How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Stockholm the ‘capital of cool’ and of course Sweden, totally blew me away this summer. Whether you’re talking restaurants, interiors or clothing, it’s certainly earned the title. I mean where would we all be without IKEA, H&M, Cos, Daniel Wellington and vodka?! And that’s before we get to all the music!

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Situated on the Baltic Sea this stunning city is spread across 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, each with their own distinct personality. Jam-packed with gorgeous parks, incredible restaurants, attractions and remarkable museums, I wished I’d book more than a four-day break.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

In the summertime the archipelago city basks in the midnight sun. It was a joy to wander and get lost among the historic streets and grand buildings, – where Gustavian grandeur mixes so well with the modern architecture and minimalism we all know and love from Sweden.

Here are a few of my recommendations on how to spend your time in this Scandinavian gem:

Stroll the streets of Gamla Stan

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

One of the first things we did as soon as we’d dumped our bags at the hotel was to wander the winding, narrow cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan. The old town is the heart of Stockholm and one of the best preserved medieval city centres in Europe. Make sure to visit the Stortorget (Big Square), where you’ll find the iconic, insta-friendly colourful merchant houses.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

The imposing royal palace Kungliga Slottet is well worth a visit, with 608 rooms it’s the world’s largest royal castle still in use for its original purpose. We were lucky enough to catch the changing of the guards too which takes place in the outer court.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Learn to Fika

What? Is this some new dance craze sweeping the country? Not quite. To Fika is however, a huge part of Swedish culture. It essentially means to drink coffee or tea with a sweet treat usually in the form of a pastry.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

We indulged in our first Fika at one of Stockholm’s most photographed café – Chokladkoppen. A gay-friendly café in the Old Town, it’s a convenient spot for taking a break from the sightseeing.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

True to its name, which I think translates as chocolate cup. They’re famed their hot chocolate, which is oh so yummy and served in a big bowl.

Sail around the archipelago

Dubbed the Venice of the North due to its stunning architecture and abundance of water, Stockholm is part of an archipelago consisting of around 30,000 islands (give or take). I don’t think you can say you’ve been to Stockholm if you don’t experience a boat or ferry ride to some of its beautiful islands.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Stromma offer many different tours, but we opted to do our own thing via their Cinderella boats. These are the every day commuter boats. A welcome change from your groundhog journeys on the tube I can tell you.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Nothing beats a Kate Winslet moment and the Baltic breeze through your hair (or not in the case of Mr S).

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

The day was split between the charming island of Grinda and one of the furthest away, Sandhamn.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Two very different islands, there will be more on our day trip soon on the blog.

Admire a preserved 17th century warship

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to museums in this city but if you’re going to choose one make it this one! Especially if you have mini-mes with you, it will blow their minds. The Vasa was a ship built so badly it sank a mile from the dock.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

With a King in love with the beauty of such a gargantuan ship (69 metres long and 48.8 metres tall) the engineers were too scared to tell it him wouldn’t sail for long. So, on its maiden voyage in 1628 the top-heavy vessel tipped and sank, unfortunately with many of the crew on board.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

333 years later it was pulled from the waters and due to the cold waters of the Baltic sea was remarkably preserved. You can see it in all its glory at the Vasa Museum. An incredible sight.

Step back in time at Skansen

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Make your way to Skansen on the island of Djurgården and experience the Sweden of old in the world’s first open-air museum.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

It’s a historic theme park come village a bit of a tourist-cliche but at the same time pretty cool. If you have kids – a guaranteed winner!

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

You can wander the village and pop into old-world stores showing how trade was done as well as see glass blowing and traditional food preparation methods.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

The Nordic Zoo is based there too, so you can wow the kids with the bears, reindeer and moose. My girls enjoyed a wonderful day at Skansen with their school friends who luckily were holidaying at the same time.

