Stockholm Travel Guide
Stockholm, capital of Sweden, is a city of style and Scandinavian cool. It has its stylish nightclubs, its cool blondes, its media moguls and high-tech innovators, and Scandinavian royalty ensconced in opulent palaces. There are medieval buildings lined along the winding cobbled streets of the city's old town, Gamla Stan, and sleek, contemporary buildings of cutting-edge Scandinavian design, in gigantic sheets of glass, in the city center on the island of Södermalm. The city itself is set on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, in equal parts water, green spaces and urban development, and regarded as one of the most beautiful capitals in the world, with the cleanest water of any city in the world, where you can fish and swim right in the heart of town! There are eye-popping shopping venues and chic boutiques in the city, rock bands and DJs cranking it up at the downtown discothèques and watering holes, uppity enclaves packed with SAABs and Swedish snobs, fine restaurants and elegant cafés that give the city its cosmopolitan flair, and Nobel Prize hopefuls and invitees milling about in the crisp chill of early December, getting a whiff of it all in this most Scandinavian of all cities – the capital of Scandinavia!
Stockholm is situated along the southeast coast of Sweden, largely between Lake Mälaren, which is to its west, and the Baltic Sea, which fans out to its east. It is 263 miles (425 km) east of Oslo, Norway; 247 miles (400 km) west of Helsinki, Finland; and 325 miles (520 km) northeast of Copenhagen, Denmark.
Stockholm's principal draws include the atmospheric old town of Gamla Stan, which should be at the top of every visitor's list; the 608-room Royal Palace and the French Baroque-style Drottningholm Palace, the latter frequently referred to as the "Nordic Versailles," and both still in use by Swedish royalty; Riksdag, a fabulous complex of 18th-century buildings that houses the Swedish Parliament; Östermalm, an enclave of Stockholm's upper-crust, with the city's most expensive apartments, shops and restaurants to be found there; Sergels Torg, a black-and-white plaza in the heart of the city, which has a see-through plate-glass cultural center smack in the middle of it; and Marten Trotzigs Grand, the narrowest street in the city, at places no more than 3 feet (90 cm) wide! Among the city's museums, the pick of the bunch is the Vasa Museum, with a full-sized 17th-century warship and two early-19th-century vessels on display.
Stockholm's nightlife is largely concentrated in Södermalm, in the area around Kungsträdgården, Berzelii Park, Stureplan and the city center, with a healthy dose of clubs and discothèques, most of them rocking until 5 in the morning. An especially popular establishment is Berns, and, for the free-spirits, the free-for-all venue, Trädgården, where, under the bridge at the tip of Södermalm, the young lot drink, dance and, what else, party!
Stockholm's most famous son is playwright-cum-novelist August Strindberg, author of The Red Room. Its most famous pop group is ABBA – think Dancing Queen. Its most famous video game is Minecraft, created in 2009 by Stockholm techie Markus "Notch" Persson. Its most famous chain store is the ubiquitous IKEA. Its largest employer is homegrown telecommunications bigwig Ericsson, inventor of Bluetooth.
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