The city of the fourteen islands
Without a doubt Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and a vacation in Sweden with an MSC cruise will prove it.
Built on no fewer than fourteen islands, where the fresh water of Lake Mälaren meets the brackish Baltic Sea, clean air and open space are in plentiful supply here. An MSC cruise of Northern Europe will give you the opportunity to appreciate its port front, reach the Baltic Sea and experience the atmospheres with a tour of the town where broad boulevards lined with elegant buildings are reflected in the deep blue water, and rows of painted wooden houseboats bob gently alongside the cobbled waterfront.
But Stockholm is also a hi-tech metropolis, as you will find out on your excursion on land during your cruise, with futuristic skyscrapers and a bustling commercial heart. The old town, Gamla Stan, is a district with cobbled streets and narrow alleyways huddled together on a triangular-shaped island.
Today the area is an atmospheric mixture of buildings surrounded on all sides by a latticework of medieval lanes and alleyways. The district of Norrmalm swaps tradition for a thoroughly contemporary feel: this is downtown Stockholm where you’ll find shopping malls, huge department stores and conspicuous, showy wealth. In the green island of Djurgården you can see an extraordinary 17th century warship, the Vasa, rescued and preserved after sinking in Stockholm harbour.
Cross Norrbron or Riksbron from the Riksdagshuset and up rears the most distinctive monumental building in Stockholm, Kungliga Slottet – a low, square, yellowy-brown construction, with two arms that stretch down towards the water. It’s uniform and sombre outside, but with a magnificent Rococo interior that’s a swirl of staterooms and museums.
Itssheer size is quite overwhelming: you should not miss the Royal Apartments and the Treasure Room. The former are used for royal receptions and the second keeps a collection of crowns studded with precious stones.