A Tour of Stockholm’s Treasures
November 19, 2011 MuseumChick
Contrary to my exaggerating friends and family, I have not been everywhere. So when my fellow blogger friend came to me, enthused to inform me on Stockholm’s culture, I couldn’t resist learning about this far off, magical country that I didn’t know much about besides that it’s cold. As an Indian American expat living in Stockholm, Sapphire is the perfect friend to get all of Stockholm’s insider tips from. She’s seen decimeters of snow and still loves the Venice of the North. You can visit her blog at Lost in Stockholm (http://lostinstockholm.com/).
Guest post written by Sapphire-
Discovering Stockholm’s Culture:
Stockholm is best seen by foot, by bike using City Bikes service, or by boat. From the small streets of Gamla Stan no more than two feet wide or the old buildings that date from the 1600s splattered throughout the city, get your walking feet on. Start with a walk through Djurgården, the King’s garden island. There you can see horse stables, old noble cottages, Skansen – the zoo and open air museum , and the Vasa Museum (Vasa Museet). Strandvägen borders the docks in Östermalm and from there you can see some of Sweden’s highest priced apartments and for us mere mortals, simply enjoy the waterfront view. Music lovers of ABBA, there’s a walk for you too! Steig Larsson lovers are not left behind either, there’s a tour to see all the streets and spots mentioned in the city. Want to see more of Stockholm’s thousand islands? Then take a boat to Ekerö and see Drottningholm, the Queen’s castle. To see the vast archipelago take a boat to Vaxholm to see the fortress, visit a sleepy summer town. Mini forests litter the islands and Fjäderholmarna is a perfect island to picnic on and see the glass museum and gallery where you can find glass products and textiles by young emerging designers. Lovers of the Viking era must visit the magically cities, Sigtuna and Uppsala- it’s almost as if the fairies and gods never left them. ABBA isn’t the only group to come from Sweden. Stockholm thrives on a vibrant music scene. From opera at Operan to theaters across the city and to funk, you will not be left disappointed. Debaser and Pet Sounds are for the funky and those looking for something offbeat. For the big bands, head to Berns or Globen. Kägelbanan & Södra Teatren will satisfy the international vibe in you and boost a breathtaking view to Gamla Stan, city center, and Djurgården.
Stockholm is full of museums. You cannot visit the city without viewing some of the finest museum collections. Most popular is the Vasa Museum. It is home to a sunken ship from the 1600s. Moderna & Arkitektur Museums have a splendid view to the city from the island of Skeppsbron. Lastly, Fotografiska has an impressive collection of photographic works. Being one of the oldest cities in Europe that still boasts a monarchy don’t miss Riddarholmen, the tiny island next to Gamla Stan. The church hosts the remains of the past kings of Sweden. Plus being kingly means a visit to Kungliga Slottet , the King’s Castle, on Gamla Stan. For a gorgeous view of the whole city visit Skrapan, the tallest building in the city. Or for an historic view to the islands visit Kastellet, the citadel, on the tiny island of Kastellholmen.
Stockholm is full of food treasures. From the luxurious Michelin one star Lux to the hole-in-the-wall dumpling restaurant Fang Yung in Södermalm, there’s something for everyone. Get your bite on with traditional Swedish food in a classic krog, bar, at the Pelikan. For something a bit more modern head to La Neta, the most famous and only Mexican restaurant in Stockholm. Hermans and Hermitage are vegetarian restaurants that will make the meat eaters drool. Breakfast lovers will not be disappointed at Sirap, a traditional American breakfast diner. Coffee lovers can celebrate with the Swedish tradition of fika or “coffee-time.” Head to Vetekatten after 15hr for a traditional fika tea time or into any café and grab a latte and a slice of cake or pie. And for a treat, head to any of the candy stores in Gamla Stan for a wild go at polka (peppermint) and Swedish plock godis (bin candy). Desiring ice cream? Head to 18 Smaker , a homemade, organic ice cream parlor, fixed with Swedish flavors like lakrits and traditional goodness like dark chocolate. There’s nothing better than ending your day with a stor stark, a “big strong” on the tap, cheap beer. But for those wanting to wet their beer palates, head to Monks or Akkurat. Cocktail lovers will enjoy the selection in the basement bar, Vampire Lounge. And for a classy glass of champagne, visit Stockholm finest bar at the Grand Hotel. During the summertime Stockholm explodes with outdoor serving at cafes, bars, and restaurants. Every minute of beautiful sunshine is not to be wasted. Hang out at Ute Companiet in Stureplan or with the hip and funky at Debaser. And if you want both drinks and dinner, head to Kungsholmen restaurant for a funky, modern menu and its sister, Orangeriet to get your groove on rococo style.
Shopping is not centralized in Stockholm like some cities. That’s because the city is so small that each district has its own fabulous selection of stores. For delicious foods, visit the Saluhall, an indoor food market, and feast your eyes on fresh crayfish, salmon, and Swedish produce. Walk along the district’s main street, Birger Jarlsgatan, and pass Louis Vuitton, Gucci and other luxury stores. In the city centre, Gallerian and NK are Stockholm’s two official malls in the city. They’re both just a stone’s throw away from Sergels Torg and Kulturhuset. Drottningatan is Stockholm’s most central street and by far, the most crowded. Start near Hötorget and walk south until you hit the Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament. You can be educated and shop in one go! The hip and happening part of the city is found in Södermalm. Stroll along Götgatan and take in the free and funky spirit of Stockholm. There’s the ubiquitous H&M as well as Whyred and even notebook shops. Hornsgatan, another popular street in Södermalm is full of second hand shops like Stockholm Stadsmission and Judiths. No matter where you are in Stockholm, there’s always a bucolic street hidden with lovely Scandinavian bits to buy.
Cheap hostels in Stockholm are somewhat of a rarity but there are little gems around. Check out City Backpapers or Hostel B&B near Centralstation. If you want to say you lived on a boat, visit Skeppsholmen Vandrarhem on the island of Skeppsholmen. Remember though that most beds are located on land, so book early if you want to be on the boat. For the true romantic, there is the opulent and Stockholm’s only true luxury hotel, the Grand Hotel.
Stockholm is a charming city. Even if the rain falls and wind blows, there’s nothing more enchanting than sitting by candlelight enjoying a latte and slice of pie. You might even hearing Dancing Queen whisper in the wind.