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Sweden see + do

Sightseeing in Sweden usually starts in Stockholm, but one of the country's greatest attractions is its landscape. For one thing, there's just so much of it. Sweden is slightly larger than California but it has a population of just 9 million (California's is 37 million); a thousand miles separate the rolling fields and soft white beaches of Skåne (the southern tip) and the mountainous terrain of the Arctic Circle. Archipelagos on the west coast (easily reachable from Gothenburg) and the east coast (close to Stockholm) are ideal for exploring by boat. Many visitors take the half-hour flight (or three-hour ferry) from Stockholm to Gotland, an island in the middle of the Baltic Sea where you'll find some of Sweden's best beaches and a handful of excellent restaurants. Gotland's medieval walled town, Visby, is also one of Sweden's 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites.

While summer is the best time for a first visit to Sweden and autumn is reliably beautiful, don't rule out a winter trip—as long as you're prepared with warm clothing. The lakes freeze, snow blankets the forests, and the Swedes cheerfully race off to ski and skate their way across the vast, uncrowded landscape.

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Vasa Museum, Stockholm

If you visit only one site in Stockholm, the Vasa Museum should be it. This 17th-century wooden ship was the Titanic of its day, an ornate warship commissioned...more

see the Stockholm guide
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Stockholm Archipelago

The archipelago makes up an area of extraordinary natural beauty: thousands of smooth granite islands, some crowned with fir trees, rising from the Baltic Sea....more

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Skansen, Stockholm

For anyone with children, Skansen, the world's first open-air museum, is unmissable. Spread over several acres of Djurgården, it contains historic Swedish...more

see the Stockholm guide
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Royal Palace, Stockholm

It's not Europe's most beautiful palace, but the official home of King Carl XVI, in Gamla Stan, is one of the largest. This blocky, baroque edifice was begun in...more

see the Stockholm guide
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National Museum, Stockholm

The National Museum stands in a beautiful location, just across the water from Old Town. The collection includes works by Rembrandt, Rubens, and Picasso, as...more

see the Stockholm guide
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Moderna Museet, Stockholm

The unimposing Modern Museum, designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, seems quite at home surrounded by the older, traditional buildings on the island of...more

see the Stockholm guide
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Main Library, Stockholm

Fans of 20th-century Swedish architecture shouldn't miss Stadsbiblioteket in Vasastan, the city's main library. Designed by Gunnar Asplund and completed in...more

see the Stockholm guide
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Kulturhuset, Stockholm

Modern monstrosity or valuable addition to Stockholm's artistic life? Kulturhuset has been the subject of intense debate since it opened in 1974, during a...more

see the Stockholm guide
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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