Old World beauty, cutting-edge design, and an island-hopping layout—Stockholm is one of the world’s most singular cities. Both the modern and the antique blend harmoniously together in Sweden’s capital—a city built atop an archipelago bound together by a string of stunning bridges. Discover Stockholm and experience a vibrant cosmopolitan culture thriving in a landscape once home to the Vikings and now rich with regal palaces, modern art, and verdant parks for which the city is renowned.
- It's Included:
- Accommodations: 3 nights in Stockholm
- 4 meals: 3 breakfasts and 1 dinner
- 1 included tour
- Exclusive services of a Grand Circle Program Director
- All transfers
- Now included for 2015
- Gratuities for local guides and motorcoach drivers on your extension and all optional tours
After breakfast on your main trip, enjoy a morning tour of the Kungliga Slottet, Stockholm's Royal Palace. Located in the city's Old Town, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the Swedish Royal Family (although King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife Queen Silvia live at the Drottningholm Palace on the island of Lovön).
Following lunch on your own, the rest of the day is yours to further explore Stockholm. Perhaps you'll linger about the Royal Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard, which begins around noontime. The daily military parade starts at the Army Museum, marches over the Norrbro bridge, and ends at the palace's outer courtyard.
While the mighty Royal Palace dominates much of the Gamla Stan (Stockholm's Old Town, a small island nestled at the heart of this great city), there's still so much more to do and see. The picturesque isle is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways and staircases, home to a myriad of antique shops, museums, statues, and churches. The Stortorget (the “Big Square”), is the city's oldest square and site of the infamous Stockholm Bloodbath. Denmark—under the rule of King Christian II—invaded Sweden in 1520 and took the country for its own. Shortly thereafter, Christian rounded up all those who had challenged his rule and on November 8 and 9, he executed more than 80 Swedish nobles in the Big Square. According to legend, rivers of blood rushed through the streets. Today, the Stortorget is a brightly-colored square, home to a handful of cafés, the Stock Exchange, and an annual Christmas market.
This evening, dinner is on your own.
Your day is at leisure. Or join us for an optional tour which starts at the Vasa Museum. In 1628, the Vasa, a fearsome warship with 72 cannons and 300 soldiers, set off on a maiden voyage two years in the making—and then sank in the harbor. Like the Titanic, the Vasa was an epic ship that became a symbol of tragedy—and Sweden never forgot her. Hundreds of years later, in 1961, the Vasa was raised from the seabed and returned to land. Today, restored and preserved, still outfitted with its original masts, deadeyes and blocks, the Vasa is one of Stockholm’s most well-loved icons.
Then continue your optional tour with a funicular ride to Skansen, located at the top of Djurgården, a wooded island at the center of Stockholm. Skansen is the oldest continually-operating outdoor museum in the world, founded in 1891. A 75-acre 19th-century village in which living history performers demonstrate baking, glass-blowing, leather tanning, shoemaking, silversmithing, and more, Skansen immerses visitors in a rural way of life its founder saw disappearing as the 20th century approached. The village hosts folkloric performances for a taste of traditional Swedish music and dance. You’ll also find a collection of Nordic animals—from livestock to wildlife like wolverines and lynx—for a richer perspective of life in the archipelago.
You’ll return to your hotel this afternoon, with the rest of the day at leisure to do as you please. Dinner is on your own tonight.
After breakfast with your travel companions, the rest of your day is at leisure. Your Grand Circle Program Director will be happy to provide you with suggestions for visiting the gems of Stockholm that best suit you. You might delve into the earliest roots of Sweden culture at the National Historical Museum, whose collections span 10,000 years from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. The museum features artifacts from the Viking era, centuries-old textiles, a Gothic collection, and a “Gold Room” housing 114 pounds of objects (not to mention almost 450 pounds of silver work).
This afternoon is a perfect opportunity for you and your travel companions to indulge in fika—a social institution in Sweden. Fika is a morning or afternoon coffee break enjoyed amongst friends, family, or colleagues. In fact, more coffee is consumed in Sweden than anywhere else in the world. After your morning explorations, relax at a konditori (bakery) while savoring a hot cup of coffee and a kanelbulle (cinnamon bun). If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try Sweden’s “egg coffee,” where a raw egg is mixed into the coffee grounds before it’s steeped in boiling water.
This evening, enjoy an included dinner at a local restaurant.
After breakfast this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home.