Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Sometimes referred as ‘The Venice of the North’ it stretches over 14 islands, with high-rise suburbs sprawling almost all the way out to the royal country palaces.
Postcard perfect old town, picturesque parks and canals, world class restaurants, shops filled with amazing Swedish designed clothes, furniture and more. We haven’t even started talking about how beautiful the Swedish people are. So, a few months ago we went on kanelbullar and A.Skarsgård hunt and this post is a small recap of all the information we collected before and during our trip to Stockholm in October 2016.
Sit back, relax and let us take you across to Stockholm and tell you about the best things to see, eat and do in the city.
There are many legends and theories about the city’s origins. The generally accepted founder of Stockholm is the 13th century regent Birger Jarl, who according to the medieval Erik’s Chronicle, wanted to build a fortress to protect Lake Malaren from marauding pirates.
Surrounded by clear water and unspoilt countryside that stretches right into the heart of the urban area, Stockholm isn’t the cheapest place in the world to visit but you can always do it on a budget with a few tips and tricks.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are regular flights from all London airports. Browse Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights and deals. We took Ryanair flight to Skavsta airport and Flygbussarna bus from there to get to city center which took just under an hour.
Another option is Arlanda airport which is only 45 minutes away from the city and served by SAS, British Airways or Norwegian airlines.
WHERE TO STAY
GENERATOR HOSTEL | Combining affordable luxury with unique social events for the travelers and locals all around Europe, Generator Hostels are synonymous with vibrant, hip and suave. And Generator Stockholm is no exception! Generator Stockholm is located in the Norrmalm district of Stockholm, a short 5-10 minute walk from the main train station.
Read our full review here
Check availability on Booking.com
Planning a weekend getaway with your partner? Here’s our roundup of the most romantic hotels in Swedish capital.
WHERE TO EAT
Urban Deli | We frequented this place during our stay; it’s both a shop and cafe filled with amazingly fresh, artisan foods. The Swedes love to eat open-faced sandwiches, and on offer are a selection of breads with cheese, cured meats and toppings.
Nytorget 6 | Located on the corner of a quaint street in a residential area, Nytorget 6 (which is both the name and address of the restaurant) offers modern Swedish and mediterranean menu. Buzzing vibe, with pavement tables and a wide-ranging selection of dishes, for example their version of the classic meatballs with gravy, mashed potatoes and lingonberries will not disappoint.
Meatballs for the people | You can’t visit Sweden without sampling proper meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingonberries. We’ve been told this is not a dish that Swedes would normally order in a restaurant (they would think of it as a food to eat at home) so finding a place serving it was quite a challenge at first. And then we came across Meatballs for the people in Sodermalm, where the meatballs are made from ecologically sourced meat, and there is something for everyone; on offer are also salmon meatballs and a vegetarian option.
Brunch Club | We’ve been recommended this place by a Swede when we were looking for a brunch place where all the locals go. It was definitely one of the best brunches we’ve ever had; with all those candles, wooden furniture and low lights it couldn’t have been any more Scandi than that..
WHERE TO FIKA
Fika is considered a social institution; it means having a break, most often a coffee break, with one’s colleagues, friends, date or family. Fika is much more than having a coffee. It is a social phenomenon, a legitimate reason to set aside a moment for quality time. Accompanying sweets are crucial. Cinnamon buns, cakes, cookies, even open-faced sandwiches pass as acceptable fika fare.
During our long weekend in Sweden, we’ve totally embraced this tradition and have lost the count of fika stops we’ve had. But then you can never have enough fika, can you?
Vete – Katten | 1920s-style cafe in central Stockholm is one of the scores of well-preserved, tradition-packed coffee shops where you can sample traditional Swedish pastries of superior quality.
Chokladkoppen | Cozy little café at idyllic Stortorget Square, just a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace in the medieval Old Town. Exquisite sandwiches and pastries, and in summer a popular alfresco section.
Kaffekoppen | Another little cozy café with lovely food and cold and hot drinks in a unique building at Stortorget 20 in the heart of the charming square at the centre of Gamla Stan.
Café Mariaberget | We’ve discovered this cute cafe on our way back from Monteliusvagen. Great coffee and cakes plus you can get to be friends with the owner’s pug who loves watching people and chilling outside.
SEE & DO
Gamla Stan | Gamla Stan is Stockholm’s Old Town, which is one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in Europe. In fact, the city of Stockholm was founded in Gamla Stan back in 1252. These days the area has a special atmosphere with it’s bustling streets of souvenir shops, bookstores and antiques shops to historical buildings, palaces, churches and museums.
