The City of Islands
Sweden’s capital is something of a natural phenomenon, consisting of 14 individual islands inhabiting a combination of modern sophistication and engaging history, Stockholm holidays are sure to offer you variety.
Nearly a third of the city is made up of waterways, while another third consists of parks and woodland; so it is easy to see the appeal behind holidays to Stockholm, a journey that transports you to a land of natural beauty found within the city itself, and its further reaches.
The cultural and historical aspects of Stockholm are equally engaging, with the beautiful old town found on Gamla Stan displaying a beautiful collection of old buildings and cobbled streets, as well as the royal and political hub of Sweden.
Further still, Stockholm is a city bursting with artistic prowess, with its vibrant art scene displayed through a variety of exhibition halls, public spectacles and galleries. Alongside these galleries you’ll find more than 70 museums exploring topics ranging from Swedish history to old warships.
Winding Streets and Canals
On holidays in Stockholm, stroll along the extensive riverfronts and follow the snaking canals as a great way of absorbing the atmosphere and composition of the capital. Hopping from island to island across the city’s broad and exciting bridge network will expose you to the variable environments that make Stockholm such an interesting destination.
You’ll find a number of attractive bars, restaurants and cafes by the water, in particular the latter which are locally referred to as fika. These coffee-bars are an important aspect of Stockholm’s day-to-day existence, with a strong coffee and accompanying biscuit providing a decent way of refuelling for the afternoon. A number of hotels in Stockholm take advantage of the water, set in picturesque locations by the river and canal network.
If you fancy swapping the flowing rivers for snaking streets, the heart of the old town is blessed by charming cobbled walkways and attractive architecture. Pretty churches and tall townhouses seem to emerge around every corner, sitting amongst some 5-star hotels that look forward to welcoming you during your Stockholm holidays.
Island of Royalty
Culture and history fans should flock to the historical heart of Stockholm and discover the old town that is referred to as Gamla Stan. The island is a maze of cultural heritage sites and charming narrow streets. Alongside Gamla Stan, the island of Helgeandsholmen is home to the Swedish Parliament, while Riddarholmen is a politically-driven island boasting many grand palaces.
The main lure on Gamla Stan has to be the imposing Royal Palace, a big attraction during holidays to Stockholm. The Palace was constructed between 1697 and 1754 and is the official residence of the King of Sweden. You can access the palace and view The Royal Apartments, the Treasury and a couple of museums, providing you with a unique insight into the grandeur of this complex.
The palace and old town will look particularly magical during the cold winter months experienced between December and February, when a pretty blanket of snow will decorate the old architecture and grand buildings. For a more comfortable experience, heading to Stockholm between June and August will see you enjoying much better weather, with sun replacing snow.
However, art lovers may not spend so much time outside. Stockholm boasts some great art galleries and museums that will keep you warmly cooped up for most hours of the day, even if it isn’t snowing outside. Galleri Magnus Karlsson showcases the local art scene, as does the Lars Bohman Gallery, while the Stockholm Metro labels itself as ‘the world’s longest art exhibition’. For museum hunters, head to the Museum of Natural History if you have kids with you, or to the Armemuseum for an interesting insight into Sweden’s military history.
Out and About in Stockholm
Getting away from the centre of the city can offer a fresh perspective to holidays in Stockholm. A visit to the outer reaches of the Stockholm archipelago is a worthwhile experience, allowing you to see one of the most interesting and picturesque island networks in Europe. The island of Varmdo boasts some lovely beaches and alluringly deep forests, while Sandhamn is a pretty resort island which springs into life in the summer months.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Drottingholm is the home of the royal family. Although the Royal Palace is located in the centre of Stockholm, this 18th century palace is where they reside. Much of it is open to the public and the surroundings are certainly worth a wander for an hour or two.
Stockholm’s unique landscape is dotted with forests, lakes and hills. The latter offers visitors some fantastic views, in particular from the viewpoints found on Sodermalm Island, while the city’s highest observatory floor and restaurant, Kaknastornet, gives good views of the central town and inner archipelago.