From a medieval island city founded where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea, Stockholm has grown into the largest – and easily the most beautiful – capital city in Scandinavia. Perched on 14 islands, the city offers up spectacular views of pristine waterways, historic, pastel-coloured buildings and the green oasis of Djurgården. Besides scenery, culture pangs can be sated at 100 art galleries and 70 museums – impressive stats when you consider that Stockholm’s population is roughly one-seventh that of London.
At Stockholm’s heart is Gamla Stan (Old Town), an island of narrow, cobbled streets with little shops and cafés. The impressive 18th-century Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace) dominates the north-east hillside, with Storkyrkan (the Great Church) next door, site of royal weddings and coronations. At pretty Stortorget Square, bordered by the Nobelmuseet (Stortorget, nobelmuseum), the Danes massacred 90 noblemen in 1520 in what is known as the ‘Stockholm Bloodbath’.