The writer enumerates the charms of the Swedish capital.
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden also called the “Venice of the North”, is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges. There are around 75 museums in Stockholm. All equipped with curio shops and cafés. Don’t miss the Swedish cinnamon bun and fresh cream cakes!
1. The Vasa Museum
The 69-metre long war ship Vasa sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961. It has become Sweden’s most popular tourist attraction with one million visitors a year. More than 95 per cent of the ship is original and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. There are ten different exhibitions around the ship and a film about Vasa is shown in 13 languages.
Sweden’s first open air museum and zoo is located on the green island of Djurgarden in Stockholm. Here you can stroll through five centuries of Swedish history from the south to the north of Sweden. Walk into the houses peopled by characters in period dresses and watch crafts being made the traditional way.
The traditional Midsummer celebration is held here during the third week of June every year. If you happen to be in Stockholm in July don’t miss Allsong pa Skansen (Sing along at Skansen) held on Tuesday evenings. The popular show attracts up to 25,000 people during each performance and is broadcast by Swedish television.
3. ABBA - The Museum
This is an interactive exhibition about the pop group ABBA that opened in May 2013.
With the audio guide you can listen to Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Bjorn and Benny’s own stories and memories from their fantastic careers. You can also try to sing along and be a part of ABBA.
4. Changing of the Guards
Every day around noon, the Royal Guards ride through the centre of Stockholm on the way to the Royal Palace. You can watch them while shopping at NK, the classy shopping department in the city centre, or you can wait at the Royal Palace to see the changing of the guards.
5. Gamla Stan
The old city is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centres of Europe. This is where Stockholm was founded in 1252. Apart from the Royal Palace which is situated in Gamla Stan it is worth taking a guided tour of the old city or just stroll along Vasterlonggatan and Osterlanggatan with their boutiques and curio shops. Don’t miss Marten Trotzig’s alley. It is the narrowest alley in Gamla Stan — just 90 cm at one point!
6. The Royal Palace
The Stockholm Palace is one of the largest in the world with over 600 rooms. In addition to the beautifully decorated reception rooms there are several interesting museums in the Palace including the Royal Armory.
7. Boat sight seeing
Seeing Stockholm from the water is an enjoyable must. There are many tours to choose from depending on your interests. For example, Under the Bridges of Stockholm, The Royal Canal Tour or Good Morning Stockholm. These are tours concentrating on central Stockholm. These guided tours are given in a number of languages. There is also a hop on-hop off flexible way to see Stockholm from the water.
8. The City Hall
The City Hall with its spire featuring the golden Three Crowns is one of the most famous silhouettes in Stockholm. Guided tours are available all year around. The great Nobel banquet is held in the City Hall. After dinner in the Blue Hall (which is actually red), Nobel Prize recipients, royalty and guests dance in the Golden Hall with its 18 million gold mosaic tiles.
Where the archipelago begins, only 20 minutes boat trip from downtown Stockholm, you arrive at the island of Fjaderholmarna. Many artisans have studios in the centre of the island and there are several restaurants and cafes. Like many places in Stockholm you can swim and picnic here. Fjaderholmarna gives a nice taste of the archipelago for people who don’t have time to explore further. Boats ply frequently from the city centre.
10. Hot Air Ballooning
Stockholm is one of the few major cities over which hot air ballooning is allowed. Experience the city from above, suspended in the wind, as the earth turns. But remember that ballooning is very dependent on the weather, so there is no guarantee that the balloon can lift as scheduled.
Several airlines fly to Stockholm from India.
Best time to visit: June to September.
Language: Swedish but most Swedes speak English.
Currency: Swedish Krona
More information: www.visitstockholm.com