A Cutting Edge Future Stockholm, this Nordic northern city, is synonymous with sleek design and flat-packed-assemble-it-yourself home furniture. You?d think that this Swedish capital would be lacking in flavour, hidden amongst that Nordic ice. But you?d be wrong - Stockholm is more than just Nordic cool.

With a Viking history that still influences some social protocols, and backed with maritime trading glory, this Baltic trade city is now a world city in all senses of the word. Stockholm is overlooked by many, but lately her clean waterways, stylish bent and indie character have been building a formidable international reputation.

And why! Stockholm has waterways so clean that the mayor boasts of its crystal-clear clarity and its safe enough to swim in. She is argued to be the World?s most beautiful capital city and offers an impressive average of 16 hours of sunshine in summer. In winter, lakes freeze over and open-air ice rinks begin operating, while streets are illuminated by romantic lanterns.

This is a city of design, fashion, innovation, technology and world-class cuisine. No wonder that Stockholm is carving a niche on the world stage - it is a city undergoing a cosmopolitan rebirth, a second youth filled with energy and optimism.

Shaped by her watery surrounds, Stockholm is found between the Baltic Sea and the Malaren Lake. She is in fact made up of 14 small islands, joint by bridges and accessed via a ferry system. On her islands, all with their own diverse character, you?ll find the Gamla Stan (Old Town), grand palaces and public parks, ancient churches, latticed spires and candy coloured townhouses. Peppered among Stockholm?s medieval architecture are some interesting modern approaches - from lamentable faux pas constructions like the Skattehusset (Tax House) to the Modern Globen, the World?s largest globe-shaped building.

What to see

Take the ferry to the Gamla Stan and wander around the cobbled streets, winding lanes, cellar bars and caf? lined squares. You?ll find the shops on ?sterl?nggatan and the Startorget. On one of those long sunny days, take the ferry out to Drottingham Palace or to the Dourg?rden Peninsula, with her green parks and museums. Stockholm boasts 70 museums (and most are free) so make the most of your afternoons!

Stockholm offers some great seasonal markets, but there?s also the Ostermalius Saluhall, an upmarket food hall and the artsy street fair on S?dermalm?s westbank on the weekends. While you?re there, check out the bohemian neighbourhood of S?dermalm, filled with contemporary boutiques, hip hang outs and a definite quirky bent.

If you find yourself here in winter, take a water cruise to the inner archipelago on one of the ice-breaking boats from Str?mkajen.

What to eat
Like most world cities, Stockholm offers a wealth of international cuisine, and does her modern fusion well. These global flavours are thanks to a big immigrant community that fuses foreign cuisine with high quality raw ingredients. For more traditional Swedish dishes, try the wild game and Salmon. Feeling adventurous? Then theres always reindeer or elk.

Where to party
Stockholms nights begin early and end late. You?ve been warned! The upscale trendy bars are at Birger Jarlsgalan, Stureplan and Kungstr?rden - where the velvet ropes and beautiful people are also found. Or, try the S?dermalm district for a wilder but just as hip scene. There?s Baba Sonic, an indie club on Wednesdays at Caf? Tivoli (Hornsgatan 31) and Fritz?s Corner with live music on Saturdays at Debaser (Karl Johans Torg 1).