Stockholm is often nicknamed the “Venice of the North”. This moniker is owed in part to the city’s geographic location on 14 islands scattered over the fresh waters of Lake Mälaren. Stockholm is not only the capital of Sweden, but it is also one of the most naturally beautiful cities in Europe. It is part of an archipelago of 24,000 islands, islets, and rocky skerries that lead into the Baltic. Stockholm is made up of waterways, parks, and green spaces. The city’s air is very crisp, its urban space open and uncluttered, and its waterways so pure that you might actually be able to drink from it. And, by the decree of the 17th century Queen Christina, it is perfectly legal to swim and fish in the downtown waters of Mälaren.

Stockholm, however, is not just a natural oasis, but has many weapons of charm in its arsenal. Stroll through downtown Stockholm and you’ll just fall in love with the broad boulevards and elegant buildings that adorn.

Stockholm has a few “musts”. A visit to the city’s Old Town or Gamla Stan is one of them. It is the preserved ancient part of the town and you’ll find some medieval buildings including the preserved church, Riddarholmskyrkan. The Royal Palace is another popular site of tourists. It is a baroque style palace built to serve as the king’s official residence and the work place of various departments of the Royal Court. Stockholm also has an overflow of museums, seventy to be exact. The Nationalmuseum (or National Museum) is the most prominent one, exhibiting various works by Renoir, Degas, Gauguin, Rubens, and Rembrandt as well as Swedish artists like Carl Larsson, Anders Zorn, and Ernst Josephson. There are also various museums with exhibitions related to the Vikings, including the Historiska Museet and the Birka, the latter is situated on the island town of Björkö, which is the site of an ancient Viking city.

You can also take a boat trip on Lake Mälaren, hopping through the various islands and exploring the different restaurants and shops. One of these island towns, Vaxholm, is so beautiful that you should make an extra effort to visit it. The Vaxholm castle built in the 16th century sits on this lush green village. Other island towns that are popular include Sandhamn, Utö, and Möja.