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Sweden Travel & Holiday Tips
 
 
 

Stockholm

Built on a string of islands, Stockholm was founded 700 years ago by King Birger Jarl at the strategic point where the fresh water of Lake Mälaren meets the salt water of the Baltic. A good starting point for an exploration of the city is the ‘Old Town’ (Gamla Stan), a cluster of old buildings and narrow cobbled streets which formed the original Stockholm. The old buildings are beautifully preserved and the main streets, Österlånggatan and Västerlånggatan, are pedestrian precincts with a host of boutiques, handicrafts and antique shops.

The Old Town has three churches of historic interest, Storkyrkan and Riddarholm Church, both dating from the 13th century and the German Church with its magnificent Baroque interior. Overlooking the harbour is the Royal Palace, which contains the State Apartments, the Crown Jewels, the Hall of State and Chapel Royal, Royal Armoury and Palace Museum. Within easy reach of the Old Town, in a magnificent setting on the edge of Lake Mälaren, is Stockholm’s elegant City Hall (Stadshuset), inaugurated about 60 years ago. There is a spectacular view of the capital from the top of the 100m (350ft) tower. Another spot for a magnificent view is the observation platform on the Kaknäs communications tower which, at 155m (508ft), is the highest building in Scandinavia.

The island of Djurgården, can be reached either by bus from the city centre or by ferry across the busy harbour. The best-known attraction here is the purpose-built Vasa Museum housing the restored 360-year-old wooden warship which was recovered from the depths of Stockholm’s harbour in 1961. Also in Djurgården is Skansen, an open-air folk museum which celebrated its centenary in 1991. It has about 150 traditional buildings from different regions of Sweden, as well as an open-air zoo and an aquarium. Across the road is Gröna Lund, a lively amusement park.

The city boasts over 50 museums. No fewer than eight can be visited in the Djurgården area, including the Nordic Museum (Nordiska Museet), Waldemarsudde House, which was the home of the artist Prince Eugen until 1947, and Liljevalchs Konsthall. The Historical Museum (Historiska Museet) has some priceless treasures and implements from prehistoric Sweden, as well as examples of medieval art. The National Museum is Sweden’s central museum for the national collections of painting, sculpture, applied arts, printing and drawings.

Every visitor to Stockholm should invest in a special discount card, the ‘Stockholm Card’ (Stockholmskortet) which cuts sightseeing and entertainment costs. Cards of longer validity are available at an extra charge, in Stockholm from the Stockholm Visitor's Board (www.stockholmtown.com).

Gothenburg

The history of Sweden’s second city Gothenburg (Göteborg) is closely tied to the sea. The basic pattern of the city owes much to the Dutch architects who designed it; the spacious streets are laid out at right angles and there is a network of canals. The Nordstaden Kronhuset area houses the oldest building of the city, built in 1643 and now the City Museum. Nearby is Kronhusbodarna, an arts and craft workshop centre dating from the 18th century. The Botanical Gardens (Botaniska Trädgården) contain a rock garden regarded as one of the most impressive in the world, with about 3000 species of Alpine plants. In the city centre is the beautiful Garden of Trädgårdsföreningen with its Palm House, built in the style of London’s destroyed Crystal Palace. The Liseberg Amusement Park is an ideal spot for children. There are also many museums, such as the Maritime Museum (Sjöfartsmuseet) which illustrates Sweden’s maritime history and the development of its shipbuilding industry.


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