Hej Hej and welcome to Stockholm ! I’m in Sweden, where I’m always greeted with these words and a friendly smile. It’s the city of ABBA, IKEA and vikings. But there is more to this Swedish capital than what meets the eye.
Being spread over 14 islands, the city doesn’t give away all it’s secrets at once. It takes some time to get to know her. It takes some warming up. (Quite literally sometimes)
To do this, I listed 10 things to do in Stockholm.
Skansen is an open air museum and a nordic zoo that gives visitors an insight into how Swedes lived once upon a time.
Do: Walk amongst 150 traditional houses, chat with guides in traditional costumes about ancient trades. Try spotting baby elks, reindeers, wolves and brown bears in the spring.
I’ll bet you’ll head for the exit, whistling a Pippi Longstocking song.
2. Vasa Museum
In 1628 it took one strong breeze to sink the warship Vasa to the bottom of the Stockholm harbor. After 333 years, the wreck was salvaged and rebuilt. It’s the worlds only almost fully preserved 17th century warship and an impressive sight to see.
Do: Step onto the replica of the crow’s nest and feel what it’s like to be standing high above in the ship’s mast.
Ow and did you know this ship served as an inspiration for Pirates of the Caribbean ? Now where’s my bottle of rum ?
3. I’m on a boat
The archipelago and the sea are the beating heart of Stockholm. So hop on a boat or a ferry and discover little harbors and grand views by the water.
Don’t : Get seasick!
4. Swedish food
Köttbullar, Smörgåsbord , Gravlax, … It might be a little hard to order a Swedish dish, but it’s so worth it !
You may have tasted Swedish meatballs in an IKEA restaurant but you should try the real deal with lingonberries, cream sauce and cucumber. If you can handle a 6 course buffet and are willing to pay a little more, go for the Smörgåsbord. The buffet includes köttbullar but also several dishes of herring and gravlax.
Another option is to head for the street food cart of Nystekt Strömming and try the fried herring. Yum.
Do: Find out if meatballs with reindeer taste better.
5. Gamla Stan Old Town
Walk down the narrow cobbled streets of Gamla Stan into picturesque little squares, where colorful buildings invite you in for a fika (coffee) and a story of ancient myths and legends.
Do: Try finding the statue of Saint George slaying the dragon in Köpmantorget, Jarnpojke the little man looking at the moon or the cannonball that’s still stuck in on of the walls at Stortorget square.
6. Hit the Sauna
Let’s be honest, Stockholm can be a cold city to visit. So treat yourself with a hot sauna after a day of walking around.
Do: Take a room upgrade with private sauna or head to Centralbadet, where you can relax in an art nouveau surrounding.
When exiting the photography museum Fotografiska, you’ll be either inspired or terribly depressed because you’ll never make so beautiful pics. The rather high entrance price is totally worth the great alternative photography you’ll be treated on.
Do: Have a drink afterwards at their bar and enjoy the sea-side sights of Stockholm.
8. Scandinavian Design
There is more to Swedish design than IKEA. Hit the stores in Norrmalm or Södermalm for a scandinavian piece of art.
Do: Buy at least one piece of Swedish design to take home with you. I chose this Muuto vase.
9. Stockholms stadsbibliotek
Hitting the Library is probably not on your citytrip bucketlist and yet it should be. This library is one gigantic cylinder with books stacked up against the three floor walls.
Do: Pick a book and sit down to admire the architecture.
10. Skogskyrkogården Cemetary
It might seem strange to visit a cemetery on a citytrip, but this UNESCO world heritage site introduces a new way of thinking about the afterlife. Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund designed a woodland cemetery where nature and architecture blend harmoniously. The graves lying deep within the pine forest brings man back to it’s roots. Skogskyrkogården for me was one of the most beautiful examples of how Swedish functionalist design can be so loaded with emotion.
Do: Walk down the Seven Springs way to the Chapel of Resurrection.
Do It Yourself
Tip : Pay Less, Do More of the above
If you are departing from BXL airport, park your car at Parking Zaventem to save on your transport cost.
They have cheap rates and great service! It’ll allow you to do more of the activities listed above!