Sweden's capital has so much to offer the eager traveller hoping for beauty, charm and plenty of greenery. It has been nicknamed the 'Venice of Sweden', and with good reason - the city sprawls onto 14 islands at the meeting point of the Baltic Sea and Lake Maumllaren. Make the most of the waterways and take a boat tour of the main attractions and beauty spots, or explore the parks, of which there ...
One of the 14 islands that make up the city known as the Venice of the North
A panoramic view of the Swedish capital covered in snow, with the cathedral's steeple towering above the skyline
Sweden's capital has so much to offer the eager traveller hoping for beauty, charm and plenty of greenery. It has been nicknamed the 'Venice of Sweden', and with good reason - the city sprawls onto 14 islands at the meeting point of the Baltic Sea and Lake Maumllaren.
Make the most of the waterways and take a boat tour of the main attractions and beauty spots, or explore the parks, of which there are plenty, right in the heart of the city and hiding many a museum or castle to discover.
Travel back to the Middle Ages as you wander through the medieval streets of Gamla Stan, the former capital but now just one of the many districts that Stockholm has to offer. Here you will find quaint little shops, cobbled streets and endless architecture which make it one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe.
Even those with the most limited itinerary should include Gamla Stan, the city's beautiful medieval centre. The area is brimming with sights, restaurants, bars and cafes, including excellent places to shop and its unique golden buildings.
Of the attractions, the Royal Palace is a must - one of the world's largest palaces with over 600 rooms, many of which are open to the public, and very pleasant to wander round for an hour or so. There is a daily changing of the guard, which, similar to Buckingham Palace, attracts many curious tourists to the gates.
The country's national cathedral is also situated in Gamla Stan, traditionally Lutheran and with stunning architecture both inside and out. Exploring slightly further will produce such little oddities, such as Stockholms oldest square, Stortorget, and its narrowest alley, Mårten Trotzigs grand.
A great way to see the city as a whole is by boat tour, and luckily you have a wealth to choose from on arrival. The Hop On Hop Off boat tour is an extremely easy way to see the bits of the city that you want. The tickets last 24 hours for an unlimited number of trips on both the boat and the bus tours and cost 100 SEK (around £10) for an adult day pass. For more information, visit the Stromma website.
If you want to see a little more than just the city itself, go for the Archipelago tour (conducted in English or Swedish), which lasts around two hours and takes you at high speed round the 30 000 islands that make up the Stockholm archipelago.
For those who want a more in depth tour, many guides provide a tour of central Stockholm in a range of languages, including English.
The Stockholm card will get you free admission into 80 museums and attractions around the city, as well as unlimited use of its public transport (buses, underground, train, or tram). If you choose to use the underground, be aware that the card doesn't work in the automatic turnstiles and you must present your card to a conductor at the start of the journey.
Amongst the 80 attractions are a Royal Canal Tour, which will take you round Stockholms canals and shores, ensuring you see the best sites from the water. Or why not take a bike tour, which will again cover the major attractions, as well as some of the slightly less known ones.
One slight problem with the card is that for several of the tours and attractions, advanced booking is not possible. So if you're heading out for a visit at peak times during the summer months, make sure you either get there early or are prepared to pay to book.
Cards are available from the Visit Stockholm website for one to five days. The longer the period you buy it for, the cheaper it works out each day.
One of Stockholm's more modern attractions, Skyview, is not particularly worth bothering with. The views from its summit are impressive but don't measure up to the SEK 130 (about £13) per person for the 15-20 minute ride.
If you're looking for traditional Swedish dishes, try panfried or pickled herring - one of the most popular fish dishes and most often served with potatoes. Otherwise try some freshly cooked salmon, with dill seasoning.
If, however, you are feeling a little more adventurous in the culinary area, go for a reindeer burger, also served with the ever present range of potatoes (mashed, boiled or as a salad).
You will have no problem finding a suitable souvenir in the streets of Stockholm, but for those who need a little extra guidance, try to find some hand blown glass or crystal. Kosta Boda is one of the country's most reputable brands, with many of the shops around the centre selling different designs and styles. It is not the cheapest souvenir, but is extremely good quality if you want something a little special to take home.
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