Sweden is a country close to our hearts, as it’s home to my sister-in-law and her beautiful family. Stockholm, where they live, is the epitome of Scandi-cool, and from our first visit, I was impressed and blown away by the chilled out vibe of the city.
In fact, it must be one of the most relaxed capital cities I have ever visited. The gorgeoues skyline, the fact that it is a city on the water, the stunning old town and of course, the many, many incredible restaurants – Stockholm should be a weekend break on everyone’s list.
Fortunately for us, we never have to fork out on accommodation. This is somewhat of a blessing. Living up to it’s reputation of being an expensive country, I can recall having to pay about £20 for a couple of coffees and sandwiches during my first trip to Stockholm. But, it’s all comparative and this should certainly NOT be a deterrent. Those are the kind of prices you’ll find in tourist hot spots, but the more we visit the more I realise that actually it’s a very similar in pricing to cities like London.
Its been some time since we were last there (well May to be precise) and I was having a bit of a nostalgic moment so I put together a briefish list of things to do and places to visit, if you should happen to find yourself in the capital of cool one winter weekend:
Skansen is a great place for new visitors to Stockholm and Sweden as it is a Swedish national treasure. It is apparently the world’s first open air museum and opened it’s doors in 1891. It takes you on a journey of Sweden over 5 centuries and encompasses all areas of the country. It’s a great place to get your first flavour of Swedish culture. MY greatest memory of Skansen is of Mo being chased by a peacock. I know that sounds mean, but I promise you it was hilarious, I’d go back just to watch that happen again!
There is even a little zoo / conservation area, housing local animals like, elk, moose and bears. At Christmas, it is home to a charming Christmas market. Just be sure to wrap up warm if you are there over the colder months! It’s a great place to bring kids, but it’s pretty big so wear shoes accordingly, you’ll be on your feet a fair bit.
This museum houses an incredible, ginormous ship which sank in Stockholm over 300 years ago. The Swedes painstakingly lifted this beautiful ship out of the water in the 1950s and managed to preserve it using state of the art methods. You can watch a brilliant video of it all before walking through to see it in the flesh.
They have literally built this museum around the ship and it’s history. It is considered to be the only preserved 17th century ship and it is hugely popular with both tourists and locals. Alas, you cannot climb aboard, but you can certainly walk all the way around it. It is much bigger and more impressive than you could ever imagine.
This is the Stockholm city tower and it is situated in the Gardet region of Stockholm. An easy location to drive to, the tower stands at 155m tall and boasts some of the best views over the city I have ever seen. We were lucky to visit on a very sunny day so we saw Stockholm from far and wide. The viewing point upstairs has rather a nice coffee shop serving something the Sweden do to perfection – fika – which is the swedish art of coffee and cake (cinnamon bun, order a CINNAMON BUN)
Hop on – hop off boat
Over the summer months, the water ways open and the hop on hop off boats are a great way to explore the city on foot and on the water. Stockholm is a city that is very spread out and if you have things you want to see in different part of the city, the boats are a great alternative to the Tunnelbana (underground). I would highly recommend this mode of transport one afternoon
No trip to Stockholm is complete without a walk through the Gamlastan – which literally translates as Old Town. There’s the obligatory tourist shops where you can pick up some cheap and some not so cheap souvenirs and memorabilia (definitely the best place if you are after the much sought after Swedish crystal), but also home to some fantastic restaurants and cafes.
It’s a great place to chill out for fika (you can never have too much fika) Mo and I love going up to a place called Chokladkoppan on Nobel square for hot chocolate – which is to die for. You can also see the Royal Palaces, the Riksdag (Parliament) and the Cathedral. It’s also a great place to walk through to get to the main shopping parts of the city.
the Swedes are very well known for their simple, yet incredibly tasty cuisine. Over the years, we have been fortunate to visit a couple of brilliant places. Such as Gondolen – an incredible restaurant floating over stylish Sodermalm (South Island) of Stockholm. Great food, great service and sensational views of Stockholm.
Den Gylden Freden is another good one, located in Gamlastan and its actually the oldest restaurant in Stockholm! Both the location and food are stunning but it is pretty expensive. Gorgeous, locally-caught fish cooked to perfection with seasonal vegatables is what we had. Portions are not huge (Scandi food never is) but we paid over £80 for 2 of us from memory. Maybe one to reserve for a special occasion. But there are many more quirky tasty places around! (they totally need their own post).
Have you been to Stockholm? What are your favourite places to visit?
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