The capital and largest city of Sweden, Stockholm is an amazingly beautiful city that sits on fourteen islands at the junction of Lake Malar and Salt bay of the Baltic Sea. It has been said that the city is virtually sitting on water as over 30 percent of the city area is made up of waterways. This is why this Swedish capital is often referred to as the "Venice of the North". The rest of Stockholm is an enticing collection of picturesque neighborhoods and abundant green spaces.
This cosmopolitan city enjoys all the modern amenities yet retains much of its classical and old-world charm. The Swedish capital has no less than three distinct UNESCO World Heritage sites: Birka, Drottningholm, and the Woodland Cemetery.
Getting around Stockholm and its suburbs is very easy as the city operates an extensive subway, commuter, train and bus system as well as some light rail and ferry services. They have an integrated ticketing system as well as short-term card for tourists, the Stockholm Card, that not only covers transport but admission to various museums and attractions around the city as well.
One thing to take note when moving around Stockholm via its metro system is the interesting display of public artwork by different artists in its stations. This is touted as “the world’s longest art exhibitions”.
Visitors to the city should also not miss taking one of the numerous guided boat tours available. You can choose from the different themes of boat tours or dinner cruises that showcase the beauty and rich history of the Swedish archipelago.
City Hall (Stadshuset)
Nestled at the water's edge and topped by three golden crowns, the City Hall is one of Stockholm's most iconic buildings and popular attractions. Dating from 1923, the hall opened on that most Swedish of dates Midsummer's Eve. The formal ball for the prestigious annual Nobel Banquets are held here.
Don't miss the Gyllene salen (The Golden Hall), with its gorgeous mosaics and walk up the famous tower to have a memorable view of the Swedish capital.
A day trip worth taking is a visit to Drottningholm Palace -- Sweden's best preserved royal palace constructed in the seventeenth century. It is the permanent residence of the royal family and one of Stockholm's three World Heritage Sites.
The palace features magnificent salons from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a beautiful baroque garden, a unique palace theater and a Chinese Pavilion. The palace and the park are mostly open to visitors year round. Drottningholm Palace has been the permanent residence of the present royal family since 1981. The rooms in the southern part of the palace are reserved for members of the royal family.
Gamla Stan (Old Town)
This neighborhood epitomizes the best of Stockholm's cultural and historic appeal. Filled with must see attractions, fine restaurant, cafe and shops. Visitors will delight in this living and breathing museum of Stockholm during the Middle Ages. Gamla Stan is also home to major points of interest such as the Stockholm Cathedral, Nobel Museum and the Royal Palace.
Nobel Museum (Nobelmuseet)
This is a museum devoted to showcase the world-renowned Nobel Prize, Nobel laureates from 1901 to present, and the life of the founder of the prize, Alfred Nobel. The Nobel Museum is located in the former Stock Exchange Building taking up the north side of the public square Stortorget in Gamla Stan. The same building also houses the Swedish Academy and the Nobel Library. A souvenir shop at the museum sell items about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize and one of the most popular items is Alfred Nobel’s chocolate rendition of the Nobel gold coin.
Stockholm is home to the largest airport in Sweden. Stockholm Arlanda Airport is an international airport located in Sigtuna, 37 kilometers north of Stockholm. The airport is the major gateway for international air travel to most parts of Sweden. The fastest way from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Stockholm Central Station is the Arlanda Express high-speed train service that takes you to the city centre in 20 minutes.
Another option is to use the Stockholm commuter rail service which takes about 38 minutes between Arlanda airport station and Stockholm. Coaches, bus and taxi services are also readily available. Do note that taxi companies are required to offer fixed prices when going from the airport.
A Stockholm holiday is an experience that varies depending on which season you chose to visit. However, the best season for sightseeing would be in summer, between June and August.
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