Last weekend we jetted off to the Scandinavian beauty Stockholm. A city filled with charming architecture, delicious pastries and the irresistible music of Abba. Read on to find out how to spend the perfect weekend in Stockholm…
Day 1 –
We headed straight to Herman’s cafe in the Södermalm district to battle our travel hunger. Herman’s is a Vegetarian restaurant and green oasis. Located in a conservatory overlooking the city and the river below, Herman’s dishes up an amazing all you can eat vegetarian and vegan buffet. Salads, lasagne, curry, fresh bread, cakes, lentils, hummus, baba ganoush… you name it, they’re got it. And it’s all homemade, tasty and fresh. The views are unbeatable, as are the vibrantly coloured cakes.
Just a short walk down the steps towards the river and we reached the Fotografiska. The Fotografiska is a huge centre for contemporary photography and showcases four large exhibitions, and around twenty smaller ones annually. The main exhibition – Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women– showcases the career and work of Ellen Von Unworth, who captures the world’s most desirable women and their power. Upstairs, Zanele Muholi’s, Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, displays photos taken in Europe, North America and Africa between 2014 and 2016. The collection poses critical questions about human rights and contested representations of the black body. Both exhibitions are inspiring and thought-provoking. Further round the museum is a completely unique exhibition by Swiss-Italian photographer – The Extraordinary World of Christian Tagliavini. We were ready for coffee, so caught some more sweeping views of the city from the top floor cafe. They also serve food and other drinks if you fancied dining here.
In the afternoon, we headed to Skansen, an open-air museum showing what life was like in Sweden before the Industrial Age. The museum was opened by visionary teacher and academic Artur Hazelius in 1891 and it covers an impressive 30 hectares. The buildings and huge cast recreated rural scenes from all over Sweden. The detail is astonishing and gives you a really clear picture of the old Sweden.
For dinner, we opted for a more modern Stockholm, at Barrels, Burgers and Beers. The restaurant is casual and lively, and the burgers are unbelievable. The chefs grind and mix their own meat and their bread is fluffy and baked to order. After a few beers and a juicy burger, we hit Stockholm’s nightlife. Stockholm is buzzing every weekend and has a range of bars and nightclubs. We partied at Slakthuset – which translates as ‘slaughterhouse’ because it’s located in the old slaughterhouse district. It’s been nominated for Nightclub of the Year several times and has varied music depending on the room you choose. If this doesn’t suit you, Stockholm is sprawling with busy bars and clubs of every genre.
Day 2 –
It wouldn’t be a trip to Sweden without paying tribute to their world-famous and best-loved pop group Abba. The Abba Museum is an interactive heaven for Abba lovers. More than three decades after their split, their music still creates the soundtrack to our lives and was made even more popular with the release of Mamma Mia. There’s karaoke studios, dance rooms, hologram stage performances, mixing games, quizzes and other fun ways to get involved. The museum is brimming with memorabilia and clever touches that will impress the most avid fans. In particular, the museum contains Benny Andersson’s piano, which is connected remotely to the piano in his house and plays whenever he’s playing at home. We know, incredible. There’s also a phone, Ring Ring, that only the band members know the number to. Don’t miss the gift shop on the way out that sells everything from the traditional magnets and postcards, to the silk gowns from their Japan tour and an Abba Monopoly.
We could have spent all day enjoying the legend of Abba, but with only three days to cover Stockholm, we had to move on. Only a short stroll away from the museum towards the river, we passed Gröna Lund, Sweden’s oldest amusement park. Unfortunately it was closed for the winter season, but if you visit Stockholm in the summer it is a must-see! As well as its roller coasters and fairground games, they also showcase exciting concerts in the charming park setting throughout the summer. We boarded the ferry just past the park, and headed over the river to the old town. Gamla Stan, the Old Town, is charming. The area is one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe and sits on an island in the river. We wandered the winding cobblestone streets, taking in the atmosphere and dipping in and out of the shops that sell fantastic Swedish souvenirs. In particular, the nostalgic memorabilia for Pippi Longstocking can be found in most shops.
The district has stunning buildings and wandering through it feels like your walking through a storybook. We stopped for a hot chocolate out of the cold and some typical Swedish treats – cinnamon buns and chocolate balls. We then walked to the Royal Palace, a jaw-dropping building and one of the largest palaces in the world. It sits on the edge of Gamla Stan, imposing over the river and onto the area on the other side. Every day their is the parade of soldiers and the changing of the guard to watch if you time it right.
We spent a chilled out Saturday night in Stockholm. We headed back to the Södermalm district for dinner, which was only a short metro journey and was worth the travel. A totally casual restaurant, Meatballs for the People, is a quirky spot specialising in all things meatballs. The chefs take this delicacy seriously and serve up a variety of different meatballs with mashed potatoes, lingonberries and pickles. The restaurant is a popular spot so we had to book ahead and would advise you do the same. To finish the night, we bar-hopped through the Södermalm area before heading to bed ready for more exploring.
Day 3 –
Sunday morning was as relaxed as every Sunday should be. We sipped coffee and delved into delicious brunch food at STHLM Brunch Club. The place is bustling on a Sunday morning, but still manages to keep a chilled vibe and dish out incredible food. Afterwards, we hit the shops. Stockholm has fantastic shopping opportunities, from high-end to high-street to vintage and second hand. Shops like Weekday, Zara and H&M line the streets and there’s centres for boutiques like Bondegatan (home to the legendary vintage shop Lisa Larsson). Some malls also have great lunch spots – we picked Holy Greens in Mood – a green oasis dishing out vibrant and tasty salad boxes and fresh juice. The hanging plant plots and lush trees fill the cafe and line the tables in the court of Mood.
After lunch we took the bus out of the city to Hellasgården. The lush sprawling outdoor area Hellasgården is a hub of adventure and activity. There’s a variety of things to do depending on the season you visit, but a simple highlight in the winter is a walk across the frozen lake. Sitting on the shore of lake Källtorp is a sauna – and a chance to experience a truly Swedish relaxation treatment. Take a long hot sweat in the sauna, before running to the lake and plunging into the freezing waters by the dock. It takes some guts, but the fresh feeling you get from the experience is worth the momentary chill. Plus, the setting is magnificent!
After a natural spa experience, we were ready for some good food. We dined at the Meno Male, a charming traditional style pizzeria. The service was excellent and the setting is authentic and rustic. The pizzas are stonebaked, crispy and ginormous. We opted for a seafood special with fresh prawns, mussels and baby octopus. It was the perfect setting for our last night in the modern city of Stockholm.
For our trip we styled ourselves with new eyewear from our favourite designers.
The new Saint Laurent Lily sunglasses in red are perfect for looking stylish whilst enjoying some city exploring round the colourful buildings of Stockholm.
The Tom Ford round lenses in shiny yellow merge classic with modern. The vintage round frames feature in a contemporary transparent shiny yellow colour. They were the ideal accessory for wandering Stockholm, a city that also loves to blend the old with the new.
Have you visited Stockholm before? Let us know your best bits in the comments below.