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With its maritime bent and cosmopolitan flavour, Stockholm is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful national capitals in the world. This lovely, lively city, is ideally situated on the coast with the 24,000 islands of the skärgård (archipelago) protecting the urban islands from the open seas.
What surprises most first time visitors to Stockholm is the water; there's as much of it here as there is in Amsterdam and Venice. The city is also captivating because each neighbourhood has its own unique 'character' so a short stroll often turns into a long walking tour; and ambling around the city's waterways and parks is simply a glorious way to spend a morning or afternoon.
You can cover the entire city centre on foot in a couple of hours. In the same amount of time, you can shop till you drop at an impressive number of designer establishments all within a stone's throw of one another. In the evening, you can choose to visit the theatre or the opera; there are outdoor stages, beautiful movie houses, musicals to see and sports arenas that frequently host concerts. When your stomach begins to rumble, you've only got to decide what you feel like eating - the world's cuisines are very well represented here.
This is partly due to the fact that of the two million people that live in Stockholm, over 15% of them are immigrants, so as you stroll through the city's quaint streets you'll hear anything, from Polish and Japanese to Arabic and can savour everything from sushi to shwaramas.
Stockholm and children
High chairs in restaurants, children's menus, ramps for prams in the Stockholm underground and dedicated rooms for eating packed lunches in museums and many more such child-friendly facilities are taken for granted in Stockholm; the city and its surrounding areas will spoil you with their attention to children's needs and are both fun and convenient to visit with little ones in tow. Check out this site: http://www.bestonbumpercars.com/ to know Beston group.
With its broad pavements, pedestrian areas, green parks and location right on the water, Stockholm is a great place for running, jumping and discovering. You can leave the car at home, as virtually all of Stockholm's attractions can be reached via the underground and buses.
StorStockholmsLokaltrafik (SL for brevity's sake) is in charge of local public transport and operates underground trains, buses and commuter trains covering the entire County of Stockholm. Children under seven always ride free when accompanied by and adult and on weekends, from 12 noon Friday through to Sunday, a single paying adult can bring along up to six children under twelve at no extra cost.
When to visit
I would be lying if I said it would be OK to visit Sweden in the winter months - when the truth is that those travelling from Gulf countries would find the cold especially bitter and this could have a negative effect on what would have otherwise been a wonderful holiday.
So although to visit during snowy months would be magical, give much consideration to a winter trip to Sweden before making that decision. Remember also that changing nappies when 3 or 4 layers of clothes and snowsuits have to be removed each time soon wears thin!
Most of Sweden has a cool temperate climate, and it rains in all seasons, but the southern part of the country has a warmer temperate climate. Stockholm has an average of about nine hours of sunshine daily from May to July so summer is definitively the best time to visit the city and it fits in well with the Northern hemisphere school holidays too. More details.
What to see and do
Here's a selection of attractions and activities that you can enjoy on your visit to Stockholm:-
Since 1883 Gröna Lund ('green grove') has been a popular amusement park and is as pretty and as unusual as its name would imply. Situated on the island of Djurgården, the park's reflection glitters on the waters of the Baltic at the gateway to Stockholm. For children, the appeal of Gröna Lund is obvious: there's the Jetline roller coaster, the Power Tower which drops you into an 80-metre free-fall at 100 km/h, the giant windmill and classic Luna Park type attractions such as the funhouse, the haunted house and battery dodgem cars. Adults and those with an interest in calmer pursuits will also enjoy Gröna Lund. A wide variety of concerts featuring both Swedish and international artists are held on the park's soundstages. A 'green card' costing 100 kronor provides free entry to the park and its summertime open-air concerts. Eight restaurants and 25 attractions (ranging from peaceful to petrifying!) all come together at this very well-liked amusement park.
Founded in 1891, Skansen is Stockholm's largest and most popular outing destination and the world's first open-air museum. What's more, Solliden, Skansen's highest point, offers one of the best views of Stockholm you can find, looking out over the Baltic and the seaway to the city. Some 150 historic buildings, houses, farms, workshops and other fun areas have been collected at Skansen to portray how people lived in the past. It's a Sweden in miniature, representing diverse periods and social circumstances from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century (the staff all dress in period costume by the way) and it is a fun and very educational experience. The kids will enjoy demonstrations of handicrafts such as glasswork, the old print shop and the bakery. You could easily and gladly spend the whole day here.
Stockholm's only zoo is at Skansen and has Scandinavian animals such as elk, wolves and bears while exotic snakes and monkeys can be seen at Skansen-Akvariet. Skansen's brown bears are the favourites of many, especially in April when the year's new cubs are presented. There is also Lill-Skansen, a zoo especially for children, with goat kids, hedgehogs, piglets, ducks and even adorable little kittens.
In a town with more than 70 museums it is easy to find one which interests you. If you are visiting with children, be sure to go to the Museum of Science and Technology (Tekniska Museet), the Aquaria Water Museum (Aquaria Vattenmuseum), the Swedish Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet), the Cosmonova and the National Museum of Cultural History (Nordiska Museet). Many museums arrange various children's activities in connection with school holidays and mostly all staff speaks English. Stockholm museums are open every day except Mondays, when most are closed. For public holidays it's best to check the opening times with the Stockholm Visitors Board tourist information office at the Cultural Centre (Kulturhuset) at Sergels torg.
Haga Park is pleasant for walks, bicycle tours or strolling between museums. Here you'll find the Fjärils & Fågelhuset (Butterfly House), an artificial tropical environment with free-flying birds and butterflies. There's also a shop and café
Kungliga Slottet is the largest royal castle in the world still used for its original purpose. It was constructed on the site of the 'old' royal castle, Tre Kronor, which burned down in 1697.
This is a wonderful children's play world which brings to life author Astrid Lindgrens' (Pippi Longstockings) story world.
This is an almost entirely preserved rigged warship from the seventeenth century which sank on its maiden voyage. The smell of tarred timber, exhibitions, multimedia and interesting artefacts that were rescued from the ship can all be found in the Vasa Museum, which fascinates visitors of all ages.
Stockholm has the appeal of a village yet offers all the attractions of a big city. Its people are modest and charming and this, combined with exciting sightseeing opportunities and activities makes Stockholm a great family destination.
Dominique has been writing for over a decade and contributes to media worldwide.
Her articles have appeared online and in publications as diverse as Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, Dubai's Connector Magazine and the UK's Cat World Monthly.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Dominique_Coleman/88640