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Stockholm

Posted By Guru4Travel on Jan 04, 2012 at 7:07AM

Stockholm
- one of Europes great cities, voted by Lonely Planet as one of their Top 10 cities for 2012.

Made up of 14 individual islands, it is connected by a network of ferries, water taxis, bridges and a splendid underground system. My favourite area to walk around is the Gamla Stan, the once medieval heart of the city. This area lies behind Stockholm Cathedral and Royal Palace. The Cathedral itself has a number of great artifacts, including a giant statue of St. George and the Dragon. In my many trips I've yet to have time to endure the queues to visit the Royal Palace itself, but know that it's worth checking to see the (free) changing of the guard.
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However, the narrow cobbled streets of Gamla Stan always tempt me more. Full of interesting curio shops, a fantastic nautical chandlery, antique map and bookshops shops, plus the obligatory tourist places selling postcards and plastic artifacts, Gamla Stan holds my attention easily.
If your interest in Stockholm is from Steig Larsson's cult Millennium books, then you'll perhaps be interested in Sodermalm, the trendy bohemian setting for much of the novels. You can book tours to take in some of the landmarks from the books at the City Museum. Sodermalm is also a good place to grab a bite to eat in the many cafe's and bars.
One place nearby I recommend if you've got children with you is the excellent Stockholm Transport museum. Here you'll find antique trams, buses and stories of getting people around Stockholm, including a great little train that runs around the ground floor.
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You should also consider taking a bus or boat to the GronaLund theme park to sample the roller coasters on the island of Djurgarden. If kids are with you, you'll likely want to spend time visiting the Pippi Longstocking themed attraction, Junibacken too. Also on the island is the Vasa museum where you'll be able to see the perfectly preserved Vasa warship which sank on it's maiden voyage in 1628 and was raised and restored in the 60's. Adorned with beautiful carvings the museum gives a great interactive display of life on board.
Art lovers might prefer the tranquility of the Museum of Modern Art on Skeppsholmen, with paintings by Dali, Picasso and Matisse. 

A long weekend is where Stockholm excels, or take a midweek break to get best prices and availability. Consider the cheap SS Chapman hostel or the Langholmen Hotel - a former prison. If you're flying into Arlanda airport, you should check out JumboStay, a converted 747 Jet which now has near 30 bedrooms from cheap shared dorm-style group rooms to a cockpit suite with a view from the windows of one of the taxiways of the airport. Arlanda is easily connected to Stockholm by a high speed rail express train in less than 20minutes.
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If you've got a car, consider visiting Vasteras, where as well as a pleasant town on Lake Malaren, you'll also find the Hackspett Treehouse in the middle of the city park and the Utter Inn, one of the worlds only Underwater hotels. Booking for these one-off bedrooms needs to be considered far in advance and only for April-October. Consider them for midweek short stays if you can't get a weekend night during your trip. They're well worth the 50 minute drive from Stockholm!
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Further afield is children favourite Kolarbyn, a natural setting in the woodland of Charcoal worker huts, fantastic for warm summer months. If you're not afraid of the dark, adults might want to check out Sala Silvermine's underground suite, 155m below the surface in a restored Silver Mine. It's an amazing experience that you'll never forget.

Best Wishes for Unusual Travels.



Steve
Barbara Johnson
Jan 12 2012
Thank you for this review. I have been wanting to visit Sweden for a long time and may be able to finally go later this year! I'm pretty excited about it. From what I've seen the country seems to have an old European feel. I guess I'll see for myself when I visit. Thanks again and keep the articles and reviews coming!

Erick Prillwitz
Jan 4 2012
Vasa, perhaps one of the most interesting museums I've never visited! Staying one night at Jumbo was something very different and the other nights at Chapman were fun. Unfortunately Langholmen was sold out, but I managed to make an interesting visit of this former prison. My four summer sunny days in Stockholm were simply perfect!


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