|Often called "the Venice of the North", Sweden's capital city was founded in 1187. Its eclectic architecture juxtaposes the ancient with the ultra-modern, and yet somehow it all works perfectly. To really know the city, you should amble through the Gamla Stan ("Old Town") and see Renaissance structures like the Royal Palace and Parliament. Stockholm embraces the performing arts; enjoy its opera, ballet and philharmonic orchestra. For the more athletic, there are dozens of downhill ski slopes nearby and many paths for hikers and cyclists.