Spreading across 14 islands, Stockholm has been regarded as the Venice of the North. Located between the Mlaren and the Baltic Sea, this beautiful city is absolutely breathtaking and is a lot of fun to explore. Its waterways, parks, museums and century old buildings make it a hotspot for travelers from around the globe. Youll also find a lot of nationalities that live here so youll be treated to many types of fine cuisine. Although Stockholm is the capital of Sweden, it still provides the quaint atmosphere that most European cities are known for.
At the center of Stockholm lies the island of Stadsholmen. Together with the islands of Riddarholmen and Helgeandsholmen it creates the area known as Gamla Stan, the Old Town. If youre only staying a short time in Stockholm, explore this area. The Old Town was built in the 13th century and is absolutely charming, filled with outdoor cafs, boutiques and quaint hotels. Its cobblestone streets take you to fantastic museums and the Royal Palace. Built between 1697 and 1754, its considered as the biggest palace in the world with 600 rooms still in use by the head of the state. The island of Riddarholmen is home to beautiful 17th century palaces. Its main attraction though is its church, the Riddarholmskyrkan. This stunning building is one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm and has been the final resting place for Swedish royalty since the 16th century. Although the congregation last met in 1807, it continues to be used for burials. Its quite amazing to see parts of the church that date back to the 13th century. The Riksdag, the Swedish parliament, is the only building on the island of Helgeandsholmen.
Just East of Gamla Stan and Skeppsholmen is the Djurgrden district. Its filled with fantastic sites, parks and museums. One of its most visited sites is the impressive Vasa Museum. The famous warship that mysteriously sank in 1628 was resurrected, almost fully intact, in 1961 and has been fully restored. Its masts are so tall that they go through the roof of the museum. You can try out your sea legs on solid ground as you explore the entire ship. Its a bit eerie seeing some of the personal items of the crew that served on the ship when it sank. Another great site in the Djurgrden area is the Skansen, the worlds oldest open-air museum. It first opened in 1891 and to this day shows what life was like in a traditional Swedish village. Take your time as you explore over 150 of its original buildings. Just watch out for the cow pies.
At the centre of the island of Kungsholmen sits the City Hall. Both the exterior and interior of it are worth exploring. Many locals and tourists enjoy the grounds surrounding it, taking in the nice weather, eating some great food or reading a book. One of its most visited rooms inside is the Blue Hall, the location of the Nobel banquets. Born in Stockholm, Alfred Bernhard Nobel donated his entire fortune to establish the Nobel Prizes. You too can see where legendary scientists, writers and peacemakers have been awarded for their great efforts.
The area known as Norrmalmstorg is Stockholms prime real estate. In fact, in the Swedish version of Monopoly (who knew there was a Swedish version of Monopoly), this area is its most expensive property. And if Monopoly tells you its worth everything you own, you know its worth a visit. Each day this square fills with business people conducting their jobs but you can enjoy its many fine restaurants or do a little damage on your credit card and go shopping. The boutiques in Norrmalmstorg are considered to be the crme de la crme in Swedens shopping districts. Its also quite central and is an ideal starting point to see the other areas in Stockholm. Worried about not seeing enough of this fantastic city when youre traveling from one area to the other? Its subway stretches over 68 miles and is considered to be the worlds longest art gallery. Youll be able to enjoy paintings, mosaics and sculptures at 100 of the subway stations situated around the city while you wait for your ride.
Swedens National Museum is located in Stockholm. The Italian Renaissance structure is worth the trip alone but inside it houses the largest art collection in Sweden. With all the amazing museums located throughout Europe, this National Museum is one of best. There are fantastic displays, sculptures and paintings from renowned artists like Rembrandt, Goya, Rubens, Czanne, and Ruysdal.
And when the sun goes down in Stockholm, youll be able to enjoy its fantastic nightlife. Whether you prefer the trendy or traditional, Stockholm has got you covered. Groove all night at the popular Birger Jarlsgatan, Sdermalm, and Kungstrdgrden strips or enjoy a performance by the Royal Swedish Ballet. The Royal Swedish Opera is housed at the Drottningholms Slottsteater, a fantastic 18th century theater located on the island of Mlaren.
Visiting a beautiful city like Stockholm is a must for anyone fortunate enough to visit this part of the world. Its history, cuisine, shopping, and museums definitely make it worth the trip.