If you step out of Stockholm Arlanda Airport in winter, you may be forgiven for thinking that you've accidentally stumbled into a magical winter wonderland. This beautiful, frozen wilderness, dotted with pine trees and covered in a thick carpet of snow, is simply full of magic and adventure. Flights to Arlanda put the traveller within a stone’s throw of two of northern Europe's most exciting cities. To the south lies Stockholm, Sweden’s vibrant capital, and to the north, Uppsala, the country’s ecclesiastical heartland and home to Scandinavia’s oldest university.
What to see in Stockholm
Stockholm is spread across 14 individual islands and over 30% of the city’s area is made up of waterways. The oldest part of the metropolis is Gamla Stan where the buildings are still laid out in the medieval pattern; the atmospheric streets deserve a few hours of strolling. Some of Stockholm’s finest architecture is found here, including the Riddarholmen Church, the oldest building in the city.
The Swedish capital is home to over 100 museums, but the jewel in the crown is the National Museum of Fine Arts which contains over half a million exhibits, including a fine collection of Rembrandt paintings.
What to see in Uppsala
Uppsala Cathedral, or Domkyrka, is the tallest church building in Scandinavia and is the seat of the Archbishop of the Church of Sweden. Rising to a height of 118 metres (387 ft.), the cathedral spires can be seen from all over the city.
Just outside the city lies Gamla Uppsala, or Old Uppsala. Here you can see the remains of an ancient settlement, centred around the Royal Mounds, three large barrows dating from the 5th and 6th centuries. Sweden's oldest national symbols, the mounds are the burial sites of kings but according to Norse mythology they are also the resting place of the gods, Odin, Thor and Freyr.