One week provides just enough time to skim the surface of Sweden. If you move fast enough, you'll be able to see the highlights of Stockholm in just 2 days and take a 1-day trip to visit two ancient cities -- Uppsala, the site of one of Scandinavia's greatest universities, and Sigtuna. The itinerary also calls for 2 days on the island of Gotland, highlighted by the medieval walled city of Visby. Back on the mainland you will still have 2 days left to explore the old port of Kalmar to see its famous castle and to go shopping in the glassworks district of Sweden.
Days 1 & 2: Stockholm: Gateway to Sweden
On Day 1, arrive in Stockholm as early as you can so you will have more time for sightseeing. After checking into a hotel for 2 or 3 nights, set out to explore the capital of Sweden.
There is no better introduction to the city than our 3-hour walking tour of Gamla Stan or Old Town. After lunch in an Old Town tavern, head for the Royal Palace, which is the official address of the King and Queen of Sweden.
In the afternoon, explore Scandinavia's top attraction, the Royal Warship Vasa, a 17th-century man-of-war pulled from the bottom of the sea. For a night of fun, go to Skansen on Djurgården, which is an open-air museum with a vast array of attractions. It stays open until 10pm in summer.
On the morning of Day 2, set out to see all the highlights you missed on Day 1. The two greatest attractions that remain are both outside the city. If you work out the transportation details, you can see the first sight, Drottningholm Palace and Theater, in the late morning and the second attraction, Millesgården, by the end of the afternoon. For your final evening in Stockholm, head to Gröna Lunds Tivoli, an amusement park. It's not as great as the original Tivoli in Copenhagen, but it's still fun.
Day 3: Sigtuna & Uppsala
On the morning of Day 3, you can still use Stockholm as your base, returning that evening, or you can stay in Uppsala.
Head northwest of Stockholm for 48km (30 miles) to visit the ancient town of Sigtuna on a north arm of Lake Mälaren. This is Sweden's oldest town, founded at the beginning of the 11th century. To reach it, drive north on the express highway, E4, until you reach the turnoff leading west into the center of Sigtuna. Spend 2 hours wandering its old streets before returning to the E4 for the final lap to Uppsala, a distance of 68km (42 miles) northwest of Stockholm.
Have lunch in this old university city. In the afternoon visit Uppsala Domkyrka, the largest cathedral in Scandinavia; continue with the Linnaeus Garden and Museum, founded by the world-famous botanist; and end the day at Gamla Uppsala to see what remains of Old Uppsala, founded 15 centuries ago as the capital of the Svea kingdom.
Days 4 & 5: Gotland & Visby
On the morning of Day 4, leave Stockholm, or Uppsala as the case may be, and drive 219km (136 miles) south of Stockholm to catch the car ferry at Nynäshamn heading for the island of Visby, taking 3 hours and 15 minutes.
After disembarking, visit the medieval walled city of Visby for a 2-night stopover. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring its medieval streets.
On the morning of Day 5, while still checked into a hotel in Visby, set out to discover the island on your own set of wheels, having armed yourself with a detailed map from the tourist office. Return to Visby by nightfall.
Day 6: Kalmar, the Key to Sweden
On the morning of Day 6, check out of your hotel in Visby and drive to the embarkation point for the mainland. Take a ferry that goes from Visby to the eastern coast port of Oskarshamn. Once here, follow E66 south to the port of Kalmar, a distance of 409km (254 miles) from Stockholm. You can arrive in Kalmar in time for a late lunch.
In the afternoon, visit Kalmar Slott, a castle founded in the 12th century and once called "the key to Sweden" because of its strategic position. In the fading afternoon, wander Kalmar's warren of cobblestone streets and market squares, most of them a holdover from the 17th century. Check into a hotel in Kalmar for the night.
Day 7: Växjö & the Kingdom of Crystal
On the morning of Day 7, your final day in Sweden, leave Kalmar in the morning and drive 110km (68 miles) to Växjö, the capital of the so-called "Kingdom of Crystal," or glassworks district. From Kalmar head west on Route 25.
Once in Växjö, check into a hotel for the night. If your ancestors came from this district, you'll want to visit the House of Emigrants. If not, you can spend the rest of the day visiting the glass factories, the best of which are Boda Glasbruk, Orrefors Glasbruk, and Kosta Glasbruk.
After an overnight at Växjö, you can head back to Stockholm for transportation links to where you're going next -- possibly back home.