This is my final week living in Stockholm and I decided it´s about time that I should write something proper about this city. I have written about Swedish culture, my lack of Swedish, and the beauty of Lapland so far, so I decided it would be time to add Stockholm to this list as well.
A big Swedish tradition is to go for a refreshing walk during the weekend. Stockholmers usually prefer one of the parks (Djurgarden) however, I prefer the city. If you start at Djurgarden and the Nordisk Museum, you can walk via Strandvagen towards the city centre and Stureplan, the most posh area of Stockholm with loads of restaurants and shops (check our the Sture Galerian). Here is also my favorite fika place: the Espresso House at Birger Jarlsgatan 18. After some coffee you can finish the walk around the Gamla Stan and Royal Palace. If you don´t want to walk by yourself you can always participate in one of the free guided walks. A friend of mine did it and said it was very informative and quite fun!
Stockholm has loads of museums, but I prefer the Fotografiska, the photo museum. It is based in a beautiful waterfront building, has frequently changing expositions and a nice cafe on the top floor. If you want to relax for a bit you can try out the Day Spa. This new concept in Stockholm offers a menu of treatments with fixed prices for 10 min, 20 min etc. and you can pick for each treatment. So no longer minimum 60 min for a massage if you think 20 min will do the trick as well.
Another Swedish past time is going to their summer houses in the Swedish archipellago. Even without a summer house this area is definitely worth to visit with loads of uninhabited islands. During summer many boat tours are offered to this area, and make an excellent day excursion.
The Swedish fashion it extremely forward thinking compared to the rest of Europe. And since I don´t consider myself to be extremely on the trend when it comes to clothes I had some issues shopping here in Sweden. However, I managed to find some really nice stories, either to browse, or to buy, or just for a Sunday afternoon entertainment.
A colleague recently introduced me to two stories close by: Judits second hand and an outlet store of Filippa K just a few doors further down the street. Judits second hand must be my favorite clothing store with good quality second hand shoes, dresses, and most of all leather bags for very affordable prices. Additionally the store stocks several new items such as scarfs and other accessories. Filippa K is a very well-known Scandinavian brand, and usually out of my budget. However, the outlet store offers second-hand out last season items at much lower prices.
One of the great examples of Swedish style is Mood Gallerian. This massive gallery is a combination of trendy stores and restaurants, all design and provides a platform for experimentation. It boast for example smell marketing and other innovative and beautiful decors. I like to go here on a weekend and stroll around, or perhaps have lunch in Vigårda, a good gourmet burger place at the entrance of the gallery.
If you´re in the mood for slightly more upscale shopping the Stureplan area in Östermalm is perfect. The area around Bibliotek gatan has all the fancy shops combined with the ultimate Swedish clothing store, COS, the grown-up sister of H&M. At Stureplan you can also find the Sture Gallerian, an upscale gallery with some very nice trendy bars and stores. It also houses the Sturebadet, a very upscale gym and swimming pool which is supposed to be amazing.
Restaurants and bars
Stockholm is unfortunately not a cheap place for a drink or to go out to dinner. That having said, I´ve never seen restaurants as busy as here in Stockholm. Below I enlisted some of the restaurants I liked, and I´ve asked around to see what friends and colleagues recommended as well.
One of my favorite restaurants in Stockholm is Vapiano. I know it´s not a typical Stockholm restaurant, but it provides nice fresh food in a trendy atmosphere. There are two branches in Stockholm that I like: the one next to Gamla Stan metro stop, and the one just off Stureplan. But be prepared to wait in the last one, even at 17:30 on a Wednesday evening, since the restaurants are extremely popular. Another popular chain in Stockholm is Taco Bar. I especially like the branch in Kungsgatan. It is a small and cozy restaurant with good Mexican food for very nice prices. A good Thai restaurant is Blue Chili, a small restaurant slightly outside of the city centre with amazing food.
Two tips I got from my colleagues are Texas Longhorn, a very good restaurant with outstanding meat destinations, so I´ve been told. Finally, during the summer restaurant Herman supposed to be amazing. It is above the Fotografiska museum, and is vegetarian buffet restaurant with a massive garden which is busy with locals in the weekends.
Additionally, Stockholm boasts several food courts where several restaurants are combined, which usually make a good pitstop for a quick lunch or dinner. A big one is in the basement of Kungshallen, nothing fancy but cheap food. The more upscale version is Östermalm´s Saluhal. Several restaurants are located here, combined with deli take-away places for original lunch and dinner menus.
When it comes to places for a drink, there are two areas to go in Stockholm: Östermalm, the more upscale and trendy area which places such as Taverna and the famous Spy Bar. The alternative is Södermalm, which is slightly more alternative, and has a large variety of bars for a drink. One of my favorite is Folkbaren which is especially busy on a Friday afternoon. Additionally, there are plenty nice bars around Gottgatan with different atmosphere and target audiences.
I still think there are many more amazing places to discover in Stockholm, for which I unfortunately didn´t have enough time. However, I am sure I will come back to this city (hopefully this time in summer) to add to the above list with my favorite spots!