Cruise Ports: Stockholm for Families

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Stockholm, Sweden’s capital is built on 14 connected islands. Bridges and waterways lace the city and in the summer, with daylight lasting till well past 10:30pm, the streets remain lively with strolling families, couples, and students. From history to the arts and fun- loving strolls, Stockholm is a city perfect for couples, solo travelers, and families, alike.

Here are some great places to see:

Gamla Stan, the Old Town
A good place to start your visit is in Gamla Stan, the Old Town, whose narrow, winding streets date to the 13th century. On a walk, the aroma of grilled waffles pulls you into an eatery for a snack. Along with cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the cobblestone lanes.

Kungliga Slottet, the Royal Palace, is an Old Town highlight. The 600-room baroque masterpiece, completed in 1754, has its share of ornate ceilings and elaborate tapestries. Kids; however, most likely would want to spend the most time in Skattkammaren, the Treasury, which displays crowns encrusted with diamonds, pearls, and emeralds. For more pomp, attend the changing of the guard, held daily during the summer.

Vasamuseet, Vasa Museum
The Vasamuseet, on the island of Djurgården, contains the Vasa, a commanding war ship that sank in 1628 almost as soon as it left the dock, because it was too tall and too heavy to sail.  Salvaged in 1961, the ship’s wooden hull was preserved by the Baltic mud. Carefully restored, the massive Vasa, once again looks fierce with its ornate gargoyle-like sculptures. The museum, built around the ship, also showcases coins, tools, and other items reclaimed from the sea.

Skansen, Open-Air Museum
An open-air living history museum Skansen, also in Djurgården, features more than 150 buildings from various Swedish periods. Among them are an 18th century farmhouse and country church, a mid-1850s town with a shoemaker, glassmaker, and potter.

Located not too far away is Junibacken, an outdoor theater that offers children’s plays, which will likely be in Swedish. However, young children familiar with Pippi Longstocking and friends, characters created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, may want to ride a train through the storybook settings.

Historiska Museet, Museum of National Antiquities
On nearby Östermalm, at the Historiska Museet, the Museum of National Antiquities, head straight to the Gold Room on the ground floor for the dazzling collection of Viking gold and silver coins, necklaces, rings, chains, and other treasures. The Viking Gallery features more coins as well as drinking glasses, swords, bracelets and models of Viking ships, which had shallow hulls so they could sail Scandinavia’s inland waterways.

Day Trip: Vaxholm
The Stockholm archipelago consists of more than 24,000 islands, some skerries, and small rocky patches of land jutting above the water. Take a wind-in-your-face boat or ferry ride to Vaxholm, about 30 minutes from downtown Stockholm. Enjoy fishing and a tour of the Vaxholms Fästnings (Fortress) Museum, a stone fort begun in the 16th century.