I visited stockolm last weekend, and the city surprised me in many aspects. I was shocked about the fact we didn´t have to wear face masks anywhere (but he airport), it was great having a little freedom for 4 days. Not being able to buy alcohol (only possible if you are 20 years old or more) was not as great, but I forgive them for that.
Stockholm is a city with a rich history and there are a whole host of attractions to entertain and entice its visitors. Spend some time exploring the maze of medieval streets in colourful Gamla Stan, the well-preserved Old Town, passing through the chocolate-box square Stortorget on your way to the wonderful Royal Palace. If you time your visit right you may even catch the traditional changing of the guards ceremony. Take a trip across to the museum island of Djurgården and explore Skansen, the world’s very first open-air museum, the Vasa Museum or the Abba museum, to name just a few. Alternatively if you fancy a trip outside the city, hop aboard and take a boat cruise around the scenic archipelago or to the Drottingholm Palace just 50 minutes away.
There are plenty of historic buildings and museums to take in, but Stockholm’s number one tourist attraction would be the Vasa Museum. Dedicated to a largely intact Swedish warship built on orders of the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus, which sank during its maiden voyage in 1628. She was the largest ship of her time, and after being lost to time after her bronze cannons were salvaged, has remained in pretty good nick until being hauled out of the busy shipping lane she was rediscovered in in 1961. She is represents the Great Power Period of Sweden and is a national symbol.
From the moment you arrive in the city, whether that be by plane, or train, you will immediately be greeted with the sight of water. As a matter of fact, thanks to its sparkling blue waterways, cluster of islands and its neighbouring archipelago, Stockholm is often described as the Venice of the North. Unlike Venice however, you don’t need to rely on gondolas and water taxis to get around, as the city has an extensive public transport network which takes you anywhere and everywhere across the city.
Forget Ikea for just a moment, if you’re into fashion and design then Stockholm is the place to be to see the new trends hit the shop fronts and the streets! From shabby chic cafes sporting the hipsters with their tall skinny lattes, to the high-street homeware stores with beautiful items ready to furnish your place back home. The influence from other parts of Europe are evident in the blue-haired youths reminiscent of Berlin, a popular choice of hair colour in the younger residents of the German city.
Northern Europe is very well known for its natural beauty in the fjords and the lakes that comprise these countries. Stockholm may not be in the heart of this wild landscape, but it does have subtle touches of nature incorporated within the city. This could be the Stockholm Harbour, the many trees lining the streets, or the parks and gardens. A favourite of locals and tourists alike is the Kungsträdgården or the Kings Garden, located north of the Parliament House and The Royal Palace. This is an open area with street cafes, food vendors, and park benches, but what really draws people in is the strip of cherry blossoms. So if you come in spring you’ll not be disappointed by the bright pink flowers that decorate the urban backdrop.
If you’re geared up to cycle, there is so much happening in the way of infrastructure for bicycles in most cities in the North. Sweden is no exception. Bike banks being common place, and dedicated bicycle lanes spider-web the streets! There are a few stores dotted around the city if you need to rent gear at an affordable price, or get your own equipment serviced. Here you’ll also be able to get maps and information for a few of the different cycle tours of the city that take you to all the must see parts! Some even incorporate ferry journeys so you can get around across the harbour with ease. If you’re not taking up wheels this time that’s okay too as there is a well-connected subway, and if you’re staying downtown most of the tourist spots are within walking distance.
Forget pickled herrings and those Ikea meatballs, the Swedish food scene is rapidly expanding and where better to get your taste buds involved than in the capital. The city is full of award winning restaurants, offering traditional Swedish foods, as well as trendy bars and cosy cafes scattered throughout the city’s districts. Whilst we’re on the topic of food, no visit to Sweden can be without a ‘fika’ experience. Fika is a Swedish custom which involves a social coffee break where people gather to have a cup of coffee or tea and a few nibbles. The most customary accompaniment is a delicious cinnamon or nutty flavoured pastry. So, fika at breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, or anytime of the day in fact – you want to make sure you try all the varieties after all. And if you are a vegan or vegetarian like me, you won´t be disappointed, every bar, restaurant and pub has a vegetarian menu so you dont miss any of the swedish flavours.