There's so much to see and do in trend-setting Stockholm. From strolling through its walkable streets to eating delicious local delicacies, Becca Garland shares her tips on what makes a fun trip to the Swedish capital.
Stockholm is a visual marvel. The Swedish capital is made up of 14 different islands connected by 57 bridges, beautiful architecture, cobbled streets and stylish people. It's compact, easy to get around and creates the most wonderful sense of calm for a busy Londoner. These are just a few of the reasons why I say tack så mycket (thanks so much) to Stockholm. Read on for a round up of unmissable things to do on a trip to Stockholm.
1. Get out of town
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a friend living in Stockholm. I'm one of the lucky ones. Newly renovated, my friend's country house is a 45 minute drive away from Stockholm. The drive itself was filled with rolling fields, miles of forests and breathtakingly scenic countryside. After some off-roading through the trees, we reached a little piece of heaven, nestled on the edge of the water, where the concept of work and daily stress became almost non-existent. It's common that when most of us head off on a city break, we don't venture far out of the city but I'd highly recommend renting a car and if possible, a country house and spending a day/night getting out of the city, exploring the Swedish countryside. It won’t disappoint.
2. Just keep walking
Stockholm is one of the most walkable cities I've visited, easy to navigate and worth spending a day simply wandering and taking in the sights. I spent my Saturday walking from Södermalm, a quirky district in the south of Stockholm, right the way through to Gamla Stan (the old town). Gamla Stan is seriously atmospheric, with its narrow cobbled streets, vast squares and coloured houses. It's a tourist hot spot but never so busy that you are stuck in crowds - plus, the ice cream shops are to-die-for. Stroll along Södra Blasieholmshamnen, past the Grand Hotel along the waterfront and stop in at one of the jetty bars for a cocktail to enjoy the perfect views. Biblioteksgatan is ideal if you want to take a break from walking and check out the shops.
3. Eat like the Swedish
If your love of food is one of the main reasons you travel, Swedish cuisine will be right up your street. The Swedes know how to make good food and how to do it well. They serve great seafood, from scrumptious crayfish to aromatic Gravalax, but my favourite by a country mile was the delicious Toast Skagen, also known as Skagenröra. This yummy dish was created just after the Second World War by Swedish restaurateur, Tore Wretman and is named after a fishing port in Denmark. The dish consists of hand-shelled prawns mixed with mayonnaise, Gräddfil which is similar to soured cream and some seasoning including dill. It is served on sautéed bread and topped with caviar and finely chopped red onion. It's simple but absolutely divine. It would also be a travesty to come to Sweden and not try some Köttbullar, also known as Swedish meatballs. Served with a creamy sauce, pickled cucumber, mash and lingonberry jam, this is the ultimate comfort food. Both dishes are served to perfection at TBar at the The Diplomat Hotel on Strandvägen. I highly recommend eating here as they do superb Swedish food, the staff are beyond friendly and the wine list stretches for miles.
4. Get lost in the culture and history
Scandinavian culture and history is one of the most interesting, from the Vikings to the rise in popularity of Swedish crime fiction and Nordic Noir. Stockholm has so much to offer with respect to art, history and culture and a visit to one of the many museums is highly recommended, even if the sun is shining. The options are endless and there's something to suit every taste and interest, from the Nordiska Museet - Sweden’s largest museum of cultural history - to the Moderna Museet which offers cutting edge artwork from around the world. I chose to visit the Vasamuseet, the home of the Vasa warship, built between 1626 and 1628, which sank minutes after leaving port on its maiden voyage. This 69m long and 48.8m ship was resurfaced from the bottom of Stockholm harbour in 1961 and reassembled to become the centrepiece of the museum. Walk around the ship at four different levels whilst also learning about how the ship was resurfaced and re-built, life on-board and history during the period of building. A top recommendation as the ship is a sight to behold.
5. Party the night away
Stockholm is full of quirky bars and clubs, some on land and some at sea, all of which provide the makings for a great night out. All along the water’s edge you'll find little cocktail bars on jetties, floating in the Baltic Sea. They're a great way to take in the lights of the city by night. If dry land is more your thing then Norr Mälarstrand offers some great bars that let you view the water from the warmth of indoors. I highly recommend Orangeriet Bar & Café for an array of delicious cocktails. The Red Pepper Smash was a favourite. If clubbing is what you're after, check out Sturecompagniet, a 3 storey club with 5 dance-floors that'll see you into the wee hours.
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