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The Swedish capital Stockholm is constructed on fourteen islands and the ubiquity of water gives the city a unique atmosphere. From the more than 150-meter-high Kaknästornet television tower you can see how the city 'floats on the water'. Stockholm has a reputation for being somewhat 'formal', but those who dive into the nightlife will feel differently.
The city has much to offer. Most tourists first explore the old, historic center Gamla Stan with its grand façades and the large Royal Palace. Across the water lies Kungsträdgården park, which used to be the Royal Family's vegetable garden. These days it is a beautiful public park, surrounded by cozy restaurants and cafés. During the summer they often organize events here, like every year in June, for example, when the culinary Smaka på Stockholm (A Taste of Stockholm) feast takes place. You can sample hundreds of dishes from the delicious Swedish cuisine. A month later Stockholm is devoted to jazz during the annual International Jazz Festival.
In the Vasa Museum you can see the Vasa warship. It was built in the 17th century, but sank soon after being launched. Although the ship remained at the bottom of the sea for centuries, it is in excellent condition. To learn more about Swedish culture, you have to visit the Nordiska Museet.
Shoppers will also love Stockholm. There are many shops of young designers, especially in the SoFo neighborhood (on the Södermalm island). In this district you will also find many cafés and restaurants.
We already mentioned the Swedish capital's nightlife. Scattered all over Stockholm there are lots of restaurants, bars, cafés and discotheques, ranging from intimate pubs to large dance halls. For a unique experience you have to go to the Absolute Icebar, where everything is made out of ice, including the glass from which you drink. The entrance fee is rather steep, but it does not only buy you a drink but also a warm coat. Indispensable, as the temperature inside the icebar stays permanently at 5 degrees below zero!
Stockholm offers a wide range of hotels and other types of accommodation. The budget sector is well represented, but you will also find luxurious five-star hotels. In addition, there is also a large number of campsites around the Swedish capital.
Stockholm is situated in beautiful surroundings, dominated by water and islets. There is a lot to see and do in the area surrounding the Swedish capital. You should visit for example the island of Sandön, a popular destination for a day trip in summer months. On the island's south side, near Trovill, there is a beautiful beach. On a warm day you imagine yourself on the Mediterranean instead of on a Scandinavian beach.
In the Skansen open-air museum on the island of Djurgården they have collected historical buildings from all over Sweden. They have volunteers walking around in traditional costumes to make you go back in time.
Although the Royal Palace is situated in Stockholm's old center, this is not where the Royal Family lives. They live in Drottningholm Palace on Lovö Island in Lake Mälaren. Both the 18th century palace itself as well as the surrounding gardens are worth a visit. The Chinese Pavilion is one of its main attractions.
In the same Lake Mälaren lies the island of Björkö, where the Vikings built their capital. There is hardly anything left of the city, but you can see the archeological finds and a scale model of Birka in the museum.
Sweden's oldest town is Sigtuna, forty kilometers northwest of Stockholm. Here you can see magnificently restored medieval houses and buildings, church ruins, a Dominican monastery from the 13th century and the impressive Lundströmska Gardens. The Vikings put up stone memorials with texts in runic alphabet at various locations around Sigtuna. You can decipher these texts yourself through the use of a code!
At less than thirty minutes south of Stockholm lies the Bornsjön Nature Reserve. It is a stunning forest area where elks, reindeer and wild boars live. To see this game it is best to visit the park in the evening; Stockholm Outback organizes trips to Bornsjön. The Tyresta National Park is of interest to bird lovers. Trails have been mapped out through this fifty-square-meter park.
Driving around Stockholm is no trouble at all: The roads and signage are fine and the Swedes drive calmly and correctly. It may, however, not be easy to find a parking space in the streets in the center. Fortunately there are parking garages where you can park your rental car, for example in Gallerian, Hotorget, Odenplan, NK, Åhléns and Norra Latin. You can also park your car at one of the twenty P+R areas on the outskirts of the city. From those parking lots you can easily get to the center by using public transportation.
Stockholm's largest airport is called Stockholm Arlanda Airport and is located 42 kilometers north of the city. The airport is situated directly off freeway E-4 (Stockholm-Uppsala) and is therefore easy to reach. The exit to the airport is clearly signposted. At only eight kilometers from the city center lies the smaller Stockholm Bromma Airport.
Low-cost airlines use airports that are located far from the city: Stockholm Skavsta Airport, 100 kilometers south of the city and Stockholm-Västerås Airport, 110 kilometers west of Stockholm.