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Sweden

Glacial fjords and green valleys, pastel-coloured houses overlooking quaint harbours, freshly caught fish cooking on a barbecue as the sun lingers in the sky long into the night - these are just some of the attractions Scandinavia boasts. The cities are clean and ordered, the countryside serene and vast - the sense of space that characterises this part of the world can provide the perfect antidote to the stress of life in the concrete jungle. Even in cities such as Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen, the pace of life is leisurely and relaxed, and they're compact, too, making them the perfect places to explore in a weekend.

Sweden's capital, Stockholm, occupies a truly picturesque setting, built on 14 small islands so that no matter where you wander, you never lose that sense of being surrounded by crystal clear waters. Its charms are many - wander through the old town, Gamla Stan, gaze in awe at the vast structure of the 17th-century Vasa warship, or grab a picnic and relax on Djurgården island, the city's main park. Stockholm is perhaps Scandinavia's most fashionable city, too, so there are plenty of hip boutiques, sophisticated bars and glamorous clubs to visit.

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