Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Stockholm syndrome - top 10 sites
After having Iceland on my mind for a week or so, I thought I'd shuffle south to the least erupting part of Scandinavia and hope the dust hasn't settled on too much of this pristine region. I visited Norway, Denmark and Sweden last year and loved it. If you are thinking of going, here's how to get to know Stockholm. Tack!
In just one day you can stroll along cobblestoned mediaeval streets, take a boat trip to the archipelago and enjoy world-class shopping. Get to know Sweden’s capital in 10 easy stops.
The top 10 sites:
1. Vasamuseet. Scandinavia’s most visited museum – and it’s easy to see why. This miraculously preserved 17th century ship and the building that houses it combine to make an extraordinary experience. The Vasa, one of the grandest war ships ever built in Sweden sank on its maiden voyage in 1628. It was salvaged in 1961 and is the best preserved ship of its kind in the world. Don’t miss this.
2. Skansen. A beautiful, spacious open air museum that offers a romantic picture of rural Sweden from centuries past.
3. NK. Shop or browse in the stupendous department store. NK (Nordiska Kompanier) is steeped in the stylish tradition of excellence.
4. Abba, of course. A museum dedicated to the Swedish super-group is on the northern edge of Sodermain. Tickets can be purchased from the info. desk on the ground floor at NK.
5. An evening stroll along Monteliusvagen on the edge of Sodermalm, as the sun sets slowly over Stadhuset and the city centre.
6. A boat trip to Sandhamn, a bustling island off the edge of Stockholm’s stunning archipelago. It has sandy beaches, beautiful views and some excellent places to eat.
7. Moderna Museet. Visit the museum on Skeppsholmen and appreciate the building’s design (by Rafael Moneo), its impressive collection of modern art and its great restaurant.
8. Walk through the winding alleyways and mediaeval squares of Gamla Stan. The Old Town has been designated a cultural landmark. A walking tour will reveal where a famous poet was killed in a tavern brawl, where Dominican monks walked and where the classic haunts of the artists are. Most tours depart from the Obelisk on Slottsbacken outside the Royal Palace.
9. Fika. Swedes love to have a ‘fika’ – spending a long leisurely afternoon with a friend over cups of coffee with a pastry on the side. Embrace this tradition at Chokladfabriken, a cafe that shares its name with the Swedish title of Roald Dahl’s book about Willy Wonka. It serves truffles, marzipans and hard to resist sweet treats.
10. When you’ve had your fill of fika, you have to try the national dish of ‘sill’. Once the simplest of foods, sill is now a delicacy served on almost every national holiday. It’s marinated herring which comes in glass jars with many different flavours. Once you have tried it – you’ll be hooked. Or, that’s the story.
(What’s On? Official tourist & evetsn guide can be picked up from tourist kiosks and hotels around the city. The brochure has an excellent map and comprehensive information about the city and surrounds including best restaurants, museums, tours, entertainment and cruises.)