On bright summer mornings in Stockholm, the enticing aromas of freshly baked cardamom buns and strong espresso waft out from bakeries and restaurants lining the cobbled streets of the city’s historic old town, Gamla Stan. Located at the heart of modern-day Stockholm, the 13th century city center is a popular destination for tourists and locals, who flock to its crowded corridors in search of culinary and cultural treasures alike.
Gamla Stan is just one of numerous distinct neighborhoods spread across the 14 islands that comprise modern-day Stockholm, Sweden’s capital and the most populous city in Scandinavia. The city, located on Sweden’s southeastern coast, was founded in 1252, and has become hub for business and academia in the Nordic region. Home to numerous world-class institutions, including the Nobel and Vasa museums, as well as several UNESCO World Heritage sites, Stockholm is also regarded as one of Europe’s top cultural centers.
Due to the city’s northerly latitude, summers are short and mild, with long days where the sun barely dips below the horizon before quickly rising again. Conversely, the “twilight” days of mid-winter months are dark and cold, and test the resolve of those who thrive on sunshine. The Swedes have adapted to these contrasting seasons by embracing outdoor activities in all types of weather. Residents are particularly fond of winter sports such as skiing and ice hockey, and top athletes from the region routinely excel in these events during international competitions.
I was fortunate enough to visit the Stockholm at the end of spring, when residents were emerging from their homes and taking to the city’s sunny promenades, vibrant waterways and bustling cafés. Stockholm truly blooms during the warm months, with myriad outdoor shopping and dining options in the city center and an abundance of activities to engage in further afield.
The photos and video in this post (and the shots in my upcoming analog/digital comparison) depict some of the city’s iconic sights, but really only scratch the surface of what “Scandinavia’s Capital” has to offer. I’ll definitely be going back for another visit!
A rain shower passes over Djurgården on a cool day in late May.
A large tree dominates the central courtyard of Stockholm City Hall as seen in this fisheye view from the building’s street entrance.
Window washers clean the façade of a skyscraper in a business district south of the city.
Drottningholm Palace, the private residence of the Swedish royal family, is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Soldiers in ceremonial attire prepare for the change of guard at Drottningholm Palace.
An observation deck atop the Ericsson Globe, a massive, spherical, multi-use arena south of Stockholm’s city center, provides a panoramic view of the city.
The original gathering room for the Swedish parliament is now used for smaller committee meetings.
Bicycles line a narrow alleyway in the heart of Gamla Stan.
A panhandler takes a break from his Mickey Mouse routine to smoke a cigarette in Gamla Stan’s central plaza.
A dirt path winds through a wooded section of Hagaparken, a popular nature area north of the city.
Check out all the high-resolution shots from my trip to Sweden in my album on Flickr.