Sweden's capital effortlessly combines historic architecture, palaces and castles (some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites) with unique restaurants and bars, hip and fashionable boutiques, cutting edge design and vibrant nightclubs, alongside leafy green parks and tranquil waterways. Spread over a collection of islands spanned by bridges, start by exploring Stockholm’s picturesque Gamla Stan (Old Town), whose 13th-century cathedral, colourful buildings and cobblestone streets give it the magical feel of something from a children's storybook, and stop for a meal in one of the many gourmet restaurants or have a drink in a cafe in Stortoget, its central square.
Visit the beautiful Royal Palace, which has over 600 rooms and is one of the largest palaces in Europe: and as well as being a royal residence, it is home to five museums. For another culture fix, see contemporary artistic masterpieces at the colourful modern art museum Moderna Museet, and get out on the water on a leisurely cruise - an ideal way to get a different perspective of this unique city.
Move beyond contemporary Stockholm and you’ll find a traditional Sweden still clinging on to its Scandinavian roots. Endless pine forests and sparkling lakes make up the vast majority of this long stretch of land with occasional red log cabins, farmsteads and towering peaks puncturing the scenery. Further north, Sweden gets wilder and more rugged – eventually erupting into the wintry wilderness of Lapland, but in between the capital and the Arctic Circle, highlights include the lively university town of Uppsala, the culinary delights of Jamtland and the impressive setting of Lake Silijan, created millions of years ago when a meteorite crashed into Earth.