Thursday, 12 May 2016

Stockholm - City of the sea

For a great introduction to the overwhelming beauty of Scandinavia, then where better to start than by visiting its largest city - Stockholm. The Swedish capital sits at the edge of the Baltic Sea and is made up of a multitude of islands, each with their own idiosyncratic charm. So whether you’re exploring the cutting-edge nightlife of Södermalm, or hanging out in a chic Airbnb apartment in trendy Hornstull, here are a few treats to try out in magnificent Stockholm.

The heart of Stockholm is its traditional old town which is known as Gamla Stan and offers a glimpse into the past of this fascinating city. Stockholm managed to escape the bombings of World War II and the old town has many majestic buildings painted in rich tones of ochre, sienna and terra cotta - perhaps to counter the dark winter days and nights!

The old town of Stockholm is home to the majestic Kungahuset royal palace, and the city’s royal history can easily be seen through the ornate buildings that make up the city centre. But for a taste of royal living with an artistic twist, then a visit to Prins Eugens Waldermarsudde is a must, as the stately home is packed full of artistic treasures and is perched on the city’s picturesque waterways out to the sea.

As Stockholm is located on the mouth of the Baltic Sea, a great way to experience its beautiful waters is to take a boat trip around the Stockholm Archipelago. The archipelago is made up of thousands of islands where many have made their picturesque holiday homes and provides an enviable taste of Stockholm living. For an interesting take on Stockholm’s maritime heritage, be sure to visit the Vasa museum that features the world’s only preserved 17th century ship!

Stockholm is something of a shopper’s paradise, and visiting the fancy boutiques of Östermalm such as Gundrun Sjödrén will give you some idea as to why all Swedes seem so immaculately dressed. And with exquisite design stores like Svenskt Tenn showcasing the best in Swedish interiors, it’s clear that Stockholm is a great place for all style gurus. 

For a glimpse into Scandinavia’s past, visiting the Skansen outdoor museum is great fun. For many years the attraction on the idyllic Djurgården island has been treating visitors to displays of traditional Swedish crafts and exquisite buildings, and special mention must be made to the zoo that has many Scandinavian wildlife favourites such as reindeers, wolves and brown bears.

Art lovers will be well-served by the city’s many opulent museums which include the fantastic Moderna Museet that’s packed full of iconic works from artists as far-ranging as Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Sweden’s own abstract pioneer Hilma Af Klint. The museum also has the chic Café Blom that’s perfect for grabbing a quick bite before the next round of artistic excellence!

And finally, just to reassure visitors that Stockholm is not all about stately buildings and fine art, the world-renowned ABBA Museum is an audio-visual treat for all fans of the band’s immaculate pop music. Not only will you get to explore the history and musical process behind the band’s hits, but no one should pass up the chance to sing and dance with holograms of Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid!

Stockholm - City of the sea

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