Chill out with the trendsetters and hipsters of Södermalm 

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

A laid-back neighbourhood just across the bridge from Gamla stan is where all the cool kids hang out. The Stockholm version of Shoreditch known to the locals as SoFo – A must to explore.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

You’ll find the streets alive with boutiques, record stores, art galleries, stylish locals and stores selling vegan leather goods, eco-friendly wares and vintage clothing. The girls hunted down the local park too. Another thing Stockholm does very well.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

We enjoyed lunch at the hip restaurant Nytorget 6, I was sold on the deep fried halloumi salad.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

There is also reindeer heart on the menu. On this occasion I refrained from doing as the Scandinavians do.

Get your photographer geek on at Fotografiska

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

A must for all shutterbugs this beautiful industrial building in the neighbourhood of Södermalm showcases Sweden’s best photography exhibitions.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Perhaps I’m spoilt by the huge museums in London, but it’s not that big, so easy to fit in if you have a busy sightseeing day in the area. There’s a great bar and restaurant on the top floor where you can capture some great views of the city.

Indulge in Stockholm’s food scene

Stockholm is fast becoming Europe’s culinary capital with its ever-increasing Michelin starred restaurants, Bib Gourmands (Michelin’s excellent but budget-friendly range) and a number of local Swedish classics. From succulent meatballs, hearty herring and sweet cinnamon kanelbullars, even as a vegetarian I found the most incredible restaurants to dine in.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

For a family-friendly gastropub try The Flying Elk in Gamla Stan. The menu is inspired by a blend of Swedish culinary traditions and British pub culture. It’s the sister restaurant to the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Frantzén. Great to experience the famous restaurants cuisine but in a simpler, relaxed and purse friendly way.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

And when you do fancy breaking the bank for one evening Gastrologik in Östermalm is the place. This ‘new nordic’ style of gastronomy puts great emphasis on the quality of its raw materials. There is no set menu, it’s the seasons that decide what’s served. More on my 22 course tasting menu in a future post.

Switch off at Junibacken while the kids go nuts (PARENTS ONLY)

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

The magical fairy tale world of Astrid Lindgren comes alive at Junibacken on the island of Djurgården. Whilst you fika, the kids can immerse themselves in what is essentially a massive dolls house.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

As well as showcasing well-loved Swedish children’s books through playful exhibits. The story train is central to the playcentre. It’s a short ride which the kids found enchanting and the adults quite morbid. My girls love the stories of Pippi Longstocking, so were totally bowled over to see her world come alive.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

There is also a great restaurant with lovely views across the waters, which is where you’ll find all the grateful adults hanging out.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Be wowed by the epic architecture

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Some of the buildings in Stockholm date back to the 13th century or even earlier. It’s historic buildings in the Old Town have been conserved largely due to Sweden’s neutrality in World War II.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

Teeming with architectural treasures my eyes were alight with some of the most picturesque city scenery.

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

The Royal Palace, Tessin Palace, The Royal Dramatic Theatre and the Riddarholmen church were my personal faves.

And finally…

How to spend a city break in Stockholm

There’s no denying Stockholm isn’t the cheapest place in the world to visit, but believe me it’s so worth it. Something which will help you on your travels is the Stockholm Pass. It’s valid for 24, 48, 72 or 120 hours from the first time you use it. You can visit some of the city’s amazing museums and attractions, experience certain boat tours and have unlimited travel on the Hop On-Hop Off buses and boats. On a three-day pass you can look at saving a 1000 SEK (around £100), so worth it.

Travelling with two kids I was also impressed with the fanily-friendly attitude of the city. It’s almost as if the city is built for them there is so much to do! Most of the sights and attractions are designed with kids in mind and nearly all are free for under 18s. Across Sweden pram ramps are common, most shopping centres have nursing rooms and buses are also free for those with strollers. These Swedes, they think of everything.

My girls left this city with four words ‘Can we come back?’ The apples don’t fall far from the tree do they?!

Have you been to Stockholm? Is it somewhere you would consider for a short break with the family?

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Disclaimer: The Stockholm Passes were complimentary via Visit Stockholm. However, all views, opinions and photos, unless otherwise stated are my own and remain a trademark of the Curious Pixie. 

