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Stockholm's Northern Delights

Kirsten Prosser’s favorite spot may be her Corona del Mar boutique, OnQueStyle, but trips to her native Scandinavia draw a close second. “Travel has always been an important part of my life,” she says. Born and raised in Denmark, Prosser worked as a fashion designer in Marbella, Spain, for seven years before moving to Newport Beach and opening her boutique with husband Eddie. But she visits Scandinavia often. “I spent a lot of time in Sweden growing up,” she says. That may be why one of her favorite cities is Stockholm, where “you can find history and natural beauty everywhere.”

Why Stockholm?
It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, spread across 14 islands, with 57 bridges. It is rich in history, with well-preserved architecture, an Old World feel and a spectacular natural setting. Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, has cobblestone streets, storybook buildings and narrow alleyways.

Secret tip
Take a train, bus or boat from the center of Stockholm to Sigtuna, Sweden’s first town, founded in the 10th century. This charming town has a picturesque medieval city center plus a good selection of shops and restaurants and is a fun, pedestrian-friendly place to visit

Time is right
Fall color can be fabulous in Stockholm, and airfare and lodging prices are lower during autumn. But my favorite time of year is July and August, when daylight lasts 18 hours, plenty of time to enjoy all Stockholm has to offer. Everyone visits the islands – there are nearly 30,000 in the nearby archipelago – and many Swedes have summer houses. People bring picnic baskets and spend the day swimming with friends and family. In the city, there are free concerts and festivals and open-air restaurants.

Buy in
Kompaniet, also known as The Nordic Co., is the best place to shop and buy fashion-forward designs and Swedish brands. Don’t leave without buying crystal by Orrefors, which began creating fine glass in 1726. Biblioteksgatan, a street in central Stockholm, is the Rodeo Drive of Stockholm. You’ll find the best Swedish and international fashion houses in this exclusive shopping district.

Best bite
Lisa Elmqvist in Östermalms Saluhall is a beautiful market and a perfect place for lunchtime people watching. Sturehof, a seafood restaurant, has been around for more than a century and is bustling from midmorning to late at night. If you’re looking for great views and fine dining, try Eriks Gondolen.

After dark
If you enjoy spotting celebrities, try Berns, a hip boutique hotel in a 19th-century building. Everyone who is anyone, plus quite a few nobodies, have partied beneath the crystal chandeliers at Café Opera. This recently renovated club is housed in magnificent interior spaces in the Opera House.

Must do
There are so many things you wouldn’t want to miss. Among them: the Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in Europe, with a museum just for jewelry. Also visit the Vasa Museum, home to the only preserved 17th-century ship in the world. More than 95 percent of the ship is original, and it is decorated with hundreds of carved sculptures. If you’re a pop music fan, be sure to visit the ABBA museum. Last but not least, a trip to Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without a ferry ride through the archipelago. There are thousands of islands, and everyone has their favorite. Mine is Fjaderholmarnas krog; it’s a very popular island that has many open-air restaurants. Sandhamn is another beautiful island that attracts sailors and yachties and has a lively party scene during the summer. The idyllic village, a historical sea pilot station, has an inn, hotels, the classic Royal Swedish Yacht Club and numerous restaurants and bars.

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