We just spent a lovely quick few days in Stockholm! I didn’t really know what to expect, but I’ve been hearing amazing things for several years now, and it lived up to the hype! Built on an archipelago, the city spans several islands and is surrounded by just a few more (only about 24,000!). During the summer you definitely want to jump on a ferry and visit at least one of them. Keep reading for a recommendation on which island to visit, and the best places to get Swedish meatballs (not your local Ikea’s meatballs).
Gamla Stan (or old town), with its charming twisty old European cobblestone streets and the Royal Palace is definitely worth a visit, just expect to run into throngs of tourists in the summer. Check out SoFo (“South of Folkungagatan”) for Scandi style and hipster spots. Bike around the parks and gardens of Djurgarden and even pay a visit to the local amusement park, Grona Lund, founded in 1883.
WHAT TO BUY IN STOCKHOLM
Check out Grandpa and Acne Studios for Scandi style. Try Hasbeens for Swedish clogs and sandal clogs. Stop in at Stutterheim and try to resist spending a mint on a stylish raincoat. Go to Hestra to have bespoke leather gloves made just for you.
WHAT TO EAT IN STOCKHOLM
According to our local friend, traditional Swedish cuisine was in danger of dying out until a crop of restaurants popped up in recent years, reviving and refreshing old traditions. We loved Oaxen Slip, a casual Swedish bistro with a fine dining restaurant upstairs called Oaxen Krug. Try their amazing local char, broccoli with pickled onions, house made lemonades, and strawberries with cream dessert, reservations available here. Another good option is Hantverket.
Make sure you experience Fika, the Swedish term for coffee break, taken mid morning and mid afternoon almost always accompanied by pastries. Brod & Salt is a great local chain with delicious cinnamon rolls– not too sweet and super cinnamon-y. Also don’t miss the local liquor Acquavit, usually distilled with cumin and other herbs and spices.
And of course there’s the meatballs! While they’ve been popularized by Ikea, any Swedish person will tell you those aren’t true Swedish Meatballs. For the real experience, there are two places in Stockholm you should consider trying. Tennstopet is an amazing, very old, classic local spot with traditional meatballs and their own beer to match. It has the feel of an old Swedish hunting lodge with dark green walls, red velvet banquets, and plenty of antlers. It was bustling on a Tuesday evening when our local friend took us, and we were probably the only tourists in there. Another popular (and yummy) option is Meatballs for the People. Very different from Tennstopet it is much more modern–hipster even–with organic free range meats, reservations available here.
WHAT TO SEE IN STOCKHOLM
You’ll definitely want to pay a visit to one of the many islands in the Stockholm archipelago, even if you’re only in the city for a weekend. We really loved Fjaderholmarna, only a 30 minute ferry ride from the terminal by Gamla Stan, with ferries leaving once an hour (you buy tickets on board). It is a fairly popular so not exactly off the beaten path, but it’s a lovely rural spot which you can walk in under an hour, full of local artisans like a glass blower and silver smith, and several cute restaurants including a BBQ and another with inviting hammocks. Just have a wander around and pick the spot that calls to you the most for a relaxing lunch.
For museums consider checking out Fotografiska for contemporary photography, or the Vasa Museum for the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged. If you’re feeling kitschy there’s even an ABBA Museum.
Thank you so much for reading! If you’re enjoying following me, please make sure you subscribe to The Undiscovered Journey so you never miss a post! <3
Carina Covella is a writer and currently working on her forthcoming memoir, Love Dogs, detailing her six month transformational journey from Hollywood through India. Carina graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University cum laude with a degree in Art History. She also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music through the university exchange programs. Until recently she lived in Mill Valley, California with her wonderful Welsh boyfriend Anthony in a house nestled in the trees, but now they’re off on a two year adventure around the world. When she’s not writing or traveling, she loves to cook for her friends and family.