Stockholm is a city on the water. At least, that’s how the Swedish describe it. Before I went I never would have thought that, but the islands that make up the city of Stockholm paint that picture so beautifully. For my fiancé (Hank) and I, it was a city of convenience that, in time, became so much more. In 2015 we flew to Sweden because it was the cheapest direct flight from Las Vegas; it was our gateway to Europe. We touched down on Sunday, December 27th with the invigorating and indescribable feeling one gets when setting foot in a new land for the first time. We chose Stockholm for the price tag and considered it a place to shake our jetlag before we started our first European journey. As I described in another post, Stockholm has become so much more. On my last journey to Europe we capped our trip here, partially due to the cheap flight, but also because we knew Stockholm was a place we wanted to see again.
For both trips we stayed at Motel L, which is a bit off the beaten path. It’s located just outside the city center, but a transit stop right out front makes it an incredibly convenient place to stay. The price was great, which was what got us to initially book. We ended up loving the location because it is slightly suburban and gave us that “living there” feel, while at the same time serving our convenience needs. I would definitely recommend Motel L if you are willing to take transit, which requires only one line change.
The food in Stockholm is often very good, but can be very expensive. Being pricey is pretty much the norm when you travel to the Nordics. Despite this, every meal we ate was hearty and delicious. As mentioned in my last post, breakfast has become my favorite meal when abroad and Stockholm is no exception. There is a term in Swedish called “fika” which is essentially a coffee and pastry break during the day. This is highly regarded and never skipped. As tourists, we were happy to oblige as it provided the perfect break from the cold. For a meal or two each trip we got the quintessential dish of Swedish meatballs. I know there are many recommended places but we stumbled into Ostermalm Saluhall (an open air market of sorts) and settled down for dinner. This is a large dining commons, filled to the brim with food vendors and quickly became somewhere I highly recommend visiting. My true favorite food in Sweden is the candy; man I eat a lot of candy when I am there, bringing enough home to last me for months and months. My favorite candy is called Polly, “a chocolate covered foam drop, distilled with arrack.” I still have some from our last trip!
Things to do
Stockholm is brimming with things to do. Yet, it also has the vibe of a relaxed city. You don’t feel like you are wasting your time if you’re wandering around, even in the dead of winter. This is how we found many of our favorite views, parks, and sites. Wandering through the cobblestone streets of Gamla Stan is an absolute must. But, I encourage wandering out of the main city, into some of the side streets and neighboring islands as the beauty and views are seemingly never ending.
Besides wandering (which is always highly encouraged) I had the opportunity to see and visit several sites. On the top of most lists I’ve read is the Vasa Museum, and for good reason. In the museum is a ship that sank in 1628 and was later pulled back up to the surface and preserved within the museum 333 years later. It is truly an impressive site (plus the café is great!). We also went to the castle and the Nordiska museet, which were worth visiting once. While I am not the biggest fan of modern art I thought the Moderna Museet a worthy visit, as the displays change frequently.
As someone who loves to shop, Stockholm offers a surprisingly high variety of retail options. There are several streets that are lined with stores spread throughout the city. Any given street in the old town is lined with an incredible array of shops. But, in the island right by our hotel, I discovered another set of more hip shops that made for a fun few hours.
Stockholm has become one of my favorite cities. It is one of those places I think, “I could live here one day,” even if I know it’s not a realistic possibility. Sweden is an incredibly country and if you spend enough time in Stockholm you are able to witness some of the charm that keeps me coming back.