Travel

A gentleman’s guide to…Stockholm: What to do in the Swedish capital

Stockholm. Not the first destination that springs to mind when thinking of your next travel destination, but definitely one that should.

I have recently just come back from this wonderful city and couldn’t believe just how good it was considering how little we knew about it before going.

The Swedes call this city ‘beauty on water’ and with good reason, some of the views on offer were simply astounding and we were lucky enough to get some great pictures for you to feast your eyes on.

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The Price

When we told people we were off to Stockholm the default response was “That’s a bit strange! What is there to do there then?!!?!?” followed by “Ooo I’ve heard it’s expensive over there!!!”. While both of these responses were valid – it isn’t a popular tourist spot and some places can be expensive – we didn’t care.

After spending 3 full days in Sweden my pockets were £400 lighter. However, when you consider the fact that this included return flights, a 2 night stay in a great hotel, travel passes and everything in between, it starts to look relatively cheap – especially after everyone’s reservations beforehand. You’d probably end up paying that if you stayed a few days in Slough and I know where I’d rather go…

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Let’s not forget that Stockholm is also a capital city, so any reservations you may have about having things to do are unfounded. We managed to pack a massive amount into our few days here and you could literally go back another 5 times and you’d still have things to do.

The Food

Hands down the best meal I’ve ever had was cooked in a little German restaurant called Slingerbulten. It was an ox cheek and mash dish – simple and hearty which is exactly how it should be in my eyes. 2 mains, 2 desserts, 2 drinks and a side came to the equivalent of £50, not exactly the astronomical fees promised by every man and his dog.

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One thing I noticed about the food scene in Stockholm was that there were lots of vegan restaurants available. Travelling whilst following a vegan diet can be notoriously hard so if you’re looking for a city break where you can enjoy amazing food along with everything else, Stockholm has got you covered.

There’s also a bevy of cafes all over Stockholm selling lots of fantastic food and drink but one thing that is synonymous with Sweden along with their meatballs is cinnamon buns. These are amazing but far too easy to wolf down, if you’re watching your waistline then be careful because one of these could easily turn into eight.

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The Sights

The ABBA museum was definitely the highlight of the trip. It’s around £25 to get into but it’s worth the initial outlay. Believe it or not, I’m not actually an ABBA fan – but by the end of it I was hooked. Even if you’re not into Eurovision winners of yesteryear you need to buy yourself a ticket, because this was hands down the best thing we did all weekend.

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Fotografiska is a museum solely dedicated to photography. There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures in here, with new collections going on display regularly. The main exhibition that was on display during our time of visiting was highlighting poverty and refugees which was hard hitting but a definite eye-opener and offered some major perspective.

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The Old Town was our favourite area of Stockholm and was full of fantastic old buildings (believe it or not), amazing views and a whole host of backstreets where you could slink off to for a quiet meal or drink. The whole atmosphere around the old town is so relaxed and laid back that you’d think everyone was stoned 24/7 – turns out everyone in Sweden is just extremely chilled. Compare this to the thunder-faced commuters in basically every other capital city (except for Amsterdam, because everyone actually is stoned 24/7) and it’s a breath of fresh air.

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One thing in Stockholm that is free is the changing of the guard. I’ve never witnessed anything like this before, being the uncultured swine that I am, so this huge display blew me away a bit. As Sweden have a royal family, this whole performance is very regal and would be ideal for those of you who love a good bit of royal prestige.

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The Rest

The 72 hour travel pass is absolutely essential if you’re staying outside the centre like we were. It allows you to get on any train and is an easy way of getting trams to different parts of the city centre instead of walking everywhere clocking up too much exercise (because who wants to waste energy walking when you could save it for eating?).

Katarinahissen is a pedestrian bridge that offers amazing views of the whole of Stockholm and should not be missed, as it’s the best free option to get some amazing shots of the city. Unfortunately the lift up is broken, and with no plans to fix it in the pipeline you will have to take the stairs. If you’re not knock-kneed then definitely give this one a go on your way to Fotografiska. 

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The NK shopping centre was one of the most beautiful shopping centres I’ve ever seen in my life. It was like something out of Harry Potter except there were no wands and everyone was dressed better. There’s something for everyone here, with lots of high end designer wear, homeware, food & drink, you’re spoilt for choice. You do have to pay £1 for the toilet though so if you want to save money you can find yourself a dark corner outside and spend that pound on a sandwich instead.

Impromptu performances are extremely common as you traverse the cobbled streets of the old town especially, with everything from Alien worshipping flash mobs playing ABBA songs to people playing classical music by rubbing glasses. It’s a bit of free entertainment and can brighten your mood if they aren’t too terrible.

 

Stockholm. My favourite holiday destination so far and definitely somewhere you need to consider for your next weekend city break.

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