• Stortorget square, Stockholm, Sweden
    Gamla Stan


Built on a string of islands connected by bridges, and surrounded by woods, Sweden's stunning capital is one-third water, one-third parks, one-third city. Stockholm is green, clean, and underrated, bubbling with energy and history. Crawl through Europe's best-preserved old warship and relax on a scenic harbor boat tour. Browse the cobbles and antique shops of the lantern-lit Old Town. Take a trip back in time at Skansen, Europe's first and best open-air folk museum. If you have more time and want to immerse yourself in some simple Swedish nature, consider spending a day or two exploring the incredibly scenic islands of Skärgården, an archipelago stretching 80 miles out into the Baltic Sea.

At a Glance

▲▲▲ Skansen Europe's first and best open-air folk museum, with more than 150 old homes, churches, shops, and schools.

▲▲▲ Vasa Museum Ill-fated 17th-century warship dredged from the sea floor, now the showpiece of an interesting museum.

▲▲▲ Archipelago Mostly half-day cruises to Vaxholm and many other small island destinations.

▲▲ Military Parade and Changing of the Guard Punchy pomp starting near Nybroplan and finishing at Royal Palace outer courtyard.

▲▲ Royal Armory A fine collection of ceremonial medieval royal armor, historic and modern royal garments, and carriages, in the Royal Palace.

▲▲ City Hall Gilt mosaic architectural jewel of Stockholm and site of Nobel Prize banquet, with tower offering the city's best views.

▲▲ Drottningholm Palace Resplendent 17th-century royal residence with a Baroque theater.

▲ Nordic Museum Danish Renaissance palace design and five fascinating centuries of traditional Swedish lifestyles.

▲ Nobel Museum Star-studded tribute to some of the world's most accomplished scientists, artists, economists, and politicians.

▲ Royal Palace Museums Complex of Swedish royal museums, the two best of which are the Royal Apartments and Royal Treasury.

▲ Royal Coin Cabinet Europe's best look at the history of money, with a sweep through the evolution of the Swedish economy to boot.

▲ Kungsträdgården Stockholm's lively central square, with life-size chess games, concerts, and perpetual action.

▲ Sergels Torg Modern square with underground mall.

▲ ABBA: The Museum Super-commercial and wildly-popular-with-ABBA-fans experience.

▲ National Museum of Fine Arts Convenient, crowd-free gallery with work of locals Larsson and Zorn, along with Rembrandt, Rubens, and Impressionists.

▲ Thielska Galleriet Enchanting waterside mansion with works of local artists Larsson, Zorn, and Munch.

▲ Fotografiska Fun photography museum focusing on contemporary and international work, with eye-popping views from its top-floor café.

▲ Millesgården Dramatic cliffside museum and grounds featuring works of Sweden's greatest sculptor, Carl Milles.

▲ Museum of Medieval Stockholm Underground museum showing off parts of the town wall King Gustav Vasa built in the 1530s.