Stockholm, Sweden

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Cruising to Stockholm, Sweden

The beating heart of Scandinavia

With the Scandi-crime genre having become one of the most popular trends in the global literary and cinematic spheres, Stockholm has taken centre stage within popular culture, and has gained a reputation for being edgy, sophisticated and just plain cool. While art doesn't always reflect reality, this case can be considered an exception, as the Swedish capital is all of the above. Include a trip to Scandinavia's most vibrant city on your cruise itinerary and you'll quickly discover why so many people from around the world are coming down with Stockholm syndrome.

What makes the city so unique is that it is set on an archipelago, with the chain made up of a total of around 30,000 islands. Each of the major islands has its own character and style, so it's easy to locate the vibe you're looking for.

As is the case with most things, it's best to start at the beginning, so kick off your tour of Stockholm in the Old Town - or Gamla Stan - where the city was founded way back in the 13th century. As one of the world's best preserved Medieval town centres, Gamla Stan is a truly charming place to stroll around and really will transport you back in time, although it's also home to some of modern-day Stockholm's top restaurants and cafes, where the locals like to indulge in a typical Swedish tradition known as fika.

Fika doesn't have a direct English translation, in a nutshell, it involves coffee and a snack of some description, and is pretty serious business in Stockholm. Because of its popularity, you'll find a huge number of trendy coffee shops throughout the city, with the bohemian Sofo neighbourhood (the nickname given to the area south of Folkungagatan) being the best place to partake in this regular pastime.

Another part of town that's well worth visiting is Skansen, with this entire island being a giant open-air museum, consisting of a zoo and a number of traditional Swedish crafts workshops. Speaking of museums, Stockholm is home to several of Europe's leading exhibition spaces, with the Vasa Museum providing an insight into the world's only preserved 17th-century ship, while the Fotografiska gallery - which is located right on the waterfront - regularly hosts collections of works by the very best photographers.

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