Karolina finally made it to Sweden… and, I say finally, because the desire to visit struck me when I was only eight years old, after reading The Children of The Noisy Village, written by the Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren. Although I wasn’t visiting Bullerby, the village the book was based in, Stockholm has given me a taste of what the ‘hype’ surrounding Sweden is about. So, what do I think Stockholm is (partially) about?
We visited in fall, and I can’t think of the city looking prettier any other season. Stockholm, awashed with autumnal, tone-changing leaves and pastel buildings gives off a lively vibe no matter of the cooler temperatures that have just started to cripple in, as the year makes its way into its last two seasons.
What a chill out spot. I mean – have you SEEN that Ivy wall (you’ll want it on your Instagram)?! Located on the eastern tip of Kungsholmen island, next to Riddarfjärden’s northern shore and facing the islands of Riddarholmen and Södermalm, the City Hall grounds consist of unique pieces of art, and are a perfect spot for lunch, taking in the panoramic views of the city, solo hangout with a book or a simple stroll on a weekend. You can also take a guided tour at a price of 90-110 SEK. Fun fact: the banquet ceremony for the Noble Prize also takes place here in December of each year.
One word: daaaaaaaaamn. This was exactly what I imagined Stockholm’s streets to feel like. Majestic. Quiet. Cobbled. Full of history. The Old Town, situated on the Stadsholmen island, is a must when in Stockholm (but it is pretty much impossible to miss). Take your time, take it all in, stop looking at that map and…
… l o o k u p
Walking through the Old Town, you’ll be treated to a few unexpected glimpses of the Church of St Nicholas and narrow alleyways (with the narrowest measuring only 90cm). The Old Town is where Stockholm was founded in 1252.
Monteliusvägen. A scenic, 500 meter long path with an astonishing view of Lake Mälaren, the City Hall, and Riddarholmen, even better at sunset. Although you won’t be able to catch the moment the sun hits the horizon, it is a super romantic and unique spot, perfect for those golden hour rays.
Museum lovers – be ready for tears and some well-needed perspective on life. Spend an evening (it’s open until 1am Thursday-Saturday) at the very touching Museum of Photography, take time to read the stories behind every photograph – usually a controversial one – and walk out with a sense of gratefulness for the life you’re living. Fotografiska is also cash free and costs 105-135 SEK per person.
There will be things you’ll notice around Stockholm that will make your inner culture vulture scream. At the end of the day, every country has its distinctive features, whether it being red phone boxes in the UK or the tilted houses of Amsterdam. It’s the retro phone boxes and doorways for Stockholm. From the Scandinavian countries I visited in the past, I consider Sweden as the most enchanted in authenticity in regards to the architecture style.
I have no words for the architecture. A spare battery for your camera won’t hurt, if you’re a lover of everything aesthetically pleasing (cough, cough – enjoy the eye candy while you’re at it, too lol!).
Now, let’s get down to our favourite F word… food. You’re in for a treat of some cool-ass recommendations. As opposed to me, my travel buddy (@annmariesfooddiary) is a real foodie goddess and encouraged me to enjoy brunching on another level. Here are some of the places we checked out while in STHLM.
Let’s just throw it out there, most food places in Sweden are now cash-free, so don’t bother bringing cash in. STHLM Brunch Club will treat you to vegan friendly, super-food, healthy and Instagrammable brunches. You will quickly recognize it by the queue outside the door – proving the point! I enjoyed a chia-seed truffle with a yummy smoothie for a price of approx 140 Koronas (£13).
Fika is a concept in Swedish culture with the basic meaning “to have coffee”, often accompanied with pastries, cookies or pie. Did you know that phrase? I remember seeing it all over Stockholm, only really researching it once I arrived home (duh). Although, I practiced Fika without being aware of it, in a very over-priced cafe. If you’re on a budget, save your cash and treat yourself to a pastry at the city centre, if you’re not into paying £5/cinnamon bun at the Old Town.
Vegetarian / vegan. All you can eat buffet. Bring your student ID and enjoy half price after 3pm (£14) with a purchase of a drink. Caliente, was the drink recommended to us by the locals. The founders of Caliente, stated they wanted to make it easier to choose non-alcoholic, and realized that the same stuff that makes chilies hot – capsaicin – doesn’t just have the same lingering taste as alcohol, but also floods your brain with endorphins, for a natural high. I enjoyed it – my travel buddy, not so much. P.S. enjoy more views of the city from Herman’s backyard.
The name doesn’t really sound appealing – I’m not going to lie – but the food is pretty great. There are a few vegan options, and they are not extremely greasy, so don’t worry! The Greasy Spoon is also sought after by many so be prepared to wait, or share a table with new friends. This place is also cash free and costs approx £13 / lunch.
♥ You won’t need a lot of cash – it’s… exotic. Card, all the way.
♥ For the most part, Stockholm is friendly for walkers, so don’t worry about getting the subway. If you’re looking to appreciate the famous art of metro platforms however, do take a self-guided tour of over 90 decorated stations.
♥ For the duration of our stay we stayed-over on a boat, the Birger Jarl. It was a fun experience and we’d recommend it to anybody, who is looking for unique experiences, while on a budget.
Stockholm, you’ve been everything I expected and more. I can’t wait to see you and hopefully, be able to call you home someday.
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As always, all views are my own.