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Sweden Travel Guide: What to Do in Stockholm, Sweden

Let's travel to: Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm is the perfect intersection between many contrasting ideas. The eclectic mixture of historical buildings and modern design, the bustling city surrounded by scenic natures – one would think these opposing forces would clash, yet somehow it all blends together forming this beautiful city.

Interesting Facts

  • Stockholm is composed of 14 islands, each with its own unique characteristics. Visit some notable islands such as Gamla Stan, Normalm, Östermalm and Södermalm.
  • December 10 is a national holiday celebrating Stockholm native, Alfred Nobel.
  • Nobel prizes are awarded every year on this date in the Stockholm Concert Hall.
  • Finding an apartment to rent is near impossible, with a wait list of nearly 15-20 years to get a rental contract (förstahandskontrakt), most residents either sublet or buy.
  • Stockholm gets very dark in the winter, with an average of 6 daylight hours. However, the city makes up for it in the summer when the sun often doesn’t set until midnight!
  • Fika – meaning “to have a coffee break”, is a large part of Swedish culture. Colleagues would often take time out of their workdays to go to a local café and bond with their coworkers over coffee and pastries.

Useful Information

  • Language: Swedish, but nearly everyone speaks English!
  • Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)
  • Tipping: Not necessary, but appreciated.
  • Transportation: The most convenient way to travel is by subway (T-bana).
    • Buy an SL card at a Pressbyrån and fill your card with money or pay for a daily/weekly pass.
    • This card covers the T-Bana, Pendeltag, Buss, Tram and some boats.
  • From Arlanda airport, you can take the Arlanda Express directly into Centralstation.  (The SL card does not cover this ride.)
  • Shops tend to close early (6 pm), so be sure to check store hours or shop early.
  • Best time to visit is during the summer months – endless sunlight = photo opportunities!
  • Don’t spend money on bottled water. Most restaurants and cafes offer free water. Tap water is also 100% drinkable.
  • Many restaurants only show you the Swedish menu – ask for an English version because they likely have one!

Local Specialties

  • Swedish pastries – Some Swedish pastries are seasonal, while some last all year round. Regardless, you cannot leave Sweden without at least trying their famous kanelbulle!
  • IKEA Sveriges – Sweden, home of IKEA, houses one of the largest IKEA’s in the world. During the weekdays, there is a free shuttle that goes directly to IKEA from Central Station.

What to do

  • NorrmalmThe shopping center of Stockholm.
    • Biblioteksgatan – Wall to wall shopping, with the entire street lined with retail stores. Great place to buy Scandanavian fashion and home décor.
  • Gamla StanThe historical Old Town of Stockholm
    • Best way to enjoy this island is to walk around and explore!
      • TIP: Try to visit during the late afternoon as most tourists have already left, giving you better photo opportunities!
    • Kungliga Slottet – Breathtaking palace in the middle of Old Town.
    • Walk towards the historic Stortorget Square and have fika at Chokladkoppen.  
    • Plenty of restaurant choices for traditional Swedish cuisine.
    • Join a free walking tour for to learn about the history behind the beautiful buildings.
  • Södermalm The trendy, hipster part of town.
    • Best way to enjoy this island is to walk around and explore.  
      • Södermalm is full of nice cafés, cozy bars and cute boutiques that cater to the young and trendy crowd.
    • The best view of the city -Walk towards Monteliusvagen, there will be a pathway that will lead you to a breathtaking view from the edge of a mountain.
    • Explore by water – A fun and active way to see Stockholm. You can rent kayaks, and SUP boards near Hornstull T-Bana Station.
    • Fotografiska  Museet – The place for shutterbugs and selfie-takers alike. Enjoy the works of famous photographers and be sure to visit the gift shop for your own for print copies of the exhibit!
  • Östermalm -  The fancy part of town.
    • People watch – Östermalm is the ritzy part of the city full of beautiful and stylish people. Within weeks of living here, I have had several celebrity spotting’s just by hanging around patios and cafes!
    • Shop – If your wallet is ever so kind to you, then be sure to do some retail therapy along Grev Turegatan and Nybrogatan – two streets full of high end Swedish designer stores.
    • Nightlife – Party like a rockstar and quite possibly with some rockstars. The nightlife in Öster malm is unlike any other – with international DJs known to often make their appearances.
  • Djugården“Where all the museums are”
    • ABBA Museum -  Theres really nothing more Swedish than ABBA, so a museum dedicated to them seems quite appropriate. Even if you’re not a fan, this place is pretty entertaining.
    • Moderna Museet – Great home to the works of Warhol, Picasso, Dali and many others. There are plenty of art installations surrounding the buildings, making the place look really whimsical.
    • Rosendals Tradgardkafe – Great place to wind down and enjoy a cup of coffee. Located by a greenhouse and botanical garden, this place is full of photo opportunities!
  • Other
    • Boat ride to the Archipelago – Beautiful views of the nature and a glimpse of many traditional Swedish summer homes.
    • Mall of Scandinavia – Located just 10 minutes away from Centralstation (via train) and is a great place to get all your shopping done.