 

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How to spend a city break in Stockholm

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25 Comments

  1. 12th September 2017 / 9:59 am

    I know what you mean I love H&M. Stockholm isn’t somewhere I had considered visiting before but Junibacken looks like fun I think the kids would love that so it might work for a short family holiday.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th September 2017 / 1:14 pm

      It’s a brilliant place for a family break. Expensive though, but worth it.

  2. 12th September 2017 / 10:13 am

    I have never been but it looks absolutely amazing and your pictures really capture the area so well. Being a massive Scandi lover I really need to get a trip over at some point in the future x

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th September 2017 / 1:13 pm

      Ahh thanks Lynne. Yes, you definitely need to plan a trip.

  3. 12th September 2017 / 7:09 pm

    How did I not know that COS (my favourite label) is Swedish?! I loved following your trip Sima! I had a day in Stockholm about 9 years when en route to the arctic circle – I loved the city but wish I had longer to really explore so I’m definitely going to drop a few hints to the hubbie to book a weekend in Stockholm!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th September 2017 / 12:42 pm

      Thanks Maggie! The minimal lines, it couldn’t be from anywhere else. Mr O’T definitely needs to be whisk you away for a weekend break. And the food scene out there is amazing, so many great restaurants.

  4. 12th September 2017 / 9:10 pm

    I have friends who have been to Sweden on numerous occasions and adore the country. The buildings are stunning and Junibacken looks great fun

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th September 2017 / 1:12 pm

      It’s an easy country to fall in love with. I know I’ll be going back again. And Junibacken is just amazing if you have kids in tow.

  5. 12th September 2017 / 10:19 pm

    Omg Sima I have to visit Stockholm, not only did I love your instastories but I also didn’t realise how much there is to do in one city. It’s making it onto the 2018 bucket list.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th September 2017 / 12:39 pm

      Ahh thanks Zoe that’s so nice to hear. You’ll love it. It’s such a pretty city with a very cool and happening scene.

  6. 13th September 2017 / 6:44 am

    I’ve been wanting to visit Stockholm since I was a child, but I’ve never gotten the chance…

  7. 13th September 2017 / 8:00 am

    I desperately want to go here and even more so now I know about the incredible architecture! Little bit of a building geek

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      13th September 2017 / 1:11 pm

      I finally made it after years of wanderlusting. Such a beautiful city Eppie. You’re building radar will go nuts there.

  8. 13th September 2017 / 8:40 am

    Stockholm looks absolutely stunning. So much wonder to see. The scenery and buildings are just glorious.

  9. 13th September 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Friends of mine have just come back from Stockholm, it was a very last minute booking and quite cheap and they loved it x

  10. 13th September 2017 / 9:15 pm

    not a place I’ve been to but it looks and sounds beautiful. x

  11. 19th September 2017 / 10:52 am

    I love the idea of Fika and it’s definitely something I’d spend a lot of time doing in Stokholm. I love a cup of coffee with a cinnamon roll!

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      19th September 2017 / 12:34 pm

      It’s impossible not to Amy…they are there tempting you everywhere you go!

  12. 6th October 2017 / 1:02 pm

    What a beautiful post! My children love Pippi Longstocking too, so I know Junibaken would be popular. The food sounds amazing too – apart from reindeer heart! Thanks ever so much for linking up with #CulturedKids.

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th October 2017 / 9:57 pm

      Thank you Nell. Yes Pippi was a saving grace, that was our three museums in one day!

  13. 6th October 2017 / 3:11 pm

    Stockholm was on my list but now I know about FIFA it has edged nearer to the top! Thank you for linking up with #CulturedKids

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th October 2017 / 9:56 pm

      Hahaha! Well now you have to go Catherine.

  14. 6th October 2017 / 4:12 pm

    We loved our trip to Stockholm over Easter, so it was lovely to see your beautiful photos – although when we were there it was freezing cold and snowing! I love the idea of going back in the summer though, and exploring some of the archipelago. #culturedkids

    • Sima Sthanakiya
      6th October 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Yes, I’d definitely recommend visiting in the summer Jenny. The archipelago needs a few days to itself.

  15. 7th October 2017 / 2:37 pm

    I loved Skansen. And FIFA is a great concept

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