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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sweden

Photo: Stockholm's Strandvagen
Summer brings sunny days and a lively collection of boats to Stockholm's Strandvagen.
Photograph by Priit Vesilind
The third largest nation in the European Union remains lightly populated, sharing maritime borders with Denmark, Germany, Russia, Poland, and the three Baltic states. • Despite its northern latitude, it enjoys all four seasons and is generally warmer and drier than similarly situated countries, thanks to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. • Alpine sports are nevertheless a major draw in winter. • In summer the sun virtually never sets. • The capital, Stockholm, is regarded as one of the worldís most beautiful cities. 

Photo: Ferryboat, Stockholm
A 19th-century ferryboat transports visitors to the Gröna Lund Tivoli Amusement Park from Old Town.
Photograph by Nicholas Pitt
Building a city on a collection of islands may have its logistical drawbacks; but no visitor to Stockholm will miss the most obvious peacetime benefit—space. There is an airy feel to the downtown that comes from the waters pretty much having been left alone to provide breathing space between neighborhoods. As the big brother of Sweden and most of Scandinavia, Stockholm is both despised and admired—as older siblings tend to be—but is supremely oblivious to it. Strong and confident, equally trendy and historic, and achingly beautiful come summer, this self-proclaimed “Capital of Scandinavia” counts among its treasures the Nobel Prize, more than 100 museums and attractions, and Europe’s largest royal palace, the official residence of His Majesty the King of Sweden.


Photo: Lidingo Island

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