A busy person's guide to Stockholm.
Updated: Jul 19, 2019
How do I begin to describe such a magical place?
I know I say this about a lot of places I visit, but Stockholm has quite literally stolen my heart and mind.
Touching down, you couldn’t really see anything and due to the lack of real snow this winter, you honestly could have been in England still (sorry! But I had to remind myself of this while taking the airport coach to the city centre - the most direct way to get there by the way without paying for a taxi or hiring your own car).
Arriving in the city, I headed straight for the visitor centre to pick up my press package (a quick shout out and thank you to Visit Stockholm for providing me with this package)!
At that point as I was pretty much bang smack in the middle of town and it made more sense to keep walking further into town, rather than head back to my hostel and back again. It was lunch time, so, I took a right and a right again out of the visitor centre and headed toward Gamla Stan.
The ‘Old Town’ of Stockholm, it is like walking around a fairytale with cute cobbled streets, colourful buildings and cute buildings to squeeze into - I kid you not, in order to get a coffee and sit in in the main square, I had to squeeze myself into the bay window of a tiny teahouse. Totally worth it though!
Starting in Gamla Stan felt right, sampling a cinnamon bun and coffee (although hot chocolate is big deal here) and surveying the crowds taking selfies in front of the Nobel Centre.
There is SO much to do in Stockholm!
From the museums and sites to the local hangouts. Even spending four days - longer than my usual weekend, is not enough to see the just the city, let alone the beautiful castles, lakes and nature reserves. So I will definitely be coming back - and maybe in the summer when more is open.
In the spirt of the busy guides, I did fit in as much as I could into the weekend though, before checking out some wifi cafes today (Monday) and briefly tomorrow before I leave.
Here are just a couple of things I recommend checking out if you decide to travel to Stockholm for a weekend:
Learn a lot from the many museums, but also take a boat tour.
There are so many museums and heritage sites to choose from! From Swedish history to performing arts to alcohol, Stockholm has a museum for everything. Plus the Swedes have such a unique view on everything.
Instead of a one-dimensional piece of text on a plaque, the history nerd from my uni days came out to play reading about their take on historical memory, leader figures throughout time and their honest accounts of tragedies that happened hundreds of years ago. Perfectly preserved in the ice, you can see actual remains from wars…
Want to see the city in a whole other way? Finding a rooftop was tough this time of year so instead I took a Stromma Winter Boat Tour through the harbour and around some of the smaller islands just outside of the city. You received a little general history and also got to see many sites you may not have otherwise known was there.
Visit a gallery or exhibition
Again, there are so many to choose from but generally Fotografiska is high on most people’s lists - and just from this photo alone I can understand why. Somehow, this gallery perfectly encapsulates ‘art’ to me and I cannot say how… You are lost in their work. Whether in wonder or laughter, you are drawn in here.
If you have time, I would recommend grabbing a drink to gaze upon the gorgeous views from the cafe.
Visit a vintage store or at least check out the sustainable living options
Sweden is one of the big players in the sustainable living game and they are not afraid to show this. Get involved by visiting one of their many vintage stores. It’s actually vintage prices here too - rather than the damp overpriced drab in most Shoreditch basements.
Spend time outside - and watch a sunset
Or a sunset if you are that way inclined - personally I don’t think i’m on that kind of mission this trip. Mixed with that winter chill, sunsets are just that much more breathtaking. I kid you not, the sky turns colours so saturated like you wouldn’t believe. Most people will stand still, but if you either time it just right or get a leg on, make it down to the water (I went to the City Hall first before making my way home) for a real treat!
If you didn’t fall in love with Stockholm then, you will now!
Personally, I will definitely be back in the summer to discover more of this beautiful country. If I were to do this weekend again, I would have hired a car and drove out to at least a couple of the castles because if they are anything as impressive as the city, it’ll definitely be worth it.
One thing I didn’t do also was eat meatballs - the delicacy we know Sweden for - but as a vegetarian it was a little harder to find options. There seems to be a variety out there for the meat eaters among my readers though.
So that’s where I will leave it for the moment - until I return in the summer months. I’m so intrigued by this country…!
Have you been to Stockholm yet?