What can be a great getaway? If you do not know the answer, you have never been to Stockholm! The Swedish capital is not only Scandinavia's largest city but also its most enchanting, with its centuries-old alleyways and squares being spread across an archipelago of 14 islands. Locals are extremely proud of the fact that here one can go ocean fishing in the heart of the city.
This historic metropolis with a small town heart also boasts a multitude of museums, an abundance of restaurants, a plethora of parks, fun fairs, never-ending nightlife (licensing hours extend until 5am), a rich cultural life and it is really a great getaway. It all adds up to 'never a dull moment', particularly in the summer when the sun virtually never sets because of its being positioned in the far northern latitudes.
Most tourists are initially drawn to the quaint Gamla Stan (old town), a warren of narrow cobbled-stone streets overshadowed by historic houses, radiating out from the sumptuous Royal Castle where Swedish royalty has resided since the 13th century. Despite the medieval heritage, Stockholm is no staid, old-fashioned enclave. Citizens have developed a reputation for being trendy, daring and innovative, especially in the global realms of IT and fashion, often setting the pace in the design and technology fields. It may be old, but Stockholm is a great getaway and a destination for the young and energetic, yet not over-run with tourists like many other European capitals.
Stockholm is one of the most charming great weekend getaways. Stockholm's main attractions are conveniently packaged close to the heart of the city on the island of Djurgarden, crammed with entertainment options, museums, restaurants and wooded green space. Once upon a time, the island was a royal hunting ground. Now visitors can hunt for souvenirs at the Handarbetets Vanner (handicraft centre); browse the art galleries; enjoy thrills and spills at Gr?na Lund, Sweden's oldest amusement park; explore Sweden's past at the Skansen open-air museum; meet Nordic wildlife at the zoo; and watch folk dancing. Also on the island, accessed with a pleasant stroll along the waterfront, is the Junibacken fairy-tale fun centre, the National Museum of Cultural History and the fascinating Vasa Museum featuring a fully rigged restored 17th-century galleon raised from Stockholm harbor. Top off the day with a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants!
The city of Stockholm stretches across 14 islands, but the archipelago, of which they form but a tiny part, consists of more than 24,000 islets, famed for their natural beauty, wildlife, fjords and spectacular channels and straits. A highlight of any visit to Stockholm is exploring this unique natural wonderland, and summer time is the time to do it, whether individually or on one of the many organized boat tours on offer.
The standard tour to the great getaway is the 'Thousand Island Cruise', lasting 11 hours, which takes you to the outer islands and allows passengers to spend time ashore on some of the larger islands, like N?md?, renowned for its handicrafts. The islanders are very hospitable and bed and breakfast accommodation is available for those seeking a longer great getaway and perhaps wanting to stay a few days to experience island life.