Why You Should Visit Stockholm
“Stockholm is a place that has it’s own very special corner in my heart. I was lucky enough to call this city home for 5 months (on a university exchange) and during that time, I fell in love with the vibrance of the city, the tranquility of nature close by and its artistic impression. I met so many inspiring people and stumbled across many beautiful places to enjoy an afternoon fika. This is a short tribute to one of my favourite cities.”
// A fascinating mix of tradition with modern liberal influence, the city of Stockholm is full of art and innovation. It is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe and has made a name for itself as a popular place for expats, creatives and new startups. From timeless buildings and colourful houses, to cozy cafes surrounded by lush green forests and secluded islands - Stockholm seems to have that perfect balance between modern city bustle and stripped back nature. //
Gamla Stan // Old Town
In the heart of the city, you will find charming cobbled streets and traditional architecture with colourful painted houses - some of which date back centuries. It’s incredible to wander around and imagine what life could have been like back in those days. Typical tourist shops line the main streets of Gamla Stan (The Old Town) and you will find that everything is rather pricey here. If you venture out a little further, there are many quieter cobbled street lanes, some with cozy cafes, where you can take a “fika” (Swedish word: coffee & cake break). Within walking distance, you will also find the Palace (Kungliga Slottet) and the Royal Swedish Opera House, which are absolutely stunning and worth a visit.
Museet // Museums
Museum lovers are in for a treat. From History to Modern Art, you will find all kinds of interesting Museums in Stockholm, such as the Viking Museum and the ABBA Museum. One of the most incredible and realistic open-air museums can be found at Skansen. Realistic because it’s full of old traditional Scandinavian houses and tipi (conical tents traditionally used by the indigenous Sami people), with actors who play the roles of their character’s station in an informative way. You really get to see and feel how they used to live - it’s a very unique and insightful experience, definitely one of the best places to visit on a nice, sunny day.
Lush green forests parks and blossoming gardens are plentiful here in Stockholm. There are countless beautiful areas right in the heart of the city, with an excellent network of trails for running or a casual stroll. Just a stone’s throw away from Skansen is the stunning Djurgården// Royal Garden. You could spend an entire afternoon just exploring this place and enjoying delicious homemade food at the very cozy Rosendals Trädgårdskafé with a cup of fresh organic Herbal Tea. Djurgården is easily one of Stockholm’s best kept secrets and the perfect city escape within the city for nature lovers. The most scenic way to reach this little island haven is a quick ferry ride from the Slussen Ferry Port to Djurgården - which is normally included in the public transport pass.
Top: View from the Djurgården ferry // Middle: Forests of Stockholm // Bottom: Rosendals Trädgård Cafe
Södermalm // The Hipster South
Södermalm is where you’ll find the hipster, artsy hub of Stockholm. Abundant with beautiful buildings, boutique shops, cozy cafes and vintage second hand stores. If you enjoy quality second hand shopping, then Stockholms Stadsmission is a branch scattered throughout the city with very nice pieces of clothing and household items. Södermalm is also home to many awesome brunch cafes, restaurants and bars. This area has such a chill vibe with many young creatives working and living here. On the south side near Skanstull, you will find a cluster of the cutest little garden houses. In various shades of vibrant colours with mini vege patches, surrounded by overgrown trees and plants - the Simmeparken is a beautifully cozy and secluded spot.
Utsiktspunkt // Scenic Lookouts
There are many stunning (and free!) lookout points around Stockholm. A glorious sunset view can be found by the Slussen station on the highest floor of the Katarinahissen - simply take the elevator up to the top floor and enjoy the view. One of the most scenic walks over-looking the city of Stockholm is the Monteliusvägen, which starts by Mariahissen. Here, you will pass through a rather old and aristocratic part of Stockholm, with steep cobbled streets and gorgeous houses. You can actually continue this beautiful stroll all the way till you reach the stunning hilltop of Skinnarviksberget, where you are rewarded with a panoramic view over the centrepiece islands of Stockholm.
The city of Stockholm itself is composed of 14 islands, joined together by bridges and tunnels. However, the entire expanse of the Stockholm Archipelago itself has over 30,000 individual islands, skerries and rocks. During the long summer days, where the sun seems like it almost never sets, many of the locals escape to their island cottages. There are ferries, which run regularly between the city and the outer islands. If you’re up for an adventure, you can rent out Kayaks from Dalarö and, thanks to the freedom camping laws in Scandinavia, you can also camp out on an island for the night. During the cold winter days, where nights are long and dark, the Aurora can sometimes be seen dancing across the skies - and the islands are often a good place to observe the Northern Lights, as they are further away from the light pollution of the city.
// Stockholm is such a vast, diverse and multi-cultural city with the perfect balance between the vibrant city life and the tranquility of nature. It’s one of those places that requires time to really discover and appreciate what the city has to offer, rather than having a list of sights to tick off. If you love nature and slow travelling, then you will love Stockholm. Take some time to stroll around the parks and gardens, venture out to the islands, go freedom camping, enjoy one too many Swedish fikas as you hop around cozy cafes. Take it slow, breathe it in, let yourself be inspired. //
Have you ever been to Stockholm? Where were some of your favourite places? Or perhaps you have a few cozy cafe recommendations? I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions below :)