In November my brother and I decided to go on a 5-day citytrip to the wonderful Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The city is spread across 14 islands, connected by 57 bridges, and each neighborhood has its own unique character. We were lucky enough to see the city under a layer of snow. Stockholm is the perfect destination for a winter trip and after reading my blog post you will understand why.
1. What to do?
Archipelago by boat
Archipelago is a cluster of approximately 30.000 islands and it’s only reachable by boat. There’s the possibility to do some island hopping but we choose to stay on the boat and just enjoy the lovely view. We payed 25 euro for a 2-hour boat trip through the small islands. I don’t think I ever saw something as stunning as this. It was quite cold that day but I went outside on the boat and imagined myself living in one of the cozy houses and the only thing I felt inside was pure happiness. I can say with absolute certainty that this was the highlight of my visit to Stockholm. If I’d do it again, and I definitely would, I’d choose a longer boat trip and I’d consider the island hopping. Of course it’s tempting to stay inside a boat when it’s freezing outside but I swear you’ll regret it later because this place is nature on its best.
Tip: wear warm clothes in winter, it can be really cold on the boat.
On the island Djurgården you’ll find Skansen Park, the world’s oldest open-air museum and zoo. We payed 12 euro per person to enter the park. Entering Skansen felt like being teleported back in time. The museum brings you back you Sweden in the 18th century. Most of the farm houses, homes and shops are authentic and are brought there from all over Sweden.
Among the beautiful houses, you will find a wide variety of Swedish animals. During all of my trips I try to spot as many animals as possible but I’d never seen a reindeer in real life before. Can you imagine how happy I was bumping into one of the most beautiful animals on this planet?
I could spend the whole day out there but unfortunately after 2 hours I was freezing so we went to eat delicious Swedish meatballs to warm up a bit.
We visited the Vasa museum and Skansen Park at the same day because both are located on the island Djurgården. In the museum it’s all about the warship Vasa. It sank in 1628 because of some faults in the design and stayed on the bottom of the ocean for over 300 years until it was brought to the surface in 1961. The amazing thing about the Vasa is that it stayed more or less intact. 98% of the salvaged ship is the original wood!
You can walk around the ship at several levels, admiring the sculptures, mostly still in remarkable shape. On your way up you’ll bump into different displays that tell you the whole story. We spent approximately 1,5 hour in the museum.
To be honest, I’m not a museum-kind-of-person but this one was very impressive, educational and interesting.
Tip: show your students card for discount
Gamla Stan, Grand Palace & Fika
Gamla Stan is the old center of Stockholm. I could wander through the tiny streets for ages. On almost every corner you find a cozy tea house and the streets are filled with little boutiques. In this area you also find the Grand Palace. Gamla is said to offer the best Fika in Stockholm. Fika is a concept meaning to have coffee, usually with a cake on the side. It’s an important part of the Scandinavian lifestyle.
Absolut Ice Bar
I was very excited to visit the coolest bar in town, the Absolut Ice Bar! The bar is located in the Nordic C Hotel. The Ice bar is exactly what the name implies, a bar where everything, yes literally everything, is made of ice, even the drinking glasses.
Is it cold in there? Let’s say I had cooler moment during my trip. Before entering the bar you get a pretty cool and warm Eskimo-looking cape with attached gloves.
Is it expensive? The visit to the bar isn’t the cheapest experience but it definitely is the coolest. We paid 25 euro per person for the entrance and one drink with Absolut Vodka.
The Skyview Globe is the ultimate way to see Stockholm in 20 minutes.
There are two glass ‘globes’ that departure every 10 minutes with a maximum of 16 people. The globe takes you to the top of the world’s largest spherical building, Ericsson Globe, a Stockholm landmark.
Before going up, you get to see a five-minute film about the creation of the Globe and the construction of the Skyview. Then you can enter the globe. I was very excited as I’m afraid of heights. But I decided long ago to not let my fears control my life, so I bravely entered the gondola. Going up is the scariest part but once I was at the top I forgot about everything and enjoyed my view.
You can easily reach the attraction by metro. It takes about 25 minutes to reach the globe from Gamla Stan.
Tip: Book your ticket in advance via internet, otherwise there’s a risk that you’ll only see the globes from below.
Stockholm Public Library
There’s something about libraries. The smell of books and the stories behind them fill my heart with happiness and curiosity. I can’t pass by any library without entering. This one is absolutely amazing with its different floors and unique cylindrical hall.
For the people who love Hard Rock Cafe as much as I do, it’s only a few steps away from the library.
2. How to get to/from Arlanda airport to Stockholm city?
We took the bus Flygbussarna to go to the city because it’s the cheapest way. There are several stops on the way, just tell the driver where you need to be and he’ll tell you the best place to get off. The ride takes 40 minutes and costs about 10 euro. You can easily purchase your tickets with the ticket machine at the airport. The buses are also equipped with free WiFi.
The Arlanda express train takes you from Arlanda Airport to the city center in 20 minutes and departs every 15 minutes. A one-way-ticket costs 30 euro. The platform is easily accessible, underneath the arrival terminals.
Another option to go to the city is by taxi, it takes 40 minutes and costs about 60 euro.
3. Where to stay?
We stayed at Scandic Klara where we paid 600 euro for 4 nights, breakfast included. I can highly recommend this hotel because of the excellent location in the middle of the centre. The rooms are not that big but very clean and the hardwood floors are ideal for people like me, who are allergic to dust.
4. Where, what and when to eat?
Most restaurants offer a special lunch at a reasonable price, it’s called “dagens rätt“ in Swedish. These prices are only valid between 12 am and 2 pm, usually during the week.
Tip: In Stockholm it’s a habit to order food at the bar.
Jensens bøfhus is the place to be for meat lovers. The meat is delicious and when you enter before 4 am you only pay 10 euro for a steak.
When in Sweden you really need to eat Swedish Meatballs, they’re delicious, I love them! Lots of restaurants offer them for lunch so keep an eye on the displays outside.
5. Transportation in the city
Stockholm is a beautiful city and there’s no better way to discover it than by pounding the pavements.