On a map, the dot for Stockholm looks just like any other, but zoom in a little and you’ll find that Sweden‘s capital is quite unlike any other. The city is spread across no less than 14 islands that are dotted across Lake Mälaren shortly before it spills out into the Baltic Sea. Bridges and ferries connect the islands making what can initially seems like a bit of a maze, very easy to navigate.
In true Scandinavian fashion, Stockholm is a city that is effortlessly cool. It blends culture and tradition with forward thinking design, and its inhabitants seem to have the work-life balance just right.
The starting point for many is the old town – Gamla Stan – that dates back to the 13th century. It is a maze of narrow cobbled streets lined with quaint gabled houses and is home to the Royal Palace and Royal Chapel.
Being by the water gives Stockholm a wonderfully relaxed feel with lots of opportunities for strolling and cycling. It is also a very green city, filled with parks and open spaces.
When it comes to galleries and museums, the Swedish capital excels. Visit the Nordiska Museet for an insight into Scandinavian culture and the open-air Skansen on the island of Djurgården, where you can travel back in time to the Sweden of the 1900s. Marvel at the incredible salvaged 17th-century war ship at the Vasa Museet then pour over beautiful photography at Fotografiska, housed in a wonderful art nouveau customs building. And of course, you can say thank you for the music at the ABBA museum.
Visitors to the Swedish capital will want to set aside some time to dip in and out of the local cafes – coffee and pastry is seriously business here – as well as the numerous great restaurants, trendy bars and outdoor terraces where you can watch the sun sink behind the water, drink in hand.
Beyond the 14 islands that make up the capital lies the Stockholm archipelago, a cluster of 30,000 islands, skerries and rocks that spread eastwards into the Baltic Sea. This is one big outdoor playground where you can sail, hike, kayak, bike and fish.
When to Go
Stockholm's peak season is summer, from June to August. This is when the temperatures are at their most comfortable allowing you to enjoy spending time out and about. The early sunrise and late sunset also allow you far more time to explore.
What to do
- Explore the city's many museums, including the Vasa Museet, home to an incredible 17th-century war ship
- Stroll along the waterfront and enjoy a picnic in the park or in the impossibly quaint Rosendals Trädgård on the island of Djurgården
- Take a ferry between the 14 islands that make up the capital
- Experience the great outdoors with hiking, sailing and kayaking in the Stockholm archipelago
- Enjoy a great cup of coffee in one of the many trendy cafes; a drink in an open-air bar; or dinner in any number of the city's great restaurants