Venice of the North
Stockholm is the political, cultural and economic capital of Sweden, and Scandinavia’s largest city and urban area. Sometimes called the “Venice of the North”, Stockholm’s distinctive topography is characterized by its attractive islands, lakes, bays, canals and seas which make up the city and surrounding county of Stockholm. The Stockholm Archipelago, one of the largest archipelagos in the Baltic Sea, is made up of some 30-35,000 islands.
The city itself consists of 14 islands, which are interconnected by 50 bridges, affording plenty of scenic views and pleasant walks. Architecture from the 15th century through the present age can be found throughout Stockholm and a modern subway system, plus local bus, train and ferry services make this city of islands quite simple to traverse. Cycling and walking, especially in the city center, are also very popular and enjoyable ways to see the Swedish capital.
Stockholm’s many parks and waterways give it a particularly fresh and clean atmosphere for a large city, while the cobbled streets and classic buildings of Gamla Stan, or the Old City, contrast pleasingly with the busy modern Scandinavian tone of Norrmalm, the main commercial and shopping district. Nearby Stureplan, in the Östermalm quarter, is a center for nightlife, high-end shopping, parks and museums, while Södermalm (or simply “Söder”) to the south, is a largely gentrified, fashionable neighborhood known for its somewhat bohemian shops, restaurants and bars. Main tourist sights in Stockholm include the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet), Old Town (Gamla Stan), Vasa Museum, Djurgården (Royal animal park), plus many other museums, galleries and churches.