A historical gem where land and sea meet

Stockholm is an architectural jewel and natural marvel: it is wedged between land and sea on an archipelago of 14 interconnected islands. Its historical center is one of the most beautiful in Europe and one that perfectly blends in with the magical surrounding landscapes.

The historical capital of Sweden, Stockholm was founded in 1250. Its name means “islet of logs,” probably because of its primary location as a wood trading center. The city became a member of the Hanseatic League, something that greatly contributed to its early development, while during the 17th century Sweden took its place as a major European power. Its military and commercial expansion throughout Scandinavia, the whole Baltic region, and Russia multiplied the population of Stockholm, which became a cultural, trading, and political metropolis. All this ended in 1709 at the Battle of Poltava, when Russia defeated the Swedish armies and captured its king. It was a military and economic blow to the country and its capital, and as a result Sweden lost its international status and Stockholm fell into a long period of stagnation. That lasted until the late 19th century, when industrialization arrived and the city flourished again, while today Stockholm is a major economic center and one of the most beautiful, sustainable, and dynamic cities in the world. The city stretches across the Stockholm Archipelago, occupying 14 islands, including the 13th century Old Town, or Gamla Stan, with its beautiful maze of narrow streets and medieval buildings. Further inland Stockholm melts into the lakes, rivers, and forests that surround the city.

Panoramic bus tour of Stockholm. Our short bus tour will start at a place called Fjallgatan, an overlook that offers a view of the city and its archipelago. It is located in Stadsgarden, an old port area that was recently restored. Our tour will feature some of the islands that make up the city, and we will enjoy picturesque views of Stockholm and the Baltic Sea. We will pass by the Concert Hall building, where the Nobel Prize award ceremony takes place every year, after which we will head for the elegant Ostermalms district. We will then reach Djurgarden Island, home to the magnificent gardens of the same name and one of the favorite places for the city’s inhabitants to go strolling during the summer. It also houses Skansen, an open air museum, and the famous Vasa Museum that hosts the Vasa, a warship that sank in 1638. We will end our tour at Gamla Stan in Stockholm’s historical center.

Visit to the Vasa Museum. Situated on Djurgarden Island very close to Stockholm’s historical center, the museum hosts the warship Vasa. Built at the beginning of the 17th century during Swedish expansionism, the Vasa was one of the biggest and most powerful ships of her time. She was designed to be the flagship of the Swedish fleet and ensure Swedish supremacy on the Baltic Sea, armed accordingly with 64 cannons. Her construction was extremely costly for the kingdom, and sadly, because of different failures in her design, the Vasa sunk shortly after leaving port on her maiden voyage on August 10th, 1628. Forgotten for centuries, she was salvaged 333 years later in surprisingly good condition. Now the ship and the objects recovered on board are on display at the museum.

Panoramic walking tour around Stockholm. Most of Stockholm’s landmarks are located inside Gamle Stan, the Old Town, so we can easily discover them on foot. It is a real pleasure to stroll along this bunch of narrow and paved streets, discovering the old houses and historical buildings. We will see here the Swedish Parliament and a bit farther the House of the Nobility, or Riddarhuset. The neighboring islet is home to 13th century Riddarholmen Church, one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm and the burial place of the Swedish kings. Across the bay, known as Riddarfjarden, at the tip of Kungsholmen Island, is imposing Town Hall. Inside its Blue Hall the award ceremony banquet for the Nobel Prize takes place every year. Back at Gamla Stan, we will discover the Royal Palace or Kungliga Slottet, the official residence of the Royal Swedish family. Boasting 608 rooms, it is the largest palace used by an acting royal family anywhere in the world. In front of it is the Royal Opera building, following which we will visit the Cathedral of Stockholm, or Storkyrkan, dedicated to St. Nicholas. It is the oldest building in Stockholm, and a magnificent example of Baltic Gothic, or Brick Gothic style. It also hosts many ceremonies involving the royal family, while across from it is the Stockholm Stock Exchange building, which hosts the Nobel Museum and Library, and the Swedish Academy. After heading down Slottsbacken Street, we will walk towards Stotorget, the main square in the historical center, and the world-renowned colorful facades of its old merchant houses. We will then proceed along elegant Skeppsbron Avenue, while the small island we will then see in front of us hosts most of the city museums.