Sweden hasn’t always been the mild-mannered, peace-loving nation it is today. Go to the excellent Army Museum in Stockholm and discover how Sweden became a great power in Europe and then… lost it all. Expect brilliant exhibitions about the country at war from Viking times on. If you’d like to know about Viking settlements and way of life, visit Birka, an island just outside Stockholm, and a UNESCO World Heritage site dedicated to this important Viking settlement. At Vikingabyn on the gorgeous island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea, once a major Viking trading post, you get to experience a reconstructed 10th century Viking settlement and Viking-related activities. A good one for you and the kids.
For more digging into Sweden’s past do visit the Falun Mine Museum, in Falun, central Sweden. This giant copper mine helped finance Sweden’s emergence as a European power in the 17th century. Otherwise visit Sweden’s palaces, castles and historical buildings. The big ones are the Royal Palace and Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm, Gripsholms Castle near Mariefred, Läckö Castle near Lidköping, Kalmar Castle in the south east of the country, as well as the castles and palaces around Gothenburg and Malmö. For more information on Sweden’s historical buildings and museums go here.