Stockholm, the capital of Sweden - home to IKEA, Fika, meatballs, and ABBA. A city that is made up of fourteen islands set across the Baltic Sea and is the largest city in Scandinavia. With it's picturesque Old Town, world-class museums, contemporary restaurant scene, and endless coffee shop options, there are countless ways on how to spend a weekend in Stockholm.
TRAVEL TO STOCKHOLM
Stockholm Arlanda Airport is the largest airport in the city with international flights landing daily. It is located forty kilometers (twenty-five miles) north of the city with a roundtrip flight costing around €175 from mainland Europe. Bromma Airport is the city's domestic airport only nine kilometers away from the city center.
TRAVEL WITHIN STOCKHOLM
The most convenient way to get to the city center from Arlanda Airport is via the Arlanda Express Train. It departs every fifteen minutes and takes twenty minutes in travel time, costing 195 SEK per person (€18) one way. An Uber or taxi will take double the travel time and will cost more. Within the city, Uber is readily available and a convenient way to travel between the islands, although this can add up. The quickest way to get around the city is by subway. A single ticket is valid for seventy-five minutes or you can purchase a 24 hours, 72 hours or 30 days pass. Tickets can be bought at ticket terminals in the stations, newsagent kiosks, SMS or using the SL (Stockholm Transit) app. The same tickets can be used on buses, trams, commuter trains and ferries within the city. Please note you're not able to pay cash for tickets on board in buses. More about the subway stations below :)
WHERE TO STAY IN STOCKHOLM
The city is divided into many districts and neighborhoods, each offering something different. As Stockholm is well connected with its subway lines, everything is easily accessible, although I recommend Norrmalm; the commercial heart of the city or Östermalm; an upscale neighborhood known for its high-end shopping and nightlife. Both areas are very central and easy to geet to and from.
I stayed at MISS CLARA. The hotel has been described as Stockholm’s most treasured Art Nouveau building. Miss Clara is a former all-girls school turned 92 room boutique hotel and is located in Norrmalm. The rooms are elegantly decorated - the morning light beams through the huge alluring windows, the bathrooms are limestone, and the floors dark parquet herringbone. The hotel is popular for its brunch and cocktails at Miss Clara's bar are always a hit. This hotel is perfect for a weekend trip to Stockholm. Had I not stayed here, I would select one of the following:-
ETT HEM - €€€ - An exquisitely stylish formerr private residence built in 1910 that's been converted into a twelve room country inn-style hotel. Ett Hem is located in Stockholm’s upmarket Lärkstaden neighborhood within Östermalm
AIRBNB Penthouse - € - AirBnB is ideal if you wish to stay in Gamla Stan, the historic island in the city, as the hotel options are not the best in my opinion. This charming penthouse sleeps six and is on the fourth floor of a medieval house.
WHAT TO DO IN STOCKHOLM
GAMLA STAN - Explore Gamla Stan by foot; the Old Town where Stockholm was founded in 1952. The island is very different to the rest of the city and feels like you have stepped back in time. It is filled with cobble stoned streets and lined with colorful buildings from the 17th and 18th century - a perfect place to wander around the quaint streets and get lost in.
MONTELIUSVAGEN - For panoramic views, sunrise or sunset, head to the northern part of Södermalm to Monteliusvägen. Once you trek a narrow path, you will see views of Gamla Stan and Kungsholmen. In the summer people will take bottles of wine and barbecue or picnic here, and someone is guaranteed to be playing some form of a musical instrument - the perfect setting to watch the sun go down.
SODERMALM - An ultra hip neighborhood filled with trendy bars, restaurants, quirky independent concept stores and galleries, as well as boasting diverse architecture. You can easily spend an entire day here sipping coffee, shopping and sampling some of the best Swedish meatballs.
SUBWAY STATIONS - Stockholm’s subway are something to see! They are known as the world’s longest art exhibit, stretching over 110 kilometers, and ninety out of the hundred stations are colored in art. It started in the 1950s when the city arrranged to make art more attainable to its people and make urban areas for beautiful. Popular stations are Stadion, Mörby Centrum, T-Centralen and Solna Centrum.
CARL ELDHS ATELJEMUSEUM - One of the most beautiful museums you can visit in the city is this one. It houses hundreds of impressive sculptures by Carl Eldhs across multiple rooms and is situated in a beautiful park called Bellevue that you can hang out in after the museum.
FIKA - When in Sweden, do like the Swedes and practice the concept of fika - the art of coffee breaking with something sweet on the side. See my recommendations on where to do so, below.
FOTOGRAFISKA - A popular photography exhibition in Södermalm, known as the 'global home of photography'. It is a meeting point for contemporary photography and the exhibitions change regularly.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK IN STOCKHOLM
IL CAFFE; SODERMALM - €€ - the perfect place to spend your morning with coffee and a kanelbullar (cinnamon bun) in one of their many rooms, with a flower shop on the other side.
FABRIQUE SERGELGANGEN - €€ - a rustic cafe serving delicious hot-out-the-oven pastries with good coffee
DROP COFFEE - €€ - a specialty coffee shop and roasters serving some of the best beans in the city. Tip - take a bag of their coffee back with you - you won't be disappointed!
JOHAN & NYSTROM; SWEDENBORGSGATAN - €€ - a busy concept store, coffee shop and tea bar with great interior and music in the heart of Sodermalm.
BAGERI PETRUS - €€ - For tasty baked goods in Sodermalm serving all kinds of bulle from saffron to cardamom.
VETE-KATTEN - €€ - Popular amongst Stockholmers, this 1920's style self service cafe is great for baked treats and lunch. When visiting, make sure you get their traditional Semla buns!
KAFFERVERKET - €€ - A great option for casual fika or brunch/lunch with nice interior and good coffee.
Although cardamom buns can absolutely be eaten all day, here are some of the best restaurants in Stockholm:-
MEATBALLS FOR THE PEOPLE - €€ - Serving the epitome of comfort food, this place is a must when seeking the best meatballs in Stockholm. The space is large but it does get busy, with fun music. I ordered the Classic Swedish Meatballs which was meatballs, served with the classic accompaniments; cream sauce, potato purée, lingonberries and pickled cucumber - so so good!
OAXEN SLIP - €€€ - A Swedish bistro serving elegant yet uncomplicated dishes using fine ingredients and high quality produce. The restaurant sits on the waterfront and has lots of natural light. The interior is very unique with multiple boats suspended from the ceiling. Reservations are recommended.
TENNSTOPET - €€€ - A traditional restaurant serving Swedish home fare with a charming bar and friendly atmosphere. Their food and dessert was delicious and, of course, they have meatballs on the menu.
Summer is Stockholm's peak season as the weather is most comfortable then. Winter can get as cold as -5C. I visited in October when temperatures were 6C. The city is flat. Comfortable shoes are recommended when going to the viewpoint at Monteliusvägen as the path leading there is narrow and on uneven terrain. English is commonly spoken although the national language is Swedish. The currency used is Swedish Krona (SEK). Stockholm is significantly more expensive compared to other European cities so the price indicators used above are representative of the city.