Stockholm is stylish, cultured and beautiful. Once you’ve sampled the delights of the city, hop on a ferry to the islands in the archipelago for the best of Sweden’s great outdoors. Visit in late June, and you'll get to experience the full delight of Midsummer, Sweden's salute to the sun.
Whether you’re looking for a budget, mid-range or luxury getaway in Sweden, Lonely Planet Magazine shows you how:
What to see
Royal guards, candy-coloured buildings and twisting cobbled lanes – Stockholm’s Gamla Stan (Old Town) is a beguiling fairy-tale place packed with historical sights. Explore crowd-pullers such as the Royal Palace.
Equal parts cheeky and serious, Stockholm’s Moderna Museet art gallery balances popular artwork with provocative pieces. If the boundary-testing art gets too much, head to the acclaimed restaurant.
There are plenty of kayaking and canal boat tours around Stockholm and the archipelago, but the most exhilarating way to take to the water is via RIB (rigid inflatable boat), for a high-speed, high-thrill cruise.
Where to eat
Locals love Café Saturnus for baguettes, pastries and café au lait. While its claim to have introduced Stockholm to 'proper' coffee is hotly contested, there’s no doubt that its kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) are the city’s best.
Laid-back and stylish Roxy draws a mixed crowd, with its modern Mediterranean dishes and tapas. Add to that tango beats and the odd brusque Spanish waitress, and all that’s missing is Frida Kahlo at the bar.
Den Gyldene Freden has been running since 1722 and offers sublime dishes such as smoked salmon with avocado crème, figs and raisin dressing. Book ahead and dress to impress.
Where to shop
Chokladfabriken's head chocolatier trained in Paris; try the cardamom praline and you’ll taste its pedigree (chocolates from £1, tastings £30)
Castor Konsthantverk gathers work from artists and craftsmen – you’ll find everything from sheepskin hats to leather wristbands decorated in the Sami tradition.
World-famous design shop Modernity stocks cult furniture from 20th-century Scandinavian greats such as Alvar Aalto and Arne Jacobsen.
Where to sleep
Vandrarhem af Chapman, in a renovated sailing ship, is perhaps the world’s most original hostel, with two-bed and four-bed rooms and dorms. There are wonderful views, especially as the sun sets.
The Crystal Plaza Hotel, housed in a building from 1895, has original glass-and-wood doors, marble floors and a sweeping spiral staircase. Rooms are simple and modern in style.
Nineteenth-century Grand is on the waterfront facing the Royal Palace. The décor is elegant, with draped curtains and gilded chairs (from £345)