Summertime visit the best

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 June, 1993, 12:00am

JUNE is an important time for celebrations in Sweden. Not only is it the country's national day in June, but it marks the Midsummer Day festival celebrated on the Saturday nearest to June 24.

The Swedes brave the bitterly cold winter stoically and, when the sun finally makes an appearance during the brief summer, the nation's sun worshippers come out of hibernation to enjoy life.

In the south, the sun can shine for 20 hours a day in the summer, with sunset at 10.30 pm a regular occurrence.

In parts of Lappland, the northernmost region of Sweden, the sun doesn't set during summer, allowing people to enjoy summer skiing and midnight golf.

The only problem about visiting the area is the prosperous Scandinavian countries have become so expensive that Danes, Swedes, Finns and Norwegians see few tourists from outside the region.

Stockholm, the country's capital, is spread over 14 islands, which are, in turn, surrounded by about 24,000 islands in the Stockholm archipelago.

They form a summer playground of beaches and excellent fishing, sailing and windsurfing areas.

The fashionable city, with its many soft pastel buildings, is often referred to as the city that floats on water.

Every year on December 10, the city comes under the world's spotlight when it hosts the award ceremony for the Nobel Prize, attended by King Carl Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

The main tourist feature of Stockholm is the medieval Gamla Stan, or old town, which is built on a small island.

Other places not to miss are the Skansen Open-air Museum, which depicts Swedish life since the Middle Ages.

The nearby Wasa Museum, where the country's only 17th century warship, which sank 15 minutes after launching, has almost been re-assembled after 300 years at the bottom of Stockholm Harbour.