Explore the area by sea with local tour operator Stromma Kanalbolaget. // © 2015 Henrik Trygg/Visitstockholm.com
Feature image (above): Stockholm, Sweden // © 2015 Mindy Poder
Stockholm is defined by water. Built on 14 islands where the Baltic Sea meets Lake Malaren, the city embraces its maritime character with open arms, drawing visitors with its unique blend of nature and urban charm.
Following are a few ways to experience Sweden’s capital city while appreciating its seaward side.
From classic cuisine at Wedholms Fisk to heaping shellfish platters at Oyster Bar, seafood lovers will find plenty of options to please the palate. A casual alternative is to grab lunch at one of Stockholm’s food-market halls (open during daytime business hours only). Melanders Fisk serves up an extensive menu of seafood dishes in Soderhallarna on lively Sodermalm, while Kajsas Fisk in downtown Hotorgshallen is particularly known for its delicious and reasonably priced fish soup.
The most illustrious seafood eatery, however, is Lisa Elmqvist, located inside Ostermalms Saluhall, an upscale food market in one of Stockholm’s poshest neighborhoods. The atmosphere is cozy, crowded and great for people-watching (avoiding peak hours is recommended). The menu is a bit on the pricey side, but the seafood is flavorful and as fresh as it comes.
Maritime-themed accommodations in Stockholm include everything from cabins onboard the floating Malardrottningen Hotel and Restaurant to rooms decorated with nautical antiques at Collector’s Victory Hotel. But it’s Hotel Skeppsholmen that is a true oasis.
Located on an island that’s home to historic buildings related to the Swedish navy, the hotel was originally built in the late 1690s as housing for the royal marines. It’s just a short walk from the heart of the city, though it feels miles away.
Breakfast is included with all accommodations, which range from standard rooms with double beds to superior rooms and suites with king-size beds.
Stockholm’s top tourist attraction is Vasa Museum, home to the remarkably well-preserved royal flagship Vasa, which sank just minutes into its inaugural voyage in 1628. But to really experience Stockholm’s liquid nature, nothing beats getting out on the water yourself.
Tour operator Stromma Kanalbolaget offers a variety of day trips departing from downtown quays, including sightseeing tours along inner-city waterways, cruises through the scenic Stockholm archipelago and trips to the royal palace of Drottningholm and quaint historic towns such as Sigtuna and Vaxholm.
For more active travelers, Stockholm Adventures offers two-hour kayaking excursions departing from the cafe beside Djurgarden Bridge during the summer months.