A tourist favorite, but an amazing one. This 17th-century warship spent 333 years in the mud of Stockholm Harbor. Raised in 1961 and housed in the weirdest-looking building in town. On the beautiful island of Djurgården, the former royal hunting grounds. Fee. www.vasamuseet.se
“Rent a kayak and paddle around the islands downtown.”—Doug Lansky, Stockholm-based travel writer. Stockholm is built on the water. Enjoy. A two-seater is about $42 for two hours. That’s all you’ll need. Ekelundsvägen 26, Solna; tel. 46 8 730 22 10, www.svima.se
If you visit in winter, watch a game of bandy. It’s hockey on a football field—lightning fast, lots of goals, no fights, and outdoors, which means freezing cold on the bleachers. You’ll make friends as long as you root for Hammarby (wear green and white). Games at Zinkensdamm on Södermalm. Fee. www.hammarbybandy.se
It takes a lifetime to explore the whole thing. A perfect first stop is Fjäderholmarna. Boats leave from Nybrokajen and outside the Grand Hotel. www.strommakanalbolaget.se
Outdoor museum on Djurgården island houses 150 historic buildings from across Scandinavia; depicts traditional Swedish life before the industrial age. Oldest structures were constructed in the 14th century. Includes a zoo and a pacifier pit where kids ceremoniously part with their sucking equipment. On Djurgården. Fee. www.skansen.se
Sweden’s main radio and TV tower is the closest thing to a sky-scraping structure in town. The restaurant doesn’t revolve, but the views from 508 feet (155 meters) will make your head spin and the food is not half bad. Elevator fee. www.kaknästornet.se
The baroque palace has 600 rooms, but none of them house the royal family anymore. They moved about 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) west in 1981, to their other castle Drottningholm. Combined royal residential quarters, offices, museums, and art galleries open to visitors year-round. Dominates Gamla stan—The Old Town. Fee. www.royalcourt.se
- Nat Geo Expeditions
OK, it will take you a day, but it’s worth it if it’s a nice one. Take a boat from City Hall to gorgeous Mariefred, the home of Gripsholm Castle. Catch the train back. Fee. www.gripsholmsslott.se
One of the most beautiful in the world. It took eight million red bricks to make architect Ragnar Östberg’s vision come true in 1923. The venue for the annual Nobel Prize award ceremony dinner in December. At the southeastern tip of Kungsholmen island. Hard to miss.
Lying smack in the middle of everything, the Old Town is impossible to miss. Cutest square: Brända Tomten. Nobel Museum (www.nobelmuseum.se) at Stortorget.