Cruise into Stockholm, Sweden, and you’ll understand why it’s called the “Venice of the North.” From the Baltic Sea, you’ll pass an archipelago of roughly 24,000 islands dotted with cottages and summer homes. The city itself is located on 14 islands, connected by more than 50 bridges, at the mouth of Lake Malaren.
The main cruise ship dock is right in the city, though if it’s a busy day, your ship may dock at a commercial port a short distance away. At either port, shuttles and taxis make it easy to get to downtown Stockholm.
Gamla Stan (Old Town) is located just a bridge away from downtown. This original part of the city, which dates from the 13th century, is on an island surrounded by medieval walls. Inside the walls is Stockholm Palace, where you can tour some of the 680 rooms (others are used as offices by Sweden’s royal family). The city’s 15th century cathedral, Storkyrkan, is a stunning example of Swedish Brick Gothic architecture: inside, don’t miss the famous wooden statue of Saint George and the Dragon. Take a few minutes to relax in Stortorget, a scenic plaza in the center of Gamla Stan. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, as the streets of Gamla Stan are charmingly, but unevenly, cobblestoned.
Visitors are also impressed by the Vasa Museum, which is built around a nearly intact warship that sank on its first launch in the 17th century. The cold, brackish water of the Baltic did a good job of preserving the ship until it was raised in 1961.
Stockholm is the home of the Nobel Prizes, which are awarded at the City Hall each December (except for the Peace Prize, which is awarded in Oslo). The Nobel Museum at the Stock Exchange Building honors the amazing array of prize winners’ achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace and economics.
For a look at how the people of Sweden lived in the 18th and 19th centuries, visit Skansen, a wonderful open-air museum and zoo on the same island, Djurgarden, as the Vasa Museum. The 75-acre museum includes a complete replica of a 19th century town. Actors in traditional clothing demonstrate butter making, shoemaking, silversmithing and other crafts. The zoo will introduce you to animals native to Scandinavia, such as the wolverine and reindeer.
As the highlight of many cruises of Northern Europe, Stockholm has much to offer. To find out more, contact a Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.