Stockholm is the stunning capital of Sweden that unlike other old cities in Europe was spared the ravishes of the wars of the 20th century. It was founded back in 1252 and is today one of Europe's largest and most beautiful northern cities. Adding to the city's stunning architecture is the city's location spanning some 14 islands on Lake Malaren as it flows into the Baltic Sea. It is the largest city in Scandinavia and boasts great nightlife where one can be the dancing queen, young and free while still learning about the Vikings.
In a real sense, Stockholm is the center of Sweden - including economically, politically, and culturally. Famously it is also the host of the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies. Stockholm was home to the Vikings (along with Denmark and Norway) as well as ABBA.
The best time to visit is in the summer months. In the winter months, the winters can be mild or cold and rainy or snowy. That being said if one visits this gray city in the dark days of winter, then take the opportunity to travel north in Sweden and see the Northern Lights.
Stockholm is filled with stunning architecture just waiting to be visited, these include the royal palaces, various gabled buildings, and narrow cobblestone streets. It is today one of Europe's best-preserved historic centers and has an array of stunning museums and galleries to browse.
- Size: 1 Million (Municipality), 2.4 Million (Metropolitan Area)
The city is easy to explore - despite being spread out over those 14 islands. The old city center is comparatively compact and the city is very pedestrian freely. The islands are connected by a network of bridges, ferries, and metro links. There is extensive public transport that is very easy to use and well laid out and signs are nearly always written in both Swedish and English. Additionally, nearly everyone here is fully fluent in English.
The network of islands on which it sits has given it the reputation of being the "Venice of the North". The locals call their city a "living city" ("levande stad") as unlike many cities in the world, the city center is vibrant and full of life. A large part of the cosmopolitan population still lives downtown.
Attractions In And Around Stockholm
- Drottningholm Palace: One of the Main Architectural Attractions here is the UNESCO-listed
- Royal Palace: Called Sveriges Kungahus
- Historic Stockholm City Hall: Built-In 1923
- Stockholm Boat Tour: Take A Boat Tour Around The Islands
Exploring The Old Town
The beating heart of touristic Stockholm is the Old Town (or "Gamla Stan"). This part of the city dates from the 1200s and is crammed with things to see and do. These include some of the best of the old buildings and some of the best cafes and restaurants.
The center is a labyrinth of beautiful winding narrow streets that often lead to the main public square called "Stortorget". If one visited during winter, then this area is transformed into a northern wonderland one could imagine Santa Claus visiting.
- Tip: Like England, Stockholm Has A Monarchy So Be Sure To See The Changing Of The Guard At The Royal Stockholm Palace
The Vasa Museum
Sweden has a maritime history. It had the age of the Vikings and later on had a limited colonial empire and interests around the world. In the Vasa Museum, one will see the Vasa battleship. This was once meant as the pride of the Swedish Imperial fleet, instead of sailing proudly silencing the enemies' guns as it went, it sank. It sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 with its 64-guns.
In an incredible salvage operation in 1961, the ship was raised and today one can marvel at this mighty beast that turned out to be a paper tiger. Around 95% of the ship is original - but not the masts. Today it is the most visited museum in Sweden. While the crowning exhibition, is not the only exhibit, the museum also has a torpedo boat, a lightship, and an icebreaker on display. See here for some of America's most interesting naval museums around the country.
Skansen Open Air Museum
This is the oldest open-air museum in the world that opened back in 1891. It is located on the island of Djurgården and is a great chance to travel back in time and see the Sweden that once was.
The museum is made up of over 150 different buildings that have been collected from all around Sweden and reassembled. Besides houses, the building represented here includes a church, a manor house, and a pottery house. Next to it is also a museum that houses bears, moose, wolves, seals, and lynxes.