Experiencing Skansen: Be it butter churning or folk dancing, there's always something to intrigue people of all ages here. Wander at leisure through the world's oldest open-air museum (which covers about 30 hectares/74 acres of parkland), getting a glimpse of ancient Swedish life.

Strolling through Gamla Stan at night: To walk the narrow cobblestone alleys of the Old Town at night is like going back in time. During your stroll, it'll take little imagination to envision what everyday life must have been like in this "city between the bridges."

A smorgasbord at the Grand Hotel: Unless you're lucky enough to attend a wedding or extended family reunion, you'll have to seek out the lavish but high-maintenance gastronomic display known as a smorgasbord -- they happen rarely in Sweden today. One of the few establishments that offers them on a regular, ongoing basis is Stockholm's Grand Hotel.


Searching out panoramas: The city's terrain is rocky, and sometimes involves vertigo-inducing heights. Getting a bit of distance from the Old Town helps you visualize it more clearly. The Monteliusvägen on the residential island of Södermalm rarely makes it outside the inner sanctum of the consciousness of local residents, but it should. Tracing the cliff tops of northern Södermalm, and wide enough for hill climbers but not for cars, Monteliusvägen features views that sweep out over the heart of imperial Sweden. Additional panoramas sweep out from the also-recommended Fåfångan Café on Södermalm.

A trip to Riddarholmen: One of our favorite area attractions is the Gamla Stan's satellite island of Riddarholmen, where time seems to have stopped sometime around 1600, and where there's a lot less crowding than on Gamla Stan, just across the channel.

Visiting the Rosendal Botanical Gardens: No other experience in Stockholm will impress upon you the deep-seated sense of responsibility that the Swedes feel for their ecology than a visit to this fervently organic, and utterly enchanting, fortress of the horticultural world. Combine it with a visit to Skansen, preferably during the peak of midsummer, when fruits and vegetables, dormant throughout the brutal winters and benefiting from the extended daylight hours of summer, literally explode into maturity at a dizzyingly rapid pace.


Watching the summer dawn: In midsummer, at 3am, you can get out of bed, as many Swedes do, and sit on a balcony to watch the eerie blue sky -- pure, crystal, exquisite -- emerge from a swath of peach. Swedes don't like to miss a minute of their summers, even if they have to get up early to enjoy them.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.