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Visiting Stockholm

Scandinavia's most beautiful capital gives the gift of endless eye candy: cobbled lanes, green parks, magnificent museums, and offshore islands.

City-slickers will find inspiration in the design-filled hotels and boutiques, and in creative menus of local fare.

Make the most of your time in the Nordics and add a Stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare: enjoy two cool Scandinavian cities in one fantastic trip.

Beauty on the water

Stockholm's good looks spread across 14 islands, linked by dozens of photogenic bridges. Exploring the diverse, distinct neighborhoods is a joy. Chief magnet for visitors is Gamla Stan (Old Town), Stockholm's medieval heart.

Sure, it's a little touristy, but this cobblestoned collection of narrow alleys, rainbow-hued buildings, and postcard-worthy squares rewards ramblers.

A quintessential Stockholm experience is to rent a bike to explore Djurgården - this huge park is a city oasis brimming with first-class attractions and garden cafes.

Skansen is the world's oldest open-air museum, and Junibacken honors Pippi Longstocking, plus there are collections that span all interests, from modern art to astounding sunken treasure, by way of Vikings and 1970s super-group Abba.

Meatballs and so much more

There's a lot more than meatballs and mash! Cheap eats range from super-cool food trucks to street vendors selling korv (hot dogs) and kebabs.

There are old-school bakeries, rustic cafes, new Nordic temples and Michelin-starred beauties to discover, and some excellent food halls and markets to plunder - the best is in the chic Östermalm district.

Seafood from the Swedish coast is a star ingredient all over town - crayfish, herring and salmon give great local flavor.

Wear your most forgiving waistband to partake of a traditional smörgåsbord - the Swedes invented the concept, and you can see it in its finest form at the Grand Hôtel.

Don't miss the chance to fika - this is the revered local custom of the coffee break, usually enjoyed with a baked sweet treat.

For style seekers and souvenir hunters

Sweden is synonymous with celebrated, innovative design (beyond the Ikea flatpacks) and Stockholm's impeccable eye for beauty is found in everything from the smallest souvenirs to the largest architectural creation.

The Designtorget chain of stores showcases the work of established and emerging designers and sells fun, fresh and affordable Scandi pieces.

Neighborhoods primed for browsing include Södermalm's SoFo district (south of Folkungagatan), selling vintage and street fashion and cool creative stuff too, with some perfect cafes and bars for pit stops.

Gamla Stan has local handicrafts and design stores among the traditional souvenir sellers. Östermalm should be on your radar if you're cashed up and seeking high-end fashion and design boutiques.