Looking for a fun European vacation? Try Stockholm.
You can easily get around this beautiful seaside city by foot, tram or metro. Whether it’s a day excursion on a Baltic cruise or a full week to explore, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the Venice of Scandinavia. Here are some of my favorite things to do in Stockholm.
Walk the old town, Gamla stan
This might be where the big crowds from the cruise ships go (and every other tourist). But there’s a good reason for that… It’s beautiful! Besides a few tacky t-shirt shops, you can find everything from art and antiques, great restaurants, locally made goods and even a beautiful 120 year old fishing gear shop! Most people visit during the day, but try to come back in the evening. I couldn’t believe how similar it was to Venice after the crowds were gone, with winding streets and cobblestones echoing your footsteps.
Have a Drink!
Visiting Sweden for the first time? Indulge in this rite of passage: a shot of aquavit. Got it down? Good news! You never have to do that again!!! For a true aquavit experience, check out the “Viking bar,” Aifur. Touristy, but fun.
Also in Gamla stan (but a world’s away in experience) is Pharmarium (easy to find directly across the square from the Nobel museum). Sample drinks with house-made ingredients, as well as flavored with various wood smoke. In the center of town, the nautical themed Sturehof, is nice for an afternoon drink sipped while watching the world go by.
What to Eat?
I was pleased to hear that even my Swedish friends liked the Swedish meatballs at Ikea. I cannot leave any Ikea, even in New Jersey, without eating a few. Try a more authentic option at Fem Sma Hus. If you’re interested in checking out modern twists on Scandinavian cuisine, try Marten Trotzig. Some standout dishes: Reindeer, skagen toast (fantastic shrimp salad on toast), and SOS (herring, pictured).
Where to Stay?
I recommend the brand new Haymarket by Scandic hotel. It’s right in the middle of downtown in a building that used to be a department store. The formerly rundown building has been fantastically restored, thanks to the designers of Scandic. You’ll be blown away by its art deco vibe. If you don’t stay there, the bar downstairs is very nice as well.
Get on the Water!
Stockholm is really part of an archipelago consisting of 30,000 islands. There are many options to get out on the water, with an opportunity to explore some of the area’s more beautiful islands.
Abba is to Sweden is what Fleetwood Mac, Neil Diamond and Elvis Presley are to America, all rolled into one (with maybe tighter white jumpsuits). This interactive museum is really fun. You get to sing in the studio, learn their dance moves and then jump on stage to perform with Abba themselves! Of course, you can just spectate, which is just as much fun.
This world famous museum pays tribute to some rather horrible shipbuilding. The Vasa was one of the largest ships in the world when it was floated out on its maiden voyage from Stockholm harbor in 1628. It got about ¾’s of a mile when it rolled over and sank. Amazingly, it sat at the bottom of the harbor until 1961 when it was pulled up via cables. You’re be able to walk around and look at a huge ship in amazing condition. Truly one of the most amazing museums of the world!
Have you been to Stockholm? What are some of your favorite spots? Share in the comments!
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