Old Town in Stockholm

Stockholm Arlanda Airport (ARN)

Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is comprised of 14 islands intersected by 50 bridges on Lake Mälaren, which makes its way to the Baltic Sea via the Södertälje canal. In this "Venice of the North," you're never far from the water — one-third of its area is made up of waterways. An additional third is lush parks and green spaces, which provide a beautiful backdrop for the brass-and-steel of modern Scandinavian architecture.

Stockholm has fairly mild temperatures throughout the year despite its northern locale, so outdoor activities are a must to take advantage for the fresh, oxygen-rich air. Explore the waterways on a sightseeing boat to pass beneath Stockholm's picturesque bridges — or take a canal boat ride to experience the intense greenery of the Djurgården canal.

Another delightful way to see the sights is on two wheels. Stockholm is crisscrossed with bike paths, and cycling is a wildly popular way to get around. Rent a city bike for summer jaunts, or a mountain bike with metal-studded snow tires to enjoy a refreshing winter ride.

When you're ready to go indoors, visit the Royal Palace and the royal family residence at Drottningholm Palace to view the daily life of the Swedish monarchy. At the Vasa Museum, you can explore a fully restored warship that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.

A Veritable Smorgasbord

Do as the Swedes do and take an afternoon break for coffee and a cookie — called fika in Swedish — then stroll Gamla Stan, Stockholm's medieval old town speckled with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. Keep an eye out for the famous handmade and hand-painted Swedish glassware and stylish knick-knacks.

For dinner, you can't go wrong with the iconic staples of Swedish cuisine: gravlax, meatballs and, of course, potatoes.

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