The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, is an architecturally and culturally beautiful place set at the point where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea and its central district is set on 14 islands. Stockholm also includes the archipelago (Skärgård) that spreads out 60+ km into the Baltic Sea. A most unique and beautiful city that should be high on anyone’s list of travel destinations.
Around 30% of Stockholm is greenways and parklands and these provide a natural beauty that belies its size. There is plenty to offer like Gamla Stan (The Old City), Södermalm, Skansen, and wonderful villages like Vaxholm.
A walk around Stockholm soon reveals the secret to its layout in that it is made of a series of islands which in turn is part of the large archipelago (skärgård) which are numbered at 24,000.
Around the city, some highlights include the rustic and beautiful Gamla Stan (Old town), the Royal Palace, eclectic Södermalm, and Djurgården which is a highlight of any trip to Stockholm. On the island of Djurgården is Skansen, the wonderful outdoor museum.
Most cities and countries have them but very few deliver as well as Skansen; in fact the word commonly used as a European noun that means outdoor museum. Its creator, Artur Hazelius, was observant enough to see that the industrial revolution of the 1800’s was to the detriment of rural life and as such there was a need for cultural preservation of the traditions of Sweden and hence the concept of Skansen was born.
There are many clichés about Sweden (meatballs, herring, Vikings and Volvos and ABBA) and when one visits Sverige some clichés are so welcoming; the smell of pine forests, picking berries and even Knäckebröd (crisp bread) will others Surströmming (fermented fish) are not so initially enticing to the non-swedish.