68km (42 miles) NW of Stockholm

Uppsala, Sweden's major university city, is so approachable, it may appear smaller than it is. Yet it is the fourth largest city in this country, and the single most popular day trip from Stockholm -- for good reason. Not only does it have a great university, but it has a grand 15th-century cathedral and a lot of history. Even Queen Christina once held court here, and the church is still the seat of the archbishop, making it the ecclesiastical capital of Sweden.

As for the university, it's got quite a pedigree, going back to 1477. With a student population hovering around 30,000, Uppsala is the Oxford of Sweden. The city, lying at the northern tip of Lake Mälaren, is also riddled with beautiful green parks, which isn't surprising, considering that this was the hometown of the world's most famous botanist, Carl von Linné (1707-78), also known as Carl Linnaeus.

Film buffs know that Uppsala was the birthplace of the great director Ingmar Bergman (no relation to another great Swede, Ingrid Bergman). Ingmar used Uppsala as a setting for one of his most classic films, Fanny and Alexander.

The best time to visit Uppsala is on April 30, Walpurgis Eve, when the academic community celebrates the rebirth of spring with a torchlight parade. The festivities last until dawn throughout the 13 student "nations" (residential halls).