humble circumstances who became a renowned journalist who uncovered political inconsistencies, he also wrote the trilogy with 65 million books sold worldwide.
Larsson had planned to write another seven books after his trilogy, but tragically died of a heart attack, when only 50 years old. Because there’s so much to see besides the trilogy connections, you can also benefit, on another day, from a personalised, private tour with another top-class licensed Stockholm guide, Eva Harrysson. (www.evaguide.se)
Best place to stay
Try the ideally situated Hilton Stockholm, Slussen, near Gamla Stan, Götgatan and Kvarnen, where you can indulge in even more Millennium imagination – the hotel is where Mikael and lover Erika Berger met privately. Rooms from £83 per night.
Best for coffee and food
Larsson wrote extensively about coffee. Going for a ‘fika’ – meeting up for a coffee or pastry or piece of cake; often a cinnamon bun, is unique to Sweden. Millennium fans can do this at a must-see visit to Mellqvists Kaffebar,Hornsgatan 78, Södermalm. This was Stieg Larsson’s regular cafe and also that of his character, Mikael Blomkvist – there he lent money to computer hacker Lisbeth Salander.
Another top spot is Restaurant Kvarnen, Tjärhovsgatan 4 (www.kvarnen.com), where we walked past tables set for brunch, to perch on bar stools and learn about its Lisbeth connection – this is where she met the girls from the rock band Evil Fingers on Tuesday evenings.
Best way to get around
Purchase the Stockholm Card, for one-five days, costing from SEK 215 (£19.94) for a child, SEK 450 (£42) for an adult for one day.