In Gamla Stan, resides the oldest square in Stockholm: Stortorget, where you’ll find many people having a fika, chilling and just enjoying the vibe the picturesque scenery.
Livrustkammaren | The Royal Armoury is housed in the spectacular and beautiful cellar vaults of the Royal Palace in Stockholm. For almost five hundred years items once in the possession of Swedish monarchs and their families have been kept in the Royal Armoury. FREE ADMISSION.
Medieval museum | Located underneath the Royal Palace, it’s fairly small, essentially consisting of a few of wide corridors and one gigantic, underground room, however you could easily spend a couple of hours here and learn about medieval Sweden and life in Stockholm. Read more reviews on Tripadvisor. FREE ADMISSION.
Vasamuseet | After a maiden voyage of just 1,300m (4,256ft) in calm weather, the royal warship Vasa capsized in Stockholm’s harbour on 10 August, 1628. About 30 people went down with what was supposed to be the pride of the Navy, only 100m off the southernmost point of Djurgarden.
Photo: Karolina Kristensson
Most of the guns were salvaged from the vessel in the 17th century, and it was not until 1956 that a marine archaelogist’s persistent operation followed by a 17-year conservation programme, the city’s most popular museum was opened in June 1990, less than a nautical mile from the scene of the disaster. The Royal Warship was restored to 98% of its original appearance. If there was one must see in the city, this museum is it. ADMISSION: ADULTS 130 SEK, STUDENTS 110 SEK.
Sodermalm | Generally known as Soder, is something of a city in itself with its own character, charm and dialect. Hilly parks, old wooden cottages, and unrivalled views of Stockholm are guaranteed if you’re in Soder. The area has plenty of shops, bars and restaurants and a lively nightlife, as well as the latest in modern architecture.
Narrow residential streets and neighborhoods with their red and white summer cottages, the walk offers the best views of Stockholm from anywhere in the city.
Monteliusvagen | When in Soder, walk to Monteliusvagen for one of the best views to the city. This is a mile long walking path that offers fantastic views of Lake Mälaren. Very romantic spot to watch the sunset in case you’re with a special someone, quiet spot to relax and re energize after a long day – let the views amaze you.
Take a ride | Stockholm is surrounded by beautiful islands and waterways. You haven’t really see the city if you haven’t explored the neighboring islands. We’ve absolutely enjoyed the Royal Canal Tour as it allowed us to see Stockholm from a different vantage point. And along the way, we learned interesting facts about Stockholm’s history and people, that we wouldn’t have learned otherwise. It departs from Strömkajen in the centre of Stockholm and continues the journey through the Djurgården canal. 190 SEK.
Food tours | This is an absolute must-do for all the foodies out there. What better way to explore the city than through its food? Food Tours Stockholm offer various tours to taste delicious food samples at specially selected locations while learning about the food, history and culture. Blix thoroughly enjoyed the Nordic Experience tour that took us through many old and modern establishments and food traditions finishing off with a special kanelbullar making class with one of the Sweden’s most famous chefs.
OTHER TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Do take a great pair of walking shoes with you | Stockholm is a perfect city for walking. Not only it’s flat, but it’s also one of Europe’s less crowded capital cities, making it ideal for stress-free strolling through the streets. While public transport is easy to use, walking and wandering around streets of Stockholm is the best way to explore the city. With a fair wind and a stout pair of shoes, it’s all readily walkable.
Alcohol warning | If you think you’ll save money on alcohol by buying it from supermarkets, think twice. You can buy alcohol only from state-owned systembolaget stores – and it’s not a lot cheaper than in a bar. If you want to gift your Swedish friends, don’t buy it in Stockholm. Take it with you.
Stockholm card | The good-value Stockholm Card (visitstockholm.com), covers entry for 75 museums, attractions, tours and public transport for Skr 765 (£61, for 48 hours). It’s is well worth the money and will definitely save you a lot more than it costs you if plan to do a lot of sightseeing.
Free walking tours | Free Tour Stockholm runs the best walking tours in the city. They offer a few different walks each day, including a tour of Gamla Stan. They generally last two hours and are available in English.
Refill your water bottle | Water is about 30 SEK per bottle. Since the tap water is drinkable, just buy one bottle and reuse it. Not only will this save you money, but it will save the environment too!
We hope you find these insider tips useful and fall in love with Stockholm just like we did. Even though we didn’t bump into Skarsgard!
Feel free to leave us a comment or feedback below!