STOCKHOLM

Often called the "Venice of the North," Stockholm lies on a number of islands and peninsulas at the outflow of Lake Mälar into the Baltic, which here forms a deep inlet. The charm of its setting lies in the intermingling of land and water, the skerries fringing the coast, the crags rearing up from the sea, the intricate pattern of waterways encompassing the city. World class museums, theaters, galleries, and gorgeous parklands await, and traveling around could not be easier. The excellent underground railway system, the Tunnelbana (T-bana), takes you almost anywhere in the city. A highly efficient and regular bus network fills in any gaps between destinations. Alternatively, take the time to walk instead, as Stockholm is a terrific city to absorb on foot. The city also has an efficient network of bicycle lanes. Locals proudly call the city a "levande stad," or "living city," as a large part of the cosmopolitan population still lives in the downtown areas. A short hop from the city, you can explore the UNESCO-listed palace Drottningholm and other fun tourist attractions on day trips.

1. Gamla Stan (Old Town)

Dating from the 1200s and crammed with must see sights, attractions, cafés, authentic restaurants, and boutique shops, the area of Gamla Stan (Old Town) is a living-breathing museum in its own right. For many, this is the first stop on their journey of exploration. Certainly there is no better way to absorb the feel of Stockholm and get to grips with the city's culture. Plenty of souvenirs and gifts are available in the Old Town, and you will find yourself transported back to medieval times as you meander through a bewildering labyrinth of tiny, winding streets. Mysterious vaults and ancient frescoes lurk behind picturesque facades.

2. ABBA Museum

ABBA The Museum is an interactive museum where your experiences will be saved on your ticket. When you scan your ticket for the first time in the museum you will be asked if you want to save your visit. If you answer Yes, your visit will be saved for 15 days. To be able to see the recorded material, visit their website and log in with your ticket number. In the exhibition, you can virtually try on ABBA’s costumes , sing, play, mix original music and become the fifth member of ABBA by performing on their large stage together with Björn, Benny, Frida and Agnetha. On an iPad, you can choose different instruments from the studio and listen to how they sound on a recording when all the other instruments have been removed.

3. Katarinahissen Lift

Katarinahissen is a local landmark located just across the road from Slussen subway station. Below the footbridge to the elevator you’ll find a restaurant called Gondolen – savour a cocktail in their highly reputable bar while soaking up the scenery. It is a fairly pricey place, but a sunset tipple is more than worth it for the views.

4. Gröna Lund Amusement Park

Experience the joyful and magical world of Gröna Lund, Stockholm's amusement park. A day spent at Gröna Lund is a memorable one, whether you dine in one of the restaurants, enjoy a pentathlon, a live concert or one of the 30 exciting rides. Gröna Lund is open from late spring to September. The park is also open during the Swedish Autumn break and Halloween.

5. Vasa Museum

The Vasa ship capsized and sank in Stockholm 1628. After 333 years on the sea bed the mighty warship was salvaged and the voyage could continue. Today Vasa is the world's best preserved 17th century ship and the most visited museum in Scandinavia.

The Vasa is the only preserved  17th century ship in the world and a unique art treasure. More than 95 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. The 69 meter long warship Vasa sank on its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961. For nearly half a century the ship has been slowly, deliberately and painstakingly restored to a state approaching its original glory. The three masts on the roof outside the specially built museum show the height of the ship's original masts. Today the Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Scandinavia, with over one million visitors a year. There are ten different exhibitions around the ship to tell about life on board the ship. The film about the Vasa is shown in 13 different languages. In addition, there is a well stocked shop and a pleasant restaurant. Tours of the museum take place every day. Free admission for children up to 18 years.

6. The City Hall (Stadshuset)

Nestled at the water's edge and topped by three golden crowns, the City Hall is one of Stockholm's most iconic buildings and stars in countless images and postcards of the city. Dating from 1923, the hall opened on that most Swedish of dates Midsummer's Eve. Housed within are assembly rooms, offices, works of art, and the machinery of civil democracy. The prestigious annual Nobel Banquets are held here. Recipients dine first in Blå hallen (The Blue Hall) and then move on to the formal ball in Gyllene salen (The Golden Hall), which has no less than 18 million mosaics adorning its walls. A particular treat is the chance to view the city from the famous tower.

7. The Royal Palace

Located by the water's edge on the periphery of Gamla Stan, this is the official residence of the King of Sweden. Interestingly, the Queen's residence lies elsewhere, on the beautiful island and UNESCO World Heritage Site Drottningholm (Queen's island), about a 45 minute ferry ride from Stockholm and an easy day trip. A rich taste of the once mighty Swedish Empire, the palace is one of the largest in Europe boasting in excess of 600 rooms and several museums. Dating from the 18th century and Baroque in style, the palace houses many gems. Here, you can see Queen Kristina's silver throne and visit the Museum of Antiquities, the Armoury, the Tre Kronor (Three Crowns) Museum, and Treasury. Do not miss the daily changing of the guard.

8. Djurgården

A tranquil oasis in the heart of the city, the island of Djurgården draws tourists and locals alike, particularly during the summer months of long lazy days and short nights. The park forms part of the Royal National City Park, and it is a perfect place for a stroll and picnic as well as being home to several of Stockholm's top museums and other attractions. Scattered about are pleasant cafés, restaurants, snack-bars, and hotels. You can hire bicycles to explore the forest trails or, if you are feeling adventurous, take to the waterways in a canoe. The popular Vasa Museum and Abba the Museum are located here, as is the open-air museum Skansen and Gröna Lund amusement park. A fun way to arrive is by ferry from Gamla Stan or Slussen (both on the T-Bana). Alternatively, jump on a tram from Norrmalmstorg, take the bus, or stroll from the city center (15 minutes). Drop by the Djurgården visitor center for more information.

9. SkyView: The Globe

Situated on Stockholm's southern fringe, SkyView takes you to the top of the world's largest spherical building, the Ericsson Globe, one of Stockholm's modern landmarks. From 130 meters above sea level, you'll be treated to an unforgettable view over the entire city. Tours aboard the gondolas take about 30 minutes and depart every ten minutes, but be prepared for long lines at peak times of the day. After the trip, sightseers can visit the restaurant and souvenir shop.

1. Ardbeg Embassy

Delicious mixture of Swedish and french cuisine in Gamla Stan (the old town). Once inside, it's spacious, quiet, with comfortable chairs, and an impressive wall of whiskey. There is also a good selection of craft beer and wine. Service is prompt, and courteous. The food was delicious and a there was a good selection of venison food. Good value for money, central location and would definitely recommend this restaurant to friends.

2. Aipur Viking Tavern

Aifur Restaurant & Bar is named after the legendary Viking ship Aifur and the result of 15 years of accumulated knowledge and research about life, food and culture from the years 700-1100, merged with skilled and knowledgeable staff in a great location in Gamla Stan, the Old Town of Stockholm.

Medieval fare & grog served in lively, Viking themed restaurant filled with candles & wood benches.

STOCKHOLM