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Ariel view of Stockholm

The thought of island hopping might conjure up images of cruising between cool Caribbean haunts, but consider hopping between the islands of elegant, beautiful and action-packed Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and the pride and joy of the nation.

There are 14 islands in the inner city, with some 24,000 islands whirling away from Stockholm in the stunning archipelago that belongs to the Baltic Sea. Stockholm itself is located on Lake Mälaren and a series of bridges connect this unique and enthralling city-break destination. With long, long summer days punctuated with blues skies and sunshine, and romantic winter nights peppered with candlelight and snowflakes, you can enjoy a break here at any time.

Hotels in Stockholm are renowned for cleanliness and comfort, and if the Swedish Krona is behaving itself, you can sometimes clinch a deal in this notoriously expensive Scandinavian country.

The best budget hotels will be snapped up quickly by visitors looking to spend more on good times than Stockholm hotels, so be quick to book if you are keeping a close eye on your budget. There are some excellent options, with many occupying prime locations and some offering a one-off accommodation experience (fancy staying on a boat in Stockholm?).

Stockholm offers a really fine line in luxury hotels and four- and five-star hotels. The unique layout of the city equates to a number of hotels on the waterfront, and you can sit with a glass of something chilled and watch life on the lake from the comfort of your room.

If you want to use a well-known brand then there is plenty to choose from including Scandinavian chains. Pick from Scandic, Radisson Blu, Rica Hotel, Clarion, Ibis, Intercontinental, Hilton, Best Western, Park Inn, Elite and Quality Hotels.

Don't be too confused by the thought of selecting the island on which to base your break. Most hotels are concentrated on lively Södermalm, the old town island of Gamla Stan, and the main part of the city to the north of Gamla Stan.

Gamla Stan occupies such a central position that many visitors choose to stay here, amid the cobbled streets and historical buildings.

Top five attractions

Old Town

A charming, almost fairy-tale place with cobbled streets and painted tall houses standing over traditional shop fronts.

Vasa Museum

A fascinating maritime museum and home to Sweden's own “Mary Rose”: the 64-gun “Vasa”, which sank on her maiden voyage in 1628.

Museum of Modern Art

Almost a place of worship for modern art lovers, it houses one of Europe's greatest collections.

Royal Palace

Official home of the Swedish Royal Family, and an impressively stylish building to boot.

City Hall

The golden “Three Crowns” sit proudly on the spire of this beautiful landmark. Grab a vantage point to see the colour of the building at sunset.

Events

Nobel Prize; December: The city of Stockholm takes centre-stage on December 10 each year when prizes are awarded to the world's leading figures in science, medicine, literature and peace.

Independence Day; June: A public holiday also known as Flag Day; expect to see lots of locals dressed in the colours of their national flag and encouraging visitors to join in the party atmosphere. Drinking and eating is encouraged throughout Stockholm.

Taste of Stockholm; June: Annual stomach-busting event where Sweden's produce is brought to Stockholm and turned into a dazzling array of feasts. Pace yourself as this event lasts for six days!