What to eat

Personal Favourites

  • Harry Pig Deli – Although not particularly Swedish, this is hands down my favourite restaurant in the entire city. Everything they make is from scratch and their tapas is to die for. Be sure to try “Josephs Homemade sausage of the day” – you won’t regret it!
  • Woodstockholm – If you are all about presentation, then this place is for you. Everything they serve is so cleverly thought out – from the quirky presentation to the flavours of each dish. When you visit, be sure to order the Chokladtaco!

Traditional Swedish Cuisine

  • Tradition – They offer a variety of traditional Swedish dishes, from blood sausage to reindeer.
    • TIP: Try to get a reservation, as this place is often booked solid every night.
  • Meatballs for the People - If you are in the mood for Swedish meatballs, this is the place to be. Both a local and tourist favourite, this place is often booked so make sure to call in or book a reservation!
    • TIP: Try to go during the early bird lunch special – still quality food, but at a more affordable price.

Cheap Eats

  • Palmyra Kebab – Large, I mean LARGE, serving sizes at an affordable price. It is nearly impossible to finish an entire plate!
  • Espresso House – Although a fairly commercial Swedish coffee chain, Espresso House has great sandwiches! Try the Goat Cheese sandwich – restaurant quality taste!
  • IKEA – You’ve probably had IKEA’s Swedish meatballs before, but having it is Sweden is another experience of itself.

Café

  • Snickabacken 7 – Just about the trendiest café you will come across in this city. Not only is it a café, but inside is a concept store selling clothes, home décor and vintage designer pieces.
  • Kaffeverket – Cozy local hangout, which is not a surprise judging by its interior! But off course, the great lattes as well.
  • Café Pascal – Great café for a large selection of pastries and light snacks.
  • Drop Coffee Roaster– A local favourite, and a must visit. They specialize in high quality drip coffee roasted to perfection. Drop also has (in my opinion) the best kanellbulle in Stockholm!
  • Eat with Jonna – A quick glimpse of this café will draw you in quicker than you can say fika. This place has the quirkiest but tasteful décor and also serves great brunch!

Where to shop

  • DesignTorget –  If you’re a fan of Swedish design, then this place is for you. They specialize in high quality, designer houseware. However, they also carry items that make for great presents.
  • TGR – If you like DesignTorget designs, but not DesignTorget prices, then TGR is a wonderful alternative. Although quality may vary, this store has plenty of knick-knacks that make for great souvenirs!

List by: Marah 

On a whim, Marah uprooted her life in Toronto, Canada to start a new in Stockholm, Sweden. She has travelled across Asia and North America and soon hopes to explore more of Europe. Marah is an avid urban explorer and loves to discover the best food spots in every city she visits.  She loves to eat – but definitely not before a picture has been taken!

Follow her food adventures on instagram: @bea.victor

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