What we got up to this past Bank Holiday weekend
I’ve only ever been to Stockholm before for a whistle-stop 24 hour stay, so a long weekend there has always been on my travel to-do list and this past Bank Holiday weekend we ticked it off and I have to say that it was glorious. The weather was great (for the most part), the food was spot-on and the city just bloomin’ beautiful. I’m not sure I’ve even taken so many photos. Armed with the Wallpaper Guide (my first recommendation of many in this post), some comfy shoes and a camera – here’s my mini guide…
How To Get Around
If you fly in to Arlanda Airport then the Arlanda Express is where it’s at. We purchased tickets online before we travelled and it wasn’t too pricey, there are frequent trains and it practically catapults you into the centre of town in just 20 minutes. Once you’re there – that’s when CityMapper comes into play (this app is a life saver when it comes to travelling abroad). If you’re there for a long weekend like we were then you can grab a 72 hour ticket for the metro/bus/trams/boats from the ticket office in the station (for around £20-ish if I remember rightly). We used ours a tonne and it’s easy enough to navigate after a day of getting on the metro in the wrong direction multiple times.
The best/most fun way to get around though is by bike. Often it was the quickest mode of transport suggested on the CityMapper routes. They have their own ‘Boris Bike’ system set-up called Stockholm City Bikes and again sell a three day pass for it that’s available from SL ticket offices and various different retailers for I think around £15. The roads are basically one big bike lane making it a pretty pleasant experience. Just be prepared to sweat if Mark Newton is setting the pace in front of you.
Where To Eat
The food recommendations came in thick and fast when I asked for some on Twitter and so this list really does just scratch the surface. For breakfast we were pretty lazy and usually opted to have the buffet in the hotel. We stayed at Motel L which I would totally recommended – cheap and cheerful, but clean and modern and there’s a tram stop and bike park literally right outside the front door. Although Broms did a particularly spectacular brunch menu and was nestled in a cool residential spot in town (and was Instagram heaven).
Lunch-wise I enjoyed taking the bikes to Rosendals Trädgård, a lush garden with a greenhouse cafe on the Djurgärden island that serves up organic food, fresh from their land. Mark enjoyed the lamb and I enjoyed a carb-feast of an onion focaccia and a cinnamon bun; both of which I would highly recommend. Albert & Jack’s popped up a lot in recommendations too and is a fab deli and bakery that served salad and soup for lunch, the latter of which came in very handy when the cold rain set in.
For dinner we had a bit of everything. On Friday night we headed to Phil’s Burgers which is often pipped as the best burger joint in town and I have to say that it was pretty amazing. Make sure you save space for the fries because they were so darn tasty and seasoned so well (and the dipping sauce they give you is spot-on too). On Saturday we took a Google review-advised trip to Hermans; an all-you-can-eat buffet style vegetarian restaurant with a garden terrace that has amazing views over the waterfront and the city. It’s pretty pricey, but the food and the atmosphere were both top-notch. Go when it’s warm enough to sit outside so you can take in the views. Then finally we made a visit to Pelikan, a traditional Swedish restaurant where 90% of the people around you will order meatballs and give you meatball-envy, although the fish was deliciously fresh. Our server was also a babe. I wanted to adopt her as my Grandma.
Where To Explore
There is so much to see and do in Stockholm – there’s a lot of ground to cover. On the first night after our burger we walked right between the Östermalm and Norrmalm parts of town down to the waterfront by the Grand Hotel and then walked across the bridge to the Gamla Stan part of town to catch our metro home. If you want a ‘get your bearings’ wander, that’s a stroll I’d recommend.
A highlight for me was the ABBA Museum. Pre-book your tickets in advance if you can and try to go at a non-peak time (we went at 11.30 on a Sunday and it was still banging!). Be prepared to shimmy your way through and be a little sad at the end when it’s all over. We also visited the Vasa Museum which when Mark described it to me sounded a bit dry, but actually turned out to be pretty breathtaking and interesting. I’ll give you the headlines; big ship, sunk to the bottom of the sea for 333 years, then they got it back up to the surface in one piece and fully-preserved. Mad. I know.
Both of these museums sit on the Djurgärden island, along with most of the museums and an absolute tonne of green space and cycle paths. Mark and I took the bikes there one afternoon and had a whale of a time. The views were beautiful and it would be my top pick of places to have a wander in Stockholm – just wear comfy shoes.
Fotografiska is a little out of the way to walk to, but is well worth the extra journey if the idea of a photography exhibition tickles your pickle. Once you’re done perusing, head up to the café on the top floor for more amazing views and a coffee. In fact Sodermalm in general, which is where Fotografiska is situated, is a fab place to wander around if you want to find cool cafes and shops that will make you wish you had more space in your luggage. Speaking of which…
Where To Shop
Now we actually didn’t end up doing that much shopping, although we did find a few homeware meccas on Sodermalm. Granit is like if MUJI and Instagram had a baby. It’s a mix of interiors, kitchenware and storage. Yep, it’s basically the dream. Designtorget is just next door and again it’s a beaut of a shop where it’s impossible to leave empty handed.
So many of you recommended a visit to Nordiska Kompaniet, which is a department store in the centre of town and although Mark had to be dragged there, even he admitted that it was an impressive building and in the end it was him dragging me around. Just be prepared to spend a good couple of hours in there as there’s a lot to peruse.
Of course it would be rude not to visit the stores of Stockholm-founded brands like Acne Studios and Byredo now would it? When in Rome and all that. Mark and I did end up making some denim-heavy purchases in Acne and although I couldn’t find the time to get to the Byredo store, the concession in NK was good enough for me. Stellar service and stellar scents.
If you just wanted this post in video format the whole time then here’s the vlog for you. It’s a quickie, but I do love a travel vlog. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy when I edit them and I watch them back with a big lame grin on my face and this one is no exception. Cue the grin.