Stockholm, Sweden, is a city built on fourteen islands within Lake Malaren. Because of the proximity of the Baltic Sea, it is a major port. It is both a modern city with tall buildings as well as a place which has preserved much of its medieval history. Stockholm’s Old Town, Gamla Stan, is thoroughly pleasant to walk, with narrow streets, open squares and numerous bridges. Be sure to check out the Royal Palace, Kungliga Slottet where, besides a visit inside to see the sumptuous rooms, there is the obligatory Changing of the Guard, which takes place at noon each day except Sunday (1:00 PM). There is also an associated parade during the summer months. Also in the Old Town, visit the Great Church, Storkyrkan, which contains a particularly stunning sculpture of St George and the Dragon. A walking tour of Gamla Stan should also include stops at several squares, such as, Tortorget (Great Square), and Jarntorget (Iron Square).
North of the Old Town is Norrmalm, the business and commercial district. Here one finds elegant shopping areas and pedestrian-friendly streets in a pleasant, very modern atmosphere.
To the east is Ostermalm, which contains the world’s first National City Park, Djurgarden. Major attractions in the park include Skansen, an open-air museum consisting of more than 150 buildings, many of which provide demonstrations of Swedish handcrafting. There are also concerts and folk-dancing. The park also contains Vasa, a royal warship from the 17th century, which has been lovingly and carefully restored.
Other sights in the Stockholm area include Drottningholm Palace and Theater, the Swedish royal residence, and Millesgarden, the villa of Sweden’s greatest sculptor, Carl Miller.
1. While in Stockholm, be sure to sample Sweden’s famous smorgasbord, a long table loaded with many delectable dishes, especially seafood.
2. Check out my walking tour of Stockholm, posted on 1-10-09.