Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and is set along (and within) the coast of the eastern side of the country. Made up of 14 different islands, most of it’s neighborhoods are walkable and the city is fairly easy to navigate thanks to an organized metro system.
This Nordic metropolis represents the best of Sweden with its blonde beauties, progressive vibes, and polite-yet-genuine kindness. There is never a dull moment with museums galore, a hot Scandinavian cuisine scene, modern design and architecture around every corner, and a hearty drinking culture. It’s one of my favorite places in the world!
Do and See
Walk Around Gammla Stan
Wander the small, winding cobblestone streets of the old town area where Stockholm was founded in 1252. Start off with a view of the royal palace, Kungliga Slottet, where you may be able to see the changing of the guard if you time it right. Other primary stops include the Stortorget (the oldest square), Märten Trotzigs Gränd (the oldest and smallest street), and the Riddarholmen Church.
Hang Out in Södermalm
You can spend your entire trip on this laidback island with it’s bounty of hip eateries, vegetarian restaurants, fashionable boutiques, and city parks. Simply wander around to enjoy the neighborhood and then head in the direction of Vita Bergen, a massive park with a classic and romantic vibe where the locals come to picnic, play games, and garden.
With one of the most unique topics ever, this maritime museum focuses on the Vasa ship that sank just a mile off shore during it’s maiden voyage in the early 1600s. Start with the short video and then spend a couple hours exploring the beautifully restored ship and interactive exhibits that explain daily life at the time, the process of building the boat, and the details on why it capsized.
Lose yourself in this perfectly-sized gallery with two floors of exhibits covering the latest in contemporary photography. Once you’ve taken in everything in, head up to the café on the top floor for a fantastic view of the city along with a strong pull of espresso. You may also choose to dine at the restaurant that serves sustainable, plant-focused food.
Explore the Archipelago
Venture out onto the sea by boat to experience some of the rugged nature for which Sweden is best known. You’ll enjoy the fresh ocean air while taking in the many thousands of islets, rocks, and trees dotting each tiny island.
Watch a Hammarby Game
No visit to Stockholm is complete without a Hammarby soccer game. Grab a beer and don’t even bother settling into your seat as you’ll be standing, cheering, and chanting along with the crowd for 90 minutes straight. If flares, smoke bombs, and over-exuberant fans frighten you, then you’ll likely prefer a seat in the family section. Otherwise, hooligan section here you come!
If you’re looking for the best of Swedish design, look no further than this small chain of boutiques about the city. Pick up everyday items that are modern, functional, and beautiful all at the same time. Their selection of home goods are especially enticing.
Shop your way through this major pedestrian shopping street and try not to max out your credit card. Check out the über stylish selections at traditional fast fashion emporiums like H&M and Zara, but the real fun is at the Swedish chains including Arket for dressy, well-made basics, Monki for funky, hipster threads, and Weekday for all your denim needs.
Filippa K Second Hand
Nothing says Scandinavian chic like Filippa K but the price tags are generally of the jaw-dropping variety. This second hand store offers their simple and stylish items at a more palatable price range.
It’s a bummer furniture doesn’t fit in a suitcase or else you’d take home the entire inventory of this Scandinavian store. Go just to ogle the clean, sleek lines of their designs and maybe (just maybe) you’ll leave with a small piece of decor.
Take one step into this boutique and you’ll instantly feel 100 times cooler. This store will have you lusting over their fashionable clothes and home goods such as a dotted faux fur jacket, boots in the most luscious cognac-colored leather, super cool travel guides to other awesome cities, and all the home goods made by Hay.
Eat and Drink
Grab a drink in the modern bar before heading over to the old school side of the restaurant for a traditional Swedish meal of meatballs, mashed potatoes, and lingonberries.
Located just off the main street of Gamla Stann, this casual yet cute café is the perfect stop for a fresh and healthy lunch. Options are provided for vegetarians, vegans, and those who avoid gluten.
Four words for you: honey saffron ice cream. Get a scoop or two of this heavenly ice cream in a freshly-pressed waffle cone before walking up Mårten Trotzigs Gränd (aka the oldest and smallest street in the city).
Crêperie Fyra Knop
Francophiles rejoice! You can now get a crepe worthy of the streets of Brittany in Stockholm. The vibe is intimate and cozy, and the owners know exactly what they are doing with imported buckwheat for the savory crepes and the decent list of natural ciders and wines that hail straight from France.
Centrally located, the Hobo Hotel is super hip option that is only a seven-minute walk from the central train station and a five-minute walk to the old town area.
Rooms are very (very) small but well designed so that you can easily slide your luggage under the bed and hang things on the peg wall. We couldn’t get enough of the modern decor and fun details (here’s looking at you, water gun).
A buffet breakfast is served every morning (you can either pay for it separately or purchase it along with your room reservation) and the bar is open late for those evenings when your jet lag just won’t quit. Head down to the basement floors for the gym or the laundry room.
Tips and Tricks
Swedes are stylish folks who are fans of basics so you’ll fit in by wearing any combination of white, black, and denim. They favor a polished yet casual look so don’t worry about wearing your sneaks to get around town (current faves include Adidas Gazelles, Stan Smiths, and any type of Vans).
Debit and credit cards are the most common type of payment whether you’re getting food, going shopping, or taking a taxi. It’s the easiest way to pay for things if you don’t mind the small international fee that your bank will charge.
If you can time it right, I highly suggest heading there for the Midsummer festival to celebrate the summer solstice with flower crowns, may poles, and all the schnaps your heart desires. It typically takes place on the Friday that lands between June 19 and 25.