I recently paid a short but sweet visit to the Swedish capitol and fell in love with its Scandinavian charm (even despite chilly temps and rainy weather)! Here’s a photo diary and list of my top highlights to incorporate into your visit, no matter the season:
1. Stay In A Hotel With History
We loved our stay at First Hotel Reisen, its waterfront location in Old Town simply cannot be beat. What’s even more impressive is the former shipping-facility-turned-hotel has stood at this prime location since the late 1700s! Our room was a modern, cozy oasis that was the perfect spot for an afternoon break from the cold or an evening cocktail. Most importantly, it included a bright bathroom that fit all three of us girls for morning hair and makeup routines simultaneously (ladies, you know how important this is…).
2. Fika, Brunch, Then Fika Again
The Danes have the beloved concept of Hygge and the Swedes have the equally lovely Fika. The concept is simple: make time every day to take a break, have a chat and connect with friends over coffee and a little something to eat. It’s an important part of Swedish culture and as much of a state of mind as a daily ritual.
We had our fare share of Fikas during our visit, it was the perfect excuse to duck into the many beautifully designed cafes the city has to offer to escape the rain. Here’s my top picks:
- Drop Coffee: Hands-down the best coffee we had during our trip.
- Fabrique: Though there are several locations, we loved the beautifully decorated location in Old Town. This bakery’s sweets were simple, traditional (try the Kardemummabullar!)and SO good!
- NK Art Bakery: This chic spot is a great place to take a shopping break and people watch.
- Greasy Spoon: THE BEST brunch I’ve had in a while. Don’t miss out on their breakfast sandwiches and pancakes.
3. Walk Along The Water
Luckily, the sun peeked out on our last afternoon and we had the opportunity to take a waterfront stroll (packed with gorgeous views!) from Old Town, along the Skeppsholmsbron Bridge and further along Strandvägen street in the posh Östermalm district.
4. Discover Swedish Brands
Scandinavian design is globally renowned and Stockholm is its epicenter. We loved popping into several Swedish clothing, furniture and specialty shops during our visit. Some of my favorites:
- Acne Studios Norrmalmstorg: The famous Swedish brand’s flagship store
- Acne Archive: A small shop filled with sample sale Acne Studio pieces that are rarely ever discounted elsewhere
- NK Stockholm: A swanky Swedish department store housed in a beautiful Art Nouveau building
- Grandpa, Nitty Gritty and APLACE: Swedish concept stores in the city’s trendy shopping/dining district, Södermalm
- Pärlans Konfektyr: A darling candy shop selling custom creations
5. Eat Meatballs
It’s the specialty dish of Sweden for good reason and so much better than what you’ve tried at your local IKEA. We ended up having Köttbullar (meatballs) for three meals (lol) and they were all delicious! It was really fun to experience each restaurant’s twist on this classic dish. Here’s where we went:
- Tranan: A traditional Swedish spot that’s been making meatballs since 1929….so yeah, they’ve pretty much have it perfect.
- Meatballs For The People: A great casual spot to get meatballs with a twist alongside local craft beer.
- Österlånggatan 17: Located in the middle of Old Town, we loved this stylish spot for dinner and drinks (they offer meatballs and many other plates).
6. Stroll Through Old Town
One of my favorite things about Stockholm is its walkability. So, take time to stroll around the narrow streets of the oldest part of the city, Gamla Stan (Old Town) which is actually 1 of 14 different islands the city spans across.
7. Visit Fotografiska
We loved spending an afternoon at this photography museum. Not only were all of the exhibitions wonderful and diverse, the view from the rooftop cafe is the perfect place for an afternoon drink!