Stockholm is one of the most favored cruise destinations among
travelers who like to blend a little sightseeing and culture on land with
relaxation on board their ship. The approach to the city by ship is
spectacular. Rather like Venice, Stockholm is built on a series of islands –
fourteen of them – which are part of a larger archipelago of over 24,000
islands ranging in size from substantial areas of land with settlements on them
to tiny outcrops of rock.
The other thing Stockholm has in common with Venice is its
relatively compact size. Because of the limitations on building space the city
has not been able to sprawl like so many modern capitals, and is therefore very
easy to explore on foot. This makes it an excellent destination for cruisers.
a wide variety of things to do and see in Stockholm. It’s a place steeped in
history, and the architectural standards and styles it has established over the
years have spread all over the world. At the same time it’s a very trendy place
– younger cruisers will appreciate the very large number of bars and clubs. A
night out in Stockholm is an experience to remember. Although prices are not
cheap – this is Scandinavia, after all – there is always an excellent
atmosphere. The other attraction of an evening of socializing in Stockholm is
that, in common with most other Scandinavian cities, it has a very low crime
rate compared with cities of similar status in the US and even the rest of
Europe. So if it’s excitement you’re after, head to the island of Södermalm –
this area is just a short walk south from the city center, and at night it
comes alive with the sound of DJs mixing the latest tunes and the smells of
Swedish cooking from wonderful street cafés.
If you feel like spending a rather more tranquil time in
Stockholm, you might consider visiting the equally nearby island of Djurgården.
It was the first officially designated National City Park in the world.
Stockholm is hardly a hectic and bustling place by the standards of New York or
Milan, but if you do feel the need to get away from buildings and traffic,
Djurgården is the place to go. It’s very popular with local families and is a
great place to go and chill out.
you want to soak up some of the city’s history, have a walk around Gamla Stan,
Stockholm’s historic center. Although some of the buildings are very ancient
indeed – the oldest, Birger Jarl’s Tower, dates from the 1200s AD. But the city
is famous for later developments than medieval fortifications. Stockholm has
always been at the cutting edge of European of many different art forms – but
in the field of architecture it has, arguably, dominated the last century. Most
of this reputation comes from the particular style of architecture that English
writers called ‘Swedish Grace’ – as the name suggests, it’s a finely-drawn,
elegant style of building. It stresses the importance of quality expressed in
the smallest detail of a building’s design. Carl Bergsten’s art gallery is a
After trudging for a few hours around the center of this
delightful city, you’ll probably find yourself in need of some refreshment
before heading back to your ship. During the long hot summer – temperatures can
soar to Mediterranean levels – many local Swedes can be seen soaking up the sun
in one of Stockholm’s many open-air cafés. They are dotted around all over
Gamla Stan, and there are also many to be found in the city center proper.
Probably the best cafés in this area are in the Kungsträdgården. This lovely
park is yet another great place to chill out and relax over coffee and cakes in
this greenest of cities. You’ll find a huge range of delicacies on offer. The
Swedes tend to like their coffee on the strong side and espresso is very
popular – as are the kind of small, sweet pastries that you might come across
in Vienna or Istanbul.
you’re thinking of having a beer or a glass of wine be prepared to pay a high
price: Sweden has a very high duty on alcohol. The money is worth it if you
want to savor some of the excellent local beers, though. Brewing in Sweden has
had something of a checkered history, but these days the industry is going
strong. If you’re a connoisseur you’ll want to try the excellent Carnegie
Porter, a rich dark stout similar in many ways to Guinness. If, on the other
hand, you simply want to sink a couple of cool ones after a long day’s
sightseeing, it probably makes better financial sense to wait until you’re back
Stockholm is one of the most elegant and well-balanced cities in
the world. The locals like to say that the city is divided into three equal
parts: buildings, water and trees – and this is strikingly obvious when you
sail into the city’s port. It’s a beautiful city, but a warm and welcoming one,