Stockholm, the Venice of the north, is a city many dream of visiting but few actually make the trip from the US. Sweden’s capital has it all from the fashion, the food, and the architecture. Old, majestic buildings are cradled in a nest of intertwining cobble-stone-streets, cherry blossom-lined avenues, and bays of glistened water. Nestled in ample parks quiet cafes boast traditional pastries and vibrant parasols while libraries hide centuries of knowledge. Ferries zig-zag between the various islands of the inner city and its suburbs while pedestrians cruise down the several car-free streets. Stockholm is a high-paced city as career, family, health and social life is all equally valued by its inhabitants that rush to the gym, the bar or the office.
Depending on where you decide to rest your head you can wake up to champagne and an ocean view or a traditional cozy room with the scent of fresh ice-cream cones wafting in through the window. The screams of sea gulls can be heard from every corner of the city in the summer time and snow covered lanterns brighten up the dark streets in the winter. Swede’s love brunch as it satisfies two meals in one (important as we are busy people) and sounds just that bit more intriguing than breakfast or lunch. Typically, the trending brunch spots have hour long waiting lists by 11 am meaning that you should get out there early. Currently, it would be the most difficult to get a table at Gretas, Strandvägen 1 or Greasy Spoon meaning that those are the places to go!
A stroll through the city is an obvious must. Remember to look up at the buildings with their gilded copper roofs and impressive facades. Here is a quick guide to the different islands upon which Stockholm is built:
Notoriously known as the home of the rich and powerful. A walk along Strandvägen will take you past beautiful boats, cafes and bars. Following the water you eventually reach Djurgården where a beautiful park awaits. My favourite thing to do in the summer is rent a bike along the dock and cycle through the park, stopping for a “fika”, the Swedish afternoon tea if you will, at a cafe snug in the greenery.
An eclectic part of the city pulsating with creativity, fashion and a relaxed atmosphere. Second-hand shops, galleries and cafes are found in abundance, each with their own special twist. Two of the cities best views can be seen from Fjällgatan and Monteliusvägen. Södermalm is also home to my favourite photography museum, Fotografiska. If you do end up paying Fotografiska a visit, plan to eat at the restaurant that boasts spectacular views of the city.
The old city will take you back in time. The narrow streets buzz with tourists who duck in and out of souvenir shops and the odd swede ventures into the mass for one specific reason: the ice cream that is served in freshly baked ice cream cones. It is impossible to resist the sweet and comforting smell. The changing of the guard at the Royal Palace is a spectacle worth seeing, a little history never hurt anyone, right?
Stockholm is known for its fashion. The simple, sophisticated yet edgy style is admired from far corners of the world. Norrmalm is where we do our shopping. Nordiska Kompaniet is worth a visit, your wallet may not agree but nevertheless the golden interior is jaw dropping. There is also no shortage of Swedish brands such as Acne Studios, Tiger of Sweden, Filippa K, Nudie Jeans and & Other Stories. Looking for a pair of shoes? My absolute favourite place to go is Marzio, a little boutique on Östermalm.
On most any given night the city comes alive. From restaurants to bars to clubs that close at 5 am, Stockholm never sleeps. Before going out, however, you should have a bite to eat at Bakfickan for a traditional Swedish menu, Taverna Brillo for a more Italian twist or Berns Asiatiska for a family styled meal (psst. order the fried sushi). Both Taverna Brillo and Berns turn into bars as the hour gets later, if you feel like heading somewhere new though I have some more tips: Café Opera if you with to run into someone famous, Sturecompagniet for an eclectic mix of people, The White Room is decorated all white in true Scandinavian spirit or Spy Bar, possibly Sweden’s most famous club.
Don’t forget to travel like a true swede on buses, subways, ferries, bikes and our true favourite: walking. As for when it is ideal to visit: the summer. It is not too warm nor too cold and the sun never goes down meaning you can enjoy Stockholm 24/7.