Stockholm has long been a popular choice for a European short break. It offers visitors the chance to explore its old historic quarter, admire its many miles of waterways and enjoy the long summer evenings when the sun barely dips below the horizon and it doesn’t get fully dark. In recent years Stockholm has also developed a reputation for its modern cuisine and art scene and can now boast attractions to entice pretty much anyone to visit.
We recently featured a post looking at the perfect city break in Stockholm. Here we share some more ideas on how to make the most of your time on your visit to Stockholm.
A good way of getting familiar with the city is to take a Royal Canal cruise which passes the National Museum, Strandvagen (one of Stockholm’s most exclusive addresses), the Eco Park at Djurgarden, the Vasa Museum and the Royal Palace. The 50 minute tour is a great way to orientate yourself and inspire further exploration and the audio guide provides interesting facts about the city. You can choose to take a longer canal cruise or one of several archipelago excursions on offer.
Stockholm has a wide choice of eateries from local cafes and food markets to Michelin starred restaurants and here it is the independent establishments that dominate. Tucked behind the exclusive Strandvagen and the trendy Stureplan, you will find the Östermalm Saluhall (food hall). This bustling food market sells seasonal produce as well as cheeses – the Vasterbotten cheese from Northern Sweden is a personal favourite. There is an abundance of fresh fish, meat and poultry as well as savoury and sweet delights. Popular with tourists and locals alike the Saluhall is a wonderful place for a relaxed lunch, for a spot of souvenir shopping or just for sampling the local delicacies.
At lunchtime locals leave their desks and flock to the city’s restaurants. Business meetings and friendly chats take place at tables all across the city. For traditional, wholesome Swedish fayre try Restaurant 1900 in the city’s business district (reservations are recommended). For those with time to burn, a 2½ hour lunch cruise to Stockholm’s inner archipelago is recommended. Another good option is to take a trip to the island of Fjaderholmarna (summer only); home to a café, souvenir shop and various craft stalls as well as a short walking trail.
For the budget conscious set lunchtime menus are offered by many of the city’s restaurants. A set meal typically consists of bread, salad, main course, soft drink and coffee and costs a reasonable 85SEK to 140SEK (£8.00-£14.00). Alternatively you can pack a picnic and head to the countryside, coast or a park to enjoy a delicious lunch away from the crowds.
Stockholm is one of the greenest cities in the world and is the only city to have a National Park within its limits. Take a leisurely stroll through the Djurgarden Park, enjoy coffee at Rosendals café and absorb the view over the water to Strandvagen and Sodermalm. For those travelling with children or with an interest in Swedish architecture through the ages a visit to Skansen, the oldest open-air museum in the world, is highly recommended.
The Fotografiska museum is one of Stockholm’s newest and most highly acclaimed attractions. Displaying contemporary photography the museum also has one of the best vantage points in the city, overlooking Skeppsholmen.
Gamla Stan, the historic centre of Stockholm is a maze of narrow cobbled streets, souvenir shops, boutiques, and restaurants. It is here at Chokladkoppen café that Jamie Oliver sampled one of his best hot chocolate drinks.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The trilogy of books, ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’ written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson is largely set in Stockholm. The release of the Hollywood film in December will thrust the city in the limelight and the tourist information centre has developed a self-guided walking trail taking in key locations. Of course, for any fan of the novels playing detective and finding the sets yourself is part of the fun. Travel to Sodermalm to visit Lisbeth Salander’s luxury apartment, Mikael Blomkvist’s home and the office of Millenium magazine.
Outside of the city
Stockholm is made up of 14 main islands and an archipelago of over 30,000 islets and small islands. A number of the nearby islands can be explored on boat excursions from the city centre but, if you want to discover areas off the beaten tourist trail a day excursion by train to Nynashamn is recommended. From here ferries depart to the islands of Nattaro, Alo and Rano.
Visit our special page for more information about holidays to Sweden.
by Rachel Jelley and Andy Jarosz